Dear Dave

Monday, 3 August 2009

Delayed transmission

Dear Dave,

Greetings from 1996!

By the time you read this, I'll be safely back home, enjoying all kinds of modern conveniences, like broadband internet, cable TV and mobile phone coverage. For now, having barely recovered from my holiday in the 1980s, I find myself taking another temporal excursion, stuck at my parents' house in an area of rural Norfolk where indoor toilets are still a marvel of modern science.

Sarah is away on business again. It's in London this time so we all travelled down together and then she continued on. Theoretically, staying with my parents means I have extra help looking after the children while she's busy networking. In practice, the time I gain from not having to cook and clean is merely channeled into keeping the kids entertained now they've been separated from their usual amusements. I've spent most of the last week alternating between playing hide-and-seek in the garden and card games around the kitchen table. The first couple of days of it were fairly idyllic but after a while I began to understand why Lewis cried when he discovered we weren't bringing the Wii with us...

Still, it's nice seeing my folks again and I'm not entirely bereft of the trappings of the digital age. My parents do have a computer. I'm fairly sure the company who made it went bust over ten years ago so the thing's pretty ancient but it mostly works, even if the monitor is somewhat agnostic about the colour green. (Giving it a thump usually fixes it.)

I found the machine up in their loft. It wasn't there because they'd packed it away or anything - bizarrely, that's where they had it set up beneath a Velux window covered in spiderwebs. It was covered in dust and small, dead flies. I fought my way past piles of winter coats and out-of-date paperwork, and then shifted a tower of old catalogues to get to it. A stack of cardboard boxes nearby teetered worryingly. I think my dad switched it off in 1998 and then forgot how to switch it back on. My mum never went near it for fear of catching the Y2K bug.

I blew off the worst of the gunk, reconnected a few loose cables and booted the thing up. I was somewhat surprised when it sprang staggered into life. I was more surprised a few minutes later when I went to press the full-stop button and discovered that one of the dead flies had chosen a particularly camouflaged place to drop dead.


Nevertheless, I can check my email... slowly... and I've rediscovered the joys of surfing the information super highway using dial-up. Perhaps if I press 'Send' now, this will upload in less time than it would take a postcard to reach you.

I'm not going to hold my breath...

Yours in a woman's world,


PS Do you suppose the kids will have realised I've sneaked inside yet or do you think they're still trying to find me?

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