The joy of a mobile phone
It is not always easy to find a mobile phone signal here at Highclere as we seem to be in a bit of black spot. Personally, I am not sure that I think it is a huge disadvantage as it means you have time to gather your thoughts and make a proper phone call, sitting at your desk, after due deliberation.
If you are trying to get hold of someone here, we tend to try to meet, actually to find the person you are trying to get hold of and speak to them directly rather than via that rectangular gadget that is permanently glued to your hand or pocket. If your mobile does ring, the connection is not usually very strong so I can be found leaning out of windows or standing on desks in an effort to hear. As a child I always enjoyed climbing trees and cartwheeling so I suppose it all helped instill innovation and agility. Everyone here has their favourite spot where they think they get the best signal. Some of the team can be regularly seen roaming the lawns waving their phones in the air whilst the gift shop ladies explore their own agility climbing dancing round the courtyard.
I know that we all seem to be addicted to our mobile phones but I sometimes think that husbands in particular have a unique obsession with them. I occasionally ask Geordie whether he would prefer to go for a walk round the gardens with his phone or his wife. Naturally there is no competition and the phone goes on the walk with him. I might ask if I can borrow his phone to look something up which nearly produces a crisis of indecision and panic. With unbelievable reluctance I am allowed to hold it on the understanding I don’t drop it (again) but, before I can find out what I need to know, he has grabbed it back saying he can look it up instead for me.
From time to time I try to ring him on his phone as, in a rather old fashioned way, I believe that apart from all its other functions, it is fundamentally a telephone with a person at the other end. I am quite sure he is the same as many other husbands /boyfriends /partners /children: despite the fact that he never seems to put his phone down, neither does he ever answer it. After 15 missed calls, I cannot decide what I want to do – moving swiftly from thoughts of frustration to divorce and back again and then to immediate worry that something has happened. In fact, of course like all others, he is merely oblivious.
I have found the best thing to do is send a text saying that I took his silences for acquiescence and have just ordered a few more sofas, paintings and hand blocked wall papers and sent it to his account… Miraculously the phone becomes a phone again.
So what exactly do these little gadgets add to our life? They obviously give us the ability to communicate beyond borders but equally they allow us to have no filter unless we remember to reflect first. Like a fire which can give us warmth on cold winter nights they can be positive but if they are the only thing through which we look at and listen to the world, they would seem to me more like a fire which has ignited out of control in the wrong place and can consume us.
Walking round the gardens with Geordie, I just want simply to enjoy it: to smell the first cold air of autumn, to look at the edges of leaves turning, to touch the perfectly smooth white bark of a birch tree, to call for the dogs and perhaps take one photo because that is all I need. It is not about putting us in the landscape, more about observing and looking at the landscape. The names of the phones may be from nature but they are not of nature! Yet mobile phones are miraculous and can bring us together and join us up.
The most useful gadgets at Highclere remain the old black radios that everyone here carries. The banter on Radio Highclere is a treasured part of each day, sometimes functional, sometimes urgent and sometimes just to remind each other we are all here, occasionally augmented by John leaning out his office window with a megaphone, trying to get my attention as I am late for a meeting with him and have neither my radio nor my mobile phone on me.
I loved reading this! Thank you for this post.
I love her reflections. You can tell she puts a lot of thought into her posts. This is one email where I settle down, take my time and savor.
They say that misery loves company, then I don’t feel as bad when having a challenging time locating a strong cell phone signal. But I’m kind of surprised that Highclere, being slightly elevated, would have a stronger connection to the nearest cell tower.
I love this blog and especially this reflection on modern technology. Brings to mind, that everything has its place. Well done.
I am going to try your tactic next time I need my husband to answer his phone! 😀
Good Morning, Lady Carnarvon,
I thought that having a C/Pone would be great to keep In touch with my grandkids.
Once they got my tracking number[GPS] signal, they new were I was regardless of where I was or who I was with. It is always nice to go some place and have that moment of a private talk, but when you look over your shoulder, and there is you granddaughter, well so much for privacy, gray hair, and your private moment in the moonlight.
I can imagine, you and your staff, now that you are use to having them, could not see how you ever got along with out them.
Please, Enjoy your day, and ALL of the beautiful changing colors of the trees.
Amherst, N.Y. U.S.A.
They certainly are a boon at at times, until I leave mine somewhere in the Castle but don’t remember where!
I love this … you quite handily prove that life is nearly exactly the same with husbands, even across the pond! I don’t know why they don’t answer their phones, but they are usually very good at making what we call butt calls, hitting the call button without actually intending to make a call! I have to remember your ordering furniture technique to get them to answer, that is a riot! I love your home, your blog and the books you have written, my personal favorite is about Almina. What a wonderful life you have and it is very gracious of you both to share your lives with the rest of the world. Thank you from all of us in America! Joanne
You are kind – and yes, I think husbands and wives the world over have the same communication challenges.
You have hit the mark…..I am guilty too often of being more attached to my phone than the people around me.
I had the great privilege to visit HighClere whilst on a cruise. You were delayed and could not attend a lunch with us and so graciously allowed our group to visit HighClere in 2014. It made my trip! I didn’t even try my phone that day as I was soaking up the castle and the beautiful surroundings. I look forward to a future visit.
One of the reasons we discourage the use of mobile phones – so you can actually enjoy the experience and truly be in the moment. Please do come back for another visit.
This is hysterical. I will use that tip about ordering sofas etc. as a way to get an answer from my husband! Thanks for sharing.
I hope it works for you too!
I think a text about getting another puppy will work for me, LOL!
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and your time with those of us who love your beautiful home. I enjoy reading your blog each week
Dear Lady Canarvon,
Thank you so much for your thoughts. I laughed out loud and woke my dear night shift sleeping husband. Your thoughts on not answering the ringing phone but the text were hysterical. I always thought he maybe going hard of hearing at 61? Or perhaps because he works in IT he likes data? But, alas it maybe the fact he is a man!!
Thank you again for bringing wonder to my inbox.
I look so forward to visiting my ancestral home of Somerset and Highclere Castle in due course.
i Loved this blog, it is so true but quite humorous as you told the story.
Thank you, Lyn from Kentucky
What an entertaining blog entry! But then that is true of each and every one.
My husband and I always maintain that we elect to live in another time but are willing to select the best and most useful from the 20/21st century world … computers, air conditioning, modern dentistry … it’s all about that elusive quest for balance, isn’t it?
Thank you for reliably brightening my Monday mornings and all good wishes from Ottawa, Canada.
Balance in all things!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
you are so right, although I must confess it is me, the wife who rarely answers her ‘phone. They are wonderful tools, being able to talk to my daughter in Spain in the evenings whilst sat in my armchair in Somerset is a gift our ancestors never had, its as if she is sat right there with me, and for that I feel very lucky. On the flip side, just as there is etiquette is turning our ‘phones off during performances, meals and meetings, there is also the pleasure of turning them off and simply enjoying the space and moment, uninterrupted, and free from the shackles of life.
I completely agree. For me, my time swimming is the perfect time to be completely silent and free of all communication.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
The mobile phone is indeed a mixed blessing. I love your analogy of the fire.. warmth or consuming blaze?! A bit of both with husbands and children! I, too, have resorted to “ Since you were unable to answer, I’ve ordered…..” and suddenly the phone rings!! Good tactical maneuver. And yet we can preserve a moment through their amazing little cameras, or text the children to remind them how much we love and miss them. They do have their benefits!
I hope you are having a beautiful autumn, with time to enjoy the fresh air & gorgeous foliage – especially after the whirlwind that was September. Congratulations to you all.
Charlotte Merriam Cole
We have all become ‘slaves’ to our ‘conveniences’!!! But how fun to hear that the antics of Highclere is not unlike the gyrations we all go through to ‘connect’. Or perhaps disconnect. Wonderfully entertaining post, as always.
I enjoy your blog very much. I am the opposite of these phones, just bought a Samsung Smart Phone and do not know how to use it and have not had time to seek out help, to learn little by little how to do simple things. I am 77 and never knew the experience of any of these phones and I like going out away from any phones and having time to myself. One can always leave a message and I will respond once home. I prefer that!!! Call me old fashioned.
You are so good about sharing your thoughts and life, grounded but with humour. It is a gift of yourself you are sharing! Have a great day.
Oh my! I think all husbands/men are the same when it comes to their precious phones. At times, I’ll be telling my husband something I consider important, only to find that he is reading some innocuous article on his phone and has no idea what I have said. I proved it once, when I proclaimed the house was on fire, and his reply was “Hmm.” So annoying. So now, I confiscate his phone, hold it hostage, while I am talking to him. We get a good laugh and he IS listening!
A husband who listens . . . how wonderful!
YES! I have to text and email my husband to tell him things. I had great cell service from the grassy slope behind the castle. I was able to face time with my children in the states so they see
Oh my gosh Lady Carnarvon you hit another home run (American baseball term!) with this one!
Because your home life setting and position in life is quite extreme from mine, many of your experiences are beyond my familiarity, but so many of your interests (both personal and charitable), things you enjoy to view and experience and activities you like to participate in are very similar to mine, especially this topic!
I relate 100% to your comments regarding mobile/cell phones.! Life seemed so much more personal before them and face to face communication back then seemed more efficient and effective! To quote a former famous wife (and a beloved and missed woman world wide) “there are three of us in this marriage”! The unanswered calls, emails & texts are such a mystery when I know it is either in his hand or a pocket on him.
Thank you once again for a thoroughly engaging read this morning and yet another great way to begin my week. Can’t wait to share this with my husband (if he’ll put his cell phone down long enough to give it attention!).
I so look forward to your weekly blog even though I am sure the pressure of meeting the deadline each week just adds more to your ever growing To Do List.
So many of us world-wide do appreciate the time and effort you take and put into this weekly task.
Take good care and continue to enjoy the beautiful season of autumn there at Highclere.
CT & FL USofA
You could always get him to read my blog on his phone!
Idaho has its erratic phone signals and answering families too! Love your method of soliciting a response! Now it’s time to silence it for a time and take a stroll in the crisp air of Autumn savoring the silence. Thank you for sharing with us.
I often reflect on my childhood when the only telephone available was the one connected to the landline. If the family was attending church, out shopping or visiting family and friends, if someone wanted reach out to us the phone just rang and rang and no one knew it because no one was in the house. If they wanted to talk to you the caller just had to keep trying until someone answered after we got home. And we made all long distance calls after 6 PM because it was cheaper. Heaven forbid you made that call during the day! And then there was the frustration if you tried to make a call and you were on a party line…when you picked up the receiver and heard voices instead of a dial tone? Yikes! Also, there was the rotary dial. No push buttons for us! Not back then. Oh, the aching fingers if the party you wanted to call had all 8s and 9s in their number like my brother did when he first moved to North Carolina. These days I have a tendency to leave my phone at home when I go shopping or just have a small errand to run. I believe that if anything is that urgent I’ll hear the news soon enough. Enjoy what’s left of your day. I will be enjoying mine…it’s my birthday!
Thanks so much!
You gave me a chuckle! Yes, cell phones are a blessing and, at times, a bother.
Even here in more of a city environment I find our home WIFI signal much stronger than the phone network, and that is the only way we make our calls.
However, not as much exercise…
Yes, these little devices are most convenient and very frustrating when you can’t find a signal.
These little gadgets are a far, far cry from the one wall phone I grew up with in the 60s and 70s. And heavens when Dad fnally installed a princess touch phone (with that extremely long cord that was always a tangled mess) in the bedroom two of my three sisters shared, we thought, heaven at last!
I do love my cell phone. It is so convenient and so easy to stay in touch with family and friends, and yes, for reading your fabulous blog!
Me thinks the problem is Beacon Hill…perhaps the signal is pouncing back and not able to get through or “around the hill” to the castle. But on top the hill, all is fine. Time to get a telecommunication tower atop Beacon hill? hahaha a 21st century “folly”. A delightful blog, ‘so enjoy reading every Monday the latest tales and fun at Highclere. Thank you so much.
Yes, outside the Castle I think it is the landscape. Inside the Castle it is the thick stone walls which cause the problems.
Thank you, Lady Carnarvon
Seems almost ALL have this phone love/hate affliction attached to the end of their arms!
Love the megaphone and an open window!
The BEST thing about these contraptions is CHOICE of connection to our outside world.
I choose to whom I wish to speak so if no message is left there’s no return call or text!
Thank you for an amusing Monday!
Have a great week.
Delightful post about communication today tickled me. I grew up without any phone until it became absolutely a business necessity; my father didn’t like telephones, radios in vehicles, and/or “modern technology”. We had the classic communication for the the time of off-grid life: “large bell” w/codes and “blowing horn” w/codes (The horns were saved from beef cattle processing).
Hard to believe in these days that the main larger family communication was through mail. People wrote letters with news and expected the news to be shared. Living 20 miles apart meant regular mail/letters.
The quiet moments of reflection and renewal of spirit with Nature were readily available without interruption.
I do find it to be quite funny that using a text to confirm an order with your husband as a way to get his attention works. Plus, if one has one cell/mobile phone it is imperative to have a second in order to call the 1st one to track it down when it’s hiding.
Modern Neuroscience is predicting implants where we’ll be able to tune into another person’s thoughts and/or the correct electronic receiver will read brain waves and print out the message/image. Who’ll need a mechanical contrivance in pocket to track another person and/or communicate?
The Future awaits us.
I do still enjoy writing and receiving letters, but find texting a very easy way to keep in touch.
Swimming?? Do you have an indoor pool?
I wish! No, I am lucky enough to be able to use a pool at a local hotel.
Thanks for another great message which I laughingly (and lovingly) handed to my husband to read. I probably will start calling him “Geordie.” Hubby has CPA – Cell Phone Addiction – and may not be able to enter recovery! I wake up to dings and blings as his phone alerts him to the latest whatever while he sleeps.
My favorite part of the day is when I turn off the ringer on my phone, turn down the AC a bit, pull up the sofa throw and take a short afternoon nap.
Have a lovely day hearing only the voices of Highclere!
Good day from Goochland County, Virginia!
You are preaching to the choir!! Panic ensues at the request to use my husbands phone. I believe he hears, can I have your car or your wallet or the like!
Enjoy the day and thanks for heads up about cell service. I’ll leave mine in the car when I come for a long awaited visit.
7 am in sunny Scottsdale….
Monday morning smiles from all the ladies is the Downton Darling Bookclub!!!
I so enjoyed your post!
What a brilliant way… sending a text with a list of items to be ordered and charged to his account in order to get your husband’s attention!! Just loved it!
Where there’s a will, there’s a way
I loved reading your blog. The humor in being attached to your cellphone.
Lord a mercy, I thought it was just me! My husband is on his phone all day, despite being retired! He has discovered the “novelty” of going to the grocery store, but cannot seem to go without calling at least once. And yet when I call him he never answers…does he check and see my name and ignores? Hmmm…will be trying the sofas and hand blocked wallpaper orders. (Well, in our case, threats of a new puppy and some more dish ware)Thanks for that! Genius,
I will say that the joy of the cell is an ongoing text thread with our daughters, sons-in-law and us; and we text off an on all day with sometimes important, sometimes mundane events and photos. Since we live in Texas, NH, Massachusetts at various times of the year we are grateful to stay in touch…especially now that our daughters are in their forties and we have two granddaughters. I remember the days when they were in college and days went by with no return phone calls..nerve wracking.
Thanks as always for your lovely writing, great sense of humor, and a glimpse into Highclere. Such a gift for us all.
The threat of a new puppy always works wonders!
A brilliant essay as usual. Would you visit my class of college students and speak to them about listening to the lectures instead of checking their texts and email on their phones every 3 minutes? I am trying to think of a way to translate your ‘honey, I’ve ordered the sofas’ alert to a similar wake-up message for the classroom. LOL. Any ideas?
Perhaps those who leave their phones in their lockers get extra credits?
The photo taken of Highclere Castle with my mobile phone greets me every day when I open my laptop! Absolutely stunning and wonderful memories!
I always enjoy reading your essays, and this one is very humorous – and judging from the comments, very close to home for many of us! I want a megaphone to shout out my window like John.
Christine from Kentucky
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Today’s blog gave me many smiles and a few laugh out loud moments because everything you had to say about cell (mobile) phones, reception and husbands with said devices happens to be true. I panic when I am off somewhere and discover I left it at home. The are a double edged sword for sure.
Thank you for starting my week off with something we all can relate to.
Ha! Both a boon and a curse. Technology is, at times, a tremendous headache. And, when the intended party cannot even take a moment to acknowledge either a message or call can be most infuriating. There are times when it’s most pleasant to leave all of it behind for awhile.
Have a lovely day!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
You really do make me laugh! I do, however, have the opposite problem. My husband is 82 and although he likes the idea of having a phone, he has never used it. Not once in a year and a half has he ever plugged it in the socket so it can be recharged! This becomes a problem when I am traveling and he insists on picking me up at the airport. Sometimes he would remember to call to say he was almost there but other times he will say he forgot how to use it. I fear it is a losing battle!
I do like the old fashion way of communicating via the megaphone. That is hilarious!
South Florida USA
It works – sometimes the simplest solution is the best!
Thank you for this opportunity to communicate with everyone. I have watched the interview with you and your husband on several shows and I,am very interested in your beautiful home and grounds, thank you both for sharing with the world bringing such joy.
Cathy from Florida
You are too kind
Thank you! It is always worth a try. And thank you for bringing beauty to us everyday.
Dear Lady Carnarvon:
Boy am I with you on this! Electronics! While having their advantages (I guess!), I find that the time it takes to understand how the thing works is far more frustrating that just “doing it myself”, or as you say, talking directly to the person and getting answers right then and there. I think the more balls we have in the air, the more confusing having a mobile phone is! I am, at present, a full time care giver for my husband who has been flat on his back since February with a very bad back fracture. We have to help him with all of his needs. I have a private nurse coming 4 days a week. She is in her 20’s and seems to juggle the phone and her work with great dexterity, but I have short patience with having to contend with the other medical people who want to call about this and that or “text” — that is even worse!! Thankfully, I have friends with similar mindset. We pick up the old fashioned handset and talk! Having said all that, texting which I just recently came into kicking and screaming, is, I have discovered, the one way to keep in touch with what my sister is doing 700 miles away!
Thank you for your humor and helping to lighten this frustrating addition to our modern lives!. I have great admiration for the way you handle your daunting task of being the guiding force behind all the good things that happen at Highclere, and keeping the “machine” running — for I KNOW without your determined and joyful spirit, the mammoth projects you undertake would never get done! You are a great example and an encouraging one to follow.
A student of Time & Life Management
Living in a laid back world!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
What a great read. I love the convenience of my iPhone, but I think everyone spends too much time obsessing about every email and answering every text. I was in Connecticut yesterday visiting family, and we were eating at a beautiful restaurant on a lake with the rowing teams right in full view, and I looked around the restaurant and everyone except a few were on there phones. I live in NYC, and everybody is constantly on the phone. I read an article in a magazine just recently that stated there are more cases of carpel tunnel in hands and necks because of the obsession of multiple hours of phone use. Maybe left the Eighth Earl know, and he will curb his time. Lol
My husband can’t be without his phone, and same as yours he doesn’t answer it when I call him. So when he calls me, which usually happens when he needs something, I don’t answer and let him suffer for awhile.
I have tried that one too…
The megaphone picture is so funny! Love your staff and your sense of humor – Universal husband truths you speak! Everyones comments today are really great! The picture of the changing colors is so beautiful! Thanks for another great Monday morning send off…
I adore this post! So true! I also love the photographs of everyone during a normal day at the castle.
Enjoy your lovely fall weather and beautiful Highclere!
Cindy from Arizona(where it is still in the 90’s)
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
There are way too many astute observations in your blog on the male of the species and our ‘relationship’ with our mobile phones. (Geordie, you are not alone.)
As for our interaction with ‘Siri’, well that could be the subject of an entire convention and I’m grateful that you omitted that topic from your blog.
However. I must endeavour to stand up for my gender and do so by relating my favourite mobile phone ‘story”:
“Frank wants to get his beautiful wife, Betty, something nice for their first wedding anniversary. So he decides to buy her a mobile telephone. Betty is excited, she loves her phone. Frank shows her and explains to her all the different and varied features on the phone.
On Monday Betty goes shopping in the local supermarket. Her phone rings and it’s her husband, ‘Hi ya, Betty,’ he says, ‘how do you like your new phone?’ Betty replies, ‘I just love it, it’s so small and light and your voice is clear as a bell, but there’s one feature that I really don’t understand though.’
‘What’s that, Betty?’ asks the husband.
‘How did you know that I was at Tesco?’”
PS On a different note, when too much sport, simply isn’t enough. After a wonderful season of cricket, I’m very much looking forward to Saturday’s Quarter Final between Australia and England for the Rugby World Cup.
Thank you for a wonderful laugh, Jeffery – since I abhor my cell/mobile phone and took forever to embrace it, I love humorous stories about the annoying little critters. Here in the US you would just substitute Costco for Tesco.
Oh Lady Carnarvon, you just crack me up. Thanks for brightening up my Monday.
Have a wonderful week,
Morey from Pflugerville, TX
I love the “no answer equals acquiescence” concept! Once again, you entertain and educate your faithful readers all at once.
I love your trick to get your husband to answer his phone. I do something similar with my daughter. Always such fun to read your blog posts. Cheers!
MY DEAR LADY CARNARVON,
RIO CLARO – SP BRAZIL.
36 DEGREES CELSIUS HEAT . SPRING WITHOUT RAIN .
AS FOR THE CELL PHONES THE SIGNAL HERE AT HOME IN VILA ALEMÃ IS SO GREAT THAT WAS ALREAD ABLE TO CALL HIGHCLERE CASTLE FROM MY TABLET AND GOT A RESPONSE FROM HIS OFFICE IN THE YEAR OF 2016 .A SMALL DETAIL –I LIVE NEAR A HUGE CELL TOWER.
RIO CLARO – SP
Thank you again for sharing your thoughts and photos ..A great Monday morning chuckle!
I can so relate to this! My husband is one who turns off his cell phone at work. The problem comes when, away from home, my vehicle shows me a ‘check engine’ light and all I get is his voicemail. I call my son, at a job an hour away, and he immediately answers and gave me advice as to what to do. Good thing it wasn’t a true emergency. Men……….!
I love your beautiful home and hope to revisit soon.
With all due respect though, your husband must be mental if he prefers walking with his phone over you.
I would love to take a stroll around the estate with you, as a keen amateur photographer I imagine you could point out some fantastic places to photograph.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
You make Mondays lighter and brighter!!! Thank you for your blog.
Last week I dropped my own cell phone. The glass shattered and not having my cell phone for most of that day reminded me how attached I’ve become to having it nearby.
When I want my hubby I use my cell phone to call the house phone. Phones ringing throughout the house do get answered!!!
Shelley in Virginia
PS: Beware of glass shards!!!
Oh, you do hit the nail on the head so often. Cell phones….a curse and a blessing. I dislike the things immensely, though I must say once in a while they are useful. After an Amtrak ride from Boston to Seattle, with no idea of arrival time due to having to wait for another train to pass so that ours might cross to that track, it did come in handy so my daughter and hubby did not have to wait interminably at the station.
I grew up on a 40 acre farm. My brother and I often took off after breakfast to roam the woods, play by the brook or otherwise lose ourselves from the boredom of gardens and cows. But alas, my father installed a large bell on the back wall of our shed. If lunch were approaching, Mother went out and clanged the bell several times. We always came on a swift trot. Those were simple days with a dial phone for off the farm and the bell for on the farm communications.
Keep on ordering sofas and expensive wall paper and any other pricey item that will bring Geordie to attention. Men seem to need that sort of prod to answer their wife’s calls.
Thanks for your Monday memos that keep us laughing on the other side of the pond.
We do still have a gong!!
As always, love your posts and your inventive solutions to problems, text him you have ordered more sofas, HAHAHAHA, you go girl 🙂
I have a request. I’m interested in when/how/why the red brick portion of Highclere was built. I would find it very interesting to read about it. Thank you for your consideration 🙂
Shanda from Oregon
I imagine it is from the Elizabethan remains ..
This is hilarious! My husband carries his phone only occasionally. And even then it is not turned on!
Thank you for a good laugh
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Thank you ever so much for your wonderful, wise & witty insights into life at Highclere, I must admit that reading your latest posting on “The Joy of a Mobile Phone”, has left both myself and my wife Susan, in tears of both laughter & joy, as exactly the same situation often occurs to both of us, with one or other, often forgetting to take the mobile phone off it’s silent setting, more often than not leading to questions of “Why didn’t you answer your phone?” or “Did you get my Text?”, more often or not I find myself wondering if things would not be easier with a loud hailer or a set of the black radios instead.
As I am disabled and a wheelchair user, I don’t tend to get out of the house too often, so my finding your wonderful letters into life at at Highclere has really brightened my life and has lead to unbounded happiness between both myself and my wife Susan.
I am glad you enjoy them!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
John’s last means of communicating with you by megaphone is hilarious! Well, whatever it takes! I agree that the cellphone has made communication so convenient and fast, but the flip side is that it makes people lose the ability to talk in person to each other. It is so sad to see a family at a restaurant, all on their own phones, busily communicating with someone else or playing a game and not talking to each other. I enjoy my family dinners, when we are in the same place, when we can talk, laugh, or even argue face-to-face. Having poor reception at Highclere can be a good thing because meals have less distractions. When visiting Highclere, our phones are good for taking wonderful pictures!
Ada from Hawaii
You are absolutely right – we do ban phones at mealtimes, not that you can get a signal in the Castle anyway!
Dear Lady Carnarvon, I loved this post. My husband is like yours, glued to the cell. I try calling but it goes to voice mail which is always full. So I text, and text and text. It seems to be the preferred form of communication in my family. I have a cell I use mostly as a computer and as a camera. I get my phone calls on our landline answering a rotary phone on the wall, just like I did as a kid. We have trouble getting phone calls to actually ring through in my village on our local provider.
I adored the photo of the man with the megaphone. I sometimes blow an airhorn to get my husband’s attention while he is outside. My Mom had a bell she’d ring. I love reading about Highclere and hope to visit it someday. It is on my bucket list. I enjoyed your books also. Thank you for allowing us into your life every week. It is nice that we have some things in common.
Audrey from Ohio, USA
A bell sounds like a marvellous idea
Happy Monday Evening,
Today’s blog was just too funny. Cell phones are a blessing and a curse. My first one was a 2pound brick, that’s what it looked like.
I loved your story about your husband. Yes, husbands and wives throughout the world all go thru the same thing!!! It makes me chuckle.
Have a wonderful week.
Bolingbrook IL USA
This story is so funny! The same thing happens to me when I try to use my mobile on the second floor of my house. I always loved to collect antique phones. Now, somehow is convenient to use cells everytime. I still miss my old phone…..
I have loved castles all my life. But receiving an email from a person that not only owns one, and actually lives in one takes my love and excitement to a whole new level! I so enjoy receiving and reading, each one of your blogs Lady Carnarvon!
Thank you and welcome
What a fun post. Sometimes, I wish I did not have such good reception on my cell phone. I wish you the best!
Lady Carnarvon, you had me at the “hand blocked wallpaper” and my only worry was the Earl would have a heart attack when he read your text. This was a terrific blog because I’m pretty certain most of us women have a love-hate relationship with our phones…whereas most men practically sleep with theirs. Thanks again for making me smile!
You are kind
That is soo funny. I live in a rural area, which is sparsely populated, as for cell phone coverage, No/ or if I stand in the corner of my dining room or drive 3k up the road to the sheep yards, I may get it.
The farming boys on the back country station, I am told, have found cell phone reception at a post on one of the fence lines. They have build a box, like a mail box, were they leave their cellphones and appear during the day to pick up messages and make phone calls! When I’m out and about, alot of neighbour’s stop and ask have I seem their husbands, If I do can I give them a message etc etc..
Then when I get home I ring on my landline with this information!! If I do get to town, and see one of them, I take their photo ( for some fun) and when I get to a computer I e. Mail this to their wife’s, or if passing their home, show them the photo I snapped!! My friends dog turns up at my house sometimes, Boots is his name, a Jack Russell cross, sometimes he is wearing a bandana around his neck and she has tucked a written note in his collar for me! Thank you for sharing your wonderful blog!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
The cell phone is a convenience and a curse! While the art of writing letters has become a rarity, texting is so convenient. Sadly, as you rightly point out, we rarely have time to collect our thoughts anymore. Something is lost without that personal interaction and emojis can only go so far! lol
It is such a joy to read old letters from departed loved ones. My aunt loaned me a stack of family correspondence dating back to 1920, and they are a true treasure. The WWII letters are so interesting. The letter was reviewed by the Royal Mail before delivery to its recipient. In it, a cousin describes every day life in Scotland during the war. Somehow it is very moving. It gives one a sense of the time, place, and conditions.
Do you need another cell tower near Highclere? Now that is a conundrum!
The Woodlands, Texas
I love reading letters and the handwriting is so personal…
Maybe word will get around after your latest column and you will be approached by one of the large cell mobile phone compnies to put up a cell tower on a remote spot on your property (where it can’t be seen, of course). I hear they pay well and you have a lot of house to maintain! On the other hand, a conveniently located cell tower and four bars on your phones would take most of the challenge – and fun – out of using them that you get now…nothing like them, though! Especially when I’m nowhere near a conventional phone and I forgot to tell so and so about…etc. Or looking up something on the internet while waiting in line at the grocery store…I loved your article. We all dislike those dreaded two words: No Service!!
We do have a tower some way away, the ground rises and falls however..
Re your solution to getting Lord Carnarvon to actually connect with you via phone — just ordered a bunch of stuff, etc. LOL!!
I loved this post…as usual it hit the mark100%! You could have been describing David and myself, the only difference being that we live on a farm and not in a castle 🙂 🙂
If there been mobile phone years ago i wouldn’t have been broken up with my now husband he didnt have a home phone i wrote him a letter to say sorry and his mum ripped it up he never saw it 8 years later he found me working in family bakery we said we just go out nothing seirous and now mairred 32 years xx
What a lovely story
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
You are a bit unusual, an accomplished writer with something important to say about the daily challenges of a privileged life.
Many developing writers might wish to attend a workshop led by you, buttressed by others with a taste of the extraordinary.
You are kind
My smile is touch my ears!
As you can see that it is 5am when I am reading your blog. This is because I can get the best signal on my mobile phone. By 7am most people are using theirs and it makes the signal weaker and causes buffering. Sending a text is a blessing.
Telephoning is not a problem, thank goodness.
…despite the fact that he never seems to put his phone down, neither does he ever answer it.
That does sound right! There’s also my father, who has a phone because we insisted, but very seldom carries it, answers it, or even bothers to plug it in.
Hahahaha – exactly the same scenario with my husband!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
In this day and age the use of the telephone has become a necessity, especially for us who live here in a beautiful country town in Tasmania. There is no telephone network for the majority of our journey to work which is an hour away. The landscape, the local wildlife is amazing and changes in different light or season and allows one to really appreciate nature at its best without interruptions. Then back to reality on arrival to work.
Tasmania reminds me of my home back in Berkshire, growing up in a small village with a telephone box as means of communication on growing up. The luxury of my grandparents having a telephone installed, made connections much easier. I can still remember their telephone number.
I was lucky to have visited Highclere Castle when I was younger. A magical place as I recall. My husband and I are travelling to the UK next week and visiting Highclere Castle next weekend on the afternoon tour, phones switched off. So looking forward to our visit. Thank you for giving us an insight in to the life at Highclere Castle and allowing visitors in to your home.
How wonderful – I would actually like to have an old red phone box here!
In the “scheme of things” you are a grand Lady. But man, can you write & prove so beautifully, that you are a wonderful person. You put the cell phone into a perspective of practical reality. Recently I took a course on the basics of the internet from a local computer geeks company, who are also real people like you. They did the same as you, with the internet. “Not using the internet because of security concerns is like not driving a car because of accidents”. Thank you for this blog.
Lady Carnarvon, I love the anecdote about the phone becoming a phone again once you’ve done something your spouse preferred that you not do. It reminds me of the humor that I enjoyed so much in Downtown Abbey. I look forward to our visit to Highclere on 4th November. Sincerely, Bruce Segall
You just perfectly described my husband and his other wife… his phone. I can’t ever reach him on it, yet he always has it in his hand! Everything you said is identical to my life!! Haha!
can’t live with them and you just can’t shoot ’em!