Monthly Archives: December 2011

Little Granny’s Parcel

When I was a child, one of our most anticipated Christmas traditions was the opening of the parcel that my great-grandmother sent. Such was the glee with which we anticipated opening this gift, we would save it until last. Due to having a plethora of grandparents (4 grans, 4 grandpas, 2 great-grans, but that’s another story) we called this one Little Granny. Little Granny was my great-grandmother on my mother’s side. She would send a parcel, carefully wrapped in brown paper, all tied up with string and sealed with wax. The sealed wax was fascinating in itself, as it was the only time I had ever seen such a thing, but the real joy lay inside the content of the parcel. The eclectic items inside the box would be carefully labelled to identify whom the gift was for – the only things they had in common was they were either peculiar, baffling or completely useless. There would bits of ribbon, approximately 10cm in length, a tin full of bits to fix your suspenders (given to me, aged 11), foul smelling drawer potpourri’s, half a pound of sausages or, my personal favourite, a box of chocolates with all the best ones already eaten.

And the fun didn’t stop there. Unbeknown to me, at least in my formative years, Little Granny was a bit of vicious old bat with a terrible temper. If we didn’t send her a thank-you letter by return of post for her sumptuous gifts she would write us a letter containing a tirade of abuse, telling us what spoiled and ungrateful children we were . My mother intercepted these letters but I saw one once and can remember the shock of reading such bile coming from a seemingly genial little old lady. I later learned that my Grandmother had intercepted exactly the same sort of letters to my mother when she was growing up.

We missed those parcels after she’d gone though and when my extended family get together we often re-tell our ‘Little Granny stories’ for the younger generation. Relatives like this are the stuff of Family Legend and should be treasured.

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Techological Superiority (of the lame variety)

I like to store up wee examples of situations when other people have got the wrong end of the technological stick, so to speak. These days, being a bit of an old fart with the patience of a gnat, it’s a rare and beautiful thing for me to find myself more technologically savvy than anyone else. That I live in an age and a country where the average four-year old can run rings around me technologically speaking is humiliation I have to endure on a daily basis, so I have to take comfort in these small instances where that turns out not to be the case. Here are my top three favourites:

The Fax Conundrum: years ago we had some younger people getting work experience in the office where I worked. I asked one of them to send a fax for me. It turned out she had never sent a fax before so I showed her how to place the paper, dial the number and explained the information ‘went down the telephone line’ and left her to it. A few minutes later she came up to me with a puzzled expression on her face, clutching the fax and said to me in a bewildered tone ‘It came back.’

Yoo Hoo!: a friend, new to technology had just discovered the joys of Google Earth. He was on the phone to his daughter in Australia while simultaneously looking at her street on Google Earth. He said to her ‘I’m on Google Earth. Go to your window and give me a wave!’

Fair Play: I read this one somewhere. A guy had got Sky Plus installed in his mother’s house so she could tape her favourite programmes. He’d set the whole thing up for her and explained how it worked. One night he was visiting while she was watching her favourite soap opera and she said she’d make a cup of tea when the adverts came on. ‘Why don’t you just pause it now until the tea’s made?’ suggested her son. ‘Oh I couldn’t do that,’ she replied ‘That wouldn’t be fair on everyone else.’

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