Wednesday, 12 October 2011

For better or for worse

I've never thought I had much imagination. For example, when I faced my fiancee (or possibly the registrar, I forget exactly who I was facing) and vowed something about for better or for worse, I'm not sure I imagined exactly what that meant in practice. I had vague ideas about us and our families and what it meant in terms of duty to each other and to them, but the details?

I didn't imagine it meant trying to comfort my wife while, with her mother and sister in a room in Poole Hospital, we literally watched her father breath his last.

I didn't imagine it meant watching my wife's mother bury her husband of 44 years in an eight-foot grave which she knew would one day be hers too.

I didn't imagine it meant holding our three-year-old son's shirt collar to stop him falling in to the grave as I asked him to throw a handful of earth on the coffin 'to help bury Grandad', which he did, bless him.

I didn't imagine any of these details.

But what of it? Does it matter? No, it doesn't. I gave my word, and I stand by it. There is better and worse to come yet. I still can't imagine what that means in practice, although I've seen more of the possibilities now. But I've given my word and I'll stand by it. And I'll stand by my wife, for better or for worse.

RIP Gerry.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Stupid smartphones

After just over a year of owning a smartphone, I've come to the conclusion that smartphones are really bad phones.

Don't get me wrong, I like the whole app, GPS, mobile web, media thing. I bought a smartphone to keep me sane in the wilds of Corfe Mullen, in a house untouched by broadband, in a town that can't sell me a copy of the Economist, and for that it was great. It's also been very useful for occasional satnav. And even on a 320 by 240 screen, ebooks have been great.

But as a telephone? You know, for making a few calls, sending a few texts? No, sorry, as a plain old phone, smartphones suck.

I've decided that the things I really want from a phone are, first, near infinite battery life, second, a decent keypad, and third, a decent level of robustness.

To that end, I've reclassified my smartphone as a mini tablet, sticking the cheapest possible pay-as-you-go SIM in it for data (giffgaff at 20p a day) since it is on Wi-Fi for most of its time. For voice and text, I've bought a cheap-and-cheerful SIM free Nokia handset, a C1-02, which doesn't even have a camera, but also doesn't need charging every damned day, doesn't randomly pick up or drop calls when taken out of a pocket and doesn't have a screen that'll crack when dropped out of said pocket (I'm looking at you, Wildfire).

That's progress.