Sunday, June 3, 2012

Some Updates: Phone boxes

I got it wrong, the last Post wasn’t the last in a series of updates, this one is – honest. I do sometimes rabbit on about change – as humans we tend to live in the minute. Yes we do “worry” about the future. But more our role in a future that is a continuation of today. We probably think about things like jobs, family, money and cars  amongst other things.

Now I have a couple of kids straddling the 20 years old mark. From time to time even they marvel at the changes that have occurred in their lifetimes. My daughter, studying at University lives on her laptop. We keep in touch with Skype, quite often we plonk our laptop on the dinner table and have a conversation whilst we are all eating. When I was a boy I had to ask permission to use the phone and as for long distance – forget it.

We all wondered how kids did their homework in the days before the Internet, yet in my house it is totally taken for granted, from looking up facts and figures to what’s on TV to keeping the various delivery companies in business and various bits and bobs, bought on the web rapidly make there way here.

One such trend has been the rise in mobile phones. As a boy I was taught how to use the old Press Button A phone box for emergencies and then we went of “exploring” by bike and that was it. There was no contact made of expected. If the ‘phone rang it was probably bad news.

Nowadays mobile phones are two a penny. In the developed world we have gone from something like 18 phone subscribers per 100 inhabitants to 97 per 100 by 2007. Indeed mobile phone penetration is expected to exceed 150% in the UK by 2016. Yet this all started a little over 25 years ago.

My point, well the world changes and in big ways, we just get used to it. One such change will be the increasing cost of petrol with peak oil, the point at which the maximum rate of petroleum extraction is reached, causing great consternation. The other great consternation is Climate Change and of course you can’t forget the World Population, 3 billion in 1960 and 6.84billion by 2010.

The world is changing – and when change happens it can be pretty quick, we just don’t seem to be able to plan for it. Where is this leading – well petrol will get more expensive – there are more consumers, those consumers are increasing their consumption and at the same time extraction of oil is getting more expensive. What is there to get?  But our local councils seem to be led by less forward thinking people than our National Politicians – at least that’s what I perceive.

Still enough of that for a rainy Jubilee-Sunday. Phone boxes are a thing of the past – one their way out big time. Who want to stand in a box smelling of urine to make a phone call? Which reminds me that when I was a teenager and desperately needed a lift home after some calamity or other I had to politely ask the chap sleeping in a phone box if I could just use it for a minute. That box certainly smelt.

Now BT is selling off phone boxes and the article (April 2012) indicates that there are now 11,000 of the 51,500 phone boxes remaining. (You can buy them here!) Just think the telephone symbol on OS maps will also disappear.

Well I have blogged in the past about a Phone Booth Gallery in Prickwillow, although fairies didn’t look like that when I was a boy!

Phone Box Gallery – Prickwillow

Phone Box Gallery – Prickwillow

More recently I blogged about  a library in a phone box.

Book Swop Phone Box – Woodditton

Well it turns out that they are also used to trap thieves.  Well in Chesterton Road anyway.

A Phone Box being used as a Phone Box – Horningsea

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