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Friday 10 March 2023

10 on the 10th: Ring Ring!

 Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton in the early 1990s with one of her first mobile phones

Dear friends.  I couldn't resist this one: 10 questions about phones!  It's the March prompt for 10 on the 10th from Marsha in the Middle.  I had a brief two year stint working at BT International in the late 80s and am a bit nerdy about phones.

Question 1: What kind of a phone did you have when you were a kid, a landline or cellphone? 

Cellphones weren't yet invented when I was a kid but we were one of the first in our area to get a landline, probably in the late 60s. The reason was that my dad needed it for his job. Not many of my school friends had such a luxury so I used to ring the only one who did, Susan Payne.

If you didn't have a landline, you probably used a public phone box.  These often had queues, and didn't always smell very pleasant! As a kid I was forever using a phone box to ring my parents when I wanted to be picked up. I always reversed the charge! 

2: Do you remember party lines?

I do, but fortunately we didn't have one.

3. What was your first cellphone?

I've been agonizing over this. It was either the Ericsson EH237 or the Nokia 101,  around 1993. I'd started a job at an ad and PR agency in Newbury and one of the first things they gave me was a mobile phone, my first one. In those days phones were analogue and each cellphone had a rigid, stubby little antennae. I had a cradle in the car for my cellphones for a few years.

The pic at the top shows me with the phone in question in 1994. You can't make out what it is.

4. Do I still have a landline?

We've thought about getting rid of it, but in our telephony deal a landline is included anyway.  I mainly use it for calls with my mother.  She has a mobile but only uses it for texting. If I rang it she would be very perplexed and wondering what's making that noise.

5. Do you screen your phone calls?

Yes. If it's an unknown number or suspected spam, I definitely don't answer it.  If it's someone I know, I may ring them back later if it's an inconvenient time. A call from a restaurant or other business, checking if I'm attending, is a call I usually take.

6. What is the longest amount of time I've ever spent on the phone?

In the early days of our romance John and I used to talk for around an hour. That's probably the longest. I've ever spent on the phone. My mum and I usually gas for an hour. 

7. What is your current phone?

It's a Samsung S22, bought last June when I gave up working (and the phone provided by my employer). I've never had an Apple phone.

8. Do you use your smartphone only as a phone?

I use it for everything except mobile banking - security is not great on phones - and blogging. I have dozens of apps, my music and podcast library and thousands of photos.

9. When you were a kid, did you play "Telephone"?

I wasn't sure what this was so Googled it. I'm none the wiser, but it's fair to say we didn't do whatever it is in the UK when I was a kid. 

10. Does your significant other have a special ringtone? 

I'm afraid not, just a photo!  One of my quirks is that my phone is nearly always on mute. I only turn the sound on when I'm expecting a call. But J does have a special ringtone for me, She's a Mystery by Roy Orbison.


  •  I've got a box in the attic with most of my old phones from 2002 onwards, and their boxes.  It goes back as far as the Motorola V70 (launched 2002).  Did any of you have this one? It had a tiny screen - I'd never be able to send texts on it now! 
    Motorola v70 launched in 2002
  • A couple of my more interesting (to collectors) phones are those which contain an Intel chip.  I worked at Intel for 20 years and they brought out a few phones based on their chip, including one from Orange and one from Sony.  They weren't successes.  Intel had no track record in phones, the majority of its chips were used in servers and PCs. 
  • In 1990 I was working at BT International, managing the press office and internal comms, when the company was communications sponsor of the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race. I had a brilliant couple of weeks in Southampton for the final of the race. Our BT mobile caravan had a bank of very early mobile phones outside:  they were called transportables, so not very mobile, and a charge lasted around an hour.  We would walk around "on the phone" feeling very important! 
  • I'm big on mobile phone etiquette. I don't make calls on trains or in public unless I have to, and I resent having to listen to other people's conversations.
  • A few years ago I had an Samsung S4 which was over four years old and very "tired." I wanted a new one but at that time the company was not replacing handsets.  I "accidentally" left it on a coach in the US, thinking they'd now have to give me a new one.  But the next day the hotel had a message to say a phone had been handed in on my coach, which had been provided by my company, and in a process of elimination, it had been identified as mine! It was as if I could never get rid of it.  
  • I don't like talking on the phone very much. I prefer sending a text or email! 
Do you remember your first mobile (cellphone) phone? Do let us know in the comments. 

Sharing this post with #FridayCoffeeShare at Natalie the Explorer,  #AnythingGoes at My Random Musings, Rena at Fine WhateverTalent Sharing Tuesdays at Scribbling Boomer, #SpreadTheKindness at Shelbee on the Edge,  #Neverendingstyle at The Grey Brunette, Final Friday at Marsha in the Middle


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