I received my newly-repaired Evesham Voyager Laptop via Parcel Force and told Doug that he now has a share in it. He responded by laughing and asking what use could he possibly have for it. I am trying to persuade him to let me teach him the finer points of information technology. But he waves away my suggestion. ‘I’m too old for all that,’ he says.
And this from a man who claims he prefers the company of young people and says he intends to stay as young ‘in his mind’ for as long as he possibly can. I told him the story about my grandmother’s attempts to familiarize her own mother with what was then new technology – the radio. ‘She tried to shout back at it once,’ my maternal grandmother said. ‘Mother, they can’t hear you. There’s nobody actually in there!’
Doug himself told me that his own stepmother was so afraid of electricity that she refused to have it installed in their home until after the war. ‘God knows what she thought would happen,’ I recall him saying with a touch of scorn in his voice.
And yet he cannot see any parallels between her situation and his own.
He has at least agreed that I will take the laptop over to his flat occasionally and he can dictate an e-mail to his oldest daughter who lives in America – in Las Vegas, on the edge of the Nevada Desert.