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Bank Holiday Monday

Today didn’t really happen. Well… of course it did, but it doesn’t feel like it happened. I feel like I haven’t achieved anything of consequence.

I re-installed the old desktop computer, and the netbook with the latest build of Ubuntu Linux. My daughters aren’t going to like it, because it means no more Minecraft on the desktop machine (unless I show them how to launch it from a terminal). It’s partly intentional - to force them into using the laptops they got for Christmas. It’s ridiculous really - they have the best computers in the house, and they hardly touch them, because it’s “easier” to fight over the desktop machine that is always left switched on - versus walking to their room and fetching the satchel with their laptop in…

Looking back at my own childhood, there was one phone in the house - and it was wired to the wall in the hallway. We even had a special chair for a while, next to the phone, with a table to write notes or whatever while you were on the phone. From the mid 1980s onwards we had a single computer that the whole family shared. We had a single video games console (the Atari 2600) that - again - the whole family shared.

That our children have their own computers already, and will likely have their own phones as each of them come of age makes me smile. We set the line in the sand with the phones as the summer they go up to “big” school - when they are 11 years old. They then get a cheap phone for a year to prove they can look after it - and a smartphone the next summer. We are continually goggle eyed when we see 10 year olds walking around with iPhones - but then that’s the kind of town we live in. Lots of trophy wives, trophy children, and show-offs.

We sometimes appear mean, but hopefully we’re instilling the value and cost of things into the children. Sometimes it appears to work - sometimes it doesn’t. We have never really restricted their use of computers, video games, or the internet, and it has never taken over their lives. As an example, today the younger children played on the Trampoline, or did jigsaws for most of the day. The eldest uses the computer more, but she’s more of a homebody anyway.

While writing this, my clothes for the morning are in the washing machine. As is usual, my clothes got buried in the dirty washing, regardless of the fact that everybody else has the week off (it’s half term), and that I am off to London again in the morning on the early train.

Guess who will have the iron out at 11pm.