Tag Archives: humour

Sound Advice…

I thought it was about time for a little light relief on this blog, after a long spell of photo posts only, and newly inspired by CHUCKLEMUMS, here we go…

By the late nineteen-eighties, the electro-mechanical automatic telephone exchange (just put ‘Strowger Switch’ into Google) had served telephone users for up to around a hundred years – although much less in the more remote parts of the UK, such as parts of rural Scotland, where you still spoke to an operator to connect every call, as late as 1970 (quaint, eh?)

But now, telephony was seeing the greatest revolution since Mr Strowger’s invention: the fully electronic telephone ‘switch’ that was much smaller, worked much more quickly, and needed much less maintenance. It could also manage all sorts of natty little party tricks that we take for granted nowadays, like three-way calling, call waiting advice while you were on another call, and automatic diversion of your calls to another number (with variations.)

But this wasn’t all. With this great new package of technology came another novelty: digitally stored speech that, for instance, told you “Sorry, there is a fault” (that one didn’t happen often) or “You have dialled an incorrect number.” And when dialling, after a pause of around twenty seconds of not entering a digit, we now got told to “please replace the handset, and try again.”

Around this time, I knew a little boy who was then about three, and was fascinated by this. He would sneak up to the phone at home, pick up the receiver, and wait, without doing anything else… until his mother would get wise. “Peter!”* she would say. “What did that lady say? Did she tell you to put it back?”

On one particular occasion, this kind of interrogation was met with a classic, priceless, carefully-intoned reply:

“Please replace the tea-set, and try again!”

Sound advice, in certain situations, I would think, for parents everywhere. Thank you for reading.

*The boy’s name has been changed, to protect, er, me.

modern telephone
For a little longer, yet?


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Birthday Card Brought to Life

This little monologue is in response to the ‘100 Word Challenge’ here. If you haven’t already done so, have a look at the funny cat picture and the details of the challenge first. You can also check out all the other responses via links from there.

Well, well, well… Here’s a familiar face! A suit now, eh? Always thought you’d do well. Let me think… You must have left us in the summer of ’87. Terrific year, that was… Remember it ’cause I retired two years later… Good leaving bash we gave the year six lot, wasn’t it? Mind you, the staff and I used to enjoy it as much as the leavers, I reckon… Oh, well, that outfit up the road can’t have done you too badly. More than I can say for some of them who went there… Anyway, lovely to see you again!


Happy Birthday, Son!

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At that moment…

This is a short anecdote about something that made my day special.  The day in question – some weeks ago now – became special because of something hilarious (at least, I thought so.)

What happened was this: I was driving around (as part of an ordinary business day) when I had to stop at traffic signals (a common enough occurrence.) I happened to be the first stopped car, that is, I was right at the stop line.

Now, this set of signals served two purposes: it controlled a crossing point for pedestrians and cyclists (several were waiting) and it was also part of a complex system of traffic control for a large roundabout linking trunk roads.  The entire layout was not visible from where I was stopped.  (Note that.)

After a few seconds, the signals allowed the pedestrians and cyclists to cross.  Among them, a very average cyclist on an equally average bike began, slowly, to cross in front of me…

Well, as I said, the entire layout was out of my range of vision; but out of earshot it was not.  Oh, no.  And at exactly the same moment, unseen, a powerful motor-bike roared away.

Picture, if you can, the absurd overall impression – a pedal cycle moving off at a sedate pace, making an ear-splitting roar!  It made me scream with laughter.  And the humour of the situation stayed with me all day.

Watch out (or listen out) for excessively noisy push-bikes…

This post was prompted by the writing workshop at:


Then look here:


I linked this post to #chucklemums week 7 on 7 June 2016

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