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Feather's Miscellany: All Change

...Recently as I lay on my bed in the renal ward being dialysed at hospital, I noticed that all the older patients like myself were reading books, while the younger ones were reading from i-pads. It dawned on me that I was witnessing a literary revolution, such has happened when the printing press was invented and books were mass-produced for the first time...

John Waddington-Feather enthusiastically enters the electronic age.

...“Naught may endure but mutability,” wrote the poet Shelley. And how right he was; but he was more right than ever he could have imagined. Since he died in the 19th century the world has undergone vast changes which are still taking place. There was an incredible amount of change in my grandparents’ and parents’ lifetimes; but there has been a mind-blowing amount of change in mine...

No way would my grandmother have imagined we’d put a man on the moon. It was still in the realms of science-fiction dreamed up by writers like H.G.Wells and Jules Verne. And what would my great-great grandfather, Timothy Feather, who introduced steam-powered looms into his mills in Yorkshire at the back end of the 18th century have made of the banks of electronic looms manned by one person today? Feathers Mills and their chimney still stand: one converted into luxury apartments and the other a listed building.

One of the biggest changes in global society has been made by the internet. People across the globe can communicate within seconds at a fraction of the cost in the past. I remember when I was a small boy of eleven or twelve in the early 1940s passing a telephone box at the end of our street and being asked by a dear old lady standing outside the box if I’d make a call for her. She’d no idea how to make a call and was frightened of the whole contraption inside the box.. When I’d made the call for her and put her two pennies in the call-box, she wouldn’t hold the receiver and I was left holding it and transmitting the entire conversation to the old lady from the person at the other end. A far cry from today’s world when most of us own mobile phones and can begin a conversation to someone miles away from the contents of our pocket.

However, time has caught up on me, and today I feel very much like that old lady when I’m faced with modern gadgetry and terms. I don’t really know what “face-book”, twitter”, “blog” and all the rest of the new internetting terms mean. Often I have to ask my children or grandchildren for advice – but I persevere!

Recently as I lay on my bed in the renal ward being dialysed at hospital, I noticed that all the older patients like myself were reading books, while the younger ones were reading from i-pads. It dawned on me that I was witnessing a literary revolution, such has happened when the printing press was invented and books were mass-produced for the first time.

So I made a few enquiries and discovered how I could convert my own novels and other books from paperbacks to e-books. I was recommended to try Lulu.com and was pleasantly surprised after one or two hitches to discover how easy it was; more so when I was given personal help by a sympathetic member of the Lulu team. So now all my Quill Hedgehog novels and Blake Hartley mystery novels, as well as the historical romantic novels, “The Illingworth House” trilogy, can be down-loaded as e-books from Lulu.com at a fraction of the cost of paper-backs, and there will be more to follow, like my “Keighworth Chronicles”.
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All change is not for the good, yet the advances in technology and science, especially medical science, have made life much easier and more healthy. But for my dialysis machine I wouldn’t be writing this article now. Ten years ago I developed cancer in my one kidney and it had to be removed. Since then I’ve been kept alive by dialysis and drugs and by a devoted team of doctors and nurses. Thirty years ago dialysis was impossible for those over sixty five as there weren’t enough machines. Since then there’s been a revolutionary change in the development of dialysis machines which are now much smaller, cheaper and more efficient. The same is true in other branches of medicine which are saving lives and keeping us olden-goldies living longer and, more importantly, active.

Change there will always be, but some things do not change. My faith is grounded on an unchanging God and all that He stands for in the Christian creed. My faith has matured with age, but I’ve not departed from it. To do that would mean a total collapse of my life, which I’ve seen happening in society at large where the rules governing faith have been abandoned.

The Ten Commandments were designed to hold society together and are as valid now as when they were first written. To abandon them is courting disaster, as we’ve seen in so many marriage breakdowns or lack of marriage altogether. Lack of faith, marriage and parental control are, I believe, major causes of the social problems in many of our cities where terrible riots have occurred recently. Pray God, marriage and faith are restored in coming generations.

I could go on at great length about change – and negative change merely for the sake of change – but let’s hope that in the future more balanced and wiser generations than ours will be selective in adopting change, and bring the world nearer the Elysium we all dream of.

John Waddington-Feather ©

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