Take me back a few years. Actually quite a few years when we went out and about, always with a 2p in your pocket to be able to call home. Stepping into a big red box. Usually smelling of urine and stale tobacco. Putting your fingers in that big black dial to hit your numbers. Looking back it was hard work! You earned that phone call with the energy put into getting that dial to go round, wait for it to come back with such patience, hypnptised by the motion then repeat! 6 times! Or more!

“Hi Mum it’s me. We’re finished at Ballet practise, please can you pick me up?’

Moving on to my life touring around the world as a dancer and at one point in Japan and so excited to ring my Mum. Tell her all about the climate and the mountains. The culture. Phone boxes were much more silver than red, especially in tech obsessed Japan. The 2p abandoned as you bought phone cards, having to source them too. I have kept mine from around the world to this day! There I stood at aged 21. In a modern phone box in Kumamoto City, clasping my £5 worth of phone card in Yen. So excited to hear the voices of home and to tell them all about Japan.

It rang. My Mum picked up.

“Mum it’s me! I’m in Japan”! Gushing!

“Oh Ruth I had a feeling it would be you. Can you ring me back later? I’m in the middle of my programme”! She replied in the same tone as if I just had to start walking towards home after ballet while she came out to pick me up.

“Oh ok. Sorry.”

“Ring me back in an hour. Are you ok?”

“Yes Mum. ….. I’m in Japan”!

“I know. Talk to you later”

Empty hang up tone!

Way to deflate!

To be fair, it was in the days of only 3 channels and if you missed the very last episode of a drama series you would not be able to find out who did it on catchup, Iplayer or Plus One! You had to ….. well phone a friend!

Fast forward a few years. Quite a few years and here I am a lot more than 21. (My daughter is now 21!) Am isolated because of Corona as have been having chemotherapy for Grade 3 Breast Cancer. My Mum not able to see me has been ringing and texting everyday. Her texts are hysterical and it is like deciphering some form of code. I love those texts.

Hi – m a gge for pddle! – Telling me my Brother is getting petrol at the garage.

Sorry your guinea pig died lol! – Thinking lol is ‘lots of love’!

The texts bring a light to me. My Mum who spent her childhood hiding in bunkers from German bombs and didn’t see a banana until she was seven years old. Managing a mobile phone. Finding every way she can to be able to contact her family and support me at a distance with my chemotherapy.

From Red Phone Boxes and 2 p calls to WiFi and DM Video Calls. We would never have made video calls to each other had Corona not come along and that is something wonderful to come out in this tough time.

My Mum in her 80’s video calls me to check on my bald head. Am I warm enough? It must be cold being bald! So, she has hand knitted hats for me that wing their way through the post.

Have to say i wasn’t impressed when she laughted at the fluff growth on my head! Have to say how wonderful it was to not just hear her laugh but to see her beautiful eyes light up so much.

Mum actually took a few calls to know how to angle the camera. Our first chat saw me conversing with just her left eye!

‘Mum you don’t have to hold the phone to your face like a phone call!’ I have since found out my friend spent a whole call talking on a video call to her Fathers’ ear!

Now, Mum has become an experienced video caller she is able to take me on a tour of her house to show me her dogs sleeping outside in the sun. This just fills me with so much love and joy. It is such a special memory for this time to be created in the chaos from love and a determined lady wanting to be in touch with her family and Grandchildren. Between us we have taught her how to set up Paypal to buy online. How to order from Amazon and oh my word! She now has her own Face Book account and gets very frustrated that she has tried very hard to post but people do not ever comment or like apart from her family. Because, my beautiful Mum, you only have your family as your friends to see your posts!!!

‘Well i don’t want anyone else but my family and friends to see my posts’! Was the illogically positioned yet logical answer.

And quite right too Mum! How far you have come from someone so magnificently pragmatic as to hold off a call from Japan to see the conclusion of a murder mystery, to today. A magnificent woman who has embraced the times of technology. Has battled to gain an understanding and conquered how to face time call using her whole face.

For me this is a magical time created from the misery of seperation. The fear of the virus and the cancer. All conquered by the determination of a Mother to be able to contact her family.

My Mum – the technical wiz of face timing and texting.

She also bakes great cakes!