Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Ringing Around by Janet Gogerty

Remember the days when it was a weekly telephone call home or a chat with a friend once in a blue moon. As Janet Gogerty points out, the email has taken over for convenience sake as well as to avoid those awkward silences…

Ringing Around by Janet Gogerty

When I was in my last year of The Brownies and aiming to get my Golden Hand badge, part of the test was to make a phone call; a far cry from this week’s news of a major revamping of badges with Rainbows, Brownies and Guides encouraged to take part in new challenges involving app design, entrepreneurship, “speaking out”, upcycling or vlogging.

But my little task was still a big challenge for me. We did not have a telephone at home and it was about this time that my friend and I were sent up the road to the phone box with some coins, a set of instructions and a mission; to phone my father at the office. To this day I have no idea what was so urgent that could not wait till he came home from Waterloo with all the other commuters. My friend was sensible and two years older than me, but still we did not achieve our task; the mysteries of Buttons A and B defeated us.

Meanwhile, back at the house of a complete stranger, a respectable middle aged woman, my task was to phone Brown Owl. I was as terrified as anyone going for a driving test or important job interview; I failed, probably the only Brownie in history to have to do a re-sit for her Golden Hand.

A letter in the paper the other day suggested we had forgotten how intrusive the telephone was, how wonderful emails are and how infuriating people are who refuse to use them. I heartily agree, emails were made for me. I have never liked phone calls; they always come at the wrong moment, or the phone stops ringing just as you race in from the garden with muddy hands. Hands free phones are a help, but still interrupt your favourite programme.

I admire people who efficiently get on the phone the moment something breaks down or a letter arrives in the post requiring action; I’m more inclined to write on my list of things to do – phone insurance co. ring boiler repairs. When it comes to personal calls I procrastinate… they might be cooking/eating their dinner, feeding the baby, making love, watching Eastenders, I’ll call later… later they might be having an early night… I’ll call tomorrow…

Emails can be written any time and the receiver can read them when it suits and not be caught off guard; with time to think of a good excuse not to come to your coffee morning. The other advantage is to message all your friends, club members etc at the same time, but there is always one person in every club or group who does not do email and constantly complains ‘Why can’t you just ring round.’ We should not rush to judge; how many decades passed between the phone being invented and everyone having a telephone in their homes? Even people who are on the internet forget to check their emails and miss important messages.

Technology rolls on rapidly; we don’t use our mobile phones as phones, but to read our emails. Emails themselves are being superseded by What’sApp and Facebook Messenger. How easy it is to message six people at once on the other side of the world and send them photos. On your computer you can follow Facebook and have several message boxes open in the corner of your screen…

And then there’s Skype and FaceTime etc which bring us round full circle to actually talking personally to someone. Ironically ‘Televisionphones’ have been invented, but they are not the screens attached to our immovable house phones that we once imagined. Now we can wander around in our pyjamas showing relatives on the other side of the world what our new house looks like.

But emails are so useful if you wish to avoid eye contact or awkward conversations.

©Janet Gogerty 2017

Books by Janet Gogerty

About Times and Tides

Twenty five stories starting with a blind date and ending on Xmas Eve, with no clue as to what you might expect in between. In this third collection of short stories are some real places and experiences plus much that could happen or should never happen.

One of the reviews for Times and Tides

Yet another delightful collection of short stories from the irrepressible Janet Gogerty. This time twenty five stories on almost every subject imaginable.

The variety of themes are astounding and I will only mention a few in this review.
The opening story, Blind Date tells of just that, a blind date between Michael and Jessica accompanied by Michael’s guide dog Bella. Not a dog to tangle with.

I loved ‘Solar Power’ with its idea of a solar powered hat for elderly Daphne. It certainly put a spring in her step. I chuckled over Ms Gogerty’s comment of ‘Burger Syndrome Spectrum thingy.’

‘Up, up and away’ was an eye opening story involving a hot air balloon disaster – the method of dealing with the rogue balloon was quite shocking. ‘Making an Entrance’ Wow!

Never upset a fellow thespian.
‘Restoration Project’ had a very spooky ending…I loved it.

The last story, ‘Christmas Eve’ has all the elements of just how traumatic Christmas can be especially when guests descend with little warning.

I have only mentioned six of the total twenty five stories but all were very enjoyable reads. A highly recommended collection.

Find all of Janet’s books and read the reviews:

And Amazon US:

Read more reviews and follow Janet on Goodreads:

About Janet Gogerty

I have been writing frantically for 10 years and still enjoy being part of two writing groups. I am inspired by anything and everything and enjoy writing about ordinary people; but usually they find themselves experiencing strange events! When I was encouraged to tackle a novel my daughter suggested I use my short story ‘Brief Encounters of the Third Kind’ as she wanted to know what happened to Emma, whose fate had been left in the air at the end of the story.

The novel became a trilogy, Three Ages of Man and finally Lives of Anna Alsop, published in March 2015.I enjoy writing fiction of any length and have had many short stories published online. I have just published my fourth collection of short stories Someone Somewhere which includes two novellas. I also write a regular blog ‘Sandscript‘ at Goodreads. My website long ago took on a life of its own with new words and pictures regularly; visit to read short stories and other items.

Connect to Janet


My thanks to Janet for sharing the posts from her archives and I do hope you will head over to her blog to follow her more current articles. Thanks Sally



21 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Ringing Around by Janet Gogerty

  1. Pingback: Smorgasbord Archives – Ringing Around by Janet Gogerty – The Militant Negro™

  2. I completely understand and relate to this, Janet. Using the telephone was never easy in a household with six children. So, like you, I embrace emailing and texting, for all the same reasons. I’m the life of the party in person, but the phone? No thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you for having me again today Sally. Since I wrote that blog last year we caved in and bought ourselves an ipad for Christmas as the family in Australia and USA are all Apple and we can Facetime. That brings its own problems; what time is it there, what shall I wear, better comb my hair…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, I love emails and as I don’t have a smart phone I have to wait until I’m at my desk to read them. I love being able to go out and feel properly disconnected for a couple of hours. When I was young I loved the phone and my friends and I would spend hours chatting, doing our homework, planning our weekend – all the accompaniment of parental grumbling in the backgroud about the cost of calls.

    Liked by 2 people

    • How true, how often have we all imagined a note of sarcasm or criticism where none was intended. Perhaps our emails and texts should include hugs, lots of xxx and smiley emojis to convey a positive note… unless the message is inteneded as a cold put down to a colleague…

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Getting to Know You – Sunday Interview – Author Janet Gogerty | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

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