“I believe in getting into hot water; it keeps you clean.” – G. K Chesterton.
If you’re going to get into hot water, public pools are the best place to do it and if you’re going to hit the pools Hanmer Springs is one of my favourites. I was soaking and practising my prune impersonations last weekend and thinking about how much more difficult it would have been for would-be prune impersonators in the good old days.
Hanmer Springs is 130 kms north west from Christchurch and these days (even on New Zealand roads), you’re there and in-line for entry to the pools in about 90 minutes. It wasn’t always thus. Well, it’s always been about the same distance, but since the late 19th century when the hot spring was discovered and its popularity started to grow with visitors from Christchurch, communication was always more difficult. Even in the 1930’s and 40’s getting to Hanmer Springs was a bit of a trial. To cross the Hurunui it was like this:
And using the Waiau Ferry and later the shiny new wooden bridge was like this:
For those without flash new horsepower, the popular route was by train to Culverden and then by horse-drawn coach or motorised charabanc to Hanmer:
Pondering this purportedly progressive paradigm in personal prunism, I wished I had a water-proof iPhone. Such a device would enhance my life considerably. I could investigate the health benefits of the mineral water, eavesdrop on the foreign conversations going on around me (and maybe even determine if they were about my shrivelled appearance). Further I could see if there were any dinner bargains nearby, explore cures for prunism or failing that, check for recipes involving wrinkled fruit. All the while I could be listening to some music – maybe “Then Came The Electric Prunes” by that nearly-famous 1960’s American Rock group The Electric Prunes.
In due course I hauled myself out of the water to start the de-shrivelling process but I continued to ponder the wonder of modern communication and the power of smart ‘phones. There’s nothing exceptional about being able to use Old-Age Text Codes like; FWIW (Forgot Where I Was), IMHO (Is My Hearing Aid On), LMDO (Laughing My Dentures Out) or ROFLACGU (Rolling On Floor Laughing And Can’t Get Up). But what is exceptional is to have access to a vast chunk of all the world’s knowledge which makes (I think), the time we are living in the most interesting period mankind has ever experienced. What is mind-boggling to me is the myriad of ways people use this opportunity. Many use it for worthwhile causes and betterment, others use it to keep the world informed of vital information such as what they had for lunch, or to express their concerns if their cat will ever completely recover after it was fed the wrong brand of cat food by a thoughtless, no, idiotic partner. Some without thinking (or perhaps with too much thinking) like to post pictures of themselves and their pets like this chap with his dog. Meanwhile, others waste vast amounts of virtual paper by publishing rubbish about hot water and prunes. I’m told that these days you can even print a gun. In my day (yes Granddad), I had a very small printer called “Canon” but it was so useless at printing words on a piece of paper, that I took it out and shot it and some of you will remember that this was about as exciting as new software technology got:
Since those heady days of technological advancement, the growth of Social Media has been as explosive as a build-up of hydrogen over a natural hot pool which is ignited by someone turning on their smart ‘phone to fripperate on Facebook. As Mark Zuckerberg (29 next Tuesday), mused: “The thing we are trying to do at Facebook, is just help people connect and communicate more efficiently.” Well, I think old Zucker was no sucker and he has achieved a goal with software that I for one, never saw a need for. Here’s a couple of interesting facts for you: Zuckerberg is a vegetarian and once said he “will only eat meat if he has killed the animal himself”. But among his “likes” on his Facebook page are McDonalds and In-N-Out Burger so I’m standing well clear if he arrives looking hungry at any restaurant I’m in. Another little known fact is that he has 220,000 followers on Facebook but “Beast” (his Hungarian sheepdog), has 1.5 million.
The Splurghi-type growth of Social Media services and systems has quickly grown fat and wrinkly (possibly prune-like) and largely can be summed up as:
And if you like that would you please be kind enough to like my post?