Friday 4 March 2022


 Let us illustrate our difficulties (as Nabokov says somewhere – Transparent Things?). 
As readers with long memories and high boredom thresholds will know, I am intending to move to the city of Samuel Johnson – Lichfield. It has had the odd mention on this blog; indeed my post showing Johnson under the Christmas lights had more views than anything else I've posted recently. Anyway, for the past seven months – yes, seven months – we have been trying to buy a small flat pleasingly located in Lichfield's conservation area, to serve as a pied à terre and operational base from which to search for a suitable house. Buying said flat has been a tortuous and frustrating process indeed, but yesterday 'completion' was finally achieved, and on Monday I shall pick up the keys. Throughout this long drawn out saga, two young ladies – one at the solicitors, one at the estate agents – have diligently kept me informed of every twist and turn. Yesterday, talking to me on the phone, the young lady from the agents was effusively thankful – because I had replied to each of her emails with a brief thank-you. This, she assured me, is unheard-of: nobody does it, and she was delighted that I habitually did. This got me thinking (or as near to thinking as I can manage in my yoghurt-brained condition): why is it that, as email has made communication easier and faster than it has ever been – all but instantaneous indeed – so many find it too much of an effort to send a quick thank-you (the work of a few seconds) or even an equally quick acknowledgment of receipt? Publishers (with, in my experience, one exception) and literary agents are among the worst offenders, but they are by no means alone. Is there something about email, the medium itself, that makes people disregard the very basics of communication, not to mention good manners? If so, what is it? A kind of unreality perhaps? Has communication simply become too easy, with the result that nobody feels the need to make the slightest effort, even for a few seconds? Thank you for reading this, if you have. 


  1. "Thank you for reading this.."
    Not a problem.

  2. What a well-mannered audience I have! At the risk of repetition – thank you.