Splendid isolation

You know I’m mad keen on visiting places of antiquity, because I have written about it before. Well, here’s another one for you – this is me visiting a medieval site called the 'Hermitage', just down the river from Warkworth Castle, in Northumberland (picture left courtesy of my 13 year old niece Sarah) during what we laughingly call our British 'summer'. The Castle was great and well worth a visit, and as you would expect, the ‘Hermitage’ is quite isolated and can only be reached by a ferry over the river. Apparently, it was the home for many years of a hermit who lived in austere conditions, isolated from the community. It certainly is a bleak and unwelcoming place. I hope he had some kind of heating, ‘cos I reckon in the middle of a Northumberland winter it would be cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey. Inside there are three small rooms carved out of the living rock -there is a chapel, a long thin (bed)room, and a ledge (open to the elements) that looks out over the woods. There is no fireplace, no electricity, no running water (apart from the river), and certainly no broadband internet connection. There wasn’t even a Welcome doormat. Modern city dwellers would find it very uncomfortable – it felt very lonely and isolated there so I didn’t stick around for long, and I’m sure I wouldn’t want to still be there come nightfall….

Got me thinking about how much we rely on modern technology to make ourselves comfortable. Where would we be without gas cookers, electric light bulbs, flush toilets, washing machines and all the other basic stuff we take for granted? What about the more luxurious stuff like televisions, iPods, mobile telephones, microwaves and home computers? Now we have the uber-luxury technologies – multi-viewer digital cable television, flat screen plasma TVs, global positioning satellite systems, etc etc ad nauseum … you get the idea. Here’s the question – how long before we get so hooked on these new technologies that they become essential for our psychological well-being and comfort? I don’t think I could be a technological hermit – using such items is too deeply ingrained into my personal culture and it would feel like an amputation to give them up. How sad is that? In tomorrow’s next blog I'm continuing this train of thought....

Comments

Anonymous said…
Sorry, I'm a pedantic local. There's no such place as Northumbria these days. Warkworth is in Northumberland.
Steve Wheeler said…
Dear pedantic local - it's been changed. How's that for service... but how many blogs are there about Northumberland these days? Take care.

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