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We take the current technology for granted. The smart phones which are a camera, a music store, a book store, an instant connection to the internet, an instant messenger as well as an actual phone.

It is totally amazing that I can talk to my daughters and see them in real time, no matter where they are in the world. A couple of weeks ago I had a virtual tour of S~E’s new home, 10,500 miles away. An immediate Skype chat from my night time, to her morning. At the beginning of the year, C~M was living in Argentina. We could face time, from my cold winter evening, to her hot summer afternoon, when I was transported to a sunny garden, under the trees, with the local kids playing in the background, talking in their native Spanish.

When S~E first went to Sydney and C~M still lived with us, there were evenings when I would go upstairs and hear both girls chatting and laughing, as if they were both here in the house.

Now, at times we have a three way imessage conversation. We share photos and updates on fb. “Facebook knows all” !

Back in the day, when I had my original gap year to Australia and New Zealand, there was no such technology. Letters took a week to be delivered. Phone calls cost £1 per minute.

A decade ago, when we were reading Harry Potter together as a family, it was magical that the newspapers had moving pictures in them. Now we all see moving images in our online newspapers.

It is easy to let our kids go travelling these days, when contact is so easy and direct. When the world is so small. How did earlier generations cope with separations and the distances?

I, for one, am grateful for this technology.