Downside of an upgrade

Columnist Peter Leith explains why the ‘Management’ has not had much to say recently.

Downside of an upgrade

Peter Leith is 89 and describes himself as ‘half-deaf and half-blind’, but he has never been one to dwell on his challenges. Downside of an upgrade continues his Aspects of Ageing series of true short stories and observations.


‘Me mate’, my 86-year-old partner (also known as  ‘Management’), recently invested in a new smartphone. The old one ‘cooked’, she said.

Since she got it, I see and hear much less of and from her.

She sits for hours, thumbs and fingers tapping the screen mumbling to herself. Occasionally she uses words that are unladylike.

At other times, she explains to me what she has discovered. Even if I was not as deaf as I am, I would understand next to nothing of what she tells me.

I have repeatedly asked for a clear and concise definition of the difference between an ‘upgrade’ and a ‘download’. I am still waiting for an explanation that makes any sense to my ‘tiny mind’.

I was consoled recently by watching a film clip of two teenage boys trying to work out how to operate a dial telephone.


This is one of a series of short stories in a growing collection called Aspects of Ageing. Peter says the anecdotes are based on fact and “reflect the reality that there are many forms of ‘age abuse’.”

Do you have a story or an observation for Peter? Send it to and put ‘Sunday’ in the subject line.



    To make a comment, please register or login
    31st Mar 2019
    I was thinking exactly the same thing the other day. What would todays generation think if they went to a phone box and were confronted with A and B buttons to push. Also I pulled into a servo the other day with my 20 year old grandson. I told him that once an attendant would come out, ask me how much fuel I would like. did I need him to check the water and oil levels, or check the tyre pressure. He wouild wash my windscreen take the money and come back out with my change. My grandson's response "Don't be so silly Grandad, that would never happen"
    31st Mar 2019
    Maybe the old days were better - they were certainly friendlier.
    Nil Fuel
    31st Mar 2019
    I enjoy these stories every week. Can't wait for the next one.
    31st Mar 2019
    Great story, enjoyed the teenage problem with the old style phone. In a similar vein, when I learned to drive we had a prewar car with a "crash" gearbox - ie. a manual gearbox without synchromesh on each gear. I wonder how many of the current generation would be able to manage a manual gearbox today, let alone one that involved double de-clutching every time you changed gears? Yes I own a smartphone and yes I have issues with it, but I can still drive a truck or tractor with an old style gearbox.

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