Hello, Hello!

I was reminiscing the other day with a friend about the old style phones from my young days.  Like Ford cars they came in every colour…. so long as it was black!  Was that just in Ireland? I only ever remember having a black phone at home.  As for cars, even when a range of colours became available, my father preferred a black car.  His excuse was that it looked well at funerals! 🙄

Now back to the phone….

It weighed a tonne and if a call went on for any length of time, my hand would remain as if soldered to the hand-piece.

On one occasion I picked up the receiver to dial a number and I could hear a conversation going on.  I had a crossed line – I had linked into a busy line.  Now don’t tell me you would put down the phone immediately.  You would?  Really?  Well on this occasion I have to admit I succumbed and had a little listen.  Bernadette was lambasting some woman called Patricia to another called Fidelma.  Poor Patricia, wherever she was, must have had ears on fire with all the dreadful things those two had to say.

I waited long enough to gather names and then I coughed loudly.

“Excuse me Ladies”, I said. “You are talking about my friend Patricia!  I am sure that  tomorrow when I relate to her the dreadful things that you Bernadette, and you Fidelma have said, she will not be very happy.  In fact I would not expect dinner invitations any time in the near future!”

Like lightening, the two phones were slammed back on their bases.   I wonder how long it was before they used the phone again for a chat? 😆

OK! OK!  I had no idea who this person Patricia was, but Ladies Bernadette and Fidelma deserved what I said and I got to make my call…… I was very careful and polite as I did it! 😉

20 thoughts on “Hello, Hello!

  1. Rhyelysgranny

    Oh you are a naughty girl Grannymar.LOL I used to love crossed lines. It was annoying though if you wanted to make a call. The old favourite was ‘Get off the line there’s a train coming’. I wonder do Fidelma and/or Bernadette follow your Blog 🙂 🙂 🙂

  2. Grannymar Post author

    RG – I didn’t know any of the ladies listed above. We did not have shared lines in the South of Ireland. It was a common occurrence back then to pick up a random busy line and the only way to free your line was to ask the other folk to hang up and redial their call.

    Now tell me, Are you Fidelma or Bernadette? 😆

  3. nick

    Oh, I always listened to crossed lines, there were some fascinating conversations. It was always amusing when people were complaining heatedly, unaware I was listening. I wonder how many of our own spicy conversations were overheard?

  4. Mike Goad

    Interesting. I vaguely remember having a phone that was on a party line where others might be on when you pick up to make a call, but don’t ever remember listening in.

    Karen, on the other hand, lived in a house that still had a crank telephone in the 60s. It was very definitely a party line.

  5. Darlene

    Oh you shameless woman, Grannymar. I laughed as I applauded your audacity in giving those woman their come-upance for gossiping. It reminded me of what my daughter does if she hears someone making an anti-simitic remark. She will smile and say, “I’m Jewish, you know.”

  6. Nancy


    I was once at a gathering of people who were mostly strangers to me. It was a cocktail party and tongues were loosened by wine and G&Ts.

    We were joined by two couples who introduced themselves to us and, during the course of our conversation,they mentioned with great glee how delighted they were to have done their tax return and

  7. Nancy

    how happy they were to be getting such a nice big overpayment check from the government. Of course, they mentioned how clever they were to have forgotten to tell about several “Deals” they had not reported which lowered their taxes considerably.

    As we were leaving I asked one of them what business he was in and he replied,”I’m in the Stock Market”. He said,”What do you do?” I said, “I’m with the Internal Revenue.”

    Then I smiled and walked away.

  8. wisewebwoman

    And the waiting to list to get one of those hefty black phones back then!! They only had so many lines.
    I remember the excitement in our house when we got a “coffee-and-cream” coloured “modern” phone!
    And standing and shivering in the cold hall to have a conversation got you off it real quick!

  9. Grannymar Post author

    Nick – My favourite years ago was to listen to Ship-to-shore telephone call on our radio. Some nights you got both sides of the conversation, yet on others you only got one. The fun was in imagining the other half of the one sided conversation!

  10. Grannymar Post author

    Mike I only discovered what a party line was when I moved to Northern Ireland. Unfortunately the other party knew my husband but not me and took great pleasure in listening to my calls and passing the news around the town. e.g. Jack walked into the newsagents to buy a morning paper and was greeted with “I hear there will be a nursing in your house soon”! In other words the news of my pregnancy was all over the town when in fact the only person we had shared it with was my mother in Dublin!

  11. Grannymar Post author

    Darlene – You should hear the things I say when I am called in error and asked if he can speak to (pick a guys name). The more bored I am that day the better the answer! 🙄

  12. Grannymar Post author

    Nancy – I think I will now sew a great big zip to my lips and use it every time I go to a party! 😆

  13. Grannymar Post author

    WWW – We were fortunate in living in Dublin, we had a phone all of my life, but we were one of very few at our end of the avenue!

  14. kenju

    You are truly a woman after my own heart!! We never had a party-line, but I’d like to think that if I did – I’d have done what you did! LOL

  15. Alice

    You should watch that Nancy, Grannymar. She’s also pretty good with a quick comeback. I loved all the comments almost as much as the story.

  16. Grannymar Post author

    Judy – I had a good teacher, mammy was always very quick with her answers.

    Alice – We can always depend on Nancy for a humorous reply.

  17. Rummuser

    It is deja vu time! I too remember those days and have had similar experiences. One of the other irritating aspects of those phones were the frequent wrong number calls that one used to get. I had a number ending in 918 and the complaint number for the local exchange ended in 198. You can imagine the number of irritating phone calls that I used to get till I resolved the issue by simply pretending to take down the complaint and giving a fictitious complaint number. After the advent of the mobile phones, I simply surrendered that connection as I had another one in Ranjan’s name.

  18. Grannymar Post author

    Ramana – Our phone number back then was the same as a very popular pub, with the last two digits reversed. Regularly at closing time we would have calls telling us to “Close the Bar, the police are outside!” It was waste of time trying to tell the caller that they had a wrong number as they never listened.


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