To open a book and disappear into another world is an unbeatable joy as the story unfolds and the chapters flow past detailing the exciting story line and then the disappointment when there is no more to read, and it comes to an end.

As an author and writer, it is a pleasure to create a fictional family, develop it and let it acquire its own life, as the storyline takes over and the words flow.

A well written narrative creates excitement, perhaps one of where people are trapped and there does not appear to be an answer to their problem. That situation always makes a stunning read as one wonders how the author is going to resolve the tricky story line.

In my novel ‘Death for a Starter’ which is set in the middle of the eighteen hundreds and mimics the crisis of the potato famine in Ireland at that time, where the spud, the staple diet for most of the population was attacked by a fungus. Although the crop grew there was no edible Irish potato, just a runny mess. A sad but exciting tale.

The human mind, with its ability to seek and question events, has a vast ability to dream and imagine situations with all the complications that are presented in the content of a well written novel.

The book! No need for the digital world to be involved in reading it. No password! Hold it in your hand and slowly turn the pages and enjoy the aroma of the printed sheets.  Read it and get lost in a domain created by the vivid imagination of the author, or perhaps if it is a true story, with the real events as they are explained in detail, from a happening in the past. Coming to the end of the narrative, to close it, and there it is permanent.

The joy of sliding it into a row of books, all standing in unison on a shelf or perhaps stacked one above the other. They are real and as time passes, to be able to see the cover sparkling in the light  and remembering the joy of reading the tale within.

Call me old fashioned, and believe me it is a privilege to be called that as I have lived in the real world when items were reliable. It may be far quicker punching things out on an electronic device but there is nothing like the joy of writing with a pen and aligning words on a page.  And like the written words in a book, they are there as an enduring reminder of the time when it was written.

It is accepted today to be able to talk to anywhere in the world without waiting for a connection, or pushing the buttons on the WhatsApp machine, and hey presto they transfer instantly. It was not too long ago this was not possible without processing a coloured photograph let alone a moving one like now, with little wonder how it works. Videos in full colour dance across our screens  and we accept it as normal. But is it?

In the nineteen seventies I had an appointment in Sweden and was amazed that from my living room I could book a taxi to pick me up from the airport when I arrived. I did not have to think about how that worked, because shortly before the engineers had connected an underwater telephone cable between the UK and the Swedish Capital. That was normal progress.

I can see the paper and the pen on my desk – that is normal. I can see the leaves playing in the wind on the other side of the window – that is normal. But speaking to someone a thousand miles away without any visible connection, how can that be normal?

The boffins will tell us that it is because it is digital and having used morse code in the Army, which is similar, I can understand that to a degree. What baffles me is, I can take my mobile out of my pocket almost anywhere and open up Facebook, or any other programme. But How?

The phone drags the package out of the air and as an up to date version. But how?

Somewhere, and I am sure it is more like many-where, there are big machines pouring out numerical information swamping the atmosphere around us, with digital images floating around making pictures and messages as and when we want them. Magic!

But, unlike the written word, once used they disappear into the cloud, unseen, no musky smell like the pages of a book, no gleaming covers to enjoy. Nothing – a digital entry to be called back by a keyboard.

In closing I must acknowledge the person in California who does a fine job on Spotify, keeping my vinyls nicely in order and playing them as requested. chattey – Percy Chattey’s short stories and novels are available on Amazon & Kindle.