I was listening to Bearded Ladies on Radio 4 earlier this week.  They had a skit about blogs generally only being read by the author's immediate family, which struck a chord as my dear mother (one of this site's most loyal readers) had emailed me at the weekend:

You are not blogging anything interesting alately, I miss it!  Am having to read John's instead.

And, to be fair, she's not wrong.  I haven't blogged much of note recently, which is a shame because it's not as though noteworthy stuff hasn't been happening to me during recent months.  But somehow, when I plonk myself down in front of the PC of an evening, I rarely have the impetus to fire up a text editor and turn my thoughts into ASCII.  But I can't have all my readership deserting me to read about John's socks, so I really should make more of an effort.

Anyway, due in part to suffering withdrawal symptoms from my lack of blogging, my mum came to visit today, and during the course of the afternoon the telephone rang.  Except, perhaps "rang" is the wrong word, as that suggests that it emitted a clear resonant electronic bell type sound, whereas what it actually did was squawk loudly, convincing us both that the lounge had suddenly been invaded by a herd of horny Canada geese.  I think the phone is not long for this world, and nonchalantly told my mum that I planned to get a set of four cordless phones to scatter around the new house that Jocelyn and I are buying.  An innocent enough thing to drop into conversation, I thought.

Well now... it seems that all the time I've wasted trying to get my mum (and others) interested in RSS Feeds, Flickr, Firefox and del.icio.us would have been better spent passing on information about recent developments in the world of landline telephones, for she had no idea that connecting multiple cordless handsets into a single telephone socket was possible.  But then why would she (or anybody)?  It's not as if this concept is advertised - the products just appear on the shelves at supermarkets and the electrical stores, and if you happen to walk straight past them in a bee-line for your regular purchases, then you're none the wiser.

Even if you have a particular expertise or interest in several fields, the sheer range of products available today makes it very unlikely that you be au fait with all the devices that the modern world has to offer, and their current ballpark prices.  But I think I have a solution to this conundrum, and it's quite a simple one: I read the Argos catalogue.  I don't just turn to it when I want to buy something, I actively read through it, cover to cover, just to keep abreast of the kind of products that it possibly to buy in 2006.  I may not currently *need* any of the objects that I read about, but at least I know that they exist.  I swear - reading the Argos catalogue helps keep my mind young.  It's one of the paths to eternal youth!
Now, I'm not saying that I eventually make my purchase through Argos - some things can still be found more cheaply from online stores, or on eBay, but the catalogue concept is ideal for flicking through whilst in bed or on the loo.

I suppose the Argos catalogue is like a Google Zeitgeist for consumers...
I wonder if anybody actually collects old editions of the catalogue, just to laugh at the old VCRs?  Will we see collections of the Argos catalogue on Antiques Roadshow in decades to come?