1615/24th July 2022

There is an evil sadistic bastard out there I’d like to have a word with.

Specifically, the person whose head I would like to punch is the one who created the “TalkBack” App and persuaded the manufacturers of Android to install it on their bedeviled contraptions.

For a long time, I resisted “smart” phones. My first attempt ended in frustrated defeat.

That phone initiated calls to people I didn’t wish to speak with, but fought me every time wanted to make a call.

In the end, either the phones became simpler or maybe my brain shifted. One of those 100th monkey things.

What do I know? Clearly not much about IPhones.

Here’s advice:

Do not fall asleep while making entries into your IPhone.

“Who would?” I hear people ask.

It’s a good question. For me it’s a normal enough likelihood. While at times I suffer from insomnia, I also quite often get dozy.

Some might say I’m the dozy type. What I mean is, under certain circumstances, I cannot stay awake.

This morning, for instance.

Patches launched herself at my head, to administer intense grooming which propelled me out of bed.

After capturing a few shots of the pre-dawn sky it was still far too early to attend bird feeders, so I grabbed the wretched device of torture and went back to bed.

Halfway through 6-word Wordle, I fell asleep.

When next I looked at the clock, it was after 7 am.

Exactly what I had not intended, but who’s to complain?

The Wildlife Cafe has already established its unreliability so, given that a thunderstorm was crashing overhead and dumping a heavy downpour, I picked up my phone and started toward the kitchen for my own breakfast.

Which is when I heard a very annoying British woman’s voice coming from my pocket.

Leaving Grant to feed the cats, I threw myself on the sofa to sort the phone out.

Well, no…

First, the screen was black. This can happen. All you have to do is…

…more words from the British woman…

Grant is used to me abusing my phone, so he smiled “What’s wrong now?”

“Beastly rotten thing!”

Perhaps I said something a bit stronger.

What I discovered to my considerable annoyance was that my phone had somehow got itself into a mode known as “TalkBack” and was doing exactly that.

Just what everyone needs. An inanimate object that answers you back.

See what I mean about sadistic, evil and bastard?

There were a few more epithets, but the voice seemed to become more insistent. It was like having an irate passenger yammering at me.

There were words for them too, but none I could utter.

What the voice was doing, I found, was describing to me in painful detail, every key stroke I attempted.

However I was restricted to up, down or sideways.

No jumping to a useful screen. No, no, no.

“Is it going to delay peanuts?”

(Actually, no. I’d thrown some out.)


Prodding angrily at the screen which always seems smaller at such times, I got into an Android message of some kind which had a series number that the voice seemed to think I needed:

“Sixteen billion, three hundred and twelve million, four hundred and fifty-six thousand , three hundred and ten.”

Seriously. Who needs to know that ?

Somehow I navigated to the screen that displays apps, all except the one I hoped to find, of course.

Moving up and down, side to side, the voice continued: “Column four, line six. Weather, seventy six degrees, thunderstorms predicted.” etc etc.

Would the bitch ever shut up?

Getting on his phone, Grant looked up how to exit this damned app-from-hell, so I got the right screen, but because he was still talking, I now couldn’t hear it!

When I am sufficiently annoyed, I have been known to throw things. If I’d been near an open window my phone would likely have sailed through it.

Exhibiting rare control, however, I turned the thing over to Grant who himself had a number of uncomplimentary things to contribute.

It turns out that all you need to do is press the volume button for a count of three.

Just in case it ever happens to you.

In all seriousness, who exactly needs such a feature?

And should it be that easy to activate in error?

Needless to say, I was late with the carrots, but as it was tanking with rain only the baby had ventured out.

She came up to the porch where next to the bowl, you can see just how tiny she is.

A good soaking rain is just what we needed.

We could almost see the grass reviving!


“Never mind that. Get out here!”

Doves are so much more polite.

“It’s alright, dear. Take your time!”

“But the sparrows have a concern.”

“It’s like this, you see:”

“We aren’t getting fair time lately.”



“Me? No, I have no complaints.”

” You’d better avoid the groundhogs!”

All wet, her beak becomes quite a feature.

Decidedly carrot-like.

5 thoughts on “Features

  1. I didn’t even know there’s something like a “TalkBack” app on the phone (it feels a bit futuristic to me … but then, we are not in the 80’s anymore, are we)? Good for the thunderstorm – it surely puts nature in a much happier mood !

  2. My android phone never does anything like that, but then I have not activated any features that I don’t need, especially any form of voice control. My wife’s Samsung phone definitely listens to her. One time we were talking about baby car seats after dinner, and five minutes later her Facebook was advertising car seats. But she has ‘Google Assistant’ turned on. I don’t. I won’t let the phone eavesdrop on me!
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. I never activated anything either. Grant tells me that it’s a built in feature. It’s diabolical! A friend of mine has an Alexa which interacts with him which I find seriously creepy!

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