I HAVE to confess I am a bit of a Luddite when it comes to advances in technology.

When pupils were reluctantly allowed to use ballpoint pens at school, I religiously stuck to my fountain pen and bottle of Quink Ink, occasionally even resorting to the dip pens and powdered school ink which had to be mixed and laboriously dribbled into the inkwells in the desk every morning.

The wooden dip pens with the wicked steel nibs were only withdrawn after a number of instances when unfortunate pupils were stabbed in the buttocks through their canvas chairs by the school bullies.

I was always with the masters with their stern pedagogic resistance to new fangled Bics and Biros, even though my exercise books were a blizzard of blots and smudges which students of the Rorschach test could have written their theses on.

My handwriting was – and still is – so appalling that a teacher once suggested I might have a fruitful future career as a doctor, writing out prescriptions of such lexicological complexity that even the most seasoned chemist would be baffled.

When it came to pop music, I was still playing Lonnie Donnegan 78s on my wind-up gramophone long after my friends had graduated to 45s on their Dansette record players.

I had a large box of steel gramophone needles which I was damned if I was going to waste, and besides with a bit of wadding they could be fired from my Diana 177 air rifle with deadly effect.

In the workplace, I used a succession of elderly sit up and beg typewriters, some of them the size of a Mini, whose keys jammed together like scousers on the Kop, and with ribbons which ran out of ink in mid story almost every day.

Inserting a new ribbon required the manual dexterity of a brain surgeon, and my stubby fingers ended up covered in so much ink that a new ribbon was required almost immediately, and the whole sorry process had to start all over again

If you made a mistake, or wanted to rewrite something, you had to cross the original out with a thick row of Xs, and on many occasions there were more rows of Xs than could be seen at a Rod Stewart wives’ reunion.

Yet when new technology came to the newsroom, in the form of computer type setting I was so reluctant to give up my typewriter I insisted on hanging on to it until the very last minute, convinced that the bleeping monster with the green typeface was a passing fad which would soon disappear like the Stylophone and clackers.

I was also decades late in acquiring a mobile phone, and even now, I have to make do with Mrs Hextol’s cast-offs.

I don’t know my own number, let alone anyone else’s. When people get through I cut them off in mid conversation, or find that I am speaking into the wrong bit of the device.

On the plus side, I can now send texts, as well as receive intriguing wrong numbers from people swearing they will love me forever, and not to worry, because “this won’t come back on you”.

However, this week I have broken new ground on the technological front with the acquisition of a small electrical cylinder which not only plays music on command, answers questions and gives weather forecasts, but doubtless also takes the dog for a walk, successfully predicts winning Lottery numbers and steams the perfect steak and kidney pudding – a skill seemingly unknown outside the North West of England.

It was Mrs Hextol’s idea of course, but even when I told her having one know-it-all in the house was more than enough, she insisted life in Hextol Towers would be intolerable without one.

It lay unopened for a couple of days, while we awaited the visit of grandchildren capable of deciphering the instructions about app stores and the like.

When it was finally up and running, we found out our new friend appeared to be Sat Nav Lady doing a spot of moonlighting and she certainly knew her stuff.

Her detailed knowledge of methods of breaking wind certainly tickled the grandchildren.

However, I had to suppress a glow of superiority when she was unable to tell me who scored the winning goal for Manchester City in the 1969 FA Cup Final. Not as clever as she thinks she is!