In my first job as a junior reporter, I used a sit up and beg typewriter that was heavy enough to act as ballast in a submarine. The keys had to be hit with force and it took no prisoners. Get your finger stuck and it could be a lengthy and painful process to extract it. Then I got my first portable - an Olivetti. Oh the luxury. The only problem then was that if you wanted clean copy without mistakes, you either had to use Tippex every other word, or start again and, with the mistakes I used to make, the rain forests of Brazil would have been in for trouble.
In journalism it didn't matter if mistakes were made, as long as they were crossed out and the copy was clean and readable. On a weekly newspaper, it was possible to take time and care and use foolscap sized sheets of paper. On an evening or daily newspaper, time was of the essence and you used small sheets of paper, often with just a paragraph per sheet. This would concentrate the mind wonderfully. You learned not to waste words and make fewer mistakes.
My portable typewriter went with me everywhere. I went through two of them. And I always remembered to bring it home. Even on a memorable day at the West Lancashire Agricultural Show when I was so tired and emotional that I fell out of my wellington boots whilst trying to negotiate the front step after a hard day's work. The PR had made the basic mistake of filling the Press hut with a barrel of beer and cases of light ale.
The first book I wrote was written on my portable. I first wrote in longhand with a fountain pen, typed up what I had done, re-read it the next day, made corrections and re-typed it, then hand wrote the next bit. A long slow process, especially as, when it was all done, this was only the first draft.
Then came computers. I was, at first, wary of them and then realised what a labour saving device they were. I put my fountain pen to one side for autographs and signing cheques, and embraced the new technology. Unfortunately, I'm still not very good with it. I have had several computers and have managed to cock them all up.
My current computer seemed a bit sluggish on start up so I decided to delete all sorts of software that I had downloaded over the last two years. Unfortunately, some of it appears to have been essential and my camera will no longer download pictures. To try to rectify this, I bought online a device which allegedly identifies which drivers are missing (and no, I do not know quite what drivers are, except that they can be quite important) and repairs or replaces them. So far this has caused further damage and my scanner no longer works. Which is why I have bought a 10inch notepad. I am awaiting this with great anticipation.
It is as powerful as the computer on my desk and has enough sockets to plug in external mouse, monitor and keyboard, and is slim and small enough to take anywhere and use as a portable. I feel like I have gone full circle. Except that this isn't an Olivetti and I am now far too mature to get so tired and emotional as to fall out of my wellington boots. Except on special occasions when the beer is free.
When the notepad arrives, I will be back to using a portable. And I still have a quill and a bottle of ink on the shelf just in case.