Canny Keith Loves the Eagles, and His Internet Phone

By: Andrew Regan

Retired pensioner Keith Harrison of Perth, Australia, loves the internet. Not only does it provide the 66-year-old grandfather with all the latest news on his favourite Aussie Rules team - the West Coast Eagles - it also allows him and wife Glenda to contact their daughter, two sons, and nine grandchildren who are scattered across the globe.

Before his family clubbed together and bought him a PC, broadband connection and internet phone, English ex-pat Harrison used to stay in touch with them by using his home telephone and the odd letter. Despite his protestations that he didn't need nor want the 'new-fangled technology', he is now an avid internet user, regularly calling his family via the internet phone network to which they all subscribe.

But, because of international time differences the retired engineer first consults his elaborate homemade timetable before attempting to make a call. Eldest son Malcolm lives in Los Angeles, a massive 17 hours behind Perth, while youngest son Lee resides in London which is a more respectable nine hours behind. Conversely, daughter Eve lives in Sydney which is ahead of Perth by two hours. With such varying time differences Harrison admits that keeping on top of it all was confusing and that's why he concocted his fool-proof timetable.

Before moving to calling via internet Harrison and his wife used their home telephone to call the family, and he admits that he got it badly wrong on several occasions. More than once he has called various members of his family in the middle of the night, disturbing their slumber.

"Internet dialling is great," says Harrison "I can't ring anyone if they're asleep because they're off-line, plus now that I've got my timetable there's no danger of me trying to contact them at inappropriate times."

As well as being the most efficient and cheapest method for him to ring his family, he also uses his internet phone to call his 'mates' when arranging their pre-game meets at the pub before Eagles games at the Subiaco Oval.

He said: "With so many kids and grand-kids to keep in touch with it was costing me a fortune to make international phone calls. The money I save on my phone bills by using the internet phone almost pays for my seat at the Eagles home games."

And it's not just Keith that benefits from the internet phone as wife Glenda also uses the video call option to monitor the growth of her nine grandchildren that vary in age from 18 months to 15 years-old. "While Keith is out at the games, I spend a lot of time chatting to my kids and grand-kids," she said. "They grow up so fast and it's great being able to watch their progress on screen."

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