THE "maybe it's time" moments increase relentlessly. I try to make a phone call but the reception isn't great - maybe it's time to upgrade.

I want to send an email but it's taking ages - maybe it's time for a new mobile.

My handset is now part of a museum exhibition - maybe it's time to smash my way into the future.

During the pandemic, though, not having a proper smart phone has become a genuine hamper to day-to-day life.

My first meal out in a restaurant following the covid lockdown was a treat. I went alone, which I enjoy. Some people find it odd or uncomfortable to eat by themselves but I love it.

The waiter pointed to a QR code on the table and told me that was the menu. I explained that my 13-year-old phone is a bit creaky and scanning a QR code would work very slowly or not work at all.

They must have something in place, I said, for people who don't have smart phones. The young chap looked at me in astonishment. No smartphone? Ok, I had maybe taken that too far.

It clearly hadn't occurred to anyone in the restaurant as there was no Plan B in place. There was, though, a chalkboard out on the street with some menu items on that.

The waiter and I went outside to stand in the rain while I pointed at the dishes I fancied.

In many places where customers register for track and trace you can leave a paper trail - write a note of your name and number. In others it's the most almighty faff.

Going to the theatre recently was a stress because I don't have a printer at home to print my tickets, didn't have the QR code but had assumed the box office would see me right. The staff member at the box office was not inclined to see this Luddite right.

I cannot count how many times I'm told to download an app. Or that something will be easier if I download the app. I don't want to download an app - I just want the information.

It's harder to argue against the enforced march of technology in a pandemic. It's reasonable to not have physical menus when it's safer not to touch shared objects and unreasonable to ask a staff member to take an order in person when it can be done online.

For work, I have a functioning smart phone. It's about six years old but works perfectly. But even though it's for work only, it's a relentless nag. Without my asking it to, it has started chiding me on a Monday morning. At the start of each week I receive an unsolicited pop-up notification informing me of my screen time from the previous seven days.

It tells you a number in hours and minutes and then follows this up with a percentage - were you up or down on last week. It's not explicitly chiding but it's judgemental, I can feel it.

Horrifyingly, it's usually between the four and five hour mark. A day. The thought of that amount of screen time leeching into my personal life as well as professional is unbearable. My favourite part of being at the cinema now is the enforced separation from digital devices.

With email and WhatsApp and Teams and Slack and all the rest, no one makes phone calls any more. There's a benefit of an old phone right there - I ring people, speak to them. So much better than endless messages.

In September when the new iPhone was released I took a look at it (other smart phones are available) and yes, it looks very shiny and nice. Stonking price tag though. Who are these people who upgrade their phones every year? Where do they get the funds and the energy?

In 2020, 1.38 billion smart phones were sold so I appreciate I'm in the minority. I resent being compelled to buy items that aren't built to last. Smartphones are the most forceful of this.

You can get away with most things. My GHD hair straighteners are an original model and two decades old. Kettles and irons and fridges can be patched up. Yet we allow tech companies to sell us these soon-to-be-dud items, no matter the impact they have on our wallets and our planet.

There are plenty of things we can do to keep our phones going for longer. Make sure they're clean so that dust doesn't cause overheating; have a clear out of unnecessary files; and update batteries when they start to run down.

Instead of nurturing a piece a kit, though, people like shiny new novelty objects. It's a silly habit and crushingly grim for the environment. It's estimated that in 2019 some 53.6 million metric tonnes of electronic waste was dumped. All those junked phones and old laptops.

I can't fathom why we put up with it. Manufacturers can develop technology that allows software updates for far longer than they currently do. They can create kit that makes it easy to replace and repair parts. They don't, and we let them off with it.

My anti-consumption stance is becoming less plausible by the minute but I'd like to get another 13 years out of my phone. Who can I call to ask?