LAST week I found myself having to buy a new laptop, my third.

I’d hoped the old one might last a bit longer. But it had had two new batteries and a new screen, and when everything else began to slow down I decided it would be an indirect economy to buy a brand new one rather than pay for more repairs.

My brother, who works in IT and seems to know about these things, says laptops may need replacing every four or five years. Like cars, they aren’t made to last forever – and the computer manufacturers would make less money if they were.

So it was a simple case of old age. It’s what we’d all rather die from.

There was only a week between the sad passing

of the old computer and

the arrival of the new one, and I was surprised just how disconnected and almost vulnerable I felt without it.

I can check emails on my phone, but I can’t imagine sending them on that small screen. I would always prefer to use a computer for reading anything longer than a short message, or checking train times, or doing internet banking – and discovering how little money you have left when you’ve just had to fork out for a new laptop.

About 15 years ago I got by without internet access at home and now I don’t know how I ever did.

Technology works its way into our lives. I imagined my first mobile phone would spend most of its time in its box, only out on special occasions.

Now it wakes me up in the morning, stores most people’s phone numbers and –without a landline – is my main means of communicating with my family. Leaving the house without it would feel like leaving the house without my shoes.

Mobile phones and computers at home may have become necessities for almost all of us, but I’ve never had a good relationship with technology in any of its digital forms and suspect the distrust and dislike are mutual.

When I first got a laptop I left the box in the hallway while I went to clear a space for its longer-term location – and managed to trip over the box later, landing painfully on both knees.

Two days after that I tripped over the cable, landing at an angle that bashed most of the toes on my right foot. I felt like Frank Spencer.

That foot has never been quite the same since. It doesn’t bother me unduly.

I was never likely to charge up and down Scafell Pike or compete in the Great North Run. And I’ve long since abandoned my international footballing dreams.

But the injuries weren’t over. The following week a BT engineer came to hook me up to the internet. To do so he needed into the roofspace, which is accessed by a hatch on the upstairs ceiling.

I pressed it to open it and it swung back and hit me squarely in the forehead. The engineer kindly offered to take me to casualty but I told him I would be fine and instead sat down and dabbed my brow with a cold face cloth for the next half-hour.

Forget what they say about a possible link between childhood obesity and large periods of time spent online. The internet seemed to be damaging my health. After three injuries in the space of seven days I began to suspect that its inventors wanted me dead.

At the very least, we got off on the wrong foot.

It wasn’t long after that first laptop was up and running that I got a bit of a scare. I was aimlessly joyriding on the internet when the screen was suddenly filled by what looked like a police symbol and a message that declared: “You are guilty of downloading child pornography and information of use to terrorists and infringing the Official Secrets Act. Pay £200 to avoid immediate prosecution.”

I was gullible enough to suspect I might have accidentally stumbled across some illegal websites. In my panic and stupidity I even phoned the police and a patient officer told me not to worry, it was a scam – and that if I really was guilty of any of these they would have been knocking on my door by now.

Looking back I’m amazed at my stupidity at ever suspecting it really was the police asking for money. But in the context of all the other harm computers had done me, I suppose it was no surprise.