Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Why my Nana made her own jam. Why the Queen always eats all her potatoes. Why the *plastic age* is to blame for everything.

"Once I start a book I finish it. That was the way one was brought up. Books, bread and butter, mashed potato - one finishes what's on one's plate. That's always been my philosophy."

----> The *Real* Queen of England, yesteryear ---->

My grandad had an allotment, my nana made sugary jam out of his gooseberries n raspberries.

My nana liked have a tidy house, she was forever runnin the Ewbank up n down the carpet in the living room. While we sat there with our legs in the air watching her push n pull the thing up n down - trying to get it to pick up a patch of dry speck of dirt - when frankly it would've been easier to bend down and pick up the fleck of dusty wool by hand. If my nana could actually bend down etc. But with an old Ewbank, it was more *the thought that counts*. If it had been Ewbanked it was clean; despite all those flecks of whatnot on the rug. Much effort was expended. No electricity was wasted.

"However, as some of you may know, I have always disliked waste. One not wholly mythical version of my character has me going round Buckingham Palace switching off the lights, the implication being that one is mean, though these days it could better be put down to an awareness of global warming."

But, yeh, that was about the size of it as far as my nana's interest in conserving and *preserving the environment* was concerned. She liked to keep her conserves & jams neatly stacked in date order in the back larder. She liked to keep the sideboard dust-free and the fancy horse brasses that hung on the wall polished. And yet. And yet. And yet...

The way she lived then, is how we are expected to live now - and in the future:
  • put a padded sausage dog thing against the bottom of the door to keep the draft out
  • knit
  • garden
  • use cheap natural things instead of expensive chemical products
  • cycle, get the bus, walk
  • put an extra jumper on when it gets cold [advises the CEO of Centrica/British Gas]
  • 'make do & mend'
Why we are inevitably returning to a slightly more *techno* version of the 1950s

Here it is. We lived through *The Age of Plastic* from about 1970 to its apogee in, well, 2006? Maybe? When people started gettin into the whole recycling/cycling to work kinda deal. So we had a good 26 years of increasing waste and until we reached a time where it was a *good* thing to have products with micro-life-spans: sell-by dates of tomorrow, razors you use once & bin, contact lenses you use for 8 hours & bin. P*****k clothes that are so *fashionable* and cheap to produce that the manufacturers really aren't expecting you to wear them in 2 months, never mind 2 years time.

We had a *Golden Age* of wasteful consumerism and now we're coming out the other side. We're just sort of starting to realise that.

Of course, when I say we, I mean me. I enjoyed it while it lasted. Cheap clothes, cheap 3p baked beans, Megabus for £1, Easyjet for 1p. *What's not to like?*

But now all that's over, apparently - and the future might be the return of...

  • Schools collecting newspapers & gettin paid money for the old newsprint - like they did when I was at school.
  • Glass beer bottles that are now expensive to manufacture it becomes more economically viable to clean em & refill em. Like they used to do where you got tuppence if you took em back to the shop.
  • Rag'n'bone men - I saw one yesterday! Well, sort of. A man with a baby buggy with a broken electric cooker precariously balanced on it. So he was a sort of a rag'n'bone man. A or a thief, an idiot, or someone moving house.
  • Tinkers stealing lead of the roof, ripping out copper pipes & making a fortune.
  • Everyone wanting an allotment (hmmm, started).
The past 20-odd-years - were just the aberrations of the plastic era.

Biofuels? Bio-fuels? Like gettin crops n converting them into fuel to power your vehicle?

Ooooh, sounds complex. Possibly a wasteful process powering all those machines that do the job of converting oily crops into useable vehicle gas. Right. Okay. Fine.

How about this idea. Get a field of grass. Or some bales of hay, whatever! Get a horse. Get a cart. Sit in the cart. Tether up the horse. Go.

Biofuels a go-go. The future is the past, but with wooden laptops...

1 comment:

  1. I have a signed copy of it! I loved it.