Brave new world?

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Are things getting better or just more complicated?

I just signed the contract to rent my new apartment – paperwork was horrid and endless! I remembered as a dream the days when you met the landlord, they appraised you as a human being and if they liked what they saw you both signed a simple standard contract. I understand renting agents and referencing agents are safeguards for both parties, but it seems to have reached a stage of the ridiculous in expensive red tape.

Then there are the phone calls to providers and utilities where you run the gauntlet of endless answering machines then wait ages to finally you get to talk to another human.

For someone who never saw a TV set till I was five, (yes, I am that old lol!) had to walk to a phone box to make a call, found information at the local library, saw my dad repair shoes, make furniture, grow veg and cycle to work and my mum make our clothes on her new sewing machine and prepare all our food from scratch, I question which was better.

For all the medical advances – we seemed to be far healthier back then.

Communication advances – we actually developed social skills lol.

Entertainment advances – we had more fun doing simple stuff before we became over stimulated.

Mental health – most folks were pretty happy – I can’t remember ever hearing of depression or mental health issues. Of course they were not discussed so much back then. For sure they existed, but I suspect they were less prevalent. Following the trauma of the war it is surprising how cheerful and upbeat people seemed compared to now, perhaps due to the camaraderie and natural, supportive interaction of society. What we gained on the swings I suspect we lost on the roundabouts. Mental health became a doctors domain rather than being bolstered by close friendships and family.

Educational advances – more to learn, more pressure, more knowledge but far less wisdom and discernment.

Standard of living – higher for most (though not all) yet all in all I suspect the quality of life has taken a plunge.

While I applaud many of the new advances and innovations I regret the loss of much that was precious to the human soul.

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Time travel.

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My memory files are old, the draws rusted, hard to extract. The pages themselves abound with moth-holes.

Yet sometimes a picture, music, smell or sensation unlocks a door and I find myself in a past time, basking in its warm glow. I remember how it felt to be a child, a teenager, new mother, my first taste of the orient etc. etc. Sweet feelings overwhelm me and for a few blissful moments I taste the past again.

Like the hedgehog, as I gaze I’m back. Me and my sister, peering, noses cold against the window, all a hush as a dark, prickly shape appears, hesitantly nearing the saucer of milk my mother set out every night. I remember the cold of the kitchen, but the warmth of our hearts, my mother’s soft smile – she helped more than hedgehogs.  The tiny creature lapping eagerly outside our door was our shared secret.

 

I Remember.

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(from August 2014

Song Bird Songs

50s

I remember writing laboriously with pen nibs and ink, their pattern of blotches decorating my spidery drawl and blue blotting paper limiting the damage. I remember evenings in the sitting room gathered around the piano before TVs usurped the family hearth, my mother playing as we tried to sing along.
I remember watching as my father guided their waltzing steps round the dance floor amidst a ruffle of organza petticoats, his getting up before us all to light the coal fire, and carving beautiful furniture from wooden egg boxes.
I remember helping my mother pluck chickens and shell peas, her superb baking, and how she made our clothes on the little Singer sewing machine. Life was simpler then still in touch with its roots.
Now food comes ready made in packages, entertainment is available at the touch of a button, and central heating means I can snuggle in bed while…

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