I am a huge fan of all things technical and have a wide array of gadgets, most of which I use about a third or less of its overwhelming functions and I certainly don’t capitalize on their ability to change peoples lives supposedly for the better. I cant be bothered most of the time to read the manual which would enable me to get the most out of each particular gadget, instead I fumble about like a drunk with his shoes on the wrong feet walking in a room full of mouse traps. That said I seem to be quite happy with my shortcomings as I know soon enough a five year old from my daughters school will enlighten me somewhat and show me how to get my phone to switch on the quantum leap function and use the cosmic singularity button.
During my forty five years of life I have witnessed the rapid introduction of many things technical, most of which are mind blowing when I think back to watching black and white television on a 16 inch screen with the family like an illustration from a world war two textbook, likewise cassettes (and vinyl) were the music of choice having to rewind and forward wind to get to the song we wanted to hear and in England as a child I always remember the milkman, a man who drove around in a odd looking vehicle delivering milk to your door fresh every day, and then on a thursday he would ring your doorbell and ask for payment with his pouch full of pennies and other coins he collected from his other customers whilst on his plight to collect more coins in one day than the national mint. I distinctly remember the sound of his money bag approaching from at least ten miles away !
There are three things that I miss, and it is with a heavy heart as one of them is close to home. Firstly, the telephone. I remember when the phone rang at home my brother and I would race to the phone like gladiators competing for the prize of an extended life while the loser would have to expect certain death at the hands of starving lions. Then if you happened to be victorious in that sprint to the finish line before we picked up the receiver, we would stop suddenly and like a soldier on parade, sweep our hair into a less messy heap, straighten our shirt, take a deep breath and then answer the phone like it was a real privilege and badge of honour. “Hello…454 4945 who’s speaking please”, Usually it ended badly and extremely anti climatic as the call was for Mum or Dad or older brother but at least I got to answer the phone………yes !
Secondly, and most of my generation are guilty of this and that is very few people actually write letters anymore. I went to boarding school for a good few years and every Sunday morning (after church) we had to write a letter to a family member. Then of course we were young and thought this process was akin to that of being a prisoner serving fifteen to life, but now as an adult I think back to that and realize how great it was, not only did it improve our penmanship but imagine old Auntie Ethel when she got that letter from her favourite nephew, oh the joy ! Needless to say I don’t think I was ever anyones favourite nephew but the fact remains that writing a letter is not only therapeutic but it gives the recipient such a unique emotion which was commonplace back in my youth but now sadly very rare.
Thirdly, and the one that bothers me the most and is definitely the saddest. Most people have forgotten the magical power of flowers. Flowers are without doubt the quickest way to brighten up someones day, not chocolates or a voucher to some awful eatery on the high street that serves chicken and chips, or a bottle of cheap French wine which always gets regifted anyway. Flowers are simply the best way to cover the multitude of reasons why people need cheering up. Perhaps someone needs a thank you, or has just experienced the dealing of life’s rougher cards, or had a baby, passed an exam, got a new job……….whatever the reason flowers are still the greatest way to put a smile on someones face. Not only do flowers put a smile on a friends face but also they work wonders when you give flowers to a workmate or a person who you know through another friend and so on. There is no better way than walking into someones dinner party with a big bouquet of colourful flowers. Instant happiness ! We have flowers in the house every week, not surprisingly, and they transform the space into something magical, they create a certain feel that only flowers can, if there are no flowers in the house it feels naked and although there is never any shortage of action in our crazy abode, flowers always make the daily routine more enjoyable. Everyone loves receiving flowers and there is no shortage of flower sellers in our towns and cities, make it a weekly event and treat yourself or someone else to a fresh bouquet of flowers, it works wonders.