11 September 2012
It is about 10.30 in the morning. Yesterday a milestone was passed. Our Creda drying machine gave up the ghost. I cannot say precisely when we bought it, but it is certainly older than daughter Chloe (born 1967), in other words the best part of half a century. In speaking to the engineer, he made a classic retort that they don’t make them like this any more, and on this occasion the comment was apt and honest. They really do not make them like this any more.
The point being that for a period after the Second World War, when we were putting ourselves together again, we took a pride in our products and really did make them to last. Whether they were meant to last half-century or not, this particular machine has been extraordinarily reliable. Its replacement, purchased only yesterday afternoon (there is still some quality left in the old-fashioned store from which we purchased this replacement, ignoring all the special offers from the giant warehouses and sticking to the little electrical ‘white goods’ store with whom we have dealt for the last 50 years), is already humming away quietly in our laundry, having set out on a five year mission, after which we can expect it to fail, or put another way, give up the ghost.
I wrote, in this blog a couple of days ago about our first landing on Mars, this whole exercise being carried out with Nan-second accuracy. The same accuracy that can now predict the expected lifespan of one white goods or another. I find it sad to have slipped from one type of world, where products were made with pride and the ability to last, giving good value for money, compared with today’s attitude of an expected short life. With the catchword ‘ nothing to pay for four years’, tagged onto many a new product. There is scarcely a time when the average household is not paying for something new (a replacement) . This is an attitude which today’s young couple will not find difficult to accept as they know nothing better but there are still a few old fogeys around like us who still do value well made product and indeed expect it.
A period and mixed messages. There are undoubtedly autumnal signs in the air. What do the summer that we all long for during the never ending period of cold wet weather? He had appeared like a Sunbeam, in the forest, transient and if you are not quick you could miss it. Certainly autumn is upon us. Whilst the remnants of leather against willow skill echoed around the cricket grounds, over the next hedge can be heard the thumps and yells which accompany them, heralding the beginning of the football season.
The Paralympics are finished. Now it’s all about legacy. Certainly there can be no argument that the Games inspired many youngsters to start out on that long road to an Olympic stadium somewhere. Have they really stopped to think of the six hours a day, every day except perhaps Christmas Day, when they will be pounding the road or training in the gym for whatever event they are targeting to appear in some future Olympic Games.? Have they really got that stickability?
The person who I should perhaps now be referring to as an icon (‘my lovely’s’ bête noire description) for British tennis, that uninspiring but certainly up there with the best in the world, Andy Murray. Let us hope that he is on a roll which started by winning the gold medal at the Olympic Games, followed shortly by winning his first grand slam, the American US Open, at Flushing Meadows – certainly a great milestone in tennis when you consider that the last man to win this particular grand slam was Fred Perry, 76 years ago and Andy’s this first, of many, we hope,. I certainly recall an added spark of enthusiasm whenever the Wimbledon tennis started. But then some thing or other intervened, with an air of immediacy, taking precedence over the pledge not to allow anything to intervene in this schedule of training for the targeted Olympic Games, probably some eight years hence. So from the torrent of interest, now specifically called the Legacy what can we do to prevent this torrent from dwindling to a mere trickle. That then is the next task, to maintain the enthusiasm and proving that there really is a legacy from the Games.