Two things happened yesterday which reminded me of the old days and of today - and how they differ. And I suppose in every generation or two there are changes like this - or is this perhaps the century where things have changed more quickly than ever before?
First of all the Postman arrived with a Parcel for me (a cardigan - I buy all my clothes and all my books on line). We had a chat on the doorstep and he remarked that these days other than parcels all he seemed to deliver was junk mail - everything else was done 'on line'. I reminisced about my childhood when everything was done by letter'. In the thirties only a few 'important people' in the village had a phone, the rest of us went to the red phone box, put in our two pence and pushed Button A if somebody answered and Button B if we wanted our money back. Everything that wasn't urgent was done by letter. My mother wrote to her sisters - two in Huddersfield working in the cotton mills and one in The Dukeries working in service- regularly and received replies and I would pick up the envelopes and recognise who the letters were from by the writing. There were two deliveries each day - one in the morning and one just after lunch and it was rare for there to be no mail because both of my parents were avid writers. I wrote thank you letters at Birthdays and Christmas and - like all my friends - from the age of around ten I had a pen friend in England (she was called Diana Wickens. I wonder what happened to her - she lived somewhere on the South Coast but I can't remember where) and a pen friend in France in the hope of improving my French. How times have changed - it is e mails,facebook - all the modern ways - or nothing these days. And so the Post Office dwindles - and will probably disappear altogether in a few years.
And that brings me to the second thing. I watched 'Who do you think you are?' last evening on the television. It was David Walliams looking back into his Family History. On one side was the terrible First World War and a Grandfather who spent forty odd years in what was then called 'a Lunatic Asylum' suffering from 'Shell Shock' - dreadful to hear about. Then the other side of his family where a relative went blind after a cataract operation went wrong and ended up playing a Barrel Organ in Portsmouth in an effort to keep his six children and his wife fed and clothed. But there there was a happy ending when he 'made good' and ended up owning a Funfair. We saw lovely old film of the funfair and it was just as I remembered it - and by golly that made me feel old!! There were swing boats, cockerels and horses, the whip, the cake walk, the flying chairs - all the fairground rides I remember going on as a child and the things like the shooting gallery, the roll a penny, all the places where you never won but always thought you might. And there were the side shows - the world's fattest man, the world's thinnest woman, various 'freaks' as they were called - hideous and not even contemplated in such circumstances these days but the only way to survive in those far off days.
And I wondered how we will be viewed in a hundred year's time - what things that we now do and take forgranted will be looked back on in amazement. How everything changes and how slowly we change with it. I might be almost 88 but I am using the internet - as are almost all of my friends. Progress indeed.
One thing doesn't change and that is children's humour. There was a delightful example of it during the programme about David Walliams who is of course a comedian. Apparently he is also a childrens' author and it showed him reading one of his books to a hall full of very young, Primary School children. He read about a little boy who had so much air blowing out of his bottom that it shot him up into the air. When he read it out the whole hall erupted with laughter and you realised that he had just got the humour right for the age. It was an absolute delight to see.
And a final note - lovely day here - I had my usual long walk and I enjoyed every single minute of it. My gardener has been and has cut all my hedges and also sawn down two old trees - we really are getting there at last.