On a recent trip to walk in the Cotswolds with David, my son of 27, we discussed many things including the rate of change and inventions.   I told him there was some evidence that the pace of change was slowing – not speeding up as most people believe.  I gave some examples of the staggering rate of change/inventions  in my late father’s lifetime (he was born in 1908 and died 99 years later) and some examples of things that are taken for granted today that I did not have as a child in the 40’s and 50’s.  I have been thinking of more examples ever since and no doubt I’ll think of some more.

I’m going to share the list (see below) but before doing so I want to make it clear that I was perfectly happy without these things; it’s hard to miss what doesn’t exist!  On the plus side we had some things that are in short supply nowadays – freedom to roam, for example, without anyone fretting about where we were and whether we were safe.  As a 10 year old, I spent ages out on my bicycle with friends and during school terms I cycled to and from school on a journey that took me from one side of Oxford to the other (if you know Oxford, that included crossing Carfax – unthinkable for an unaccompanied 10 year old today).

So, I offer my list cheerfully, not feeling in the least deprived by any of these lacks.  In no order of importance:

  • No SatNavs/speed cameras (and very few traffic lights)
  • No fast food outlets such as McDonalds/Burger King
  • No coffee house chains such as Starbucks/Nero’s
  • No supermarkets
  • No frozen foods
  • No plastic bags/cling film/packaging
  • No central heating/no heaters in cars
  • No computers/smart phones/ebooks (and obviously no internet)
  • No TVs (the few there were pretended to be cabinets and had very small screens)
  • No CDs/DVDs
  • No seat belts/radios in cars
  • No plastic toys
  • No holidays abroad
  • No pornography
  • No swimming pools (we swam in rivers) and gyms
  • No obesity/exposed cleavages/midriffs/mini-skirts
  • No washing machines/dishwashers/microwaves
  • No denim/jeans
  • No trainers
  • No post-it notes


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