Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. ~ Leonardo da Vinci
‘Sailing the Ssese Islands’
I’ve never been much of a grump. I’ve been uppity-downity sometimes, but I could generally laugh myself out of it quite quickly. Now, however, I seem to be getting grumpier and grumpier as each day passes. Maybe it’s because England doesn’t seem to want to have a summer this year. Or maybe, as each new wrinkle manifests itself like some dry, dusty riverbed across the map of my face, the grump factor goes up.
My main grump today is about how 21st century children have too many toys. And too much television. Speaking of telly, I watched a fascinating programme – yes, on television - a while ago about a delightfully anachronistic family known collectively as The F****** Fulfords**. I laughed fit to bust for the entire programme – it was an absolute gem. I even gave Mrs F. F. a full-on standing ovation when, in a fit of pique, she ripped the the family television from its plug and flung it into a lake at the bottom of their garden.
** It has been pointed out that I should explain that the Fulfords live in an 800-year old crumbling manor house in Devon where the ball-room is used as a roller skating rink by their four children.**
In fact, some of the best axioms on ‘too much stuff’ I’d ever heard came from her husband, Francis. This one, for starters, “My father made sure our one tap still came from the well. Health and Safety came round — you had the sods even then — and discovered that our water was being filtered through a dead rabbit. We didn’t care. At least it meant we could go to India and not get the shits. Who needs more than one tap, eh?” I digress….
See, the thing is…..21st century children have lots of toys. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of toys. Toys that light up. Toys that talk. Toys that sing. Toys that flash, spin, beep, hop, bop, bang, dance and crash. Some of their toys even have babies. Sheesh. No wonder they all need to start the day with a Ritalin tablet after eating their chocolate covered cornflakes.
But give them an old saucepan and a wooden spoon and they’ll start a band. Towels can become turbans; a rug becomes a magic carpet; an old cushion can change your shape; a torn sheet can transform itself into an Indian teepee; that broom behind the kitchen door is a white stallion or a rodeo bull. A large cardboard box is a boat, or a secret den, or a fairy castle.
Where did your imagination take you when you were little?