Sunday, June 26, 2016

Where has all that time gone? Tricia McGill

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Come October this year I will have been in Australia 50 years! Of course that sets me wondering just where all those years have gone. It seems that when we are young we are forever wishing our lives away. Remember when you told everyone you were as old as the upcoming birthday whereas now we tend to knock years off our age. Lord knows why I do it, but my sisters have always lied about their age, so I guess I just followed on with the fibs. It is just a number anyway and what difference does it make in the scheme of things. I have very few regrets and can honestly say my life has been full and rewarding—which is more than some people can boast.

The world has changed at a rapid rate. I did something yesterday that made me realize I am becoming that old lady who complains about what goes on in this world. But then again I had plenty to moan about. I won’t go into details but it was a foolish rant I had, as what I was complaining about is so out of my hands there is sweet nothing I could do to change things.

But, to be honest, I reckon I have earned the right to voice my opinion on the state of the world and my country and even the fact that there are far too many products on the shelves at my local supermarket, and I have to spend ages searching through the many products that are likely all the same but just have different names. And then there is the added problem of finding products that do not contain palm oil, or are gluten free, or don’t have too much salt, fat or sugar in them<sigh> etc. etc.

Things were simpler in my young days. My mother would write me out a shopping list and give me probably about ten shillings or a pound and off to the shops I would go with her cloth bag over my arm. I waited in a queue for the lady or man behind the counter to serve me (we knew the salespeople all by name and most of them knew us too). The biscuits were kept on a shelf in a tin and you asked for the amount you wanted and they would be weighed out and placed in a brown paper bag. Same with everything else. No yards and yards of plastic that would find its way into the sea and then into a poor hapless turtle who mistook it for food. No ten or more different types of milk that comes in plastic containers, just sterilized or pasteurized or plain milk that had a layer of cream on the top. Milk was delivered daily anyway by the trusty milkman, who would leave his bill at the end of the week with the milk and then next morning my mother would put the cash she owed him wrapped up in a piece of paper and tucked inside the top of an empty bottle. 

My love of horses stemmed from feeding crusts of bread to the milkman’s and baker’s horse who pulled their cart. Living in the center of London, this was the nearest I came to a horse until I was old enough to take a bus out to Epping Forest. My mother would let me keep the change, by the way, which was usually a penny or so. 

Now don’t get me started about the auto machines in supermarkets that have replaced the cashier who you can have a chat to. The stupid machine is only worried about whether you have any Fly Buys or whatever other gimmick the shop has going. The machines have diddled me three times now and if I didn’t have my wits about me and checked my receipt they would have charged me twice for articles.

We older folk tend to rant on about ‘The good ol’ days’ but between you and me they had a lot going for them. I would often miss the last bus home from a dance when I was a mere teenager and have to walk a mile home at around midnight with no fear of being attacked, propositioned or mugged. Perhaps I was just lucky, or it could be that we had no social media or TV to warn us about the evils lurking out there. Perhaps I just was, and have always been, one of those people who look at life through rose tinted glasses. In that I am fortunate as I’ve never had cause to view life with fear.

If we had to contact one of our many cousins or aunties who lived out of London, we wrote a letter. Get that? We actually sat and wrote it on paper, bought a stamp and posted it in the letter box! We never missed a marriage or any special occasion for that matter simply because we didn’t have a phone or any other means of getting in touch. If someone popped in for a visit they were always welcome even though they hadn’t warned us by phone or email that they were coming over. Oh dear, now I am becoming maudlin, but you get the drift, things were simpler then but life was a whole heap better—in my honest opinion.

Okay, time to stop my rambling on. I’ve said it before, I am no poet, but here are a couple of nonsensical rhymes I penned years ago to do with time and how it affects us with its passing.

Time Marches On.

Time marches on, it won’t stand still
Relentlessly it forges forever onward
As sure as a flood surges down a hill

Life as we know it is a precious thing
So soon youth is past and dreams are gone
Moving like clouds, forever fleeting

But old age brings chances to find peace and fly
To spread our wings and soar like a kite
With few pressing reasons to wonder why

Shortcomings are trifles of little concern
Worries don’t plague as they did when young
We have the complacence and wit to learn

When young we set out to prove we are strong
Told all we could overcome obstacles many
Could never abide being told we were wrong.

The advantages are many to being mature
Our critics don’t bother us much anymore
We have wisdom and knowledge making us sure

Why waste precious time on ponderous issues
Sit still, procrastinate about where and why
Why bother to fret about time we may lose

There are those around who will try to deter you
Criticize you often with unkind words
But maturity lends us a much different view

We have all the benefits of hindsight and age
Can take critics opinions with style and grace
Lose patience with those who fight and rage

There are still lots of things to do with our time
Places to go and stories to write
Our days we must fill with poems that rhyme

Time will catch up with these fingers and feet
Take away all our strength and our vigor
But while we’ve a brain any problems we’ll meet

Endeavors and dreams won’t lay waste
On and upwards we’ll go to fill that last page
One thing’s for sure we’re in no great haste

Till our last breath we’ll strive to fill the last page
Make statements that sometimes upset
But that’s the prerogative of those near old age

The sands of time run out oh so fast
We must fill our days as much as we can
Till we cross that last hill and breathe our last.

And this one is simply called PC. (I do love mine and wouldn’t be without it, or my laptop, but oh there are times when it can drive me insane.)

How I yearn sometimes for those long ago days
of carefree lessons with Miss Aniseed
A living teacher who talked, breathed and taught
the alphabet and sums, and how to read.

With a graph on the wall of the alphabet,
she taught us to know that B followed A
And how to read as if it was simply a game
that we just knew we had to play.

These days the children learn all that they know,
by staring at screens and pressing a mouse
They create data bases in front of these monsters,
and often don’t care to go out of the house.

They enrich their minds with all kinds of info
fill heads up with mind-boggling facts
All by playing around with a machine
a thing called a PC which always reacts.

How things have changed since those long ago days
when Miss Aniseed taught us how
to read and to write, to spell and to add.
In just a few decades we’ve reached here and now.                                                                                    

computerized world where fingers and toes
aren’t needed to count up to twenty
Where some machine with an endless supply
of instructions is there to teach us plenty.

By opening windows, they solve problems
and puzzles with consummate ease
Peer at horizons; create new dimensions,
with just a few taps on appropriate keys.

But even with all its careful programming,
its systems and drives can be really perplexing
To lose a file, get lost in confusion inside
this thing’s brain can be really vexing.
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