Thursday, November 09, 2006

The 4 'R' s

The area where I work has "Remember the 4 R's" on the side of the bin lorries. It took me ages (and a peek round the opposite side) to realise this stood for
Reuse
Reduce
Recyle
Repair
Where I live they only ask you to remember the 3 'r's which are the first three. Over the last couple of days I've had a couple of conversations which have really brought home the fact that we have lost the art of repairing and 'making do'...
One of my work colleagues explained he had had a slightly embarrassing dinner party when at the end of the meal he went to make coffee only to find that the element on the kettle was no longer working. One of his guests came from an Eastern European country and calmly finished his can of beer, cut up the can, fixed it round the broken element, whilst explaining at home they would never just throw away a good kettle... and hey presto it worked.
Paul explained how when he was younger he helped tidy up his grandparents' kitchen drawers and found some small metal discs - which they explained were for repairing pans when they got holes in the bottom. I simply can't imagine ever using a pan enough to wear through the base ! And then another friend explained that as a child her grandma always used to whisk away any jumpers she had grown out of (which were usually stripy) and then she would get a very similar jumper back with a stripe of whatever was her favourite colour. It was a few years before she realised her jumpers were in fact essentially the same ones!!!

It seems that in this busy world where we are learning new skills constantly (how to work the DVD player, how to use blogger, how to use sat nav etc etc) there are lots of skills that we are also losing just as fast.

ps once again, I have posted this late... after trying for over 12 hours to get a connection with my broadband...! I feel a phone call to the provider coming on - just as soon as I have time.

1 comment:

Stuntmother said...

This was a wonderful and thought provoking post. We have lost the art of making do. And I think, as the first world collapses, we are going to need that art again and the new elite will be the craftspeople, the makers and repairers of things.

This gave me lots of think about.