It was a beautiful sunny day in Essex yesterday so Andy and I took the children to Maldon, a place we frequently go to. Not only are there great places for them to play but they've got one of the best Chinese buffets around (and pretty cheap at lunchtime too!)
I've being using lots of out-of-copyright images for my recent sets on Printable Heaven and this has meant that I'm spending lots of time in old bookshops and at boot sales, looking for old book with great usable picture. Our garage (which has been converted into our workspace) is slowly piling up with beautiful old books that I love to flick through. I just love the smell of them, musty and old and reminiscent of a time gone by.
Researching the artists and illustrators of the wonderful pictures I've found has re-awakened a dormant interest in social history that has lay buried in my head for a number of years. How did they live 100 years ago, what did they think about, what was important to them?
As we walked along Maldon High Street yesterday (digging round the charity shops of course) I looked up at the architecture of the lovely old buildings. Just beautiful. Mostly around 100 years old, some from 1895, 1912 and some undated but undoubtedly very old nonetheless. It struck me about how complicated we've made life - too fast, too pressured, too competitive.
Back then cakes would be homemade, meals freshly prepared - no Mr. Kiplings, no convenience meals. Time had to be taken. Vegetables would be freshly picked, or bought from locals who would have freshly picked them. Few cars, no phones, lots more walking, cycling, communicating face to face.
The 20th century revolutionised transport and communication more than ever before but has it really done us good?
There are far fewer 'housewives' today, much less cooking, much more rushing around and juggling our lives to fit in around work, children, social lives and more.
The capitalist government of the 80s wanted everyone to own their own house and car but has this led to better lives or worse? Everyone feels the need to keep up with what society seems to dictate we need.
Children don't seem able to just 'play', it all has to be video games, the TV and phones - they don't have imagination any more. The children of 100 years ago didn't have these things but they would have had great imagination for games and mischief!
It's been raining today and the children are in the house with the TV and play-station. I guess you can't change progress but I will try and take the time to do some good old-fashioned things with them - more walks, blackberry picking, ball games and the like. They both moan when these things are suggested but they always seem to enjoy it when we're out on these pursuits. Just waiting for the rain to leave off....