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Every child going through secondary school, at some stage has questioned the relevance of some lesson or another. I personally never did (I was too eager to absorb any  knowledge) though I still haven’t used trigonometry this last 40 years, so perhaps should of. You should be glad for every lesson, every experience life presents you, however irrelevant you think it may be.

This week-end is a case in point.

This week Mini Issie was having a shower….. Now water pressure here is low at the best of times so we try not to turn on a tap when the shower is on…..the super-duper-state-of-the-art safety feature will kick in and shut down…… an effect Mini has experienced twice this week already! So post shut down screams, adamant denials and and a restart would normally suffice and did for a moment. Then after a momentary smell of burning, the super-duper-state-of-the-art fuse box kicks in….. Flash!…. bang….No shower

Most of the time I am resourceful enough to be able to repair stuff, so I buy new part and turn off power. To quote my Dad we ‘let the dog see the rabbit’ and the molten mass of wire that greeted me was all I needed.

Lesson one, know your limitations. In these days of over burdened ‘health & safety’ the art of risk assessment is no longer  learnt as a child by experiencing life. The fall out of a tree, don’t go that fast on my bike,  but drinking from a flowing stream is ok type of learning. Now it’s a 1 day seminar watching short films that are more akin to a fly-on-the-wall-docu in A&E or a trailer for ‘zombie versus alien nightmare on my street’. Re-teaching something that should of be learn’t by the under 10’s, in life enriching ways rather than sleep inducing policy documents.

Melted wiring is best left to the experts!

I am now showing the family how life was before modern convenience.


Lesson two, never take things for granted. Teaching them to do things using only a bowl of water having boiled a kettle first. The order in which to wash yourself for maximum hygiene, re-a-lines the ‘what’s really important’.

I realize how I lived up till the age of 10 in three rooms and no bathroom, while it sounds deprived, was very privileged.  I only remember blissful happiness and stability. Our home full of love and resilience that has prepared me for this moment. All sorts of useful knowledge. How to stay warm without central heating, how to light an open fire without firelighters, bottling, making stock, sewing a button back on, darning a patch, living off seasonal vegetables, turning a door into a table when you have a houseful. Things that I would never need once Modern living and super-duper-state-of-the-art world become normal. But I’m so glad that I do because this life will not last and the knowledge I know will become important once again.