While I was out walking the other day, a light aircraft flew overhead.
Nothing unusual about that; with its single engine, whirring away gently like they do, it milled across the sky like it could have been any time during the past 70 years.
Then I walked past somebody who was wearing tweed; which, again, is not uncommon round my way – the peculiarly, slightly disconcertingly old-fashioned bit of Middle England where trousers of colour outnumber people of colour by an alarming ratio.
Anyway, there’s a reason for tweed: it’s late summer, after all, so it's starting to get a bit cooler. Perhaps, I thought, when I get home, I’ll warm the house up by setting fire to a lump of wood.
Odd, isn’t it? All of these pieces of – for want of a better word – technology have been surpassed. Or could have been, if we’d wanted to surpass them. Perhaps I’m stretching the point a little with the light aircraft, but there are far more ‘technical’ fabrics than tweed, far more efficient and less time-consuming ways to heat one corner of one room of a house by seasoning wood for three years and then burning it. But, here we are, yearning for the inefficient: owning a range cooker, mowing lawns ourselves when a robotic mower would do it better, buying vinyl or, indeed, using a classic car.
‘Eschew’ is a banned word in the Autocar style guide for the good reason that it makes you sound like a div, but when it comes to modernising elements of our lives, it fits. There is a great deal of eschewery of the latest things going on. I could control the temperature of my home via an app, on a phone. Apparently some people even do. But somehow it is nicer to watch flames flicker and burn. And then go out. And then flicker. And fade again and… I don’t know, I think it would have been easier if I’d just put the heating on.