farthings and fancy cars
Christmas is coming the goose is getting fat
Please put a penny in the old man’s hat
If you haven’t got a penny a farthing will do
If you haven’t got a farthing God bless you.
Christmas is indeed coming, but farthings (a quarter of a penny) are long gone. The man with the hat is sadly still with us. I was speechless to read the news reports about “Black Friday”. With apologies to my American readers, but this is yet another US import that we really could have done without. As I try to gradually rid our house of all the unnecessary stuff that we have accumulated without even noticing (sometimes I really do think that clutter does procreate and at the rate of rats as well) people are killing each other in order to get a discount on something they probably didn’t even know they wanted.
What is our relationship with belongings? Why do we feel the need to own things, does it validate us? We are probably quite unusual in that we have never taken out a loan to buy a car, we always buy second hand and we buy the best we can afford with the money we are prepared to send. Consequently I have never owned an Audi nor a Merc nor a Range Rover. We have to have a 4×4 because of where we live and we have a 16 year old RAV (one careful female owner whose father happened to be a car mechanic and only 80,000 on the clock – private sale for less than £2K) It does what it says on the tin. I don’t need to say who I am by the car I drive.
We do need the basics for life and most of us would like some creature comforts, I am not for a moment suggesting that asceticism is the only way to go but I am staggered by the conspicuousness of the consumption. I like to look good, I like my home to look good and feel comfortable, I like a car that starts and I enjoy my food and drink. I do not need 50 handbags and 20 black skirts. We need only one fridge and as long as it is the right size for our family and keeps the food cold does it matter how old it is?
Age and background don’t seem to make any difference. Is it our fault? Have we brought this upon ourselves? Can we stem the tide or is it too late?
It is the third day of Advent. If you would like to do it a little bit differently you could do no worse than read Stephen Cottrell’s excellent book.