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COLUMN: Senior Moment - ‘Bring back the horse and cart, I say’

By OPINION | Dr Hilary Bungay, leader in health services research Anglia Ruskin University

John Docker
John Docker

After weeks in the arms of the NHS, my normal, reasonably sprightly gate has been severely diminished by the need for an extra leg – by way of a walking stick, I hasten to say, to provide more confidence in the anti-wobble department that increasingly besets us oldies.

So I must admit that I find the current stories about driverless cars and lorries more than somewhat alarming.

I know what I prefer but nostalgia is fast becoming obsolete and I fear my generation may well be the last to appreciate it

I have this vision of standing in the middle of a zebra crossing, with a convoy of driverless lorries hurtling towards me ... and no sign of any reduction in speed, anyone in charge or, even worse, a driver with his feet up on the dashboard, totally oblivious of his surroundings.

I know, I know, the experts will tell us that it won’t be like that at all, and that everything will be under control.

But we all know what happens to political promises, so I have no faith in this particular brand of high-tech transport. Bring back the horse and cart, I say, our gardens need you.

Yes, hands up those oldies out there who remember, in their youth, being sent outside, armed with a shovel, to pick up the horse droppings from the milk float to feed the roses.

Those were the days alright. Now, instead of this more sedate and civilised form of delivery, all we can look forward to is parcels dropped from drones. Heaven only knows what happens if you buy a piano.

You may be wondering where this nostalgic drivel is coming from, so I’ll tell you.

News that Yellow Pages is shutting shop after more than 50 years of faithful service telling us all where to go – in the nicest possible way, of course – comes as another nail in the coffin of memorable milestones of yesteryear that are fading into obscurity, adding to an increasing list of products and services made redundant by that all-embracing never-ending fountain of knowledge known as the internet.

The decline and transition to a purely digital service was, I suppose, inevitable, as is a whole raft of reference works along with books and – dare, I say it, eventually newspapers.

The modern concept is why clutter shelves, carry books and fill recycle bins when you can get all the information you need from a hand-held tablet full of miracles?

I know what I prefer but nostalgia is fast becoming obsolete and I fear my generation may well be the last to appreciate it.

Finally, I see a pensioner has been accused of – wait for it – attacking his neighbour with a leaf blower. A leaf blower?

A fork or spade (possibly), a pair of shears or garden rake (definitely), a quick hoe up the jumper (maybe), even a pick-axe, but a leaf blower? Nah, never.

I can hardly lift mine, let alone attack anyone with it. Mind you, I am still feeling a bit weak from my hospital stay.

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