Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be
Maybe it was the wet summer, or the fact that there is a wasps’ nest in the garden which still seems to be flourishing even though I paid the council to get rid of it, or maybe I’d had a surfeit of shocking news items. Whatever the cause, I became extremely worried recently because I seemed to be turning into a female equivalent of John Major.
Now this does not mean I was tempted to aspire to the highest office in the land, nor was I gazing lasciviously at the male equivalent of Edwina Currie (suggestions on a postcard please). I didn’t wish to drink some warm beer and nor was I fighting the urge to wear my knickers over my trousers.
You might well be wondering what was left of the John Major legacy – yes I know, how could I forget his radical Cones Hotline policy? – well, it was nostalgia. Cue for warm fuzzy feeling around the toes, radiant sunshine with vistas of Hovis landscapes, people leaning over farm gates chewing straws, and there in the distance a large soft focus sign in the clouds saying BACK TO BASICS.
The Major Back to Basics speech was all about the values of neighbourliness, decency and courtesy. There was a yearning for self-discipline and respect for the family and the law. Then just as I was losing myself in a fluffy reverie involving scones and jam I suddenly came to with a start. I realised that actually things really weren’t so bad:
- I went out to the shops and somebody with a full basket in the queue asked if I wanted to go ahead as I was only buying a couple of items.
- I drove the car to the garage to fill up the petrol and another driver motioned me forward to the pump.
- I saw someone in the street carefully cleaning up after their dog.
- Some people who had come for supper sent a thank you note.
- I was told a true story of a foreign businessman who left his wallet and briefcase in a London taxi – the briefcase had a large amount of cash and the wallet contained numerous personal ID items. When he went to the police he found everything has been handed in intact. Even more surprising for him, as his country of origin does not rank high in Transparency International’s league table of corruption, the policeman at the station did not expect a ‘thank you’ brown envelope.
- I watched a two year old at a fun play centre. He wanted to run around in the indoor football pitch, where there were several much larger children playing with a number of balls. Every time one of them spotted he had lost the ball they would carefully kick or hand another one to him.
John Major eat your heart out, I don’t need your nostalgia. I feel rather like the boy at the summer camp in the Allan Sherman song Hello Muddah, Hallo Faddah.* Having written a long complaining letter to his parents to be taken home, he then notices that things are picking up: ‘Guys are swimming, guys are sailing, playing baseball, hey that’s better. Muddah Faddah kindly disregard this letter.’