Monday, June 06, 2011

Back In The Day.........

One of my fav US tv shows is Pawn Stars and I was delighted when I noticed that on my return to the UK, the show is broadcast here too. For obvious reasons, I much prefer writing the name down than saying it out loud. Maybe it's my accent but I find much confusion arises when recommending it to friends and they tend to walk away muttering "pervert" under their breaths.

I'm a bit worried what they'll think when I tell them a new variant of the show is coming here soon......Hardcore Pawn Stars ! Set in a well dodgy part of Detroit, I don't expect the customers to be as polite (or as white) as the ones in the Las Vegas original. I can't wait.

Anyway the point is that on the Vegas show, every time someone comes in with an item older than 50 years or so, the guys who own the store will invariably use the expression "back in the day" when describing its function or reason d'etre.

"Back in the day this Betamax recorder was the iPad of sophisticated home recording."

That sort of thing.

If it's one thing we learn from these shows which reintroduce us to items from history, it's that stuff was built to last back then....back in the day. How many of today's mass produced Taiwanese products will be about in the next century ? The next decade ? Next week ?

Many of today's products have incredibly short life expectancies. They're designed to be thrown away if the slightest feature breaks and with redundancy built in at the factory, it WILL break sooner than later. I mean 25th century archaeologists aren't going to be digging up mp3s and TiVos and going....hey lets power these suckers up and see if they still work. They simply won't BE there TO dig up.

But not those items from back in the day. Oh no. They were made to last and I've got a couple of them in my house. In fact if you add my house, that's three !

One of the first items I bought when I moved into this, my first house, was a microwave oven. This was back in 1983 so kinda borderline for back in the day but as it'll screw up my blog post if I leave it out, go along with me here. 28 years later and it's still going strong but I tend to press the start button and retire to a safe distance as I'm sure the door seal disintegrated years ago. Would explain my lack of children and why it's not only my watch dial that glows faintly in a dark room.

A couple of years ago I did get a new combi oven but just couldn't throw out the old Sharp. And very useful it's been too. Plenty of microwaves left in the old dog yet. And I still have the manual for it.

But even older is my central heating boiler. It was here when I bought the house and who knows how long before that. It's fuelled by peat and the instructions are in Latin. It's very inefficient now and the pilot light gets harder and harder to fire up when I return from my winters in Florida. Every year the service engineer tells me it won't last much longer and with parts hard to find for it, I really should think about getting a new one. But as it was built 'back in the day' and works fine once the pilot light is sorted out, I nod and agree and do nothing about it.

Till now.

After its service last week, I just had a feeling it's not going to last much longer. So tomorrow a bright shiny (very expensive) new boiler arrives and will be installed the next day. After over 28 years in MY service, the current one owes me nothing but I won't shed a tear when it goes. Maybe it's because I didn't buy it. Maybe it's because it's hidden away in a cupboard and only seen a few times a year. And yes, I do have the manual for it too !

I like old things. Old but reliable things with plenty of life left in them. I like to think I'm one myself.


Daphne said...

"It's fuelled by peat and the instructions are in Latin". As you know, I've had to get up stupidly early today for a stupidly long day. But that one will keep me chuckling all the way to Hull, thank you! Good luck for the new boiler.

rhymeswithplague said...

Wonderful post, Ian!

I myself have lasted for 70 years. Although some of my features are indeed broken, I thank God daily for certain redundancies that were built in at the factory.

I shudder to think which of your parts glow in the dark.

Dylan said...

If only you came with a manual, Ian...

Most Recent Awards

Most Recent Awards