It’s a fact that many people of my generation are always banging on about the good old days. We tell ourselves that things were all Enid Blyton and Long John Silver when we were young and that the world was a kinder and safer place all round.
The long hot summer days of our school holidays seemed to go on and on. We swam in open-air public pools, picked bluebells for our mums, roller-skated in the street and went fishing. And if we were lucky, spent a fortnight at the seaside.
School stood small and distant as we lived every minute of the day to the full.
Life was uncomplicated. Or was it?
Most families happily lived in rented accommodation and mortgages were the exception not the rule.
Cars were few if you lived on a council estate and even televisions were a luxury that relatively few could aspire to, because then our parents only bought what they could afford to pay for in hard-earned cash.
Now millions own their own homes – if the millstone of interminable mortgage payments can be called ownership. There is a car or two in the driveway, we clamour to buy the latest in electronic wizardry and multiple foreign holidays are the norm.
But the pressure to maintain a certain lifestyle has become enormous.
Medical science has made advances, but obesity has reached epidemic proportions, new diseases with weird sounding names constantly appear and the scourge of cancer marches on.
It’s risky to let your children out to play and teenagers increasingly hit the town with the deliberate intention of becoming wasted, subsequently sharing their dinner with the rest of the world.
Where the fear of mutual destruction kept the fingers off the nuclear button during the cold war years, today we have terrorist organisations that would destroy civilisation in the name of their God given the opportunity.
‘The good old days’ may be a slight misnomer, but given the opportunity I would switch back in a flash.