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Reflections

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Like the typically retired person I am, I was playing golf the other day for my club at another course. My golf is, to say the least, somewhat erratic but whether my playing partner or the opposition find that off putting is not relevant to me. I enjoy playing as long as it's not raining and as long as the wind allows me to stay upright. Anyway my partner, playing as he does off a handicap of 10 shots better than me is supposed to provide the steel in our partnership.

One of the objectives of these senior competitions is to provide social intercourse and to give us the chance of experiencing other courses in the area. I recognised , somewhat to his surprise, the underlying native accent of one of our opponents as being similar to the accent that I have left so far behind me. Both Brummies, and I was surprised to find that we must have lived within a stone's throw of one another all those years ago. We exchanged memories of the local area, cinemas (two, The Beacon and the Clifton), schools (though we attended different ones), the landmark pub (a massive pre war pub, the Towers, built as the area was developed in the 1930's) and other half forgotten recollections. We must have moved away about the same time and a single visit by me around 30 years ago was the only update we could share about the area as he had not been back in nearly 60 years.

As I drove home I wondered about that long lost time and how the world has changed and this led me to query how much better (or worse) our life was in the mid 1950's than today. Of course there should be no comparison, the advances of the past 60 years have changed the world almost beyond recognition. I recall another school friend having an infected toe at the time and how there was much discussion about the penicillin cream that was used to miraculously treat the infection. We forget in our modern world that antibiotics were only really developed under the pressures created by the Second World War. It is ironic that now those drugs are becoming less effective as bacterial resistance grows. Television was only coming back after the war and a family with a telephone at home was rare. Boys wore short trousers until they were eleven or twelve but during the holidays we wandered far and wide in search of adventure apparently in complete safety.

What do we have now? IPads, androids and the internet seem to occupy our youngsters' spare time to the concern of many parents. We have 24-hour news and television which seems not to help us understand our world any better. We have our mobile phones but still have difficulty keeping in touch and we care more for the world as a whole as television and film have shown us the suffering in far off lands. But that mass of information that's thrust at us around the clock does seem to immunise us against the world as a whole. In terms of the early 1950's, our present world dashes ever quicker, but to where?

We seem to take no joy in our advances in health, living standards and the rest. The information world that we live in weighs us down in selfish concerns. The prefabs that many of my school mates lived in (and for which their parents were grateful) would be condemned today as would our post war diets and the freedom to roam enjoyed by my short-trousered schoolmates.

The golf? We lost on the eighteenth, perhaps rather like the 21st century. Aspiring to perfection, but like my golf, good in not nearly enough parts.

David Ingall

Past President, UK200 Group

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