Friday, April 14, 2006
How to be good
Of late I have been trying to have a bit of a purge in my house. Replacing things that are old and knackered that kind of thing. It feels god too - for innstance to have some bedding that a) isn't scratchy, b) isn't old, stained or holey and c) looks nice and I like it.
The trouble is I am reading a novel by Nick Hornby called "How to be Good" and it is pricking my conscience. It is about a writer who is cynical and sarcastic and suddenly he undergoes a personality transformation after visiting healer for his back problem. Anyway he starts giving stuff away and trying to help homeless people by offering them a place to live and that kind of thing much to the horror of his family. He does become somewhat smug and sanctimonious though.
The thing is that the book does make you think about what you have and wonder if you should be replacing things. For instance maybe I ought to make do with my chipped plates as there are some people in the world who don't have any, and there are I am thinking wouldn't it be good to have a laptop when I start college so that N and I can both be working at the same time, but really we are lucky to have any pc at all.
The other thing I started thinking about is how much money we all spend in cafes these days. We have really and truly become a cafe society. We think nothing of spending between five and fifteen pounds a go on coffee and cake etc. Whatever happened to the good old Britsh Cuppa for 50p. What a difference we could all make if everytime we are about to go in a cafe we don't and instead we gave five or ten pounds to charity. The truth is I know we won't, next time I am in the city and desperate for a coffee and a sit down I won't go "no" just go home and on the way give that fiver to oxfam, I will want the coffe and sit down.
Someone is making a lot of money out of us though. A cup of coffee isn't really worth £3, even it is frothy and comes in a bucket sized cup. And what is it doing to our health. In the 70s a cup of coffee came in a cup, in the 80s you might have got a mug, now it comes in a pail and is made of full fat milk with two extra strong shots of coffee - it is just contributing to the obese nation and all so that some businessman somewhere can line his pockets with more pence per cup.