Around our town there are traces of Neolithic people; an army camp has been discovered which had at some time been occupied by the Romans. Coins and a pavement have been found and there are remains of a Norman castle.
Just imagine what those people got up to in those far off days. No Asda there then to do your weekly shop, no car park for whatever form of transport they used and, in their houses, no central heating, microwave, fridge………I could go on endlessly typing all the benefits we now enjoy in the 21st century. How fortunate we are to be living in this technologically advanced age. And yet, when I was small my parents probably thought it was a good time to be alive then.
My father was one of seventeen children and the family lived in a three bedroomed terraced house with a living room, scullery and an outside toilet. There was no garden, just a tiny courtyard, and no sunshine ever penetrated the rows and rows of houses back-to-back. It must have been pretty grim (and grimy!).
Here you can see my grandparents with their family in the back courtyard. There were still three more children to be born, including my father in 1914.
So when Mum and Dad moved into a much larger house after they got married, they doubtless thought it was absolutely wonderful. We had a long garden at the back of the house and Dad used to grow flowers and strawberries. In the greenhouse were lots of tomatoes. It was the responsibility of myself or my sister to water the tomatoes and strawberries each evening during the hot weather. I would have been about seven years old at the time. As I poured the water on the strawberries one day, I looked at those plump, luscious fruit and began to think, “Well Dad won’t miss just one.” Unfortunately, one turned into two, then four, then…..Oh my goodness, they’d almost all gone!! No doubt some form of punishment was meted out!
We had no television, of course, and our radio was the size of a small fridge! I remember Dad saying that we had to wait for the “green eye” to come on (I.e. for the set to warm up) before we could listen. There were only three stations – BBC Light Programme, the Home Service and the Third Programme. I can vividly remember times when my parents would make us sit quietly whilst they listened to Winston Churchill speaking, he seemed to go on and on! One of my many cousins was married to the scriptwriter of a BBC programme and we had to listen very carefully to hear his name mentioned at the end of each broadcast.
We had a huge gramophone that played 78rpm vinyl records. (The copper needle could only be used once). These records can now be purchased in second-hand stores, sometimes for a hefty price, but I remember Dad used to put the scratched ones into the oven for a short time until they softened, and then mould them into different shapes; so a technique that is now fashionable is not so new after all!
We had no telephone, and I was 15 years old before I used one for the first time. I think there was probably only one family in our road who owned a telephone. The British red ‘phone box is famous world-wide now and can often be seen as garden features, but then they were an essential part of life.
Each generation that has lived will probably claim that theirs was the best time to be alive, because, of course, they knew only of improvements on the ones gone before them.
I am one of those people fortunate enough to have lived through an era of dramatic change. Technology seems almost to be tripping itself up as it dashes relentlessly along. I often wonder just how much more advanced we can become!!
But one thing has never, ever changed since time began and that’s God’s love.
He loved us enough to give His one and only Son as the price to be paid for our salvation. Without Jesus’ crucifixion and death we would all be hurtling into an unknown eternity. If you have Jesus you have the sure knowledge of life after death when He comes again.
Don’t delay if you haven’t “sourced” Him yet. You’ll find He’s the best on offer for whatever it is you’re seeking. It’s the most important thing anyone can do.
I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.
(John 10 verse 9a)
Jesus said (to Martha): “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
(John 11 verses 25 and 26)
Jesus answered: I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14 verse 6)