27 Oct 2006

Bywater’s Big Babies

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It seems to me that I’ve already linked and quoted, or at the very least already read, Michael Bywater’s jeremiad, in today’s Telegraph, about the infantilization of modern Britons, but I know people who will like it, so here it is again.

My grandfather was born in 1888 and he didn’t have a lifestyle. He didn’t need one: he had a life.

He had a hat and a car and a wife and two sons and a housekeeper and a maid and a nanny for the children, and the housekeeper had a dog and the dog had a canker and lived in a kennel.

My grandfather read Charles Dickens mostly. Sometimes they went on holiday. His house was furnished with furniture…

Dr Chand didn’t have a lifestyle either. Nobody had a lifestyle then, because there was nobody to tell them to, and anyway they were too busy having lives.

They were grown-ups. They went about their business. In my grandfather’s case, it was seeing patients and making them better, where possible…

I suspect that my grandfather’s life was real in a sense that my father’s life hasn’t quite been, and my life is not at all.

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