String theory and the decline of civilisation…

The chicken korma wasn’t great. To be fair, I didn’t expect it to be, not microwaved directly from the freezer cabinet of the local store. But it had the advantage of speed and heat. I had wondered why I had been feeling so rough, putting it down to the exertions of the house move…until I realised I’ve been living on cereals all week. A hot meal, albeit frozen and nuked, makes a big difference. And anyway, I’ve disconnected the cooker.

I had acquired the instant korma when I had gone to the village shop in search of one of the simplest, most basic of commodities. I had tried while I was in town after work this morning, but to no avail. The village shop, though, sells everything… from mousetraps to sealing wax, chocolate to cognac… and everything in between.

Well, almost everything.

Even they had no string.

You can’t move house without string.

How can you not buy string? Anywhere…

At the supermarket, I could, should I so choose, buy a holiday, a smartphone or even open a bank account. At the local store, I can have a bed delivered and place an order for foreign currency.

But I cannot buy a ball of string.

What, I was obliged to ask myself, is society coming to?

When not even the village shop that sells everything can furnish me with a ball of string, we are in trouble.

String has been around a long, long time. It may even predate the emergence of mankind from apekind.  It was always a necessary ingredient in a small boy’s pocket. You cannot even play conkers without string! (Not that you are allowed to any more as you might possibly hit someone with a small, round seed…)

Curiosity drove me to the internet… where I can have string delivered, but not until after I have moved house… and only by paying postage and packaging, no longer tied with the aforementioned commodity…

There it was that I discovered the possible pre-human origins of string and its undoubted antiquity. But not until I had waded through a dozen scientific articles on string theory.

Image: Daily Mail to read full article.

Image: Daily Mail Online…click to read full article.

I even found articles on how to make string… though it would be quicker to place my trust in the mysteries of the mail system…

And a post office that doesn’t sell string any more.

It beggars belief that something so simple cannot be obtained locally… yet none of the six stores I tried, all of which should sell string, could furnish me with anything more useful than blank looks.

I put it to you that this reflects the parlous state of the nation…

Meanwhile, I need to unpack my scissors and mangle my climbing ropes…


About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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56 Responses to String theory and the decline of civilisation…

  1. Ritu says:

    Hrmph indeed!!! I can understand your frustrations Sue! !!
    It’s happened to me several times too!!!


  2. You’ll soon be looking back and smiling. You will, honest.


  3. Woolies would have had string. Sigh.


  4. By far the best title-first line combination I have read this year!


  5. I ran into the same problem a while back. You would thing Walmart had everything…but no string.We finally found the right size string at the hardware store. Hardware. Who would’ve thought string was a hardware?


  6. Beggars belief, indeed. I’m shocked. If Victor Meldrew read this, he’d utter a resounding, ‘I don’t believe it.’


  7. You don’t have a hardware store or something akin to one? They are the last places that actually sell twine and string. Also, we have a place that sells wood and plumbing stuff and tools and they also sell a lot of basic things … scissors, string, etc.


  8. Green Embers says:

    Could you use twin instead? Also, does no one fly kites there? Hmm, I am not sure if people here fly kites anymore come to think of it…


  9. Susan Scott says:

    Well, a hardware shop would have been the answer I would’ve thought but apparently not. I’m pretty sure my hardware shop sells string – I’d be totally strung out if they didn’t. A stationery shop?


  10. Running Elk says:

    If only you’d asked! I’ve a ball of string sitting right here. Let me just check… yup, “Made in Papua New Guinea”… Ah. Um. Yah…. 😀 xx


  11. Darcy says:

    Argghhh.. this is not helping my increasing feeling that I am not sure I belong on this planet. Or at least in “modern society”…

    Liked by 1 person

  12. TamrahJo says:

    Love the Post (but, seriously, what did you need string for that Ani couldn’t snag/borrow from a neighborhood cat?? The curiosity in answer might be the end of this cat….LOL)


  13. jenanita01 says:

    how about knitting wool, the man made kind? Stronger than string sometimes, but would serve at a pinch… looking forward to you being safe and sound … and moved.


  14. I actually bought a ball of string that was inside a tin in John Lewis’ a few months back. Why it was in a tin I had no idea. Then I noticed the small hole in the lid where you poke the end of the string, through. Wow! I was over the moon with my purchase. So much so that it’s sat in the garage since then. If only I was living next door, Sue. I’d happily share my ball of string (and its tin) with you.


  15. Widdershins says:

    The only place I’ve been able to find string of late, is the Dollar store … not even our local hardware store has it … Civilisation as we know it has gone to toe dogs!!! (apologies to Ani 🙂 )


  16. dgkaye says:

    What about a craft store? 🙂


  17. Eliza Waters says:

    I wonder how you managed – did you ever find string? I hope you’re able to stand after all that to-ing and fro-ing!


  18. Without string, you feel you can’t sing. But then you think: “tape!” And you’re wearing a cape.


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