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.
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…