WHAT DOES THE DOCTOR THINK THIS MONTH?

Ian looks at Kid’s technology and how thing have changed over the past few years

December 2010.

KIDS’ TECHNOLOGY – The intransigent pushchair and its mates, the kiddie car seats!

When our kids were small, they rode up and down the length of the country in what were effectively cardboard boxes, bundled into the car between all the luggage. The oblong body of the pushchair was either placed in the oblong metal frame on four wheels or lifted out of the frame and stashed somewhere in the car. Calum once travelled from Birkenhead to Sussex, lying in his “box” on top of a chest of drawers, his nose only inches from the roof of the car. When a child became old enough, he graduated to a car seat. Ours was a square of canvas attached to a couple of metal hooks which hooked over the rear of the bench car seat. There were no restraining straps but the seat, when carried into the lunchtime cafe, doubled as a high chair when hooked over the back of a wooden chair. Once again, our kids travelled thousands of miles in this precarious arrangement, happily without incident. Later, when we had estate cars, it was not unusual to carry four kids in the back seat with another three sitting in the rear of the vehicle. These days, such behaviour would be totally unacceptable and, of course, extremely dangerous. The kids would be at risk and there would be so many exploding social workers vapourising by the roadside that they would become an endangered species (mmm).

How times have changed was demonstrated forcefully to Management and me when, last weekend, we travelled to look after Oliver (Grandchild aged 3, about whom you have read before) and his twin brothers, aged eighteen months, who are genetically programmed to go in opposite directions at any opportunity. Son and daughter-in-law welcomed us enthusiastically, handed us three car seats and a twin pushchair and pushed off for their long weekend at a wedding on the South coast. Head Office took the children indoors and I thought I would pop the car seats into my Renault Espace and put the folded pushchair in the boot. Well!!! The three car seats were different makes and none carried instructions. None of the seats was “Isofix” but it was obvious that each had to be placed on the car seat and fixed using the car seat belts. Each car seat belt had to wind in and out of the child seat, under tensioners, behind red plastic clips and so forth, before being clicked into its socket, after which the tensioners were put under tension and, with mighty heaving and feeding of the seat belt through a variety of slots, the child seat would be safely affixed to the car seat. And we haven’t even started on the child belt buckle yet! A long, long time passed and, eventually, I managed to fix the child seats securely and I even managed to work out the seat buckles. (We once missed a train at Ely because, using a borrowed car seat to transport a grandchild, it took us nearly an hour to work out how to strap her in).

Flushed with success, I set about collapsing the twin pushchair. I have to confess that we were unable to take the pushchair in the car during the entire weekend because all the strenuous combined efforts of Management and me to work out how to collapse the pushchair completely and utterly failed! So, instead of pushing the twins in their buggy, we put reins on them and tore about in opposite directions!

I read yesterday that there is a £60 million black market for stolen prams (Halifax Home Insurance) some of which cost £400. They could have had another one as far as I was concerned.

The Old House Union Flag: As many of you will know, I have been flying the Union flag (often and incorrectly called the Union Jack) outside our Feltwell house in memory of our troops dying abroad. We had gales last week and the flag tore. Before I could order a new one, Clive Dalby popped one through my door on November 11th, a highly appropriate day. I rang to thank him and he told me that, as an ex military man, he salutes my flag whenever he passes the house. So, immense thanks to Clive for his generosity – I hope you all enjoy seeing the flag.

The Renault Zoe: This is a true story, not a joke. I heard on radio Cambridge that Renault are developing a new car and they will call it the Renault Zoe. They are being taken to task by two gentlemen whose surname is Renault and who have young daughters called Zoe, because they fear that, when they are older, the girls will suffer abuse such as “Hey, darlin’, show us yer airbags”.

Two Chinese men, Paddy and Mick, looked in a shop window and saw a sign saying “Suits £5, Shirts £2, Trousers £2.50”. Seeking to make a quick profit, they enter the shop and ask for 50 suits at £5, 100 shirts at £2 and 50 pairs of trousers at £2.50. They would take them home to sell at a profit, they were disappointed to discover that they were in a dry cleaners!

Two drunk old men visited a brothel and the owner fobbed them off with a blow-up rubber doll each. “They are so old and drunk they won’t know the difference”. Comparing notes later, one old boy said “I think my girl was dead, she never moved once”. The other old boy said “I think mine was a witch. When I gave her a little love-bite, she broke wind and flew out of the window, taking my teeth with her!”

Deannie joins me in wishing you all a very happy Christmas and a healthy New Year.

Ian G. Nisbet

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