Traveller's tales

Monday, July 14, 2008

Life back then - Kirbuster Farm Museum

Life before electricity, before piped, clean water, before mechanization and technology took over our lives, life then would have been much simpler – it would have most probably been much harder too, but life has its difficulties these days, doesn’t it?

What has changed isn’t the existence of difficulty in life but the order, magnitude and shape of it. Food was dug out of the ground, water was carried, heat was made rather than switched on, and family life was organized along functional as well as familial lines.

Comfort most probably didn’t occupy the central place it occupies in all our lives today. One thing that surely would have been very different was the way we fit into the lives of others and into the life of our surroundings; without constant electricity to make night into day; without the tyranny of the clock to dictate our comings and goings, the influences on life would have been much more elemental and more universal too.

Today, the day begins with an alarm ringing and ends with the last watchable thing on TV; before our dependence on the electronic media to entertain, on radio and newspapers to inform, the Internet to connect us to each other, the source of primary energy would have been the sun and the light it shed on our corner of the planet.

A reliance on domesticated animals to feed us would have meant that the working day started earlier and finished earlier. In the Orkneys, natural light still affects life, but in the days when it provided practically the only source of light, summer days would have started at 4.0am and finished at midnight.
Robert L. Fielding

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