They’ve opened a new Homebase just down the road from where we live and I fear the worst for Chez Polly. The problem is that I’m not very good at making or mending things with ‘D’ in DIY standing for Damage, Dent, Destroy, Disintegrate or Depreciate in my case.
We’ve only been spared the worst excesses and expense of my efforts at home improvement because it always involved a 30/40 minute drive to and from B&Q; to get the necessary tools/components/screws/nails or whatever my latest project involves, then another trip to get the bit I didn’t know I needed until I’d started.
It was always easier to put the whole thing off saying, “I’ll pop in on my way home from work one night next week,” and then forgetting about it altogether. With Homebase on my doorstep, more or less, that excuse goes out the window and I may suddenly find myself attempting tasks that I should really leave well alone.
The place has only been open two days and I’ve already replaced our house number, pictured above. I know it doesn’t look much (I should have taken a pic of the white plastic original, but believe me it was hideous) but that’s a job I’ve successfully put off for the last four years.
But if I’m not very creative in a practical sense, then neither is anyone else, at least not creative enough. Forget your iPods and SatNavs, mankind the inventor is a spent force, so much so that there is the real possibility of a new Dark Age around the corner unless we pull our collective finger out.
In terms of significant inventions, we peaked in 1873 and have been going downhill ever since.
In fact, our current rate of innovation — which Huebner puts at seven important technological developments per billion people per year — is about the same as it was in 1600. By 2024 it will have slumped to the same level as it was in the Dark Ages, the period between the end of the Roman empire and the start of the Middle Ages.
For the rest of this apocalyptic view of our future, see Brian Appleyard’s feature in today’s Sunday Times magazine. It does make you think, particularly about our total failure to come up with an alternative fuel to oil, the reserves of which will last another 30 years at best, at worst just a decade.
Watching the oil barrel clock ticking when you visit www.willyoujoinus.com is truly scary. And unless we can win over those who oppose the development of nuclear power, and the voodoo science deniers, well the future’s dark, the future’s blackout.
So there you are. From Homebase to the end of days. It’s only a short trip.