Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Chain reaction

"A series of events in which each influences or gives rise to the next event, as in If one person collects substantial damages by suing a company, you can expect a chain reaction of such lawsuits. The term originated in the physical sciences, first (1920s) chemistry and later (1940) physics; in the latter it denotes a process of nuclear fission. By the 1940s it had been transferred to more general use." (Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.)
Just yesterday I mentioned uxters and mangles in the context of traditional wash days and it sparked off a series of many other memories among friends and family.
Certain tastes of childhood are high on the lists - Creamola Foam included. I don't remember it being in our house but it was always available in the tall cold larder at Aunt Ellen's! Looking at the list of ingredients on a photograph of an old tin makes you wonder why it tasted so good?
Others have reflected on wash boards, churning butter, swinging the pots over an open fire....
One colleague remembers entering the sterile environment of an early computer room dressed in overshoes, clean white coat and trousers with head covered - what would those early scientists think of the developments in recent years? Still others remember the games played round the table, the hiss of the lamps and the smell of fresh bread baking on the griddle and the pastel shades of the felt hats with tiny brims that all little girls wore for church....
Maybe people who read this will add messages to say what it is that comes to mind when they think of that "strange country" which is the past?

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