We still suffer from the particular kind of mind-numbing that only Antipodeans can understand, when we read the information plaque on some of these places. The gate to the old centre of Decize for instance was built in eleven hundred and something, but it’s not in its original state. One can discount any architectural authenticity apparently as it suffered a major renovation not three hundred years later, although little been done since apparently, except perhaps for the installation of the odd length of plastic downpipe perhaps from more recent times.
Yet those who live on this side of the world take all that is old in their strides. Having absorbed the “oldness” of stuff around them over generations they tend not to get quite as emotional as we do at the pending loss of so many untended artifacts. They are the ones who think we are joking when we talk of the "old" house we are renovating at “home”, built somewhere in the early eighties. We can dress it up of course and say it hasn’t had anything done to it since last century, but eventually they always twig that we are talking 1980’s, not 1480’s and the concept just doesn't rest comfortably with them. They suddenly become as fascinated with our culture and its need to keep everything working and new as we are with theirs without that need.
Our little boat is from the mid eighties too, and being moored beside a monster hardware supplier for a few days has ensured that the endless succession of new things on it has not yet ended, and although I have perhaps in a form of memory repression therapy, failed to mention Mr P of late, some of his disgusting habits remain. Some shiny copper rings have therefore been added to our box of things that need bolting onto other things, and perhaps sometime this century we shall find the time and the energy to once again tackle his sinuses.
Or perhaps we’ll leave it another four hundred years, and let someone write about him on a plaque, hopefully not recording that he was discovered at the bottom of a river, no doubt having been thrust there by a person unknown who couldn’t fix his rotten stinking leaking fuel line!