They don’t make childhoods like they used to, says Richard Harvey. Thank goodness.
It’s a big year in the Harvey household. Significant birthdays for me and Lady H (both ending with a zero), eye-wateringly expensive celebration holiday booked and paid for, and an expansively alcoholic bash organised for chums.
And, despite contemplating the devastation thus wrought to the joint bank account, we even considered punting a few bob on one of George’s ‘pensioner bonds’, particularly if ISA rates turned out to be as laughably low as forecast.
So, feeling chipper, if a little less well-breeched, we continue to pay scant attention to the irritating prophets of gloom who opine – rather like a Russell Brand video stuck on replay – that it’s all very well for my generation, because our good luck is on the backs of future pensioners.
Squeeze? What Squeeze?
Having participated in festive fun and frolics with 30- and 40-something colleagues, it didn’t appear to me that they were overly concerned about their putative future of penury and food banks.
Indeed, there seems to be a significant disconnect between their financial status now, their future prospects, and (the elephant in the room) their willingness to save. One wonders, to misquote a ‘70s pop song, how they can be ‘Young, Minted – and Broke’?
Rationing, Armageddon and Tommy Steele
It also seems only fair to compare the relative lifestyles of us babv boomers (born just after the war) with more recent generations. At the risk of being dubbed ‘King Whinger’, I occasionally remind the whipper-snappers of the sort of privations we had to endure growing up in the 1950s and ‘60s, compared to today.
- The nation’s idea of sophistication-on-a-stick was a dinner at a Berni Inn (favoured menu choices – prawn cocktail, steak and chips, Black Forest gateau).
- Miserly TV offerings, book-ended by the all-day test card and the National Anthem after the last programme, around 10.30pm.
- Seaside holidays to places like wind-blasted Great Yarmouth, whence I was despatched every year, and packed off to see end-of-the-pier shows, with bill-toppers such as Ronnie Ronalde, a chap whose pièce-de-resistance was whistling ‘In A Monastery Garden’.
- Being somewhat concerned that we were all going to be blasted to kingdom come by the constant face-off between America and the Soviet Union, particularly when Comrade Khrushchev commanded his navy to deliver a bonus boatload of nuclear missiles to Cuba.
- And, perhaps most agonising of all, trying to evade the rigid moral restrictions of the day. (Oh, come on, you know what I mean).
So, at least for this year, excuse me if I dismiss all protestations about how my generation has hit the jackpot at the expense of our sons, daughters and grandchildren.
As Marie Antoinette allegedly said: “Let them eat cake”. At least it won’t be rock buns and Victoria sponge.