There has to be one change for the better, even when things are bleakest. Let me give you an example…
My father died suddenly in January 1970, when I was sixteen. Devastated though my mother was, she did take advantage of one opportunity., and that was to change our lavatory paper.
My dad was convinced that soft toilet paper was terribly unhygienic, because it was absorbent. Those of you who are younger than I am will probably have no idea what hard paper was – we used to use it as tracing paper at school when I was a child, it looked like greaseproof paper and wasn’t very pleasant to wipe yourself with, and was pretty useless anyway. As for soft paper being absorbent, one washes one’s hands anyway, so it hardly seemed a massive problem. All the same, while he was alive, the hard and scratchy stuff was what we had. And then we didn’t. We went straight out and bought Andrex.
In my case, it’s light bulbs. Russell had a strange and increasing penchant for living in the half-light. These are big rooms and, whilst 60 watt bulbs (yes, I know it’s all about lumens nowadays, but I don’t know anyone who mentions them) are adequate, if there are at least four of them, they aren’t exactly bright. But for the last few years, he always put in 40 watt bulbs – or the eco-friendly supposed equivalent, which were useless anyway – and I have to light candles in the dining room to be able to see what I’m eating, even with the lights on. And so, in the last few weeks, one of my small pleasures has been replacing the light bulbs. Although I’ve been foxed in the dining room – the fittings require screw-in bulbs rather than bayonet ones, so I had to buy some new ones. But they don’t work and I can’t think why. You’d think a light bulb is a light bulb, but it seems not. Any thoughts?