Monday, 9 November 2009

18th Century ECO Modernism

What do you really need? Modern life seems to increasingly revolve around gadgets and stuff, but how much of this do you actually need? By most standards we're pretty good, no ipods, xbox 360's, wii's, automatic espresso machines, dish washers and the like. So much so that my colleagues at work were aghast to find out that not only was my telly not lcd or flat screen but neither was it even stereo; was I living in the dark ages and how did I cope! Well as far as I can see mostly very well. In fact most of the stuff we do have we don't use. But just exactly what do you really need? That got me thinking about how we will choose to live our lives, both in an ECO friendly and economic way. Looking back into the 18th century when our house in France was built people lived very differently, no electricity, no Tv, no washing machines; but then as a friend of mine pointed out the average mortality was about 45years old. This was not I suspect due to the lack of television and more to do the state of medical science and basic hygiene! So if you take that 18th century life and add in the bits of modern life that you really need what do you get: 18th Century ECO Modernism.

So hear is my list of what can stay and what can go:

To Stay
Internet access and laptop, washing machine, mains drinking water, Shower and WC, Electric lights, wood burning stove, Freezer, radio portable DVD player, Power tools (well were not animals you know) hair dryer(For Mrs Lemur), One Car, Generator.

And to go:
Electric kettle, TV, Fridge, Satellite TV, Mains electricity connection, Computer games, Mains gas, Dishwasher, Microwave, Toaster, Bread maker, Electric Mixer, Hoovers, Gas fire, Gas/Electric heating, Electric iron, In fact all other electrical kitchen appliances.

And will never buy:
And than there is the stuff that we don't have and never will have; Namely the afore mentioned wii's, Xbox, satnav, iphone, ipod, trouser press, coffee maker, Electric Tumble Dryer, cuddly toy (lapsed into the generation game there for a moment).

And lastly here's the list of stuff we're going to be making much more use of:
Candles, Hot water bottles, Slippers, Jumpers, Fork and spade, Food smoker, Air drying, Clothes maid, Bread oven, Veg patch, Assorted livestock, books, solar power.

The aim of all this is of course to bring our living costs down and reduce the amount of crap also. How we get on is of course a different matter and with two growing girls who are soon to be teenagers it will be interesting to say the least. My hope is the the laptop and internet will generally mean that they stay in touch with the 21st century while gaining an understanding of what's actually important and what's not? How realistic this is remains to be seen?

P.S. Taking the advice of our good friend Alison, we won't be throwing any of this stuff away. We will be packing it up with us and than we can either use it or later or if all goes to plan and we can do without it, we will find a good home for it then.


  1. How will I survive without my iron? Life will never be the same again!!

  2. Add wooly hat to list of must haves - essential to keep you snug in bed!

  3. Damn, i was gonna bag the bread maker

  4. You are a twisted, sick puppy!

    18th century aesthetics are one thing, eco/econ arguments are another.

    The ecomomics of smoking?

    - Gadfly

  5. Ah, smoking. There is no argument for smoking. That is why I will be having my last cig on the ferry (2nd Jan 2010). Don't laugh this time I've made a pact with God (or the Devil depending on your politics).

    Hallelujah brother