Too Good to Go

1991 was a fine year for, er, me going to Dublin and buying sweat shirts

1991 was a fine year for, er, me going to Dublin and buying sweat shirts

In this weird world we live in, I am one of those people who likes to keep things as long as possible. Not for me the replacement of the perfectly functional gizmo with the newest sort that is probably slightly faster, or smaller, or a different colour. Nope, use things until they break is my motto. Well, one of them anyway.

I was reminded of this the other day when I went to put my gardening sweatshirt on – I bought it, along with another, in Dublin in 1991 so these garments are 30 years old. The one proclaiming the year is quite battered now, although its sibling is in much better shape as it hasn’t been worn as much (not sure why I favoured the one over the other). And they are still going.

In the middle of a VERY important upside-down calculation

In the middle of a VERY important upside-down calculation

So, then I thought, do I have anything older than the sweatshirt, that I bought new and still use? Of course! In fact, this is so old, there is an example in the Science Museum in London (read here of my discovery of it there). It is my trusty calculator, with the original Casio battery in it, new in 1980. A dodgy on/off button but still works, and I use it for VERY important things, as you can see above.


Convent Mice – Strawberry Mouse, Orange Mouse, Pink Mouse and Red Mouse

These mice have to be the oldest things that I have had since new. They were made by the nuns at the Clewer Convent near Windsor, Berkshire, UK. I visited there as my Dad used to take part in their annual celebration of being founded. I was six when I first went and was presented with Strawberry Mouse. I remember an amazing woman who I think was about 80 then, and who told me tales (while the grown-ups were doing churchy things) of when she lived in India. I am unsure what has happened to Strawbs’ tail in the intervening years. Naming was clearly not an issue for me back then – I used the “say what you see” method.

I see from the Wikipedia article about the Community of St John the Baptist, who were founded at Clewer, the order no longer occupies the church buildings. I also see that the order used to be known as the Sisters of Mercy, which is one of my favourite Leonard Cohen songs.

Do you have old things that were new when you first had them, but are still in use today?


Categories: General silliness, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: | 18 Comments

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18 thoughts on “Too Good to Go

  1. One notable example is my dressmaking tape measure. I bought it when I was 17 and I still use it almost daily. That makes it 43 years old. It was cheap and useful, and unlike many cheap things, it has lasted and lasted.

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  2. I have my mothers Pyrex bowls, mop (for cobwebs), pegs, set of Nescafe coffee jars (the posh glass ones with the big knob on the lid). I have 2 table spoons – no longer spoon shaped but still functional. I still use her Certo jam recipes, though mine is a copy. When I get round to making jam, that is….
    I have my dads workmate that he bought when they first came out, his router (until I broke the handle off), plane, hand tools & tubs of oval brad nails bought when they built the house in 1967. I have tins of screws, large & small, though I resisted the temptation to keep the bent ones he had kept. And yes, 2 calculators, though not as old as yours Jon.
    I have my Grandmas lace, that my mother added to a table cloth some time in the ’70’s, and I think some of said Pyrex bowls were my Grandma’s, and some of the screws my Grandads.
    I have a pair of boots bought in 1999 – though I doubt they still fit me, and Steve uses leather working tools that are getting on for 100 years old – though he did buy them, around 35 years ago.
    My Grandparents died getting on for 40 years ago. I’m guessing the coffee jars are ’70’s and the spoons probably a wedding present from 1945.

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    • The Snail has a couple of those Nescafe coffee jars (but without the knob) which seem to be indestructible. How great to have the tools that were used to build the house, to be able to connect physically to the building in that way. I guess I like old things that tell you stories, they remind me of, well, me!! πŸ™‚


  3. Going Batty in Wales

    I have a cape made for my husband by a former girlfriend in the late 60’s. He wore it regularly but since he died I don’t wear it often which is a shame as it is in excellent condition and very warm My gardening jacket dates from the mid 90’s. I have tools my grandfather used – he died in the late 1940’s and my kitchen scales and storage jars were my Grandmother-in-law’s and date from the 30’s or 40’s. Like you I keep old things until they can’t be used any longer!

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  4. I have a solar powered calculator that I still use and still works. We have furniture built by great grandparents that we use daily too. Plenty of functional, old stuff in this little house!

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  5. I have a pair of barn boots that must be 35 years old, a solar calculator that could be, what? 30? and lots of clothing that predates the advent of fleece. I also have a compass (the kind that measures or draws circles) that belonged to my maternal grandfather, a clock from my paternal grandparents that dates to 1906 (and ticks as I write), tools my father gave me when I moved into my own home, and a pair of socks I bought in high school that only recently began to develop a hole in the heel. Heaven knows what they’re made of, but they’re more than 40…Oh, and there’s an iPod, one of the original ones with the circle on the face.

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  6. Pingback: ScrapHappy February 2021: Oven and Out | writinghouse

  7. The oldest thing I have, I just passed on to my daughter, a few days ago, as she asked me for it.
    It’s a Silver Reed, metal, typewriter, that I bought second-hand from my brother, when I was 12 – I’m 59 now – he had bought it from a friend a couple of years before that, and the friend had owned it for 3 years, since getting it for Christmas – so it’s 52 years old, and still working! Lol
    I’m like you, and look after things until they fall to pieces – or not, in this case! Lol

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    • Wow, a real typewriter! They are things of wonder (so many components!) and mystery (why does it keep jamming?). I used one to type up my Uni third year project, and one or two early stories. πŸ™‚

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      • I wrote all my earliest stories and poems on mine – it IS much easier on a computer, of course, but I’mgglad my dauggter wanter the typewriterto use, as it keeps that link going on 😁

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        • And I think it is that last point you make that is probably the most important – I mean, I can’t imagine someone in 30 years’ time saying “This iPhone was my Mum’s and I still use it now”!

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