A recent study by The Ordanance Survey, (and who now knows who they are and what they do?) has thrown up a list of 20 everyday skills that are falling by the wayside. It’s an interesting list, which includes 4 things I’ve never even tried to do;
- Darning socks
- Remembering a friend’s or relative’s phone number.
- Baking bread.
I am more than competent at the other 16 skills on the list. I can also do everything on the companion list of more ‘modern’ skills that have been supposed to replace the more traditional skills. None of this looks like rocket science to me, (I also know how to build a rocket), but, to be honest, some young people of today don’t even know how to construct a sentence without using text speak.
If I put my mind to it, there are a hell of a lot of skills I take for granted. For example, who but a loafer or goof-off can’t; cook from scratch, understand and do basic mechanics, fix a burst water pipe, bleed radiators, build simple furniture from scratch, decorate a room, safely fell a tree, drive a manual car / truck / tractor, ride a motor cycle, weld with gas and electric arc, build and fix a fence / wall / shed, sharpen a knife / chisel / axe, rehaft an axe, make a haft from scratch, harvest / split / store firewood, cheat at cards, put up a shelf, build flat-pack furniture (modular furniture), remodel a kitchen / bathroom…?
Actually, the list goes on and on and on. I can also sail a boat, build a boat, start a fire, purify water, mend ladies jewelry, write poetry in French, reverse a trailer, get a stuck car out of sand / snow / mud, operate a back hoe / bulldozer.., and a hell of a lot more. How many young men today can build a car? Even a car such as my tiny Caterham 7
Of the skills really worth learning I would recommend: learn cooking from scratch, learn to do laundry and ironing, gardening, first aid, plumbing, basic DIY, making a fire, map reading and navigation, mental arithmetic, clear and legible handwriting, and balancing your cheque book.
Some things I can do should not be attempted by the man on the Clapham Omnibus. These include; distilling alcohol, making a longbow and arrows, crossbow and quarrels, stealing electricity / cable, making your car run on propane, making a long sword, growing psychotropic herbs…
If you are a young man in search of a nicer lady, then I can tell you that your good looks may get you as far as a one night stand, but if you want a lasting relationship learn how to do some very practical things ~ such as cooking her a meal, mending her plumbing, or fixing her car. (And, if you can’t see the wisdom of my words, then you truly are as dumb as she thinks.)