22nd July 2020

The day before my 10th birthday, I came home for lunch – school was only round the corner – and I sat listening to the one o’clock news on the radio, mesmerised by a faint ‘beep… beep… beep’ coming all the way from Sputnik 1, the first satellite, orbiting the earth! By the time I was 21, the first men had walked on the Moon.

I was seventeen when we moved house in the spring of 1965, and for the first time we had an indoor toilet! There was not only a proper bathroom upstairs, but a second toilet downstairs. There soon followed our first fridge, and then when I was eighteen, a telephone!

When I started teaching, the technological aids in my stock cupboard totalled a portable record player, a reel-to-reel tape recorder and a slide/filmstrip projector. This meant I could be really sophisticated and show a filmstrip with tape-recorded commentary! Twenty years later, watching videos in lessons was commonplace, and in PE lessons I could time up to eight runners in the same race in an athletics lesson on my digital wristwatch.

Increasingly rapidly, a myriad of material advances continue to transform our everyday lives. The news is full of things developing by leaps and bounds… So many things different from what they were!

And the news is full of people who are afraid, insecure, hungry, homeless, unloved, lonely, and extremely poor… Also the news is full of leaders who are full of themselves, power-crazed, greedy, self-deluded, lying, brutal, and extremely rich… So many things the same as ever they were!

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth…

David Bell