Yesterday’s post, in which a trained psychotherapist sought - through the lens of a specific and recently discovered fragment of Thrupiece juvenalia - to illuminate the wider condition of the present-day under-siege nuclear family has, understandably attracted the widest attention. Such is the level of general public concern at the significant loosening of the "family bond" witnessed in recent decades, that many readers have written to offer their own reflections on this "maladie sociale de nos jours" or "la malédiction anglaise" as La Société Française pour la Recherche en Psychothérapie et Blâmer les Anglais call it.
We reproduce several contributions below, selected at random form the more than eight [nine] we received:
Dr Shaden Freude, Corfe Mullen Institute for Family Planning:
I was fascinated to read the observations of your unnamed psychotherapist writing in yesterday's post and thoroughly agree with the rigorous analysis he offers. His interpretation of the Thrupiece case seems to me absolutely spot on: an example of modern psychotherapeutic situational extrapolation technique at its very best. However to his list of contributing causes is woefully short. To it I would add: the passing of the steam age, the demise of county cricket, squeezable ketchup bottles, the invention of the aerosol, guilt-free crèche and ready-made fruit pie fillings' the sly introduction of espresso (or as we used to prefer expresso) coffee, smaller wagon wheels and vicars in plimsoles, the overnight disappearance of double decker trams, catastrophic decline in the off-the-shelf-availability of dolly-blue, the dolly-tub and clothes possor*, the disappearance of tree-Spanish, the meat safe, leather footballs, underworld gussets, sarsaparilla in flagons, gentlemen’s hats, wet-fish suppliers, tv repair men, coin operated Brylcreem machines and Crackerjack, the loss of Alvar Lidell, Jean Metcalf, John Snagge, Listen with Mother, decline in the use of ingestible liquid paraffin, marbles, shoe polish in tins, indoor markets, petrol coupons, roll-ons, capons, horse meat, fly paper, non-absorbent toilet paper, ocarinas, thick-seam tripe, trolley buses, Timothy Whites and Taylor’s, sew-in winter long-johns, dungarees, pin-striped trousers, 4th class compartments, novelty pipe-cleaner animals, ironmongers, dog licenses, intelligent politicians, page three girls, sport on terrestrial television and peppermint suppositories.
I would be fascinated to hear other reader suggestions and confirm I have little else to do once mother is settled.
O Suzannah Lipbalme, East Orchard College of Retraining, Re-education and Re-Purposing.
Your correspondent is absolutely right: all of these conditions will be only too familiar to historians who have been warning the public of their effect, either singly or in horrifying combination, since Henry VIII passed and Mrs Simpson became Queen Mother. Remember: those who do not study and understand the past are condemned to resit it at GCSE, A-Level or even degree level. As a famous man [not sure who - ask a qualified historian] once said "History repeats itself - first as tragedy, then as a multi-part mini-tv series".
Mr Irwin Sadsack, Fifehead Magdalen
My father was a practicing psychotherapist for more than four decades between 1936 and 1977. He was never slow to identify - nor to blame - the three malign enemies of the family - colour television, Saturday racing from Haydock and Kate Adie. The last of these was, he believed, “enough to put anyone off having children". How right he has been proven.
Ted Baker, Gussage St Michael
Your correspondent forgot to mention chocolate hobnobs. Surely - in a civilised society - these highly dangerous and wholly anti-social creations should be condemned to the scrap heap of failed experimentation and replaced with something delicious, crunchy, slightly nutty and chocolate-coated; preferably by McVitie's, my chocolatier of choice. I enclose a recent study proving my point.
Mrs Emma Brunton, Shapwick
Two pints of gold top, a box of 6 standard British eggs and a carton of single cream please. Thanks. Emma [POSTED IN ERROR]