In August 1955 the American magazine ‘Life’ published an article entitled "Throwaway Living" - said by many to have led to the term ‘throwaway society’ - a modern aspirational lifestyle based on overconsumption and excessive consumerism.
Short lived or disposable items have hitherto become the norm and few are interested in durability or buying products that will last.
The use of plastics has become widespread, and many components are sealed for life, making repair impossible.
But all is not necessarily lost.
Anyone who has watched daytime TV (and in lockdown, who hasn’t?) will have witnessed the trend for rescuing old and unloved items, before repairing, polishing and generally ‘repurposing’ them.
That’s all well and good if you want a silly lamp that used to be a wheelbarrow, but what’s wrong with looking after things in the first place?
Sustainability is the new buzzword, especially in horticulture; we are the curators of the future.
It makes a lot of financial and ecological sense to still be using the same border fork, hoe or spade that you’ve had for years, rather than wasting your time (and money) buying new ones.
Because unless you spend serious bucks, replacement tools are unlikely to have been designed to last.
And even if you do find a good one, has it travelled halfway across the planet?
The moral of this story is that we deserve the same kind of reverence afforded to chefs, carpenters, engineers and other specialists; they also work with their hands, and they take great pride in the tools of their respective trades.
You don’t have to go to town with polishing, sharpening or varnishing. Embrace the grubby handles, relish the rusty patina.
But show your tools a little love and they’ll be with you for years to come.