For­ever young

Country Life Every Week - - Contents -

Hurry, dash, panic. The world rushes past, eyes glued to the screens of the lat­est por­ta­ble elec­tronic de­vices and ears to mo­bile phones, each dig­i­tal in­no­va­tion trump­ing the last with gid­dy­ing speed and, in­vari­ably, lead­ing to pre­dic­tions that Life As We Knew It will cease to ex­ist. ro­bots will el­bow us out of jobs, cars will drive them­selves, mi­crochips will en­able us to in­ter­act with ma­chines as if they were peo­ple. Where will it all lead, ex­cept to uni­ver­sal be­wil­der­ment, if not the de­feat of the hu­man race, in the bat­tle for sur­vival of the fittest?

Take courage: pre­dic­tions are of­ten vain —this mag­a­zine is a case in point. Who could have imag­ined that a pub­li­ca­tion born out of the tech­nol­ogy and pre­oc­cu­pa­tions of 1897 could have con­tin­ued, true to its core be­liefs, through two World Wars, five Coro­na­tions, 23 Prime Min­is­ters, eco­nomic crises, the much-hyped death of print me­dia and more than a cen­tury of so­cial change? yet, here we are, 120 years old and fresh as a daisy.

It’s not a quirk. Hu­man be­ings are not ge­net­i­cally pro­grammed only to adopt the lat­est fads. Some­times, they rebel. re­mem­ber the Sin­clair C5? The one-per­son elec­tronic ve­hi­cle of the 1980s was a wiz­ard idea that no­body wanted. More re­cently, Google Glass, sup­posed to re­lieve the wearer of the tedium of look­ing at the screen of his smart device be­cause the data would be per­ma­nently there, in front of his eyes, has not proved to be the next big thing.

Many thought e-read­ers would su­per­sede con­ven­tional pub­lish­ing, but, sur­prise, sur­prise, it turns out that the read­ing pub­lic prefers to hold phys­i­cal books in the end. We eat meals that would be broadly recog­nis­able to our an­ces­tors, served on ce­ramic plates whose tech­nol­ogy is thou­sands of years old. De­spite the con­ve­nience of Ly­cra, linen, cash­mere and tweed flour­ish.

Some mod­ernists preach the death of tra­di­tion. We be­lieve it’s alive and strong and al­ways will be; it’s a hu­man need. Fa­mil­iar­ity doesn’t only breed con­tempt— it can breed love. True, the mod­ern age can seem a whirligig of change, but that makes it all the more nec­es­sary to treasure things we know we like, as well as more novel plea­sures.

We won’t be bossed by mod­ernisers who say the world we re­port on week by week is out of date. Sup­ported by our mag­nif­i­cent read­ers, we stand up for what we be­lieve in: the coun­try­side and the riches of Bri­tish cul­ture.

Tra­di­tional? We’re proud to ad­mit it— but burst­ing, too, with fresh ideas. That’s what, at 120, keeps us young.

We won’t be bossed by mod­ernisers who say our world is out of date

Pine­hurst II, Pine­hurst Road, Farn­bor­ough Busi­ness Park, Farn­bor­ough, Hamp­shire GU14 7BF Tele­phone 01252 555072 www.coun­

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