Cheer up, it's National Eternal Verities Day

In this age of change, as we sweep towards the 21st century and a world of Internet and computers, and away from the simple verities of the 20th century like world wars and genocide, I find that many people feel they have nothing safe and sure left to hold on to.

Here, for instance, is a letter from a reader which says: "Dear Mr Kington, I can sense that, beneath the trendy flash and modish references of your column, you are as much of an arch-conservative as I am. Could you comfort readers like me by providing us with a list of things that never change and which we can keep in mind, especially those of us who have been recently saddened or sidelined by progress?"

Willingly, Mr Portillo. Here is a short selection of the many things which never change in daily life, and which we can always cling to.

1. Large posters for films which tell you everything you need to know about the people involved ("Music orchestrated by William Prankster from an idea by Carl J Krieger") but nothing about the film itself except one of those meaningless cliche slogans: "One of them had to die. Each thought it was the other. Both were wrong ..."

2. Boxes of safety matches which lie around the house untouched until, when you finally come to use them, you find they are no good, either because somebody has filled them entirely with used matches, or because the striking surface has gone too damp to provide friction, or because the heads of the matches are so old they fall off on contact.

3. Tiny sticky labels on French apples saying "French apple".

4. Birthday cards which specify who they are for, as in "The Best of Birthdays to my dearest Great-Aunt".

5. Large, deep puddles which form in filling stations after five minutes of rain in such a place that you never notice them until you get out of your car and find yourself standing in one of them.

6. Orange, red and blue posters standing on sticks in the middle of fields urging you to vote for people called Foster, Chester or Blister in an election which took place months ago.

7. People who automatically pronounce "picturesque" as "picture-skew" even though they long ago gave up expecting people to laugh at it.

8. "You are here" patches on town maps and tube maps, tourist maps and street maps, which are totally worn away and made illegible because many people cannot read public maps without putting their finger on the place marked "You are here" and tracing their route manually.

9. Huge posters which are so obscure that it takes a while to work out what the product being advertised is, and a lot longer to work out the connection.

10. Weather forecasts which are so versatile in their predictions that whatever happens seems to have been covered in the forecast, suggesting perhaps that meteorology and astrology are not so far apart as some of us might think.

11. VCR machines which, when you come to use them for timing a TV recording, are showing nothing but a flickering screen because there has been some recent electrical power cut, which means you now have to set the clock and date again, which means getting out the instructions for the machine, wherever they are ...

12. The piece of card you normally put under the shortest leg of your kitchen table and which someone has thrown away because it didn't look as if it were needed.

13. Cellophane skins tightly wrapped round new tapes, cigarette packets, etc, which look as if they will need a slight tug to remove but which are in fact designed to repel all but the fiercest onslaught with scissors, knife and gun.

14. Serial stories in the press which feature someone called "Little Lucille" or "Young Wesley" in such headlines as "Little Lucille Still in Danger" or "No Sign of Young Wesley" and which mean nothing at all to you if you happen to have missed the first episode.

15. Days which are designated National Days, as in National Smile Day, National Limerick Day or National Correct Signalling Day, though the only sign of this is someone on Radio 4's Today programme saying, "Well, today of course is National Smile Day, so cheer up, James," which is the last reference to it you get for the rest of the day.

16. Snooker, the annual world championship of which seems to come round every three months and to last two-and-a-half months.

A much fuller list of slightly irritating things which never change can be found in your daily paper

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

    £40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

    Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

    Recruitment Genius: Trainee Hire Manager - Tool Hire

    £21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...

    Day In a Page

    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

    Why are we addicted to theme parks?

    Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
    Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

    Iran is opening up again to tourists

    After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
    10 best PS4 games

    10 best PS4 games

    Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
    Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

    That's a bit rich

    The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
    Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

    Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

    Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
    Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

    Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

    Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
    A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

    Britain's Atlantis

    Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past