"It is surprising how little a man needs."
(Socrates C5th BC).
"They are only things."
(Elizabeth's mum on accepting our offer of coming to live with us but not having room for all her possessions. AD1994).
"Mum was right. You don't really need much, do you?"
( Elizabeth and I in our first hired caravan 2002).
As we stood there in a Paignton-booked caravan like two latter-day marooned Ben Gunns surveying what providence had seen fit to leave us, , a train of thought began.
In truth, we were no more bereft than the Windsor family, (apart from a small army of fawning lackeys). Like us they could only sit on one chair or one lavatory at a time, be no drier or warmer, more comfortable in bed, watch more than one television and wear only one set of clothes.
Much later on - another trip to the Isle of Skye when my camera had taken me to the cliff top surrounding the harbour. I stood out side a cottage garden admiring the rare beauty of the area when the lady tenant came down her garden to say hello. I promptly congratulated her on choice of locale. Her reply? "Och well but when you've lived here for seventeen years, yer dinna notice it!"
So just why do we spend such a large part of our lives trying to earn enough money to buy bigger houses, in "better" areas, more expensive cars, more ornaments, more clothes? Is it down to necessity, vanity, social status, something to show off to our friends or perish the thought, the need for something not an end unto itself?. And once purchased, like the lady in Portree how long is it before we cease seeing what we have bought and move on to acquiring the next and grander material possession?
Just imagine with such monkeys off our backs how much more fulfilling our lives might be! Who knows,we might even come to learn the difference between the costs of things and their value, eh Oscar?