Karen Bartlett Column

Article excerpt

Byline: By Karen Bartlett

Slow down. Is the pace of change too much? For some the answer is yes, and their solution would be to turn the clock back to a quieter time.

This idea first took seed appropriately with food. Those rushed meals, the snatched sandwiches on the bus. And what about all that supermarket food; the fruit that never goes ripe only rotten, the plastic wrappings, the portions of pale and quivering chicken.

Surely there was a more innocent age when strawberries still had seasons, vegetables grew in the back garden until they were ready to be dug up and bread went stale (not like today when it can sit, spaced out in a state of chemically induced sponginess, for several weeks).

And then when this lovingly tended produce is ready to reach the plate it should be eaten slowly, by families. Around the kitchen table. Like they do in Italy ( or at least in Olivio ads.

After you have had your first "taste education" as the "slow food" movement calls it, you probably won't want to rush off anywhere. More likely you will cruise somewhere slowly. Hopefully your car will have a tiny environmentally friendly engine and not be able to take you much beyond 50 miles an hour on the motorway.

But in case you do get carried away, every street will be littered with speed humps that make your exhaust fall off and give you brain damage from repeatedly hitting your head on the inside of the roof.

The understandable concerns that gave rise to the slow food movement have now spread into the general hotchpotch of our fantasies about green rural living. People have started supporting "slow cities" "slow travel" (although I do believe this was dreamt up some years ago by British Rail).

Now there are calls for slow work and slow parenting. I'm not sure what the CBI would say about "slow work", although personally I'm all in favour of it. But slow parenting? What does that mean?

We British don't like new fangled fast things. …