Jayne Dawson: Enough of this tosh – it’s time to admit we’re all wired

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You know how the ancient Egyptians didn’t really look like that at all?

Those paintings showing them all with the kind of glossy bobs Vidal Sassoon would have been proud of, and huge almond-shaped eyes that Liz Taylor would have killed for, were... let’s just say themselves but on their best days.

The hair was usually a wig to cover the bad day underneath and the eyes weren’t nearly as impressive without the makeup.

I’m not judging, just saying. I do a similar thing most days of the week, so good on those ancients.

It’s just that things were confusing until historians worked out that a bit of kidology was going on in Egypt at the time and not everyone actually had the looks of a – well I want to say Greek god, but that would be mixing up my civilisations.

I mention it because we’re a bit like that now , and I’m not thinking selfies, not today. No, I’m talking about wires, humble wires. The things that sprout from our every appliance, from the lamps in the lounge to the toaster in the kitchen.

Here’s my gripe. If an alien from Venus – I’m female I don’t do Mars – should look back at our own little civilisation one day, they will be given an entirely wrong impression.

They will believe we were a wire-free society, that we had become so advanced by the late 20th and early 21st century that our energy source required no physical connection at all.

Those hapless Venus-ians would go and tell everyone about how our earthly food mixers whizzed and our lamps glowed from something transmitted entirely through the earth’s atmosphere, without anything so primitive as a plug and socket.

That’s because we fib. Or rather our adverts fib. And our magazines fib and practically everyone on Pinterest and Instagram fibs. They are all part of a conspiracy to pretend that wires don’t exist, that kettles don’t need plugging in.

No one. Ever. Shows. The. Wires.

The reality is that although we have wireless we are as far away from a wire-free society as we are from a paperless society.

Those pictures of our tangle-free lives represent reality about as much at the golden Team GB represent the fat, flabby rest of us.

At this time of year, you might well be doing a little bit of an autumn makeover, checking your lamps inside and out, fluffing up your rugs, stashing your garden chairs, generally ramping up the cosiness factor.

All the while you will be tripping over great ropes of electrical wiring, it will be coiling and snaking and writhing at your feet, and you will be doing your desperate best to hide it.

You will stuffing it behind plant pots, shoving it under sofas, hiding it under rugs, and then worrying about the safety of said actions.

I do all of this. I hate all the wiring that makes things go. Extension leads feature large in my life. I’m a lamp person. I don’t like to put the big light on, I like those little pools of light, but I pay for it in ugly wiring. What to do with them?

I once met a woman who said she had managed to hide all hers, but then she also confessed to spending six hours every day cleaning so I’m thinking whatever her methods were they were way beyond my capacities.

I’ve tried everything, even those big tubes that you wrap around an assortment of wires to make everything look neater. They’re not much of an improvement unless you like the look of a tumble dryer hose.

Probably what should happen is this: we should come clean about our plugs and sockets and trailing leads.

Just as going make-up free on social media is a thing, just as showing our imperfections is now okay, we should reveal our electrical connections.

No lamp should be pictured without its essential cable, no appliance without its connection to the wall. We are human, we are wired. It’s sounding better already.

The comfort combination

We didn’t need any more proof really. There is already enough evidence to fill up the entire universe- but still, it’s always comforting to have a bit more.

For we Brits, the combination of tea and biscuits is not just in our cupboards it is in our bones, our very DNA.

We know that a cuppa and a biccy will make things better, will always provide succour and comfort and a sense of safety in an unsafe world.

And, it turns out, their effect works in space too. Okay, not actual space – not yet – but in pretend space, where British engineer Andrzej Stewart has been living for a full year.

In fact he has been living in a pod up the side of a volcano in Hawaii, a rocky landscape that is the nearest thing to Mars we have on earth.

Andrzej was not allowed contact with the outside world and, to make things extra stressful, he shared his confined space with five strangers – though naturally they were far from strangers by the end of the year.

The idea was to simulate the conditions that will be experienced by the space travellers who make the two-year journey to Mars, some 40 million miles away.

How did he cope? Well with PG Tips, digestives, and Jammie Dodgers of course.

In an insane situation the man kept his sanity by resorting to the traditional method of self-medicating with the best of British snacks, which we can now say is – almost – out of this world.

Seaweed is our own superfood

Well then, we are after all an island. So if it so happens that seaweed should be hailed as the latest superfood - and that has happened – then we are fortunately placed.

Heston Blumenthal is so convinced of the health-giving properties of the algae that he is trying to get it on hospital menus. And why not? It can’t make things worse, by all accounts.

Despite being surrounded by much water, we have not so far taken to seaweed. The Welsh eat it occasionally, the Scots even less frequently, but by and large we regard it as slimy stuff that washes up on our beaches.

Which means it has been left to the Chinese to feed the world, and they produce half of the planet’s commercial crop. Until now. Now the government has got involved, looking at setting up a network of seaweed farms.

It sounds a sensible, even obvious plan. Move over South American quinoa, your day as a supergrain is over, British seaweed is on the way.

Temple Mill, Marshall Street, Holbeck, Leeds.

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