Remember the childhood toy that came with the big chunky batteries? The batteries that never seemed to last very long? The batteries that were maybe replaced once or twice before the toy was gradually relegated to the back of the cupboard?
I saw an old toy recently that reminded me of those batteries and I pictured the old-style blue batteries with the flash of red where the ‘Ever Ready’ brand name was. Now I’m not saying that I don’t trust my childhood memories, but I thought I should check whether the vivid recollection was actually correct!
So, off to the search engine images. Sure enough, I uncovered multiple photos of these classic Ever Ready batteries. Somewhat depressingly however they were categorised under vintage batteries...anyway, I was reflecting just how powerful a brand name that is for batteries.
I even remember it from Sunday School. One of the old children’s choruses was ‘Give me oil in my lamp keep me burning’. A new verse had been added – and if you know the tune, hum along in your head – ‘Give me batteries in my torch keep me shining' with the finale being ‘Ever Ready till the break of day’.
Originating in the USA, the company dates back to the turn of the twentieth century so they certainly have a long pedigree. I wonder how much the name has contributed to their longevity?
The company were famous for an invention they actually purchased – the tubular hand-held "electric device"- or as the Americans called it a flashlight – and what we call a torch!
Anyway, back to Ever Ready. It really is a name for the ages, and I was reminded about it during all the coverage of HM Queen Elizabeth’s death. The word being used a lot then was ‘constancy’, not a word in common usage. The very simple definitions are:
1. The quality of being constant; steadiness or faithfulness in action, affections, purpose, etc.
2. An unchanging quality or characteristic of a person or thing.
"Trust is not simply a matter of truthfulness, or even constancy. It is also a matter of amity and goodwill. We trust those who have our best interests at heart, and mistrust those who seem deaf to our concerns."
It is an amazing tribute that the almost universally acclaimed understanding of the Queen was her constancy. There are few, from any walk of life, that could claim that attribute, and to have it while being in the public gaze for so long is remarkable.
I saw this little insight into how that constancy played out. I took a note of the words but forgot to source, so apologies for the uncredited words.
“She visited the places that needed visiting and thanked the people that needed thanking. And she knew that her meetings meant more to the person than to her so that made it special for her.”
"The secret to success is the constancy of purpose."
I read that 30% of the UK population had actually seen the Queen in person – a huge number, probably unparalleled. I saw her three times; once as a primary school pupil when her car passed a nearby road en-route to some official opening, and then at a Garden Party at the Palace of Holyrood, and then again inside the same Palace in 2019. These memories are as clear as the ones for my Ever Ready batteries.
Perhaps the reason that the word constancy is not used regularly is because it is such a scarce characteristic. And perhaps it should be one that we value and strive for.
"Long before morning I knew that what I was seeking to discover was a thing I'd always known. That all courage was a form of constancy. "