Eeyore’s guide to beating the recession

Nov 25th, 2008 | By | Category: Ireland

Eeyore’s birthday did not turn out as it might have done.  Pooh sets out with a jar of honey, but eats the contents on the way, leaving only an empty jar to give to Eeyore.  Piglet runs along with a big red balloon for Eeyore, but falls on the way, bursting the balloon, and has only a piece of damp rag to give Eeyore.

“Thank  you,  Piglet,”  said Eeyore. “You don’t mind my asking,” he went on, “but what colour was this balloon when  it — when it was a balloon?”


“I just wondered. … Red,” he murmured to himself. “My favourite colour. … How big was it?”

“About as big as me.”

“I  just wondered. … About as big as Piglet,” he said to himself sadly. “My favourite size. Well, well.”

A burst balloon and an empty jar have hardly the makings of a happy birthday, but Eeyore suddenly demonstrates an extraordinary capacity for making the best of his circumstances.

“It’s  a  Useful Pot,” said Pooh. “Here it is. And it’s got ‘A Very Happy Birthday with love from Pooh’ written on  it. That’s  what  all  that writing is. And it’s for putting things in. There!”

When Eeyore saw the pot, he became quite excited.

“Why!” he said. “I believe my Balloon will just go into that Pot!”

“Oh, no, Eeyore,” said Pooh. “Balloons are much too big to go into Pots. What you do with a balloon is,  you  hold  the balloon ”

“Not mine,” said Eeyore proudly. “Look, Piglet!” And as Piglet looked  sorrowfully  round, Eeyore picked the balloon up with his teeth, and placed it carefully in the pot;  picked  it out  and  put it on the ground; and then picked it up again and put it carefully back.

“So it does!” said Pooh. “It goes in!”

“So it does!” said Piglet. “And it comes out!”

“Doesn’t it?” said Eeyore. “It goes  in  and  out  like anything.”

“I’m  very glad,” said Pooh happily, “that I thought of giving you a Useful Pot to put things in.”

“I’m very glad,” said Piglet happily, “that I thought  of giving you something to put in a Useful Pot.”

But  Eeyore wasn’t listening. He was taking the balloon out, and putting it back again, as happy as could be….

A friend with memories of Ireland in the Fifties describes how the Eeyore spirit, of improvise and make do, was not such a bad way to be.  He tells of sorting through the house of a maiden aunt who had died and finding a jar labelled, “Pieces of string too small to be of any use”.  The jar was filled with very short lengths of string.

“What was she going to do with them?”

“Who knows”, he said, “but you never knew when you might need a short piece of string!”

Reading on Sunday that, “Unemployment will be well over 300,000. Certainly, over a million living in poverty. The lives of tens of thousands of young people will be devastated by deprivation and hopelessness”, one might feel a deeply Eeyore mood coming on, but what about some Eeyore resolution?  What about being honest and saying that we might make do and get by for a while, but, do you know, things aren’t so bad?

It wouldn’t take a stroke of political genius for the government to say that no-one would be thrown out of their home; it would not demand great creative thought to say that we will attempt to ensure everyone has work, even if it means inaugurating Obama-like public works programmes.

If Eeyore and maiden aunts can improvise, is it too much to hope for some ingenuity in Leinster House?

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  1. I remember what you said when you gave me that lovely pot as a wedding present. You said everyone needed something completely useless. It has dried flowers in it currently so is actually being used as a receptacle but even if it wasn’t it looks lovely and for that reason alone is not useless. We can all improvise and repurpose things in some way. There’s a whole web community and philosophy out there with regards to repurposing. It started as an environmental issue but in straitened times it has useful advice to us all.

  2. My talking Eeyore from Disneyland is not as wise as this, it just says things about thistles…

  3. The term ‘maiden aunts’ is one I have not heard for years. I have a ‘Pooh pot’ or rather a Nut Tin for all those ‘someday I might need it’ bits and pieces. I am sure if I looked in it right now I might find a blog post….!

  4. Paula,

    I wish someone would repurpose our government; in fact, if they had been purposed in the first place, things might not have got so bad.


    If you buy an Eeyore in Disneyland, you can hardly expect the finer points of Milne’s dialogue!


    My friend is of a generation when it would have been a common term. ‘Maiden aunt’, for me, always conjures up thoughts of the aunts who so terrified Bertie Wooster in P.G. Wodehouse’s books

  5. Will it really be this bad? We had recession in the 80s, again in the 90s and the wheels didn’t totally fall off although I agree that with all this ‘bailing’ out of wobbly big business, there must be something governments can do to provide unemployment. (I have a basket on my kitchen bench that has a collection of useless things . . .at least I know where to look for some blu tac!)

  6. Oops I meant employment of course *must stop commenting at 6am*

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