“Are we there yet ?”

This afternoon marks the start of the girl’s summer holidays. 6 weeks of no school, 6 weeks of going bed when they want, getting up at whatever time, 6 weeks of no homework / spelling / reading practice. And 6 weeks of finding occupation.
Someone I was talking to recently berated youths for doing nothing but nuisance behaviour and the “When I was a lad” stuff too. I disagreed with him. When I was old enough to go charging around on my own, the summer holidays while boring in parts undoubtedly were also a time of exploring and playing. For instance, I played on numerous building sites, I played in arcades where fruit machines were unheard of as every arcade game was perfectly capable of sucking your money from you, I could wander round town with friends and not be harrassed by authority, we could go scrumping, or playing in rivers, or (the best one) pretend we’d gone to bed, stuffing a pillow down the middle of the bed and then spending the entire night out with mates. That one very nearly got me caught one time. But what have kids these days got ? Building sites are fenced off, arcades full of machines seem not to exist, groups of kids in towns are followed by CCTV and if they get caught scrumping there are more likely to get whacked with an ASBO than the back of a hand. They have nothing to do. And when that happens ……. I’m not being an apologist for the drug-takers and vandals – I’ve reported my share of those and would again – but if I take a hard look at what kids around here have to do it’s precious little. What they do have consists of a “place” where adults have designated that they can go. This place being fairly bland, as far away from civilisation as they can make it, yet with good sightlines for the police and Mr & Mrs Concerned Citizen. Hardly attractive is it ? It’s almost a ‘Holding Pen’ for youth. I’ve no idea what the answer is but the shame of it is that I don’t think anyone does.

Okay.. enough of that stuff … where did 6 weeks come from ? Who said kids need 6 weeks off ? And who says it can’t be changed – to less ? :)

16 thoughts on ““Are we there yet ?”

  1. Don’t know why they need 6 weeks off, but I had a teacher moaning at me in the pub a couple of weeks ago that, even though he gets 65 days holiday per year, its rubbish because he doesn’t get to choose when he takes them. And heres me thinking that 25 days was crap….dont know I’m born obviously, :???:

  2. and most adults freak out if their kids dare to go more than 5 metres of their front garden because of all the perverts and murderers that live nearby…

    It’s such a shame. I played freely as a child in the streets where I live and on playing fields nearby. When I go home to my parents my nephews sit in front of the telly and there are never any games of tig, kirby, football, war, etc etc etc being played outside. Mind you the street is now full of cars and the traffic has increased to a level where playing outside is almost impossible.

  3. Scrump: to sneak into a property that has at least one fruit-bearing tree. To then relieve the tree of as much fruit as can be carried in a jacket / jumper / pockets / hands / arms. To then leave property without being spotted.

    And as for what to do next ? best laugh we ever had was making holes in apples, putting bangers inside then lobbing them :)

  4. Things we did as kids in summer holidays: Find nearest building site: If pre build then it was trench warfare in the trenches, usually grass sods for bombs, if it was post trench then it was fun on the scaffolding like monkey bars only better:
    The Sunday explore, walk to dump in next village then an hour or two spent raking the tip for erm anything that amused us. Aerosol cans on fire usually though in those days they were a real find: Leave dump and walk past the old mill to the first swim hole, found a flint arrow head there: On to banks of the river don and along to next swim hole “the dug outs” light fire to dry cloths and if right season baked spuds from farmers field. Walk to power station and pick up old railway track back to our village. Around 13 mile in all and a full days exploring:
    A good day was to be had up Castle hills in the streams, build dam with dads best spade for cutting turf etc. couple of hours work and we had 4 foot deep water for swimming: Farmer chases us because we flooded his field further up stream hehehehe. Build dead mans fall, 30foot drop from quarry top to as many bails of straw we could get for soft ish landing, great fun:
    Bonfire season, chop any living tree with a variety of tools.
    I want to be 12 again…..

  5. memories of summer… darn it! i never enjoyed summer when i was a kid. our parents made sure that we had to do house chores, learn cooking, learn expense budgeting, cleaning, laundry…

    and they’d always mutter “you will thank me when you grow up!”

    they were right.

    don’t ask where my childhood went… :P

  6. Scrumping: Fruit Larceny… Does that mean we can nick a stereo and call it ‘Urban Scrumping?’… god bless Bill Bailey :)

    6 weeks… you poor poor kids over there, we’ve got 12 or so weeks here… early to mid June right through till September… For me, Summer was all about building sites (great source of wood and/pr nails for the tree house) Building aforementioned tree house, and clearing some of the woods for it… chasing cows with plastic cricket stumps…. playin in the old quarry, complete with abandoned, rusting cranes, dump trucks etc… walking across the fields to the airport to watch the planes land and take off… get shouted at for coming home late, filthy, covered in holes, and soaking wet because the raft sank…. sneaking out at night with mates to mess around, generally having fun…. TV wasn’t needed in them days, even if it was soaking we’d be out!

    Yeah Joss, I want to be 12 again too…. :)

  7. At that age and younger AJ we would get up at 5.00am sneak out the bed room window and walk the 4 miles into the Town Center for the cattle market. We the farmers would let us bottle feed the calf’s/lambs. We would then go over the road to the fruit and veg market, nab as many orange crates as possible then stand out side the chicken market and offer to “neck the chickens and provide a method to contain live birds in the orange crates. All for a bob or shilling..
    It was then on to the pig market next door,helping the farmers unload/load their pigs and having fun chasing escapee pigs hahahah.
    Then it was time for the cattle auctions,Still to this day I could never understand the rattle of the auctioneer. Fascinating stuff though.

    Then came the lucrative part of the day, mucking out the farmers wagons ready for new stock. 7/6 a wagon we got, a fortune then. 3 maybe 4 wagons we could do between us.
    What fun that was using a high pressure hose to wash out the wagon. We got soaked or rather we soaked each other and stank of cow shit. But hey! we earned cash and had great fun.

    How many kids today can say they have seen a cow let alone have hand fed calf’s/lambs etc…

  8. Not many at all! I think we’re lucky to grow up in the country surrounded by wildlife… I remember staying at a friends when the cattle were calving, gettin up in the middle of the night to see ’em being born… *sigh* they got it easy these days…..

    Let’s get Microsoft to do ‘Vet Simulator’… hell, if they do train driver’s why not! :)

  9. Scrumping (we just called it robbing orchards) – you forgot the bit about robbing the apples when they were still unripe and eating so many you got the scoots :grin:

    We lived beside a farm and although I never saw anything being born I’ll never forget the feeling of small calves sucking the milk from my fingers. It was even better because we weren’t supposed to be there.

    Another memory that came back to me a few weeks ago was climbing up on top of the bales of straw in the storage shed until we could touch the roof (about 80 feet up) and shiting ourselves in case the bales moved and we fell down inside :smile:

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