Monday, 29 September 2014

There was one of those "to do" lists in

the paper this morning. Lists like that tend to irritate me. They belong to someone else or someone is trying to tell me what I should be doing. (Warning here - I am an independent sort of cat. I prowl around in my own way thanks very much.)
This one was a list of 49 things a child should do before the age of five. It was compiled by an outdoor group of some sort so the activities are outdoor sort of activities. As lists go it was quite reasonable. For once there was nothing outrageous on it and most of the activities would not have cost anything - anything that is but time and the willingness of an adult to allow those things to happen.
I had done all but two of the things on the list by the time I was five - and a good many more besides. We spent a lot of time outside as children. We weren't supervised by adults. We were sent outside to play.
We discovered dirt and water, sticks, stones, holes, hills and that rough climbing apparatus called a tree.
There were also the concrete pipes. Most children never have the pleasure of concrete pipes but we did.
I do not know what they were for and the Senior Cat cannot even remember them but the pipes were left on the side road near the house we were living in. They were, from my child's eye view, enormous. I suspect they were for some drainage work.
They seemed to stay there for months. Certainly I can remember the grass growing high around them.
And, we used them. Oh how we used them. We rode our tricycles through them at top speed, around and through one pipe and into the next and then around and through again. We shouted and squealed and laughed inside them. They echoed.
I doubt we did the pipes any harm. We would have been hauled out very quickly if that was likely to happen. There was a large field next to the pipes and the cows in it tended to congregate on the other side when we were playing in them. (I don't blame them.)
If it was raining we would sit inside the pipes and play other games with sticks. We would eat our quarters of apple or orange in there and then carefully bury the core or peel outside. Oh yes, we kept the pipes clear of rubbish because that was our road for racing down.
I don't know how long they were there but we enjoyed them while we could. Our parents knew where we were. They knew what we were doing - and they did not know. Of course we were supervised at times and of course there were activities which were arranged by adults but we were not supervised every minute of the day. We went about that list of things to do without any help or interference.
We didn't want a physics lesson about gravity or sound. We were too busy being cowboys, police, ambulance drivers and other people.
There are some things in which adults should have no part because they simply don't understand.


jeanfromcornwall said...

At one time, we lived in a house in the country which had a largish garden with a rough bit behind bushes that was refderred to as the undergrowth. The children used to disappear in there for half a day at a time. At that stage they each had a coat, and what was called a scruffy-garden-jacket (last year's coat) that they could play in. My oldest thinks back and says that was paradise.
So many new-build houses have just a pocket handkerchief for a garden, with nowhere for the children to be out of sight and private. I feel very sorry for them.

catdownunder said...

I feel desperately sorry for some of our local children for the same reason. There is nowhere for them to play outside and their parents say they have no time to take them to the playground - not that the playground has the potential for that sort of activity. They need more adventure type playgrounds!