When one doesn’t mingle too often with young people of around 10 to 15 years old one can easily succumb to media stereotypes and imagine them all as slothful, unhealthy screen addicts who sit playing Dystopian games on their iPads all day whilst eating Nachos (or whatever carbohydrate based snack is currently flavour of the month) and grunting absent mindedly at their parent or carer. I imagine a lot of 10 to 15 year olds hold even more dismissive images of ancient old characters such as myself.
“When I was that age”, I think to myself, “I would have been out all day in the endless Summer Holidays up at Shorne Woods with Jeff & Bas & Eddie cycling round dangerous woodland tracks on unsuitable heavy bicycles.”
One particular focus I remember was “Big Bertha”, which was a hill into a deep woodland pit SO steep one almost went forwards over the handlebars in descent before hitting a small drumlin at the bottom which lifted both wheels off the ground in a terrifying and garment soiling manner. I’m not sure why it was called “Big Bertha” but it could have been associated with the name of Mr “Old Man” Rivers the Headmaster’s cane at our Junior School which was the ultimate deterrent after one had had various bits of anatomy hit with a metal ruler by Mr Sears the form teacher. I later learned that “Big Bertha” was a German Howitzer deployed by the Germans in World War One.
Anyway, on a recent trip to Lancashire whilst walking our dogs I was amazed and very pleased to come across this:
The next day we passed the same place and found a lad of around 12 with a spade and wheelbarrow adding extra stunts and hazards to what already looked a fairly tough gig and when I proffered friendly encouragement was met with good humour and a wonderful up-beat attitude.
I left with a spring in my step and a new resolution not to believe any of the hype – there IS a positive and dynamic young generation coming through to deal with all the shite and debt we have left them. We all need to keep our fingers crossed for them.