Barn door well used, weather-worn but maintained, a bit like the photographer.
My salad leaves should be ready in week or so. For the time being I buy some lettuce from the stall at the end of The Pantiles market. Little Gem. "The best," says the farmer. "We grow 10 acres of icebergs. I wouldn't give you twopence for them. They're for the supermarkets".
Boys are competing to climb a tree in The Grove. I watch with pleasure. Once we all climbed trees, boys and girls (though girls were called tomboys for so doing (no insult in my eyes). Nowadays health and safety rules the day, and in the air, catch hold of a branch pull themselves on to it, and from their clamber up through the branches. Nowadays you would expect them at least to be wearing helmets to preserve their skulls and pads to protect their little knees. At least somewhere a sense of reality and the joys attached to it prevails.
Yes, I agree, there is too much fussing over safety of little knees and brains! I'm recalling when our middle daughter, at about 12 years and a fearless tomboy and daddy's helper, climbed up one of our huge trees and sawed off several branches to thin it out. We could use a helper like that again, hmmm.
And next door where a huge new house is being built, the owner helps out on weekends with a digger and scooper moving gravel, sand and dirt around. He has his two young boys about 4 and 7 years occasionally operate the machines quite confidently. No worries on his part apparently as they play on the site, no helmets either.
As the nanny state closes in at one end, its toils are being rejected at the other. Idly Googling rock climbing I found there's a new breed of climber now in action: men and women prepared to climb the most precipitate and technically difficult rock faces (graded E9, E10) according to "solo free" rules, the free-est of the free - alone and with no help at all from a rope. Which means that any fall from more than twenty feet is fatal (and many of the clinbs run to several hundred feet). A fair proportion of this breed now rests in cemeteries; the remainder talk to the camera in a slightly mystical way which would, under any other circumstances, be termed pure b/s. The climbs of those still living are meticulously recorded by skilful cameramen. I watch in a state of acute ambivalence.
I do agree that I might be a little worried especially in the present nervous climate if small children close to me were involved in adventurous undertakings. Baden Powell's "Scouting for Boys", with its emphasis on practicality and common sense, would be a reassuring vade mecum with which to provide them. I found a copy again after 70 years or so in a charity shop and hold it in readiness for a suitable recipient; if, that is, I don't feel the need for it myself the next time I go camping in the wild.
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