Kate Livingstone: Looking back on sunny memories

editorial image

What is it about sunny days that they immediately transport you back to your childhood?

Yes those were the times when the sun seemed to shine throughout the school holidays and children were never bored.

Now I’m sure that’s my selective memory coming into play again. My mother would tell me different ... if she could only remember that far back!

But we seemed to be a lot more content with our lot and days out were simpler.

We would run about outside from dawn to dusk, only coming back indoors when we were hungry.

Who remembers a piece on sugar or being given a poke of sugar along with a rhubarb stick to dip in it? They were the staple diet of growing children – and, if your mother was feeding what seemed like half the street, it was quick, cheap and filling.

Before the health conscious among you throw up your hands in horror, we used to burn it off with all our running about.

Skipping ropes were a favourite with the girls, also Chinese ropes – we used to spend hours making them out of rubber bands and I can still feel the nip when they burst and ‘twanged’ against your ankle!

Peevers, or hopscotch to the posh amongst you, would see us draw out the beds on the streets with coloured chalk.

Then there was kick the can and dodgy ball, all good and cheap fun.

It made me smile the other weekend when my grandchildren came rushing in to tell them that their mum and dad had bought them a play tent for the back garden.

Now where they are going to find room for it I don’t know what with the trampoline, swing, slide, goalposts and climbing frame, but they have this luminous yellow tent to erect.

I had to bite back saying “in my day” because then I would really have sounded like my mother, but, between you and me, in my day we made our own tents with an old sheet and two kitchen chairs! I’m sure we were just as happy as today’s generation.

I hear Emma and her friends moan about the cost of a day out with their children, but that’s because it’s often a trip to a soft play area or some sort of organised activity. As well as the admission cost, there is food and drinks to buy which all mounts up.

What’s wrong with taking them to the local park where there is lots of space to run around and make your own picnic to feed them?

But that doesn’t seem 
sophisticated enough for today’s youngsters, well in my day ...