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Thursday, 26 April 2018

Adventure Travel

Adventure Travel involves exploration and a certain degree of risk.

I’ve been struggling and wondering what kind of memory is going to rise to the surface next?

If you are anything like me then memories come unbidden or they start with a nudge from someone else.  You know, as when someone tells me a story or relates an event that has happened, then immediately it reminds me of something that occurred in my own life.  That’s probably when I interrupt and start telling my story instead of listening to hers.

It happened recently when a friend and I were sitting down solving all the world’s problems over a cup of tea.  We were attempting to understand and compare the education of today’s children with that of an earlier age.  We’d already tut-tutted and disapproved of their lack of cursive skills and abilities to read an analog clock, but it was when she told me about schools having to teach teenage children how to ride on public transport by presenting it as an adventure that my memories really began to zero in. 

Riding on trams and buses and tubes were no adventure for our little Covey of Cockneys, it was part of living, part of getting from A to B.  It goes without saying that there was no car in our driveway.  In truth there was no driveway either.  If we needed to get somewhere we used shanks’ pony.  If it was a long way and we had the fare, we took the tram or bus.

I’ve mentioned before that as a very young person I needed public transport to get to school and I often travelled by tram from Battersea to Islington to visit my grandmother.  I have now confirmed that when I moved on LS took over and often travelled the same grandmother route.  Here’s her reply to my request for info:
“I had been doing the tram trip to Nanny B’s for sometime...maybe I was eight or nine...Somewhere there is a very faded picture of me with NB...she had just made me the happiest girl walking...she had put my hair into two braids (mum wouldn’t allow it...because it would ruin my curls!!!) the braids must have been as thick as my finger...BUT...she had an ingenious idea.. she tied heavy rag strips ( ribbons) on the I felt them swish around and I could toss them over my shoulder...Can’t believe I remember that sensation but I do..l just wanted to be like my friend Nicky...her mother had the hens...Nicky had really long braids that were probably six inches wide...!!...Anyway...I look really young in that picture and I know I went there on my own.”

I just love the memory of the “rag strip ribbons” and think it would be wonderful if we could find the photograph. Unfortunately, that's probably never going to happen. So this make believe one will have to do!

We moved to Clapham in the 1950’s.   No trams where we lived, so we took the bus; for 10 year old LB that meant taking the bus to school.  According to his recollection that would not have been any big deal as he already had experience of wandering around without supervision:

"I do remember getting lost with George and some other kids when we lived on Silverthorne Rd. We were up around some flats by the church yard steps Wandsworth Road.  I would have been around 7 or 8, maybe younger."

Bringing the memories more up to date with my own children, it seems that number one and only son recalls leaving home at about 10 or 11 years of age armed with two bags of chips.  He didn’t bother with wheeled transport he just kept walking until all the chips had been devoured and with no idea where the next meal would come from, he headed home.

I couldn’t help but wonder about my parenting skills when my youngest daughter reminded me that she took her first public transport trip alone at the age of 3 years!  Well, she wasn’t technically alone.  I wasn’t with her but she was accompanied by her four or five year old friend!  The friend had suggested they walk to the store to get candies, so they did.  I was not there so I cannot say for certain what happened, but eventually she came home with a tale of riding a bus! 

There’s a lot written today about how much risk a child should be able to experience in order to learn to make viable judgments in the future.  To this end children’s playgrounds are being redesigned (at least in Britain) to include dangerous aspects, 

and no doubt the public transport “adventure” is part of that trend.

Nevertheless, I truly believe that today’s parents, like any parents of any time, are doing their best.  They want their children to be safe.  So, imagine how you would feel if you were the parent of the 12 year old boy from “down under” who, according to a report on April 24 /18 really took the Adventure Travel to the ultimate extreme.

What more can I say!

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