The coal man used to have a horse-drawn cart. Coal delivery one day included a large fresh organic deposit in the road and quick as a flash my father was out there with his spade and wheel barrow to collect the bonus for the vegetable patch.
Over the past week the banking gurus have decided that the period of "austerity" will be with us for a while. They speak of financial and material austerity. But it's a relative phrase and for those of the "baby boomer" generation there's some way to go before we get back to conditions of our childhood. Sharing was more common and self reliance seemed to be the natural way of things. When the first (black and white) television arrived at a neighbour's house it was exciting to be invited to watch Queen Elizabeth's coronation or a Cup Final. Simple events were fun - like playing games in the park, or going for walks and bike rides. Clothes were mended when torn; shoes repaired when the soles and heels wore out and cardboard boxes featured in many toy creations.
Last week we spent a warm summer day with grand-children doing simple activities. A good hour was spent in a fantasy land of bacon sandwiches, ham salads, cakes and ice cream with cherries dished up from a make-believe kitchen inside a play area hut. An Olympic horse jumping session followed using a springy thingy in the play area itself, then we were off to the river bank for a picnic. Curiosity levels ran high as a large French family settled on a nearby wooden picnic table and the ubiquitous bags of sandwiches, crisps, snack bars and fruit appeared on both tables. On our table it became important to sort out the bread crusts so that ducks and swans could be fed when their turn came. Two grand-daughters (with a combined age of 7) than decided it was time to paddle in the river - certainly without skirts and tops and definitely with a grandpa and rolled up trousers.