I READ Sarah Hall’s column (‘Back to school with a traffic jam’, Reporter, September 7) and want to say I grew up on a farm in West Yorkshire in the 1950s. My school was two miles away. I walked or ran this distance every school day for four years. I didn’t run because I was late, I ran because I enjoyed the wind on my face and the freedom I had.
Part of my journey was over different farms, then country lanes. The only dangers I faced was knowing the different bulls I may encounter – some friendly and some not.
On more occasions when the snow was too deep, Dad would take me on the tractor. The school never closed unless the heating broke down.
In springtime I noted where the partridges had been dusting, or the field where the lapwings had their nests. I passed the badger sett quietly, I would often see Brock about his business.
In autumn and the late summer there were blackberries or wild mushrooms to pick on the way home.
Often I would help father with the milking at 6am then go to school, but of course I was in bed for 8pm, a short read of the Eagle and the exploits of Dan Dare before going to sleep.
No computers or Xbox for me, no Nintendos or bedroom TVs to keep me up at night.
It was a plain and simple life, which I look back upon with great nostalgia.
We can’t turn the clock back and I know I was privileged in my upbringing and where I lived, but I’m sure most children nowadays given a new mindset and the opportunity to see, do and enjoy what I had in my schooldays would benefit from that two-mile journey, as would their parents.
The recognition of bulls is very important too, unless you are a good runner as I was.
If all else fails, and the school run continues, and more labour saving devices come in and children sit at the TV or computer all day, then if Charles Darwin’s theory is correct then in the distant future mankind will begin to lose its legs!
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Weather for Batley
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 22 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 12 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: East