Life is very different for children in today's modern world. During my childhood 'Shanks's Pony' (ie, walking) was the de rigueur form of travelling locally (like walking a mile or so to school each day), complimented with cycling when I got a little older, and the bus – and occasional train ride – for longer journeys.
I don't recall having a ride in a car until I was well into my teenage years – but times were very different then (in the 1950s and early 60s). And, on the rare occasions that I did get the chance to ride in a car, I thought about how lucky I was and what a wonderful and rare experience to boot!
Have times changed for the better or worse?
Oh how times change: but not for the better or the worse.
By the time I was a family man with four young children local day-to-day car journeys had become the norm for my brood (complimented with the occasional ride on the back of my motorcycle of course: I couldn't fit all four of them on the pillion at the same time!).
The children had to walk quite a long way to catch the school bus
Even so, during children's school days we lived in the middle of the Herefordshire countryside – off the beaten track for the regular school bus run (no such thing in my day – school buses that is) and so they still had quite a walk each day to and from the main road on school days (3/4 mile) to catch the bus. And also, of course, they were always encouraged to take lots of lovely country walks with yours truly at weekends (rain, hail or shine).
But times do change. Taking my two grandchildren who are now old enough to attend school and nursery (in Hereford), they are taken and picked up, by their mum or dad, in the car each day. Being strapped up and riding in a car for them is just matter-of-fact nowadays of course, but they do occasionally get a taste of yesteryear now and again, courtesy of their granddad 'Pop' Bates.
We love our walks in the woods
When they come to visit (Ledbury – about 15 miles from Hereford) for an overnight (or two) stay, I always take them back home on the bus (or, occasionally the train) – and walk them around the local woods, and down to the park in town with Judith, whilst they are with us. Matter-of-fact for me when I was their age, but not for Harrison and Joey: they love every minute of it (and so do Judith and I of course).
I always walk the boys home from school twice a week
In keeping with this kind of opportunity for them to experience the simpler things in life (and also as part of our normal, wider-family experiences and relationships) I travel to Hereford ( using my OAP bus pass of course) every Monday and Thursday to pick the boys up from their respective nursery and school and walk them home. This saves their mum and dad having to dash back from work to pick them up in the car of course, but – more importantly (I think) it keeps me in regular contact with them during the week.
They both must enjoy it too, because they chatter non-stop during the whole of the ½ hour plus walk home.