Tag Archives: Schools

Calling all (big) kids: It’s time to bring back the conker…

midlife

Do you remember that Cadbury’s Fudge advert from years back where the kid is holding up a conker on a shoe lace but get’s distracted by his mum and a Cadbury’s Fudge bar? Ah, good times, right? I mean, yeah, the kid who the young cherub was holding his conker up against looked like the school bully, but apart from that, it was a cracking ad. The tune! The hazy, days-gone-by atmosphere! The big, fat school ties!

Conkers, see, then was all the rage.  Back in school, at break and lunch, we’d hide somewhere away from the eagle eye of the dinner ladies and their tabards (love that word – tabard) and when they weren’t looking, we’d embark on a game of conkers and hope we didn’t lose a finger. Or an eye.

I loved playing conkers, me, I mean really, really loved it. It was like dicing with death. Ok, not really, but it felt like that at the age of seven – the dinner lady threat, the fear of a loss of limb – it had it all going on. We used to put them in the oven, my brother and me. Yup, the night before, in they’d go, those nut-brown shiny conkers, to come out harder than ever. One stolen shoe lace later from my sisters shoes and hey presto, we were fight ready.

This, you see, was

In case you've forgotten - a handy guide
In case you’ve forgotten – a handy guide

the early 80s, when we were still a whisper from the seventies and its hangover of no health and safety, yet still an ocean of time away before even the slightest ripple of smart phones and iPads these school kids have today. Heck, we didn’t even have a land line, just an emergency 10p in my Brownie belt purse for the phone box down the road. It was the one next to the mobile chip van.

So I am troubled, yes troubled, to hear that this autumn there exist school children who do not know how to play conkers. A recent survey revealed that most school children in the UK don’t play conkers, with many not even knowing how to. And why? Because schools are banning the game due to fears of health and safety. So what, conkers is dangerous but an anonymous pedophile sashaying as a 11-year-old boy on Moshi Monsters is safe? And that’s the thing, that irony. It’s not just health and safety that’s driven the nail into the conker coffin – it’s technology, it’s phones, it’s iPads and gaming and social media obsession. Kids today play on their devices more than they even speak to each other face to face. Surely the consequences of that, the long-term social problems it will create, is far more dangerous than the threat of getting a bruise on the cheek from a swinging conker on the end of a frayed shoe lace?

The mighty good news is that adults are on the conker case. This week saw the Conker Champion (who knew?) crowned in Northampton and, according to Nicola Hunt, the Scottish championship judge (yes, there really is one), ‘In the 7 years we have been running the championship, we have seen more and more adults taking part – they’re just big kids.’ Well said, Nicola,

So, it’s time we told these kids what conkers is really about. Get those autumn limbs ready because my oven’s on, a lace has been nabbed from the nearest unsuspecting shoe, and I mean business. Finger nails, watch out.

By the way, for a trip down memory lane, here’s that Cadbury’s Fudge conker advert. All together now…

What do you think? Post your thoughts below…

Gazette column: Girls’ school sport needs better provision. Now.

It’s “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my weekly Gazette newspaper column to my blog so you can have a read…

This week my column for the Gloucestershire Gazette is about sport for girls in schools and how, if we want them to participate given the dire recent participation statistics, better proven needs to be made. Now. To read it, simply click to my Column page.

What do you think? Let me know.

**Look out for  Wednesday Wafflings next, well, Wednesday, where I post the latest entry in My Diary of a Hopeful Author**

Gazette column: If towns looked to the past, they could learn something for the future

It’s “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my weekly Gazette newspaper column to my blog so you can have a read…

This week my column for the Gloucestershire Gazette is about the past and how, if towns and retailers looked to it, if they learned lessons from it on how things should be done, it could be the key to future, successful development.

To read it, simply click to my Column page.

What do you think? Let me know.

**Look out for  Wednesday Wafflings next, well, Wednesday, where I post the latest entry in My Diary of a Hopeful Author**

Gazette column: Inside all of us is something truly amazing: The story of the school boy musical genius

It’s “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my weekly Gazette newspaper column to my blog so you can have a read…

This week my column for the Gloucestershire Gazette is about a 13-year old boy at Rednock School, Gloucestershire who, on having no lessons, and without being able to read music, and who is no where near the top academic groups, suddenly walked up to a piano last year in school and began to play. Like a concert pianist.

See, inside of us, each of us, regardless  of our backgrounds, our troubles, is something truly amazing. We just have to look for it.

To read it, simply click to my Column page.

What do you think? Let me know.

**Look out for  Wednesday Wafflings next, well, Wednesday, where I post the latest entry in My Diary of a Hopeful Author**

Gazette column: Time to think positive about were we live

It’s “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my weekly Gazette newspaper column to my blog so you can have a read…

This week my column for the Gloucestershire Gazette is about where we live and how, if we just think a little more positively about our towns and villages, they might just begin to thrive.

To read it, simply click to my Column page.

What do you think? Let me know.

**Look out for  Wednesday Wafflings next, well, Wednesday, where I post the latest entry in My Diary of a Hopeful Author**

Gazette column: This summer do something for others #shavemyhead

It’s “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my weekly Gazette newspaper column to my blog so you can have a read…

This week my column for the Gloucestershire Gazette is about doing something for others this summer and how,with 13 year-old Amy Carr about to shun our selfie-obsessed culture shave her long hair off for charity, we should all take a leaf out of her book and get brave for not only ourselves, but for others, too. To read it, simply click to my Column page.

**Amy is raising money for Cancer Research UK after she lost her aunty to the disease. You can support Amy in her brave head shave by tweeting about her using #shavemyhead. You can also donate right now at http://www.mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/amycarr1**

 

Gazette column: VAT on NHS car park fees? Immoral

It’s “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my weekly Gazette newspaper column to my blog so you can have a read…

This week my column for the Gloucestershire Gazette is about NHS car park charges and how the slapping on of additional VAT at a full whack 20% rate is utterley immoral.

To read it, simply click to my Column page.

What do you think? Let me know.

**Look out for  Wednesday Wafflings next, well, Wednesday, where I post the latest entry in My Diary of a Hopeful Author**

Gazette column: Time to sort this public transport mess right out

It’s “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my weekly Gazette newspaper column to my blog so you can have a read…

This week my column for the Gloucestershire Gazette is about the state of public transport in the UK and how, in the wake of the Cam & Dursley train station parking debacle, if only we had a more integrated transport system, our economy would benefit so much. To read it, simply click to my Column page.

What do you think? Let me know.

**Look out for  Wednesday Wafflings next, well, Wednesday, where I post the latest entry in My Diary of a Hopeful Author**