There are a number of simple signs that give away the inevitability of advancing old age. One is to constantly moan about the weather, despite having lived with a changeable climate for all of one’s life to date. The second is to drone about how things used to be and how much worse they are now. I am resigned to the fact that the British weather is usually dire, unless changeable weather is your bag. The latter I cannot avoid. And today I saw another example of the latter.
When I was a lad, I walked to school. It was not a huge distance – maybe a mile or more – but the thought of getting a lift to school or even the bus was something that barely, if ever, crossed our minds. (From my point of view, as we did not have a car, there was little likelihood of me getting a lift to school.) We walked. We met each other on the way to school, eating unhealthy sugar-laden drinks and foods which never did me any harm at all (apart from ruining my teeth, of course). How different things are today.
To be fair, the vast majority of children in our area walk or cycle to school. It is not far, you see. Others are transported by car to the bus stop and then by bus to a school several miles away, some parents drive their children to schools well outside of town where they believe, falsely as it turns out, that they will somehow get a better education. The point is thought that more people are driving their kids to school and having their kids driven to school.
I’m afraid our local primary schools attract far more cars. I could not even park near the local supermarket because it was log-jammed with parents who had driven vast distances, some as far as half a mile, to save the poor loves having to walk. All of them seemed to be smoking too, which is a very strange example to set to young children, but that’s another moan on my part.
This influx of extra traffic must be twofold. One is that parents do not believe their children are safe with all these cars as well as paedophiles on every street corner. The other is that it’s much easier to drive the children to school rather than walk with them.
All of this feeds into our already gridlocked streets. Just look at what happens in the school holidays when you can actually get to where you want without taking your sleeping bag as a precaution.
Just think how much healthier children and their parents might actually be if they allowed their legs to take the strain? We have serious issues about fitness, or rather the lack of it, and obesity, of which both were heavily in evidence this morning and as a society we just seem to put up with it and just moan when it takes half a day to get to work.
I remember when my own children were at Primary School and there were walk to school days which were very successful for a day or so and then things went back to how they were.
Yes, there are more cars than there used to be so the roads are not as safe as they used to be, but there’s more pollution too. There are no more perverts than ever there were, we just hear about them more these days thanks to the information superhighway.
Walking is actually good fun, it really is. And it’s far better for you than driving everywhere. More people should try it.