REALITY television is more often than not rubbish. But there’s something about ITV’s new show Bring Back Borstal...
It could be because where we live used to be the farm for a reformatory school. It was in our fields that the bad lads learnt the benefits of a hard day’s work.
There seems something so obvious about giving young offenders something to do, rather than sat in cells playing on computer games or whatever it is they do in prisons.
Thinking aloud, we could do with a few strong young men (no offence to The Husband) to get some chores done. Suppose our over-generous benefits system has put a stop to the sort of lads that used to come around villages a generation ago doing odd jobs for a bit of cash.
Behind all the fluff for television there is definitely something in the notion of pride in a job well done and the old saying about idle hands being the devil’s workshop.
There is a sneaking suspicion that something poignant should be said with this being this correspondent’s penultimate column in Country Week. Perhaps it’s best though just to plough on and chatter away like any other week from the past ten years.
Time though; where does it go? A decade ago The Son was a baby and we would be about to celebrate The Daughter’s fourth birthday. Now she is almost as tall as me. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if she could pass her mother’s 5ft? No need to surpass it by much, but an equine hand taller would make all the difference.
Just the other day an assistant had to be asked to reach a copy of Horse & Hound down from the top shelf in the newsagent’s. Hardly a racy read, but it still left this customer bright red and flustered from trying - and failing - to clamber up to reach it.
A decade ago, just before that fourth birthday, there was a bit of a shake-up in our domestic arrangements. A job as a magazine editor had been left and it was time, as a newly self-employed person, to take over the reins from the childminder. No high-powered business meeting had ever been as scary as that first playgroup duty. Of course, The Daughter was embarrassed - even back then - as her mother told somebody else’s child off for going down the slide the wrong way and smacking into another one gormlessly waiting at the bottom.
Nearly everybody we got to know in our village was met when it still had a post office. We used to walk the mile down there with dog and pram to post off discs of copy to various newspapers and magazines. Now, of course, it’s all done via e-mail. There is hardly any human contact left in this job that used to revolve around having the gift of the gab.
Farms have changed like this as well; just ten years ago there were a lot more feed and machinery reps still calling around with time for a coffee and a natter at the kitchen table.
Come on Sarah; let’s be more light-hearted about things.
An all-time favourite line from the past decade came from helping to organise a pony club show. “What about the sex?” asked the district commissioner. Looking under the table and counting to ten - slowly - kept the giggles at bay. “Sex?” somebody bravely asked. “Yes, the secretary’s tent - the secs...”