Sarah Todd: Reinforcements at last to end the headache of being the only boy

OUR son hasn't been able to sleep for nights. He's so excited that another boy is starting school.

He's been surrounded by girls since the first day, complaining that being the only lad in his year among all the girls "gives me headache".

There just doesn't seem to be the numbers of youngsters around in rural areas. This must be to do with house prices and younger generations of village families having to move away to find work and somewhere to live.

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Looking back, we were always playing with the other kids in our village. Making rafts and go-karts, messing about with ponies, riding bikes... There are hardly any children around now. Most people moving into villages in this area seem to be retired.

When we had all the snow it was interesting to hear the headmistress of my old primary school on national radio. She said how much easier it was to keep open in the "olden days" when the headmaster used to live in the house that came with his job, overlooking the playground. He was a wonderful man, letting us go off sledging on plastic bags from the fertiliser depot opposite. What would health and safety make of that today? It's surely a scandal that these properties – like so many of the council-owned farms that gave the younger generation a step up into the agricultural world – have been sold off.

Village life is so much different now. Just recently, speeding motorists have been driving us nuts. Many whizz by our lane end at over 70mph. Seemingly oblivious of blind bends, riders coming out of gateways on horses and those funny little places where cats and – that rare species – children seem to run out.

The other day, the singer Jane McDonald said on television she has a simple rule about what she eats. With my ongoing slimming campaign, the volume was turned up. If it comes out of a plant (factory) she doesn't touch it, but if it grows on a plant she does. What common sense.

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It pulled us up short, on the brink of swapping our butter for a low-fat spread. While the butter's only added ingredient is a bit of salt, margarines seem to contain more numbers and letters than identifiable ingredients.

Butter is topical, as earlier this week a doctor called for it to be banned, blaming it for children's high consumption of saturated fat. When The Husband's 102-year-old grandmother died last year, we said how she'd eaten all the things – butter, bacon, eggs – that are frowned upon nowadays. She didn't need a nanny-state ruling on foods, she just ate a little bit of what she fancied. She also enjoyed a "glass of something warming" and would also have reckoned nothing to the Government's plans to push up the price of her nightly tipple.