Sarah Todd: Roger and out... the message on the handset speaks of freedom

WE HAVE two new arrivals. They are Silkie pullets, a gift from our son's godmother. He's had some grand presents from her over the years. There's the toolbox, the boiler suit…

It came out in conversation that our Silkie hen was actually a cockerel and before we knew where we were, a man in Barnsley had been contacted and the pair of birds delivered.

"You can use that toolbox to make cages to sell to the people who come and buy your chicks," added the entrepreneurial "Auntie".

She's already on the lookout for a pig igloo, so he can have a pair of rare breed piglets for next year. The Husband almost choked at the thought of what pigs would do to his manicured grounds.

Regular readers might remember that the Daughter was after a Wii for Christmas, one of these devices that are plugged into the television and games are played on it. To say she was after one is probably an exaggeration. If the truth be known, it was probably more a case of them being what "everybody else" was asking Father Christmas for.

With her having lost the pony, this was the year that if we were ever going to give in, we would have done. But we stuck to our guns and were so pleased we had when a belated present arrived.

The children have been given a pair of walkie talkies and to

say they are capped with them is an understatement. "They're a million times better than a Wii," she enthused.

They've had the most tremendous fun already. With a two-mile range, the children have been off on their bikes, leaving one handset here to be able to radio in and let us know they're all right.

We have no mobile phone reception and so their father was keen to get in on the act, taking one handset when he went out for a "quick pint". He put on a good show of being disappointed when they didn't work through the thick walls of the village pub. But once outside there was a crackle and "Tell mummy to get the tea out – over".

One thing that did worry me was that they must have cost a fortune. But a quick scout around has shown that they can be picked up for around 20. To think, there's not much change out of 200 for a Wii by the time controls and games have been bought. And then, the children would have been sat inside all the time. With the walkie talkies it's outside all the way – we've never seen such rosy cheeks; a mixture of excitement and fresh air. But more than anything, it's that bit of freedom for them. We live in a funny world where letting your kids bike down the road can be frowned upon.

Now, they can be called back to base, so long as they don't go further than two miles or inside the pub – over.

CW 15/1/11