Most days I bemoan that we live in such a technological age, especially when it comes to the children and I am torn between letting them live 21st Century lives and monitoring all the computer/gaming/twitter time they spend online.
Occasionally I am grateful for email and FaceTime given that the telephone has long been out of my capabilities.
However, I did recently have the thrill of finally finding out the name of the book that left a lasting impression on me when I was about ten, through the power of the Internet.
The Puffin Book Club was as exciting as Christmas. I would study the A4 sheet in minute detail; pondering how many titles I could ask for and not be seen as greedy.
Mrs Pepperpot was a favourite and The Adventurous Four, Famous Five and Secret Seven. Now and then a stand alone book would catch my eye. Several decades later and I wished I could remember the name of one such book. I only knew that it featured the Catskill Mountains. I googled in vain. I left it for several years and now, with the explosion of marketplace traders on Amazon I have finally found it. It's called 'My Side of the Mountain' by Jean Craighead George and it is about a boy who runs away from New York and survives on his own in the mountains.
I think this book is what sparked the many adventures my brother and I had in our large and wooded back garden pretending we were in the wilderness! We were allowed to light our own camp fires and were taught basic fire safety. In those days you could buy a cheap penknife from the newsagent with your pocket money and not an adult in sight!
*E* can't even buy a pair of children's safety scissors in WHSmiths these days and I know that for a fact because she tried to; along with coloured paper and glue for a school project. I had to intervene. Honestly, no common sense applied here.
I have ordered the newer cover version for *J* who is nearly 12, hoping that a little bit of the magic will be passed on. (The last time I showed them how to light a good campfire they were less than interested). One of the fascinating things the boy does in the book is make twig whistles. I never did manage to make one myself but I might have another go next summer, thirty years on!
Several of the children's presents this year have been deliberately non technological. For *J* I have bought The Stick Book and a safety knife for whittling (he doesnt read my blog!) The knife has a locking feature that prevents the blade from closing on your fingers. I think we'll just start with twig toasting forks for marshmallows!