In today's Times, there's a delightful article entitled 'a beginner's guide to survival'. It tells you how to build a loo (dig a hole etc etc, and then 'if you happen to have a small loo seat' you can use that. Well, who goes anywhere without money, keys and a small loo seat?) To make clean drinking water you strain dirty water through a sock and then boil it (the water, not the sock). To create a shower but ensure it's not too cold, you carry a bin liner quarter-filled with water around on your back all day, then string it up from a tree, attach a tube, stand underneath, and bingo. Don't you just love it?
All this put me in mind of Barney, one of my sons, when young. His favoured reading at the time was 'The SAS Survival Handbook'. It had all kinds of useful tips on things like what to do when your car starts careering towards a cliiff edge (roll into a ball and hurl yourself out), and things you can find to eat when out in the wild. We came home one evening to find him, handbook in hand, feeding toadstools to our eighty-something baby-sitter to see if they really were edible. The baby-sitter is now fit and in her ninetieis, but I reckon we had a lucky escape.
Then there was Toby, eldest son, who when aged about 7, carried around with him a 'survival kit' in a tiny tin. It contained a bent pin and cotton (for fishing) a match and various other indispensable items. He would never have known how to use them. This is the (now) man who tried to fit a cat flap. The cat gained entry right enough, but came into the house wearing the cat flap.
What was it with my children and this preoccupation with survival? Was it something we did?