Saturday, 30 March 2013

Where have all the red ants** gone?

How times change...

Do you remember those halcyon days when we had proper seasons? 

Do you remember that when spring sprung, we changed our wardrobes, we put away our winter clothes and we went to play in the fields in our t-shirts only coming home when we were hungry?

Some may accuse me of partaking in that commonly known syndrome that affects those people in their middle youth - the Rose Tinted Glasses (RTG) Syndrome. 

I have found through extensive research over a period of time (focus group with myself over a cup of coffee) that RTG Syndrome creeps up on you gradually. I admit that I may now believe that in the good old days when Zippy was the most radical thing on TV, we had it good. 

One day, there you are all care-free, running through the fields of long grass, playing Sycamore helicopters in your t-shirt as the searing heat of a British summer means coats were a long forgotten memory, and the next...you're sitting on the couch in your jumper in front of the fire in the spring remembering the good old days.

And then you realise you are officially a sufferer of RTG Syndrome.

Does this mean I am getting old? 

Does this mean that I am no longer in my middle youth, but I am actually middle-aged?

Does this mean I need to start drinking Horlicks?

These are questions that should really concern me. I do occasionally wonder if I am a sufferer of RTG Syndrome but the thing that is really bothering me, the thing that is keeping me awake at night and the best possible example that times have changed is the sad demise of the red ant**. 

WHERE HAVE ALL THE RED ANTS* GONE?

The tiny weeny red ant** typified my childhood summers.

Let's face it, we knew it was summer when we could sit on the kerb and play 'squash the red ant**' with the winner being announced due to how many red pinprick squishes you had on your fingers. It was an intellectual game allowing one to improve one's mental maths and the spirit of debate as you determined who had won.

This game usually happened after we had spent Saturday morning at the stables and I had groomed Smartie and me and my sister had skipped back from the stables holding hands, our skips in harmony and our soulful singing voices bringing our neighbours out for an impromptu summer concert.  

Okay okay that last bit was a lie, usually I was mainly annoyed that my sister was tagging along and tried to run away from her but we did play on our drive with Sindy dolls (Barbie was just not cool) and when we got bored of showjumping Sindy and we had taken our rabbit Blackie for a walk (yes he had a lead and yes he was called that) we then indulged in a game of squash the red ant**.

Today children have lost this fine art of finger dexterity, a fine outdoors pursuit which defined summer and kept us amused for at least three minutes before we got on our grifters and went for a bike ride across the fields only coming home when we were hungry.

I miss the good old days. 

*I am writing this post whilst proudly wearing Rose Tinted Glasses*

Oh no - I have just had a moment of clarity. Maybe we killed all the red ants**.

*Removes Rose Tinted Glasses and sobs*

**Since the writing of this blog it has been brought to my attention that they weren't red ants, but red money spiders - this explains a lot.

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