Toying with happy memories of childhood

I HAD a great childhood. In those days, the thing which got the weekend off to an exciting start was the Saturday morning flicks at the old Palace Cinema in Eastcheap, Letchworth.

It was universally known as The Fleapit (not without reason) but the grubbiness did not put off anyone from going along to find out how Batman managed to wriggle out of the seemingly inescapable dilemma he was in when we reluctantly left him seven days earlier.

It was a happy crowd which trooped out of there. I was in the habit of walking down the road to Munt’s toy shop and spending my pocket money on one of the many Dinky cars on display.

I built up quite a collection but, not having a jot of an idea about future investment potential, I immediately threw away the boxes and crashed the cars around the living room carpet until they were far from being in mint condition. But I had a lot of fun with them.

Christmas was a wonderful time for adding to the toy box. I probably got more presents than most kids.

So my toy collection was quite considerable. But it was nothing compared to what children have got these days.

I learned with amazement this week that the average 10-year-old has toys worth �6,603 but plays with just �330 worth.

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This typical lucky lad has a total of 238 toys, but typical parents reckon their little ones play with just 12 favourite toys a day.

Of 3,000 parents questioned, more than half thought their youngsters ended up picking the same toys day in and day out because they did not know what to choose

But, tellingly, 61 per cent of parents admitted their children would probably play with a wider variety of toys if the grown-ups were playing with them.

Half the parents also said they must have wasted hundreds of pounds over the years on toys their precious ones will never play with.

Another survey just out reveals that kids will spend half their waking hours playing on electronic gadgets during half term next week.

That includes watching TV, playing games consoles and using beautifying electronics to blow dry and straighten their hair.

That adds up to an awful lot of electricity used – but it’s insignificant compared to the amount consumed by parents. They will use three times as much energy as their children during the week as they tackle an additional four loads of washing, cook 11 extra meals, run the dishwasher three more times and keep the lights and heating on for 13 hours longer than during term time.

It’s no fun, or cheap, being an adult.

Yet another survey shows, not surprisingly, that the UK younger generation are less interested in decorating their homes than their parents and grandparents.

There is a plea for the older ones to pass on their DIY knowledge to the younger ones or skills may fade.

While they are at it, can they please also distil some general knowledge and spelling into them.

The PR person sending the release (no doubt a young person) targeted it at the people of “Stephenage”