Saturday, June 17, 2006
When you say the word "carnival", Rio springs to mind. Or Notting hill. Our village is not quite in the same league. Today is carnival day, and once upon a time, my kids used to love dressing up and going on floats, (see picture from about 10 years ago!) and playing on the Rec afterwards, winning half dead goldfish, eating way too much sugar, and having great fun. They have grown up now, and the carnival seems to have lost some appeal. Floats are out because of Health and Safety rules and regulations.
The more I think about H and S the more angry I get. All risk is being legislated out of life. Trees cut down because a child might climb one and fall out. Playground equipment changed so it would hardly challenge a 2 year old, because a child might get hurt. How will the next generation of children ever learn to calculate risk? And without being able to calculate risk, how can they survive in the real world?
In Engelberg, there is a rafting pool. The river has been dammed up and a lake built. In it there are little islands, with A-frame structures with platforms on to climb. Along the bank, there are big square rafts made from wood, with long poles to punt out to the islands, or around them. Not a life guard in sight, and no life jackets and the water is not 6 inches deep. I cannot tell you how much laughter and fun you can have. We have taken all out friends there, and to date only one of the adults has fallen in, to much amusement. We have all sat and watched our kids having fun, and commented on how this would never be allowed in England in a million years. I think in Europe, parents are credited with more responsibility, and consequently, less is likely to happen. Or maybe it is just that in Europe, parents choose to have fun with their children, so are there to watch out for them, while letting them stretch their boundaries.
Anyway........ the sun is shining, it is Annette's birthday today, and the wanderers are returning from Spain, and I must get on with tidying and sorting the house. I will be back.