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Letter: What will today’s youngsters miss?

Readers' letters | Published:

A friend of mine recently sent me an email about the Government’s plan to tear up the Withdrawal Agreement, and on the end she had added that she and her husband were going out because they had been told where they might see a red-backed shrike.

Boris Johnson

She felt that while all the fuss was going on about Brexit and Covid-19 that it was a little sad they were going bird watching. I replied ‘No it’s not sad’.

I recalled being brought up on the edge of a country village between Tamworth and Sutton Coldfield. As a lad I used to disappear for hours out into the countryside. A wood a hundred yards from our house was home to red squirrels (no grey ones then). Green and great-spotted woodpeckers often visited our garden and pecked away at our silver birches. Kingfishers flew low over a nearby brook where a gentle plop would reveal that a water vole had dropped into the water and you would see just their heads as they made their way to the other side. Skylarks used to sing high over wild flower filled meadows, yellow hammers hopped about in hedgerows and snipe ran across ploughed fields.

I replied that it was sad that life wasn’t like that anymore. Afterwards I tried to imagine what today’s children would miss when they were older. Would they be living a life indoors because the air was too polluted or travel over 10 miles was banned? Would they be going to the seaside or exploring what was left of our countryside? I began to feel a little sad as I pictured them semi-permanently plugged into some piece of virtual equipment or attached to some breathing device.

Then my thinking took a turn for the worse. Would they be in some colourless world reminiscing about the good old days when we were part of a United Kingdom and one of the world’s leading nations? Would they be remembering that we used to be held in great respect? If Boris and co get their way today’s children will look back in their old age and weep.

PS My friend did see the red-backed shrike.

Roger Watts, Walsall

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