One of the few chances I get to talk regularly to a really young person (22) is when I go to my hairdresser every Thursday lunchtime. The visit has made life so much easier for me - I have forgotten how to wash my hair myself and my hair has got used to being washed once a week instead of each morning. Some of our conversations are hilarious.
Today she was telling me that her father was just back from Everest basecamp. I asked her where it was but she didn't really know. Was it in Asia, she asked. Then she remembered that he flew to Nepal - could you pin point Nepal on a map I asked. She couldn't.
I think this is really the fault of schools because they no longer seem to teach any kind of Geography which relates to where places are. I thought back to my days in Primary School, where we had a teacher well past retiring age (it was war time and teachers were in short supply). Her name was Miss Kirkbride and she came to school accompanied always by her Great Dane.## Her teaching methods were well ahead of her time.
I vividly remember having to bring every label off every tin we used at home into school so that we could pin point the place it came from on the map. There would have been few tins from abroad as it was war time, but this activity fostered in me the need to look places up on the map. To this day if I hear a place mentioned and I don't know exactly where it is, then I go straight to the Atlas to find it. So thank you for that Miss Kirkbride.
##On the subject of the Great Dane, my father was once taking a short cut through 'The Pits' - a nature walk between two villages, one of which was the one where we lived- it was dark and very quiet. All of a sudden something very cold touched the palm of his hand and he nearly jumped out of his skin.
It was the Great Dane being taken on his last walk of the day by Miss Kirkbride, who lived nearby.
But, back to my hairdresser. Apparently she did a Child Development Course in the Comprehensive school but dropped out. Why? I asked. Well, they gave her an electronic baby tag for the weekend, fastened to her wrist. When 'the baby' cried she had to deal with it - change its nappy, feed it, cuddle it or whatever. Being a weekend she had to wear the tag from Friday afternoon until Monday morning - this included getting up in the night to 'feed' it. Going round the fashion shops on Saturday afternoon at one point she had to stop and deal with the crying electronic tag in a rather posh fashion shop in the centre of town. "It has put me off babies for ever!" she said. Can;t help feeling this ought to be compulsory in all schools - might stop a lot of teenage pregnancies.