On a trip today to the nearest city, we took the nearly 5 year old and his baby sister to Hamleys. My children are babes in the wood, on the edge of a small village, where the local primary school struggles to sustain its numbers. My boy has never before stood at the foot of a huge shopping street - thronging with hundreds - and grips his mothers hand in awe and not a little apprehension.
But the toy store is magical, floor upon floor, and row upon row, of the stuff of dreams for little boys and girls. The baby takes it in her stride, nonchalantly chewing the ear of her toy owl. But my son is in rapture - and I glimpse for some moments - that long ago simplicity of childhood. When our whole world stretches no further than the environment deemed safe by those who love us most.
He took a while to pick a toy, and I had no desire to rush. Then back to the busy street, gripping a bag of new found treasure, and the safe, familiar hand which first held his own. A nice day - and one I hope he might remember - once toys and woods and village life, have long, long ago become a thing of his past... x