This is the school I went to when I was eight. You can see why I liked it.
I always thought I was lucky to go to a school with a boating pond in the grounds. But in those days it wasn't so unusual. Every park had a small pond, often purpose-made for model boats, and most small streams and canals had their complement of small boys, pushing planks of wood with a twig mast and a handkerchief sail.
When did this all stop? Nowadays young children seem to get their enjoyment from the latest computer game, and the local model shops have closed down across the country. A few are now re-opening, with RTF helicopters, multi-channel diving submarines and fully-operational jet turbines. Adults, and only those with deep pockets, are the ones being catered to.
When I looked for some simple, cheap, working model boat kits for my own children, I drew a blank. Plastic kits - fine. Fibreglass Ready-to-run boats are around, but nothing you can put your soul into. So I have put some information about my favourite boats when I was 10 years old onto the web, before they get completely forgotten....
"..In those days, the cost of a kit was huge compared to today's disposable income.... I saved the pennies from my pocket money to buy a kit. Then I would painstakingly spend weeks turning the contents of the box, just sheets of pre printed balsa and stripwood, into a real flying model. Hours were spent very carefully cutting out, with a single edged razor blade, all the printed items, then even more hours tidying them all up with a minute piece of sandpaper. Then when all this detailed work was eventually finished, you ended up with something that actually worked. I went onto model boats after that, but the same skills were required for the making of those....
The generations of people who did this took their experience into industry and other areas and developed a detailed understanding of production techniques, where nothing was impossible if you took the skills you learned when you were younger and put them to use. The 'how much?' and 'how fast?' kids of today can go out and buy ready to run models for a few pounds, smash them up, and go and buy another. Nothing is being learned, except by a few dedicated young people, who have most probably learned their skills from a member of that golden era, or those that have a yearning to see how things are really made.
If only the younger generation could be taken back in time, and relearn all those now dying skills, we would again be a nation of forward thinkers and producers, rather than money mad takers....."