Today’s kids have fun but not freedom

This small casket is an excellent example of the type of quality object that will never be short of interest at auction.
This small casket is an excellent example of the type of quality object that will never be short of interest at auction.
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CLIVE SMITH: I thought they’d finally got the date right and we’d reached Armageddon

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Many working parents are busy organising child cover, summer clubs, outings and holidays as school will once again be out for summer.

As a child, I recall the coming of summer holidays seemed to drag until they eventually arrived, then whizz by in the blink of an eye before it was time to shop for new school uniform.

Growing up in Portsmouth in the 1970s, I don’t remember many of my friends enjoying foreign holidays and, at best, it was usually a camping trip or a long drive to visit a relative.

Yet whilst I would argue that many of the current generation enjoy a better standard of life than we did, our parents probably said the same about us. But I think it is also fair to say we, and our parents before us, enjoyed much more freedom.

My 17-year-old daughter must provide us with a detailed itinerary of her daily plans and stay in regular contact via text or a telephone to keep us from worrying, yet as kids we’d leave the house in the morning, often not returning until after dark, and our parents had no way to contact us.

Few people owned a telephone back then, so we couldn’t even call home had we wanted to.

I was recently reminiscing with a friend about some of the things we would do in the summer.

Fishing at Flathouse Quay, Mile End and occasionally even swimming in the murky green water, diving through the iridescent film on the surface caused by fuel pollution. Thank goodness the polio vaccination had been discovered.

My older brother worked in a tyre garage and would get us a tractor inner tube that we’d inflate by foot-pump once on the beach.

We’d have hours of fun diving from it or wrestling each other off as it rode the waves near the shore.

Another summer holiday favourite was cycling, all the way from Buckland, up Portsdown Hill, coasting down Pigeon House Lane at 25mph then over to Denmead.

Even when we stayed around the block, the boys would be playing football or cricket, depending on which was on TV at the time, or constructing dens.

Whatever we did, we seldom had much money and always made a packed lunch with whatever was in the cupboard.

Looking back, there were plenty of inherent dangers in everything we did, and I’m sure our parents worried about us whilst at work, yet we could roam.

Yes, many of us would argue our children probably have more material things and enjoy more exotic holidays and experiences today. Yet given the choice, would you rather enjoy simple freedom, as we did, or live in a gilded cage like many of our kids today?

FOCUS ON...objet d’art

With so much talk of the ‘scrap’ or ‘bullion’ value of silver and gold these days, it’s refreshing to see that collectors are still prepared to pay a premium for quality craftsmanship.

Objet d’art and Object of Virtue are terms applied to small, interesting and often-beautiful items or objects made from precious and exotic materials and such items regularly sell for much more than their scrap value.

Pincushions, snuff boxes and caskets are all items that have a separate cross-over appeal and collectors will often specialise in one type.

The small casket illustrated is an excellent example of the type of quality object that will never be short of interest at auction.

With hallmarks for London, 1898 and maker William Moering, this lockable casket measuring 17cm features repousee work to the top and sides.

The intricate detail in the panels of this casket is particularly fine and the piece oozed quality to even the untrained eye.

It sold for a premium inclusive £500, some four times its scrap value.