At the risk of sounding grumpy, haven’t times changed?

I was out walking the dog in my flat cap with my bag of mint imperials around 3pm yesterday. It was the end of the school day and I was taken back by all the 6ft, under-14 ‘kids’ walking around with their Estee Lauder make-up and iPhone 84s (or whatever number we’re on now).

“It weren’t like that in my day,” I told fellow Jack Russell lover and dog walking buddy John, in his early 70s. “It were bread and drippin’ and staying out with spinnin’ tops ’til sun went in.”

Why I’d morphed into an elderly, Yorkshire gent I couldn’t tell you.

John, who then revealed that his real age was 42, started reminiscing about his school days.

“It was a simpler time,” he started. “The only thing we had to worry about was sitting at the back at assembly. It was a social thing. Cool kids at the back. Though you had to watch you didn’t burn yourself on them radiators they’d installed in the 50s – hotter than the sun them. If only blame then claim was knocking about then.”

“Less pressure to look like a model or huge eye-browed clown,” I chirped in.

“And a phone? What do kids need a phone for? To ask for advice on what sarnie to take to school?”

John and I smiled smugly as we remembered just how we’d solved any school-based disputes – one of those mahoosive rubbers that you scrawled yes and no on opposite sides.

Many a time was it flung across the room when a consultation was needed.

Should I ask that lad to be my boyfriend and we can hold hands walking home? Should I cover my new book bag in correction fluid-based graffiti?

“I never had a book bag,” John went on. “My mam said they were impractical when you had PE. I can remember starting school in year seven and going in with a huge backpack – one you would take camping– full to the brim with unnecessary rubbish.”

“Yeah,” I agreed. “I had a holdall. Don’t know what I thought I was gonna nick from school that would need hidden in a bag bigger than me.”

The good thing was that back then, having a massive school bag didn’t mean you would get filled in on the way home.

I’m sure there’s been many a battle over someone having last year’s phone.

“Yeah, but kids had other problems back then.” John mused.

“I mean, nobody cared about electronics. I was petrified of jumping over the 100-year-old wooden horse with only those mats, that were actually harder than the wooden floor, to land on.”

“I’m sure I was concussed during more than one gymnastics lesson,” I reassured him.

Old John and I sat back against the wooden bench and sighed as the kids started to disperse.

“I think you’ve got some chuddy on your gilet, there,” he pointed out.

“Awh! Young ’uns! Ne respect for property!” I squawked, all Yorkshire-like.

It was soon time for John and me to part company. I had a home-made cottage pie waiting for me and I think John had some greyhounds to tend to.

I found my old school tie when I got home and wrapped it around my head.

“That’s how you wear ’em!”

Oh to be young again.