Country mouse on rosehips

I don’t know anyone who makes rosehip syrup anymore, but both during and after the Second World War, children were paid a few pence for collecting a bag of the hips to make into the syrup. It is extremely rich in vitamin C, an essential which was in short supply at the time.

The hips also have another use, one that I had forgotten until my children, oh so kindly, reminded me. The seeds of the hips act as a highly effective itching powder, and, placed unnoticed in my socks, caused feverish scratching and much merriment until my daughter, Anna, eventually admitted the prank.

There are all sorts of high jinks to be had in the autumn. Supreme among them are conker fights. The Michaelmas term at my prep school was dominated by conkers and carols. I hope the current headmaster at the school hasn’t gone all namby-pamby and banned the mighty conker fights. Holding a conker dead still as your opponent takes a mighty swipe at it is a test of nerve that does nobody any harm.

We have ended up with a society that worries feverishly about our children taking risks, but worries little about the experiences and adventures that we deny them.