Bring back playtime!
It seems that ‘Billy the Kid’ (see March 2021 – Groceries from the Garden ), and ‘Billy no Mates’, are in competition with each other. Young Billy no Mates and his crew of 6, recently enjoyed a boy’s night out. Looking for greener pastures and a better night life, they decided to break out of their field in Beverley, East Yorkshire, and paint the town red. Young bullocks out on the razz must have been a sight to behold! They had a raucous time of it, making sure they stopped for a good scratch on lampposts as they worked their way through the streets. They dined out on as many verdant garden lawns as they could find– the bovine equivalent of a good curry and a pint. No doubt they paid their bill with a little something to help the roses grow! One was even tempted to try out a trampoline but thought better of it. Wise move – curry and trampolines are not a good mix – no matter how many stomachs you have! * Billy no Mates somehow managed to avoid being herded back into the field with the others, and was seen searching for his posse on the village green before being apprehended. That’s enough to scar you for life! You’re on a night out, you turn around and all your friends have gone home, leaving you on the dance floor busting your moves alone? Quelle horreur!!
In fields, pastures, and woodlands across the Northern Hemisphere right now; there’s much frolicking, chasing, running, gambolling, dancing and play-fighting going on. Mini Me’s are learning the skills they need to be their adult selves – all through the gift of play. They’re testing their strength, learning the rules, pushing boundaries, and honing hunting skills key to their survival. Or are they? A number of scientists are coming to the conclusion that much animal play is pointless; in that it doesn’t actually teach the critters anything; they’re just having fun. Ornithologists are also concluding that not all bird song is about staking territorial claim or wooing a potential partner. Sometimes, they sing simply because they enjoy it and it’s good for them. I love that!
We know that as children, we learn how to communicate and socialise through play and that it can be educational. As adults, we might construct play differently but it’s equally as vital. What an absolute gift it is, and what a relief it is that here in the UK, we no longer have to break out of our fields in the dead of night with Billy no Mates to have our fun! It’s time to fill the air with laughter again. Children, we adults may need your help. Remind us what the ring of excited, unrestrained, unabashed enjoyment sounds like. We may have to involve copious buckets of water and a water pistol but I know you won’t mind. Let’s bring back playtime. I don’t see why the critters should be the ones having all the fun. Who’s coming with me to buy a trampoline? But they’ll be no stopping for a curry on the way back!
*For the sake of accuracy and because I’m a pedant – cows don’t have 4 stomachs. They have one very large stomach made up of 4 chambers.