I spent a large chunk

I spent a large chunk of yesterday evening babysitting. Well, when I say that, I mean that I was helping to babysit, which for me means sitting on the sofa offering advice on how to get the child to sleep, drinking beer and nipping out to the Chinese for supplies.
I wonder how many children in England today do not have any toys that use batteries? I’m sure I didn’t have anything that was battery-powered until I was at least ten (I’m sure my brother will leap in and correct me here, as he was surely much more hard-done-by than I was). I think that toys that spoon-feed a child’s imagination like that, with lights and noises, can not be as good as actually having to improvise and create using the things which were at hand – none of which were battery powered, had flashing lights or made noises more than the occasional parp or squeak (plus the odd snap and rattle when it broke). Having said that, I was undoubtedly extremely fortunate to be brought up in a comfortable house with a large garden situated next to open fields – heaps of opportunity for play, exploration and discovery, the building blocks of my current love of the countryside and nature.
This train of thought actually follows on from a conversation I had last night. The reason for the babysitting was that the parents of said child were going out to see the new Harry Potter film. Now I’ve not seen either of the films, so am not really qualified to comment, but the report we got at the end of the evening was that the film was really good, but don’t all the amazing CGI special effects, stunning sets and amazing costumes really detract from the power of imagination? In a way, I’m not sure I want to see the films, as I really enjoy the books, and I’ve built up my own picture of the way that Harry, Hagrid, Dumbledore et al look and behave, as well as a mental picture of Hogwarts, Diagon Alley and all the other scenes. And I’m pretty sure a lot of children who have read the books have too. Somehow, I’m sure that, in at least some ways, I’m going to be disappointed by their celluloid incarnations.