When we were pre-teen / almost teenage kids my older sister used to run away from home At the drop of a hat if she had any kind of disagreement with our mother. It was a time when there was a fashion for girls to have what they called “vanity cases”, small cases into which you could fit your toiletries and maybe a change of clothes, provided you didn’t wear huge-sized clothes. So she would pack her little vanity case and set off determinedly.
Our mother never seemed unduly worried. This was because my sister would walk round the block and go in the back way to her best friend’s house, which was actually just a few houses along on the opposite side of the road from ours. Her best friend’s mother would then signal her safe arrival by waving discreetly to our mother from an upstairs window.
Modern children, it seems, do this sort of thing with a good deal more panache. A 12-year-old boy from Sidney, Australia, had an argument with his mother and ran away to Bali. He stole his parents’ credit card and tricked his grandmother into giving him his passport. (I wonder how he managed the latter; maybe grandma was just trying to annoy the child’s mother.) He was savvy enough to research an airline that allows 12-year-olds to travel unaccompanied and apparently the only time he was asked about his travel was at Perth airport when he had to prove that he was over 12. Who knew that any airline allowed unaccompanied minors to travel on their planes?
He told his family he was going to school and off he went to Indonesia.
All of this was made possible by the existence of the internet, which allowed him to book train tickets, flights and hotel rooms. And, of course, a semi-complicit grandma and parents who leave their credit card around must have helped. Added to which the boy needed to know how to do all the booking. Clearly a young man who will go far!
Here’s another oddity of the hi-tech world. I came across an article which informed us that two-thirds of men are affected by male pattern baldness, with 40% experiencing noticeable hair loss by the age of 35, and then went on to offer possible remedies, or at least ways of slowing it down.
Amongst the possible medical treatments (with scitificxsounding names) and advice on not standing too long under a hot shower (it removes essential oils apparently and discourages hair growth - so why do the women who shampoo every day not suffer from incipient baldness as well?) and suggestions about changing shampoo and conditioner, there was a recommendation to use a laser comb.
Yes, a laser comb!
I never knew such a thing could exist but studies show that passing a laser comb over the scalp two or three times a week led to an increase in hair density. They don’t know how this works. Suggestions are that low-power lasers have an anti-oxidant effect on hair follicles. Personally, I think it’s a form of magic, the laser comb being a kind of fair wand.
This treatment, unfortunately for balding men who had got their hopes up, is not available on the NHS! So it goes!
And finally, lots of people got very excited yesterday about the arrival of a new little prince - a good weight, by the way, and seemingly an uncomplicated arrival. Now, that’s another thing that has changed in the modern world. His little highness arrived at just after 11.00 am and by late afternoon / early evening mother and baby were on their way home. Rather different from when my mother was expected to stay in bed for a fortnight after delivery.
Mind you, she didn’t have quite as much childcare help as the Duchess of Cambridge undoubtedly has!