After that, she explained, came the war. "Your grandfather was away and your grandmother was organising the Women's Voluntary Service; no one knew where the four children were. We spent ourafternoons canoeing down the Cam without life-jackets, eating sausages out of tins and, when it rained, we slipped into the cinema to watch unsuitable love stories. No one worried about us, they had more important issues on their minds."
Her childhood sounded idyllic. My mother explained that it wasn't always perfect. She had once been accosted by a man while bicycling to her friend's. "I managedto get away. I carried on cycling to my friend's house and ate my tea; it never occurred to me to say anything until I went home. The police were called but I was back on my bike the next day." My mother took a similar attitude to my childhood. My younger sister and I were allowed to take the Tube home from school across London from the age of five. My sister was hit by a car once when she crosseda busy road to a sweet shop. She broke her leg but, as soon as it had mended we were walking home alone again.
My brothers took the train to my grandmother's in Suffolk on their own from the age of six and spent all day without adults in the park playing football.
Now, according to the Good Childhood Inquiry, children have everything - iPods, computer games and designer clothes - except thefreedom to play outside on their own. Two thirds of 10-year-olds have never been to a shop or the park by themselves.
Fewer than one in ten eight-year-olds walk to school alone.
I'm just as neurotic as other parents. I walk my three-, four- and six-year-olds to school every day, clutching their hands. Their every moment in London is supervised, with playdates and trips to museums. I drive them tofootball and tennis. No wonder they love going to the country where they can spend all day making camps in the garden, pretending to be orphans.
It isn't just because I fear they may be abducted or run over, it's because I'm also worried about being seen as a bad parent. When I let my eldest son go to the loo on his own on a train, less than 20 feet from where I was seated, the guard lecturedme on my irresponsibility. When we go to the park there are signs in the playground saying that parents may be prosecuted if they leave their children unsupervised, and at the swimming pool there must be an adult for every two children.
It is insane. My children still end up in the A&E department as often as we did. The inside of a house can be more dangerous than the street, and sitting at acomputer all day, eating crisps, carries more long-term risks than skateboarding alone to a park.
Telegraph.co.uk, June 2007.
NOTE AUX CANDIDATS
Les candidats traiteront les exercices sur la copie qui leur sera fournie et veilleront
- à respecter l'ordre des questions et reporter la numérotation sur la copie (numéro de l'exercice et, le cas échéant, la lettre repère ; ex. :1 a, l b,etc.).
- à faire précéder les citations éventuellement demandées du numéro de ligne dans le texte.
Les candidats des séries SMS, STI, et STL traiteront les questions I, H (A, B, C, D, E) et III. Les candidats de la série STG traiteront les questions I, II (A, B, C, D, E, F) et III.
I - GENERAL COMPREHENSION
Write down the correct answer.
A- This text is from
1) a magazine. 2) an intemetsite. 3) a diary.
B- The main subject is
1) childhood memories. 2) the evolution of man. 3) the evolution of parenting.
Ç- How many generations are mentioned?
1) two. 2) three. 3) four.
D- The text is set in
1) England. 2) Ireland. 3) Wales.
II - DETAILED COMPREHENSION
A- The following statements are right. Justify by quoting from the text.
1) The writer's mother did not grow...