It was such a lovely evening as I left work, I didn’t even mind the presence of three small German children and their mother milling about underfoot (Ok, so the mother wasn’t strictly underfoot). She was concentrating on keeping tabs on her youngest, leaving the slightly older boy and girl hopping and skipping away in front of me. The boy, lost in a world of his own, hopped and skipped on the pavement for a while and then suddenly swerved, hopped and skipped off the pavement and hopped and skipped into the road and the path of the oncoming traffic.
I’d like to be able to say at this point that, as a responsible adult, and regardless of any personal danger to myself, I hurled myself into the road after him and dragged him to safety. But I can’t. Not, I hasten to add, because of any consideration of my own personal safety. No, I was let down by my reflexes. Let’s just say I no longer have reflexes of coiled steel. In fact, I don’t even seem to have reflexes of limp knicker elastic. All my reflexes managed to achieve as events unfolded in front of me was a sharp intake of breath. Fortunately the car driver was made of sterner stuff, and was only going at about 5 mph anyway, and stopped in time. The boy got off with a bit of a bollocking from his mum and I made my way to the station reflecting that this was one more reason why I didn’t have any children – or indeed a car – of my own. Too much potential peril and heartache all round.