Sunday, 20 April 2008

People like us

The kids were outside, lynching the goldfish. I was in the kitchen, peeling potatoes for the Sunday roast, listening with interest as they tried, and failed, to drown it in the paddling pool. Finally the eldest, Jimmy, came in and tugged at a corner of my t-shirt.

"Daddy, can we have the toaster and the extension cord please?"

I sighed; although the toaster is only a cheap'n'nasty Tesco toaster, I'd only bought it a couple of weeks ago and thought that I'd a get a few more months out of it first. However, ransacking my mind quickly I couldn't think of anything electrical that we had that would be cheaper to replace, so I nodded.

Jimmy ran off to dig the extension cord out of the cupboard under the stairs, and I finished peeling the potatoes. I'd got them on the hob in a pan of just-boiling water when the power went off and I mentally kicked myself for forgetting that the kids would have used the first power socket they found, and so would have tripped all the fuses. I went out to the fusebox in the hall, and before resetting the switches, decided I'd better check that they weren't still playing with the toaster.

The kids had, in fact, got bored and run off over to the park to play kneecappings so I fished the toaster out of the paddling pool, unplugged it and dropped it in the bin. I looked at the pool, with Joey the Goldfish lying half in and half out of it, his arms and legs spasmed and his face blackened, and tsked to myself. If people were going to make promises to the kids they couldn't keep then they had to be prepared to take the consequences.

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