Thursday, May 10, 2007

Leaving kids alone, how it used to be...

"Shut up, get into bed and go to sleep" our dad would issue the final instruction every night and after 30 minutes of stretching our bedtime to the absolute limit we knew it was time.

"Can we read when you've gone" I'd ask

"No" our mother would say, fearfull that the gas mantle lights would somehow explode and burn down the caravan with her two children in it

"Yes" said our dad fearfull that he'd already missed the first round of drinks in the clubhouse whilst trying to get us two off to sleep

Me and Ned would climb into the most uncomfortable beds ever devised for man or child, hard slabs of what were jokingly called "cushions" which smelled of forty years of use and all sorts of things that you wouldn't want to lay your head upon, and our mother would cover us with two smelly old, woolly and prickly blankets that seemed to be permenantly damp.

She'd draw the curtains in the tiny caravan and try to pretend that it was night outside whereas in fact it was only 7pm, still bright enough to sunbathe to, and lots of other kids were still playing outside - then she'd turn on the gas mantles and instruct me, as the eldest at six years of age, to turn them off when we felt sleepy, either from natural sleep or a calor gas induced one.

One curtain at the far end of the caravan would be left peeking open so that the baby patrol man could visit, shine his torch through the window and spy on us to make sure that we were asleep - a perfect job for a peadophile you'd think today but back in the early 1960's yoru parents placed their trust in people like this when they left you kids locked up in the holiday caravan so that they could go to the club house and get gloriously pissed night after night after night.

Everyone did it and as our dad turned to lock the door we'd get the same warning every night, "And if I get called out of that club by the baby patrol man then woe betide you two..." and he meant it.

All of which places this news story into some sort of context.

Fortunately there has not been, or the media are supressing, the inevitable villification of the parents for leaving their three year old daughter and two year old twins locked in their holiday apartment while they visited a restaurant less than 100 yards away, it hasn't happened yet but it will do and the fools that lead that villification will in the main be people who have no experience of raising children and hence have no authority to speak on such matters at all.

In the meantime its seven days on from the kidnap and talk of the child being taking "to order" by gangs of peadophiles operating in Europe chills every parent to the bone...

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