Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Riot shields into sledges

On balance, I think I’ve probably forgiven the school caretaker who destroyed the best skating rink I’ve ever known by putting salt down in the school playground way back when we had real winters and no one cared if a few kids cracked the odd bone or two. I don’t think I’ll ever come to terms with Camden Council deciding to lock shut its parks when the snow fell this week, though, because, in the words of council leader Keith Moffitt, ‘I’d rather you were criticising me because some children couldn’t build a snowman than because a child had died on a frozen pond.’

We climbed over the fences into Waterlow Park anyway, giving the older kids a leg up and tossing the toddlers over to be caught on the other side. No one died on a frozen pond (or in it, for that matter), but it would have been our fault and not Councillor Moffitt’s if anyone had.

I’m not sure who would have been held to blame if anyone had died on nearby Hampstead Heath, which has a lot more ponds but can’t be locked shut because it doesn’t have gates restricting access. In any case, the revellers on the heath in the early hours of Monday morning included a platoon of police officers, who turned up with their riot shields – which they proceeded to convert into the coolest makeshift sledges in the capital. If only life was always like this.

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