It may surprise some of you to know this, but I was occasionally quite helpful when I was a child. There was even the odd occasion when I would do something without being asked to – I know that I sometimes tidied my room without asking, and I vividly recall being caught mopping the kitchen floor in June of 1988 or 89.
I also remember Dad teaching me to make tea one weekend morning in 1974, because on several occasions I had helpfully brought my parents cups of milk to have in bed.
On other occasions, though, my good intentions didn’t quite pay off. The one which sticks most clearly in my memory happened just before Christmas, when I was about two years old.
I know that it was when I was around that age, as I don’t remember my sister Karen being present at the time, and I know that she would almost certainly have been had she been born. And I know that it was around Christmas, because Mum and I had gone to the post office in Kingsbury to post Christmas cards.
It was a different time back then. You could post your Christmas cards in December and still have a reasonable expectation ofthem being delivered before February. Similarly, you could leave a two year old stood at the back of the post office whilst you queued to buy more stamps without a social services hit squad swooping down and taking every child in the family into care – and that is exactly what Mum did.
Where she made a mistake, though, was in giving me the Christmas cards to hold. I thought that I would be very helpful and, whilst she was waiting to be served, save some time by posting the cards for her. Mum returned to find me very methodically posting the cards into the post box one at a time and entirely without stamps.
Fortunately, she saw the funny side of it all and accepted that I was acting with the best intentions. Curiously, I remember that one of the cards was destined for an electrician named Trevor who lived a couple of doors up from my grandparents. Even though we saw my grandparents about once a week in those days, it seems that it still wasn’t done to hand deliver your Christmas cards.