It is such a nice evening that my daughter and I decide to go for a spontaneous scoot around the block before bathtime. She’s had the scooter – pink, three-wheeler, one on every street corner - for a few months now but has only just perfected her driving. Previously, every time she attempted to scoot she would crash into a wall and march away from the scene of the accident, windmilling her arms. Then, folding them, she would stamp her foot and exclaim “I’m NOT going to SCOOT any MORE.” Now, after plenty of practice during the school holidays she has successfully made it through the temper barrier and sails the streets in a flurry of pink.
The back streets near our house are empty so she is able to scoot freely along pavements and across roads, with me shadowing her like a bodyguard. We skirt the pub, with its leering Banksy rats in stucco, and arrive at Ledbury road. We turn left and sail past all the clothes shops and handbag shops, on towards another pub. The pavement is filled with drinkers, and men look on smiling, women giggle knowingly as we speed past. These are the rewards of childcare, I remark to myself. We motor on. More smiles, laughter. How the world loves us: a father and his daughter cruising the stucco streets of West London. Maybe they are laughing fondly at my daughter's pink satin glove which dangles from the handle of her scooter, I think.
Finally we complete our circuit and arrive home. After parking the scooter in the hall we tell my wife about our trip and how everyone was so happy to see us whizzing around the locale. My wife grins and points downwards. Suddenly I understand the smiles and the laughter. My flies are gaping wide open.