The other night I was watching the TV series “The Force” and found myself horrified to hear myself repeating something I vowed I would never say when I was a kid. Something about “…. never happened when I was young…” Oh my goodness, I suddenly got old! When did that happen?
I think I’ve been living under a rock, when did the police start dealing with 72 year old grannies subsidising their pension with money earned from selling drugs for goodness sake? AND when did it become the norm for very young people to be so rude when speaking to police officers after being caught doing something wrong? I wouldn’t have dared to say ‘boo!’ to our village bobby when I was school age. He knew everyone by name in our village and my first and only big brush with him and the law happened when I was eight years old.
Officer Green caught me riding my brand new shiny blue metallic Raleigh bike on the ROAD!!!!!!!
He stopped me in his little Austin Mini panda van. How fast did they go for goodness sake? (fast enough to catch a kid on a bike obviously) How did they ever catch a criminal in those days? Or was it that they only used them in small villages and the police didn't need fast cars to catch us since they knew where we lived? Anyway,I could have died a million deaths I was so humiliated about being in such a situation.
The whole village must have thought the sun had come out judging by the heat radiating from my bright red face especially as he’d just stopped me outside the Hovis shop. “Good morning young Samantha” said Officer Green to the top of my head, because I had suddenly found the rubber peddles of my bike the most profoundly interesting thing in the universe rather than look him in the eye. Why? Because I was guilty and I knew I was guilty of a serious crime.
“So, Samantha have you passed your cycling proficiency test, THEN?” He really did rock back and to on the balls of his feet whilst reaching in his top pocket. I found the courage to lift my eyes as far as the bright silver West Mercia police force crested button, located in the middle of his dark blue uniform jacket and mumbled a very small “No I haven’t Officer Green, I am very sorry” Out of his top pocket he took out his note book, and I was convinced I was going to jail. Then, the lecture began and after what seemed an eternity, I was given a page torn from his notebook with the time and place of the cycling proficiency course. I was then ordered to get off my bike and walk along the pavement pushing it all the way home and on NO UNCERTAIN TERMS, was I allowed to ride it on the foot-way either or I would seriously be breaking the law and he would need to issue me with a fine.
Like all the kids in our village I knew that if I did something seriously naughty that Officer Green would have given me a sharp clip round the ear and I suppose that made us all very respectful of the law in those days and like me it probably stayed with most of us throughout our adult lives.
I often sit and watch the Agile Wallaby mums with their joeys around our property. You can see the joey will often bounce around and up to Mum and try giving her a swift kick or a bit of a box. Mum tries to carry on chewing her clump of grass and joey comes around again for another try. She gives him a gentle sideways push away “Stop bothering me Son, I’ve found some very tasty shoots to eat.” He continues to do his rounds of play fighting and she is so patient with him...well that is up to a certain point of course.
It isn't when he’s done it too many times and it’s irritating. If you watch carefully, it’s when he gets far too rough, at that point she gives him a hefty swipe sideways and knocks him off balance. Her demeanour doesn't change at all, she does it calmly and firmly without even stopping chewing. He stops then and I’m sure he’s embarrassed because he either starts nibbling grass intently or scratches the back of his ear with his hind leg. What he doesn't do is carry on with his play fighting. It’s all about calm, reasonable corrections with these animals and it gives me some clues on how to handle my growing joeys as they push their boundaries with me.
By the way, if you’re reading this Officer Green, thank you for not giving me a clip around the ear. I admit it, I knew I wasn't allowed to ride my bike on the road without the certificate. I was just too lazy to turn up to the cycling proficiency lessons held at my school on a Saturday morning. However, you will be glad to know I've never done anything as bad as that since. Mainly, because I just couldn't bear the thought of going through the guilt and humiliation I experienced that day, ever again.
Samantha "I'm a person who feels I live in paradise and truly love Australia after immigrating here in 2003. I work as a foreign exchange trader, live with my true soul mate, husband Albert. I have a passion for Aussie wildlife and became a registered wildlife carer in 2005 and can say I feel truly privileged to be able to raise and rehabilitate orphan wallaby/kangaroo joeys. I love these creatures with my heart and soul. My dream is to be able to help struggling volunteer wildlife carers, financially, so that they can do what they do best without worrying how to pay the next vet bill"