One of the things you quickly learn as a Dad is the importance of various toys in your children’s lives. Losing one, or indeed any part of it, can be as big as trauma as most children have experienced.
Think how you’d feel if your favourite watch, your wallet or a childhood memento went missing. or was stolen and you get the point.
Earlier this week, we journeyed to Brighton for a couple of days. We stayed in a lovely boutique hotel called The White House and blagged some free passes to the Sealife Centre.
A couple of hours beforehand, Ceri had bought a new toy for Schmoo, a cute black cat, which she was instantly taken with.
We headed for the Aquarium and were about halfway round, when I realised that the cat had vanished. I hurriedly retraced steps through the Centre but to no avail. No-one had handed it in at reception and the coffee stand man could only point us in the direction of a tiny, unlikely-looking feeding point.
A similar blank was drawn there, until a kid piped up: “Oh, was it a black toy? I saw it on a table over here.”
He led us to said table, at which four foreign students were sitting. “It was this table,” confirmed the kid, and his mum confirmed this from her own vantage point.
There was nothing there, though. “I’m sure it was here,” said the boy. Suddenly, one of the students reached into his zipped-up rucksack, sitting on the floor, and pulled out the toy.
We were to glad to see it, that our dismay at someone trying to pocket what was clearly a child’s toy was tempered slightly. The cheek of it – it’s a kid’s toy, not a student’s plaything. What was he going to do? Perform experiments on it.
Clearly, we were glad to get the cat back, but irritated beyond belief by the actions of an unthinking youth.
Oh, and we gave the other kid a couple of quid, as a reward/thank you. He looked well chuffed!