A couple of days ago I was enjoying the blue skies with, for the first time that I can remember, not a single vapour trail from high-flying jets thanks to the Icelandic volcano Eksvskdfmkjhsdfkj erupting and turning Europe into a no-fly zone.
It was quite peaceful.
Of course, there was an underlying current of worry for the UK, because it would've been a perfect time for an enemy invasion, what with our planes grounded and both our naval ships detailed to picking up stranded tourists from Spain. We would have been defenceless, allowing the intruding forces to fly unhindered over our land, to sail into our ports, and to launch their offensive.
And there are plenty of nations out there who covet our . . . er . . .
Actually, I can't think of anyone who would want to invade the UK anymore.
Why would they?
It'd cost them a fortune, they'd have to take on all the responsibilities of our declining industry, our debts, our crappy roads, our obsession with half-building housing estates, our empty factories and abandoned shop units, GMTV and, not least, our moaning.
We moan a lot.
The only country that might consider invading would be the French, and they'd only do it because it's been a while and they're probably due one now anyway, but they've got volcano-induced problems of their own.
I put those fears to the back of my mind, yet retained a psychological and very British DEFCON 2 status, willing to take on any invading army with a series of loud tuts and an occasional disapproving shake of my head. I then proceeded to enjoy the day.
To the park!
Giving the missus a spot of peace and quiet so she can feed our new baby without interruption from our son is a daily mission at the moment. So, thank goodness the local council provides playgrounds, which are not just hunting grounds for catholic priests, but also provide much needed distraction for a high-need child with more energy than the Large Hadron Collider.
A couple of minutes of the swings, then on the slide, followed by the see-saw and the climbing frame, concluding with some mad Brownian-motion-like running around, screaming as loudly and as squeakily as is humanly possible, then repeating all of the above until tired, hungry and/or very, very grumpy.
My son is even worse.
I think play parks are pretty standard the world over. Somewhere for the little primates to get in touch with their inner monkey.
Climbing frames are particularly popular, and we've got this battered old wooden one which appears to have slipped the usually all-encompassing net of health and safety compromise:
Hang on, what's that . . ?
Down in the corner of the neck-wrenching lattice.
Is that . . . a handcuff?
A rusty handcuff?
Yep. Definitely a rusty handcuff, which sounds like a euphemism for something I wouldn't want to do.
Or would I?
Anyway, I'm no council planner, but I don't think handcuffs are standard playground accoutrement.
Maybe in Brazil, but not in South West England.
This seemed a little disconcerting. I'm presuming there is a simple, innocent explanation for the presence of the rusty cuff, such as a naked man the night before his wedding experiencing a spot of affectionate humiliation at the hands of drunks whom, just hours before, he had thought of as his friends.
But it could have been something more . . . blogworthy.
And, with the magical application of imagination, it will be!
I reckon there was an insanely exciting police chase, culminating in one stalwart Peeler nabbing a rum sort, but having no time to take him down to the nick and process him with due diligence and attention to appropriate form filling, what with another shout occurring on his manor, and so 'cuffed him to the nearest convenient metal appliance ready to be dealt with at leisure.
Unfortunately, the resourceful blaggard chewed his own hand off to facilitate his escape. Now, he haunts the swings, scaring children by showing them his bloody, tooth-marked stump, gently swaying to and fro and wailing because he can't hold on very well these days.
Now that's what I'm talking about.
Realistically speaking, policing round here is generally undertaken by people called Police Community Support Officers, who fight crime by being paid half as much as coppers and not having powers of arrest.
I'm also not sure they're actually authorised to do any running.
So, maybe it wasn't that.
Maybe it was a new community-based punishment initiative, designed to alleviate crowding in jail. A bit like community service, where instead of locking them up, you get criminals to undertake a relevant punishment as part of paying their debt to society and rehabilitating them at the same time.
Graffiti artists clean local walls, shoplifters scour supermarket car parks and give any dropped items back to their owners, and murderers reanimate corpses in council-funded eerie castles on craggy peaks.
I suppose you could handcuff a paedophile to a climbing frame, because that would be like sewing up a fat person's gob and then locking them in a bakery.