Well I got my stuff tidied up (mostly) and was busy with the laundry when the doorbell rang, meaning J was back from school. Only it wasn't just J at the door. He had another boy with him, who is in his class at school. D was apparently supposed to go to a friend's after school, only the friend was ill. I said he'd better come in - I know this boy of old and he's a bit scatty, so I was sure there was more to this than there first appeared to be. After a bit of careful questioning, I managed to work out that, in fact, D was supposed to be at the house of a lady who looks after him on a Friday after school. The boy who was ill was her son and D was afraid of getting ill too. He had called his dad, who said he should go there and advised him to speak to his mum. She wasn't answering her mobile. D was confused and had been wandering about outside school, when J came by. At least J had the sense to bring him to me! So I called the lady, but she didn't answer. So I called D's dad, who said it was ok and D should be at her house... so I said I'd walk round there with him. On the way, D's mum rang and told him she'd call another friend, to see if D could go there. Meanwhile, I thought it best to deliver him to his original destination, having pointed out that if the boy was really sick, with something catching and/or dangerous (like swine flu), the childminder would have called D's parents and/or school, to make other arrangements. So we left him at her house and came home.
After that it was rather a rush to get our tea and be ready to go out, so we left about 5 minutes late. That doesn't sound like much, but we always have problems with traffic, unless we leave by 5pm. It's only about 3 miles from here to the sports centre, so we normally arrive in plenty of time. Not today! They are digging up roads in the next village, replacing gas pipes. It took 10 minutes to get through the traffic lights there. Then we got stuck in the traffic round the edge of town, as it was nearly 5:30 by then. Overall, our 3 mile journey took 45 minutes and J was very late for his club. At least he enjoyed the last 30 minutes, but he hadn't had time to warm up, so got very tired.
That was quite an adventure! However it all worked out ok in the end. An interesting thing though, is the way that a child's mind works. It was perfectly logical to J's friend that he should not go to his childminder's, in case he got sick too. However, he didn't have any idea what to do about it. Being D, he probably would have just wandered around aimlessly, until either of his parents arrived home, unless someone had gone looking for him. He also didn't have the judgement to work out that other arrangements would have been made for him, if it were unsafe for him to go to his childminder's house. No wonder children get themselves into situations they can't handle.
I remember being equally unable to see the bigger picture when I was 11 or 12 years old. I was working at an archeological dig site in my summer holiday. It was great - they let me help excavate an iron-age urn-burial (with bones!!) and the site of some buildings. I had a brillant time. Until one day... The other diggers were "grown up", except for a boy of about 15. They were always teasing me and one of their jokes was to tell me the mini-bus wasn't coming to take us home that night and I would have to walk home (a long way). So, when they told me this again, of course I didn't believe them. They did insist a bit and I still didn't believe it. Why no-one had the sense to tell the boss, I'm not sure, but I ended up standing waiting for the bus, all on my own. Eventually the boss came by, on his way home. He stopped to ask why I was there and decided he should take me home himself.
I remember that he was annoyed and I thought it was my fault, but looking back, I now realise it was because the other diggers had left me to fend for myself and hadn't taken any action to make sure I was safe etc. In fact, I never went back there, because I hadn't been too well that day, with a runny nose and bad cough. It turned out that I had measles! Still, I had a good time while it lasted and learned a valuable lesson about people who tease you...
Anyone else have a similar adventure/ narrow squeak?