Taking risks is a strange and confusing business in Britain these days.
Health and safety has become a huge industry in its own right, demanding risk assessments in all aspects of public life.
We have to see potential danger everywhere, forced to become so paranoid that it’s surprising we even get out of bed in the mornings.
Only hardened high risk junkies ride bikes, climb rock faces, hang glide or step on the cracks in pavements.
Or bankers..they don’t seem to mind a bit of a risk…although its not really their risk… They have airbags and parachutes made out of £50 notes and cheques signed by Mr Osborne.
So the ‘accidents will happen’ adage is becoming obsolete, a dinosaur in the litigious ice age of ‘where there’s blame there’s a claim’
Six weeks ago, had I completed a risk assessment before undertaking my leg breaking activity, I would not now be with broken leg. Spontaneity, I am the victim of spontaneity.
As a teacher, I am not allowed to take a group of teenagers off the school premises without a whole shit load of pre-written paperwork, even if it is only 100 metres away to visit another school.
I used to be able to go out on a rare sunny afternoon and treat a group of kids to an ice cream and a walk on the beach for good behaviour (cue wavy lines and random harp music again)
So, if when my friend phoned to say ‘Do you fancy a bike ride this morning?’ I had enquired ‘have you completed the risk assessment?’ I would not be sitting here alone in this bed of cushions, with a collection of crutches and a Zimmer on the side (is there a collective noun for mobility aids?) From now on I will demand full paperwork, signed by my next of kin, before leaving it.
Hanging from the wall, twice our height,
By my finger tips
I let go.
Adrenalin rush and trust…
I always bounce
A scab on the knee
Is a fine medal of honour
For an outdoor girl.
When it’s my turn
I go again
Down..until the bell rings
And we have to go back to class.
And on the grassy bank
That became a glacier
in the January cold
We slid, in Clarks shoes,
Slipping, standing or sitting
From top to base,
Over and over
No killjoy shovels of salt and grit
To spoil it.
Were we tougher,
Or was it just because
We had Tiger Feet to land on?