THE DAD BEAT

Harry de Quet­teville’s tales from the fa­ther­hood front line

The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - - FAMILY LIFE -

“Look, Daddy,” says Mole, star­ing out of our bed­room win­dow, “An un­marked po­lice car!”

I peek out. There they are – two gents parked up in a sporty lit­tle num­ber. The mon­sters have learned to spot lam­i­nated ID badges dan­gling around necks. They recog­nise how, with the flick of a switch, or­di­nary or­ange in­di­ca­tor lights can be­come flash­ing blue bea­cons of the Met. They say “un­der­cover” with prac­tised ease. They are four and six, true chil­dren of south Lon­don.

My mother-in-law, call­ing from the coun­try, thank­fully no longer men­tions the lat­est quadru­ple mur­der around our way. What is there to say?

The vi­o­lence added a cer­tain spice to Hal­lowe’en last week. When the bell rang in­sis­tently at 9.45pm, and the shad­ows on the glass in­di­cated trick-or-treaters closer to 15 than five, I paused.

Of course, the only of­fence that evening was bad man­ners – the girl who sim­ply stuck out her hand and said: “Choco­late”. But the pu­ri­tan in me bri­dled. I’m no lover

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