July 2008. The British Motorshow. Specifically, the Honda stand.
That was where I wandered off, looking at cars, bemoaning the fact that - unlike when I was a child - there weren't piles upon piles of brochures for me to collect and take home, and totally forgetting that I was there, in London's ExCel, with my eight-year-old son.
When I remembered he was supposed to be with me, he suddenly wasn't. Thinking it through, it was probably only a matter of moments between me turning to look at one car and him another, but it felt like a lifetime and, as the friend who was accompanying me and I hurriedly tried to remember where we'd last seen him, one panicked thought thundered through my mind louder than any other:
How the hell am I going to tell my wife we now only have to buy Christmas presents for one child?
I understand the emotion, then, that must have gone through David and Sarah Cameron's minds on that fateful Sunday when, after a nice family meal, they headed back to Chequers only to discover they were a child down when they arrived.
The two-car family had left The Plough Inn, just a few minutes drive from their official family retreat, with mum getting in to one car assuming daughter Nancy had got in to the other car with dad, and him thinking the opposite.
Dashing back to the pub, eight-year-old Nancy was found safe and well, helping the staff with their chores while she waited patiently for her dad to get back. Much the same as with my son at the time, who I discovered sitting with several rather pretty ladies all dressed in Honda.
My relief was palpable and, if I could, I would have bought a car from them there and then.
I'm sure Mr Cameron felt more than relieved to discover his daughter safe and sound and, while there may be some justice to criticising the couple for not doing a head count, this seems the perfect opportunity for the government to change their tune and point out how safe pubs are for the community, rather than constantly penalising the industry with more red tape and taxation.
This is an industry that is often castigated in the press for being harbingers of Friday night doom, with some shouting louder than others; while much of the press stated the Camerons were enjoying a pleasant family Sunday lunch, the Daily Mail wrote that the Prime Minister was having Sunday "drinks".
Let's not forget that many of the people often pictured in the press in the early hours of Saturday morning with their under garments round their ankles and their faces buried in a drain while they divest themselves of the contents of their stomach started the evening drinking cheap supermarket booze. Pubs which, more often than not, provide a safe and responsible place for people to enjoy themselves don't usually see these people until the end of the evening, and then have to take responsibility for their actions.
Perhaps now would be a good time for Mr Cameron to wax lyrical about how good pubs are for communities; a great first step would be for him to remove the Alcohol Duty Escalator.
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