Escalating tension

As the father of two young children I took a sharp intake of breath when I saw the damage done to the boot of three-year-old Evie Barrett by an escalator at Queensgate shopping centre.

Friday, 18th November 2016, 11:15 am
Updated Friday, 18th November 2016, 1:03 pm
Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton -

It’s a minor miracle that the toddler didn’t suffer a serious injury, including the loss of toes.

Escalators are part of our modern way of life and shoppers laden with bags are very grateful for them.

But, there is something inherently scary about them and you can see that as so many people step gingerly on and off them.Yet we, me included, trust that they are perfectly safe to use.

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But having seen the state of little Evie’s boot I’m in need of some reassurance.

Because it happened to a three-year-old there will be many who suspect that she was doing something, either accidently or intentionally, that she shouldn’t have been. But whatever the facts of this incident, kids will be kids and if an escalator’s safety depends on the perfect behaviour of a toddler, then as a parent I don’t think that’s safe enough.

Hundreds of thousands of feet go up and down Queensgate escalators each week without mishap or alarm, so clearly and thankfully this is a freak accident.

It’s a timely reminder that no piece of heavy machinery can ever be 100 per cent safe.

Heal thyself

Some propaganda from the Cambridge and Peterborough Clinial Commissioning Group(catchy name) dropped in my email box urging patients not to use antibiotics when they don’t need them.

Erm, shouldn’t they be telling GPs, not patients?

Ghastly Gaston

There’s nothing remotely funny about one rather unsavoury character who was jailed for his part in a mass fight between Posh and Millwall ‘fans’ on Oundle Road.

But I did have to chuckle when I saw his name – Gaston Van Houwelingen.

Houwelingen by name, hooligan by nature!

Trump card

I don’t get involved in American politics but I am more than a little concerned that the next leader of the free world thought it was a good idea to give his youngest son a name more suited to an Alsatian dog. I think we should all do Barron – for that is the poor lad’s name – a favour and henceforth refer to him as Barry Trump.

Can you dig it?

Mrs T tuts and shakes her head in disbelief when I settle down to watch a spot of Test cricket. “How can you watch this? It’s so boring,’’ she bleats.

She’s lucky we don’t live in Slovakia - they’ve just hosted a grave digging competition. To be fair it was dead exciting.

Santa Claus PLC

All I wanted for Christmas was to get through the festive period without seeing the John Lewis advert.My hopes were dashed within 24 hours and I’ve seen the foxes and the badger and Buster the bouncing Boxer.

It’s brilliant, of course, but the hysteria around it is quite ridiculous.

It’s an advert.It’s designed to get you to spend money in their stores. It is NOT the spirit of Christmas.

Diary Of A Bad Dad

I am used to not being allowed to watch what I want on the telly. On the plus side I am now an expert on children’s programmes from In The Night Garden to Peppa Pig and from Gigglebiz to Horrid Henry.

Unsurprisingly, for an adult, there is very little to enjoy - alth0ugh it is mildly diverting trying to identify which soap star is the voice of King Thistle in Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom.

And, it has to be said, Topsy and Tim’s mum is very easy on the eye.

But these small pleasures apart the constant diet of animated antics and watching grown-ups acting like kids and getting very well paid to do it (jealous!) does my head in.

My complaints fall on small but unbothered ears. My eldest told me indignantly: “You can watch y0ur programmes when I’ve gone to bed.’’

“That doesn’t work for live sport,’’ I grumpily responded.

Now Toddlernator the Terrible has joined the battle for the remote control.

His favourites are Let’s Go Club and Thomas the Tank Engine.

Now I have to referee between him and his sister.It usually ends with one watching the telly and the other watching the iPad.

I go outside and kick a ball against the wall.