Danger: No enjoyment beyond this point

diveDo you recall those carefree days when as a youngster you were free to take risks and enjoy yourself doing so? Some years ago my brother and me took a nostalgic trip down the coast to visit one of our childhood holiday landmarks. The first place we used to run to after we dropped our luggage off at the cottage was to the pier. In those days we could sit with our legs dangling over the pier’s edge and drop a fishing line into the water or if the weather permitted dive or jump in off the edge in between ferry arrivals. Great fun. On our trip we looked forward to having our memories jogged by watching kids still engaging in these carefree and healthy activities. Huh! We forgot that we lived in different times and in a different world. Imagine our disappointment when instead we discovered that the pier’s edge was now strictly off limits; blocked by high intimidating looking concrete blocks, ringed by spear headed steel fencing and security gates. ‘DO NOT GO BEYOND THIS POINT’ the warning sign snarled. Huh, as if the barrier made it easy for us to do so. We peered over the blocks towards the concrete pier edge and could not see any reason for this warning at least from where we stood. Further inspection from the beach confirmed this: the pier was solid all round.  Why the restriction then? As if we needed to ask. We learned, unsurprisingly, that it was put in place by health and safety officials who feared that someone ‘could’ get hurt. Note the soft modal verb ‘could’. In other words the officials were not compelled to erect this barrier based on what had happened but rather what might happen. Youngsters enjoying themselves and taking healthy risks was now considered dangerous. As we drove along the coast we noticed that each pier we passed was also off limits for the same reason.  Such is the interfering hand of health and safety witch-hunter generals. Be this as it may, as the accompanying photo I took while on holiday elsewhere demonstrates, there are youngsters who are prepared to disregard this overzealous interference in their enjoyment. Good for them. Have you come across any examples of unnecessary health and safety interference?

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Danger: No enjoyment beyond this point

  1. This is a great story, and a very important concern for many people: this overbearing attitude to safety. What it’s about of course is organisations trying to avoid being sued. And, you can see their point. People sue the council if they are stupid enough to trip over their own shoelaces. And the effects are quite scary. Not only do people no longer enjoy themselves in many carefree, natural ways, but children are growing up unaware of how to deal with potential danger. They will never learn how to look after themselves, and they will definitely learn to blame others for their problems. I am so grateful that I grew up in a society where I was allowed to fall out of trees, slide down cliff edges, be tumbled viciously by waves and be careful when crossing roads and railway lines. I learned how to look after myself – I’m still here, aren’t I?

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    • Yes, and I am still here as well despite falling off a branch and landing on my back, diving into ice cold water from a jetty, swimming in a square pool filled with miners’ discharged soapy bath and shower water, sledging into a river, diving and jumping off the pier, skinning my knees and thighs sliding down colliery slag heaps on a disused piece of conveyor belt, flying head first over bike handlebars as I belted down a steep hill, falling off go carts and rope swings etc etc etc. Magic!

      Liked by 1 person

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