‘He didn’t really mean that, darling…’

My friend Paul was a famous motocross racer in his day. And I suppose that if you’re going to race motocross, you’ve got to have some sort of passion for danger – Paul is, after all, apparently held together by titatium pins and plates.

He was sitting at the table a few weekends ago when someone asked my daughter about her unfortunate accidental meeting with Morne du Plessis’ fence. It’s all been a bit traumatic and costly, so she muttered, ‘Oh, I crashed through it,’ and tried to change the subject.

‘No, no,’ said Paul. ‘What happened? Tell me!’

She wasn’t to be drawn, so I told the story – in my best ‘Really! Kids!’ tone. ‘It was late at night, she was driving her brother’s car, which she wasn’t familiar with, it had been raining heavily, and she took the corner too fast,’ I said, disapprovingly. ‘The car slid out of control and went sideways through the fence. She ended up upside-down in Morne’s vegetable garden.’

There was a moment of uncomfortable – I thought – silence.

Then: ‘Awesome!’ Paul said.

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