I sat perched precariously on the railings of the pub next to the replica of the Golden Hinde, enjoying the breeze coming off the Thames and the view of the north bank. Unthinkingly, I played a little game with my balance, letting go of the upper bar with my feet wrapped around one of the lower ones, spreading my arms and leaning back as far as I could go with my eyes closed. An urgent high-pitched voice broke through my envelope of inner contentment. I turned to look into the upturned and anxious face of a three-year-old French boy wearing an orange t-shirt and fisherman's hat.
His mother winked at me and said, in English, "Oh no, Louis, I don't think the girl is going to fall off."
"Oui! Oui!" he said, becoming more agitated.
I extricated myself from the railings and hopped down, exaggerating my movements and sighing with relief. He broke into a smile and looked up at his mother, pointing at me and proclaiming something proudly.
"Yes, Louis, now the girl is safe. Good job."
With a mightily pleased expression, the little health and safety officer puffed out his chest and trotted on his way.
(I climbed onto the railings again once his back was turned. I am a bad citizen.)