AS parts of the country were razed by rioting, we should be grateful in Northampton that most of the trouble in our county was restricted to a bunch of prats on the Wellingborough Road and ridiculous rumours spread by bored teenagers.
Only the older kids and I watched events in London unfold on TV, and the following day, a baffled Billy watched the breakfast news and asked us solemnly if we had heard: bad people somewhere had been smashing stuff up.
How do you explain the riots to a seven-year-old when most of the grown-ups don’t seem to know what on earth just happened?
As Day 2 went on, we were seeing rumours appear on Facebook and Twitter about how things were ‘kicking off’ closer to home in Northampton. We soon realised the sources were 14-year-old girls living in rural villages, desperate for some drama.
Later that day we were heading to the sunny Racecourse, to play on the swings, when a group of about six teen boys with scarves covering their faces and baseball caps started to congregate near the play area, swaggering, shouting on their phones about how they were going to join together their ‘flocks.’ Six turned into eight, then 12, and before long about 18 youths, fired-up by testosterone and each other, were blocking the entrance to the park.
They weren’t breaking the law, but the atmosphere was hardly relaxed. They were playing at being what they’d seen on TV.
As we walked home, we saw a police car arrive and within moments the would-be-looters were gone, hopefully home to have their tea and watch telly with their mums.
They might not like it now, but those lads should be grateful that they do live in boring old Northampton. I know I am.