My father was a retained fireman. For those of you from outside the UK, this is a firefighter who actually has another job (Dad worked in the local biscuit factory) but who is ‘retained’ on an annual fee to assist in emergencies. I mention all this only because it’s relevant to the story I’m about to relate.
I was 13 at the time and, as was not entirely unusual for me, I was in trouble. Me and my mates had decided to indulge in that favourite naughty boys’ pastime of ringing doorbells and running away. We were taking turns to do it (there were four of us) and it went well until it was my turn. My ‘victim’, a rather tetchy elderly man, must have observed what us boys were up to and he was ready for me. I had barely reached out to touch the bell when the door suddenly opened, I was grabbed by the collar and pulled into the house.