I spent 3 hours in the garden yesterday afternoon, mowing and edging and tidying and such, and then got back into it all again this morning, clambering up the pohutukawa to remove some of the climbing vines that were infesting the poor thing, ended up taking out a huge pile of the stuff, I mean, really, the pile was over a metre high and practically filled the whole BBQ area.
There was way more light coming through afterwards, but Claire wanted more, so I got out my trusty hand saw and excised a couple of the less healthy and more shading limbs, the afternoon was looking pretty good, so we decided to have a little BBQ, the first of the new season in fact – usually we don’t start until Labour Weekend, but you know how it is when you want over cooked meat.
We invited Dyland, Melanie & little Harrison, then kicked off into the city to visit Auckland Fish Market (which we’ve found to be way superior to Seamart) and the supermarket.
Got home a bit late to find Dylan and Melanie already sitting there waiting on the doorstep, which was pretty naughty of us.
Anyway, long story cut a little bit shorter, we cleaned the BBQ up after a year of neglect, cooked everything up, got a nice salad, shishkebobs of delicious big chunks of fresh tuna and salmon, chorizo, lamb chops, lemon juice steamed asparagus, and so forth. All good. We had a lovely meal, with the patio heater running, George hanging around begging for Sausage, and Edward dropping in now and then to attack whatever caught her eye.
Before jumping into dessert we decided to play another game Claire picked up – giant pick-up-sticks, believe it or not – and apart from a dispute over how to drop the suckers, it was actually more fun than you might have expected.
I’d just finished my second turn when we heard a loud smashing noise on the street, so we looked out over the hedge and saw a car tearing ass around the corner and down the street, sounded like he’d hit a parked car, so I looked where I thought that must have happened and couldn’t see anything, so then I thought he must have chucked a bottle out of his window as he was driving – which is something I’ve known mortard hoons to do before – so as we moved towards the front of the property we were looking for the that.
Instead of seeing broken glass spread down the road, we saw something much, much worse – a tiny little child, age around 3 or 4, lying face down on the road in front of our house.
I shouted to Claire to phone an ambulance, and Dyland and I hauled ass out the gate and ran over to the child on the ground – along with people coming from other properties around the intersection – I dropped to my knees and put my face in front of the kid – no sign of breathing, eyes shut, no moving, nothing. Other people were crowding around, I said "open your eyes, can you look at me?" and I thought I could see a slight parting of the eyelids, so I said it again, this poor little baby had been hit incredibly hard, tumbled along the road, and had obvious head injuries, with large bulges in his forehead, bleeding – but not a lot.
Dylan was on his cellphone talking to 111, and Claire was on the cordless as well, giving descriptions of the car (grey mid-to-late eighties Honda 4 door), the little boy (no really close relatives seemed to be around, but his Uncle had turned up and told us his name was Joseph, up to that point everyone had actually thought he was a little girl) was slowly starting to come back to conciousness, opening his eyes a little bit more when I was talking to him, there was a great big guy there trying to make sure he didn’t move to much, and I kept saying "just lie there, don’t move, you’re going to be alright," Dylan took his pulse and said it was so weak he could hardly find it, the boy started to whimper and choke and moved his legs around, trying to roll over, Melanie had grabbed a blanket, so he was very carefully draped with that, and a towel was gently placed under his head.
The little boy was obviously terribly injured, and when he closed his eyes and sighed, I was afraid he’d just died before my eyes. This is really not something you want to have happen. Thankfully he opened his eyes again when I talked to him some more.
Eventually an ambulance arrived, and at pretty much the same time the first police patrol car arrived, so I went over to give a statement – and recognised the officer as an old schoolmate, John Brown – I gave him all the details I knew, about when things happened, what I saw, description of the car, and the driver (I only had a brief glimpse of the driver as he hauled ass off down the road – not even pausing or looking in his rear vision mirror), it looked like a white man, maybe in his 20s with blonde or light brown hair, reasonably slim, possibly wearing a check shirt, and with longish hair (not shoulder length, but longer than most) which might mean it was a woman, but who knows.
While I was talking to Constable John, Joseph was being checked over by the paramedics, 3 from the ambulance and one of those small car’ish ambo’s arrived as well (along with a bunch of other patrol cars and a motorcycle) he started to cry a lot when they put a collar around his neck, and beat his legs, so presumably they weren’t broken, though one of them had looked quite bent when he’d been lying face down. But who knows.
The police closed the road off, and moved everyone out of the way while they marked the road out with spraypaint, noting all the debris, trying to get a clear picture of where everything had happened, and once I’d given and signed my statement, I chatted to some neighbours who’d walked up the street to have a stickybeak.
Eventually, the police were done taking statements and marking off the road and I lent one of our yard brooms (which was leaning up against the fence, having been used earlier today) to one of the officers to sweep broken glass off the street.
Claire, Dylan (with Harrison in baby-bopper mode) and Melanie, hung out while I took a few snaps. In a way I wish I had photos of everything that happened earlier, it would help express how horrible the whole thing was. Of course, as there’s just no tasteful way that could possibly happen, you get to hear my adulterated thoughts.
After I’d taken my snaps, and virtually all of the police were gone, the senior seargent (or whatever) came over and spoke to us briefly, he said that when the ambulance arrived, the child was in their most serious category for people that are actually alive – but in the time he was in the car, they stabilised him up to their second most grave category.
Anyway, we tidied up a bit and went inside: it was time for dessert, vanilla icecream and delicious strawberries.
Dylan finished first, I finished second.
Instead of strawberries, Harrison had delicious camera straps.
Parents, please don’t let your kids play on the street. Also, teach your kids to take responsibility for their actions, and be careful drivers.