You probably know I have always been enormously proud of Mrs. Lear, ever since our first date when she ate her way through the menu without batting an eyelid.
But today, I think I never felt prouder.
Whilst waiting outside some of our flats for the gas man ( yes, they still don't turn up, and instead of one lot you now have three to deal with), a bottle landed on top of her car.
By chance she happened to be looking in the rearview mirror and saw five boys, aged 10 or 11, sauntering away.
She leapt out the car and shouted at them, whereupon one shot off like a scalded cat, the the other 4 turned to face her.
Now Mrs. Lear is a formidable presence. She isn't that large, or tall, or muscley, but, as Wellington might have said, by God she frightens me.
So four eleven year olds were very soon standing in a line with their backs to the wall.
I won't go into all the details, but she first got them to phone their pal who had shot off ( " Didny ken his mobi nummer" " Either you phone him now or we'll all march to your school round the corner" " How do youse know whit skool werr a'?" " Because you're wearing one of it's sport shirts" ).
Clearly the urgency in his pal's voice persuaded said absconder to return, sheepishly.
" Now, " said Mrs. Lear, " I want an apology from you."
Dragging feet, downcast eyes.
" Come on, I'm going to keep you here until you're late for school, then march you to the headmaster." Ignoring the politically incorrect is one of Mrs. L's most endearing characteristics.
" mumble mumble"
" SPEAK UP BOY!" They had clearly never been spoken to by anyone in such a manner. They all jumped back two feet ( except the wall was behind them, which clearly they had forgotten).
" Sorry missus."
"RIGHT! And don't let me catch you throwing things around again. Cut along now, and don't be late for school."
If only we all had the courage to do it, there wouldn't be a problem anywhere on our streets.