Centrist Dad

Do we ever grow out of our childhood fears?

Will Gore wonders how he can help his children overcome their anxieties, when he has yet to beat his own

Saturday 02 January 2021 11:42
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<p>Gore Jnr is no fan of the pike</p>

Gore Jnr is no fan of the pike

My son is afraid of pike. The fish, not the pointy weapon of bygone times – though he might be fearful of both if he knew of them.

I blame myself really. For one thing, having failed to pass my obsession with Arthur Ransome onto my first child, I redoubled my efforts with the next. And it paid off. Tristan will happily watch the 1974 film adaptation of Swallows and Amazons in the afternoon, be read Pigeon Post before bed, then listen to an audio version of Winter Holiday as he goes to sleep.

Ransome knew all about pike. In the first of his adventures about the crew of the Swallow, he has Roger – the youngest of the Walker family – catch a fish of such mammoth proportions that he thinks it must be a shark. “Do you think it’s really safe to bathe in this place?” asks Roger worriedly, as the pike slips off the hook and darts back to the depths of the lake.

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