They are cutting out a chunk of the park near our house to make more spaces for cars at the local shops. Lots of trees have been torn down, huge mounds of earth have risen from nowhere and now the Tonka trucks have arrived.
They appeared on Monday and shortly afterwards dozens of small boys began emerging from the houses round about, drawn by the mysterious attraction of heavy machinery. Even my neighbour's three-year-old, who has insisted, since the birth of his baby sister six months ago, that he is a girl called Melissa, has been unable to resist (to his parents' secret relief).
He and his fellows cluster together at the fence, their tiny hands clinging to the heavy mesh, their eyes peering through, following each scoop and lift of the digger, every slow inching movement of the steamroller. The intensity of their concentration gives their faces a fierce almost angry look.
Behind them, their mothers wait patiently. Some sip at cups of takeaway coffee. 'He likes it more than when we went to Disneyworld,' I heard one say this morning. 'How much did that trip cost you?' 'Don't even ask.'
Needless to say, there's not a single little girl in sight.
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