The family were in Amsterdam for a few days. I suppose Roland must have been fifteen, which would have meant that Lucian was about 12 and Gabriel probably 10. It was the last afternoon of our short visit. Victoria, Gabriel and myself were in a shoe shop looking at trainers for Gabriel. Roland and Lucian had carried on up the street, waiting for us at one of the innumerable bridges. I can’t remember why, but I left the shop and went to join the two lads. As I approached I could see that Roland was deep in conversation with a rough looking character who, as Roland confirmed when I approached, was engaged in proposing a business transaction involving the sale of cannabis. This was going on as the bridge was full of passers-by.
Roland was resisting his entreaties but was apparently finding it hard to shake him off. I intervened, explaining that I was the Roland’s father, that he was transparently under-age, and that the trader should desist from harassing him. But the guy was leach-like in his determination. He turned to face me and obviously calculated that even though he had lost out with the son he may as well try the father for a few bags of the stuff. I made it plain that his new strategy would not work and he seemed resigned to the fact that his two or three minutes engaged with this family were not going to result in a sale but then his face betrayed a flash of inspiration – he looked me up and down and said ‘Viagra?’