Steve Canavan - at absolutely no personal risk - rescues two damsels in distress

Not all heroes wear capes, but they do carry shopping

Thursday, 6th February 2020, 5:00 pm

I don’t like to blow my own trumpet – for starters I don’t own a trumpet – but I did something heroic at the weekend.

This is not something I do often, as I tend to try with all my might not to get involved in any situation where a heroic deed needs doing, because usually there’s danger attached.

For example, if I were passing a lake and saw a young woman drowning and waving for assistance, I’d wave back and shout “give me two minutes, I’ll go and look for someone to help”.

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But on Sunday I became a hero.

I’d nipped to Sainsbury’s to do a spot of shopping (Mrs Canavan had run out of Veet Upper Lip Hair Removal cream and sent me to buy more) when, walking back along the road, I heard a faint cry. I looked to my left and saw a woman with her head out of the window of the house opposite gesturing at me.

This isn’t a surprise – it happens often. Women constantly try to attract my attention – it’s one of the perils of being born with devastatingly handsome good looks (what do you mean? No, of course I haven’t been drinking).

Although I didn’t recognise her, I assumed she must know me. This happens a lot. People engage me in conversation and call me by my first name and talk for ages, while I stand there helplessly trying to place them. We’ve clearly met before but, due to having a shocking memory, I can’t recall it. Like a detective I fumble for clues, although this often backfires. (Me: “How’s the family?” Them: “They died in that accident.”

Me: “Of course, sorry I forgot. How’s the job going?”

Them: “I was made redundant last year”).

I usually remember who it is about 10 minutes after the conversation has ended, by which time it is way too late and they’ll no doubt return home and say to their loved ones, “and you know what? The ignorant sod didn’t even ask how the dog was and he knows full well he’s had that bladder infection because I told him when we last met in Sainsbury’s two weeks ago”.

Anyway I wandered over to the woman gesticulating at me, fully expecting her to call me by my first name and start chatting away, when she said, in an awfully British kind of way, “I wonder if you’d be so kind as to help? I was trying to fix the front door handle when it fell off and now me and my 85-year-old mother are trapped inside and can’t get out”.

“I’m sorry, I can’t help,” I replied, “I’m in a rush and there’s football on the telly at four.”

I didn’t really say that.

What actually happened was that inside my heart leapt with joy, for this was it – my chance to finally be a bona fide hero with absolutely no personal risk attached.

I dropped my Veet hair removal cream and calmly said: “Don’t worry madam, I’ll sort this out and ensure you and your mother emerge safely from this heinous ordeal.”

Or words to that effect.

First of all I plodded over to the front door and discovered she wasn’t lying – the entire door handle, plus various screws, were littered on the driveway. She clearly had very similar DIY skills to myself.

I picked up the handle and tried to reattach it, but to

no avail. It had sheered clean off.

“Yes, you’re right,” I observed, helpfully, “it’s knackered.”

Just as I was about to offer to shoulder-barge the front door down, like a scene from a particularly explosive episode of Line of Duty, the woman pointed across the road.

It so happened that right opposite is the local fire station.

“Are you able to go and ask them to help?” she said.

This was a good idea. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I would have shoulder-barged the door down no problem, but the arthritis in my left arm has been playing up something rotten lately and it didn’t seem sensible to risk a setback.

So I wandered the 20 yards over the road to the fire station and rang the bell. I’ve never done this before –knocked on the door of a fire station – and it felt exciting.

Two blokes wearing helmets (do they wear them all the time? That’s impressive dedication to duty) answered the door.

“Erm, bit of a strange one this,” I said, suddenly slightly embarrassed, “but the lady in that house over there [I pointed at the house and the lady with her head out of the window waved] has accidentally broken her front door and is stuck inside with her frail mother.”

I added, to lighten the mood, “least you won’t need your fire engine for this one”.

“Ah, we will,” one of them said, solemnly, “it’s got all our tools on.”

I nipped back over the road to stay with the woman (because that’s what heroes do, right?) and made

conversation about different door handles and the difficulty of DIY, before there was a noise behind us and the shutter on the fire engine

garage started whirring upwards.

Then the engine, crew on board, emerged and slowly trundled across the road before coming to a halt. I couldn’t help but be slightly disappointed they hadn’t put the siren and lights on, just for dramatic effect.

I’d like to tell you how the story ended (although I’m pretty sure I can guess: the woman and her mum were freed from their house), but after wishing them well with a cheery “I’ll leave it to the pros now”, I wandered off down the street to get the Veet to Mrs Canavan.

I told Mrs C I had just saved the lives of two women, one a frail pensioner, and although I’m not the presumptuous type, I’ll be surprised if I’m not awarded at least a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

If anyone wants an autograph, they are available on request.