I believe it was Tommy Docherty who christened the phrase ‘the innocence of youth’ when he described the joyful, attacking football of the newly promoted Manchester United team during the 1975–1976 season.

One of my favourite bloggers, Jonathan Beckett, also reminded me of ‘the innocence of youth’ recently when he recounted how he dare not tell one of his three daughters that the family was getting three new kittens imminently lest she responded by ‘jumping up and down uncontrollably'.

When he was younger, my nephew was so overcome by nervous energy and excitement at birthdays and Christmas, his body literally overheated. Occasionally, his mother had to send him to his bedroom to lie down quietly with a damp flannel covering his face. This made present selection relatively easy though; we just bought him a flannelette selection and a ice-pack.

This morning, I witnessed the glorious innocence of youth at first hand when I saw two pretty young schoolgirls get on the train [where’s this going ? - Ed] and then each girl shared one cord of a pair of earphones to listen to music on, what I believe young people call, a portable MP3 player. The two girls immediately started smiling and one started dancing on the spot.

I couldn’t help smiling myself as I looked across at the happy, carefree faces of these two giggling girls.

Then we got to Wimbledon station where a group of silent, miserable, soulless commuters boarded the train, pushing and shoving to claim their rightful place, desperate to get on the 08:34, desperate to get to the office for another day of mind numbing monotony.

The train was really quite full now but still more determined men and women continued to force their way on, almost crushing the air and joy out of these two slightly built girls who were gradually swamped and seemed to disappear from view as the vast array of grown adults surrounded them in a pincer movement.

The girls reacted by moving closer to each other and then one happened to look up at a gentleman’s arm which extended over their heads to clasp onto the pole. They looked at each other and promptly burst into another fit of helpless giggles.