I started believing in guardian angels aged eighteen.
I was staying with a tea planter and his wife in Western Kenya, near Lake Victoria.
Some American friends of theirs had come to visit, fresh from a trip to the Meru Game Reserve and they began to regale us with their close encounter with some lion cubs.
My host and hostess expressed interest, eyebrows raised, and – as the story unfolded – the couple explained how they had come across 3 cubs playing by a carcass.
Entranced, they and their children had disembarked from their vehicle and approached the cubs.
By this point in the tale, even my naive, teenage eyebrows were now riding high.
They had tickled them and patted them and rubbed their tummies.
My host finally lost his self-control and let out a croak of incredulous horror, which our guests mistook for disbelief.
They reached for her newly developed photographs, freshly arrived from Kisumu.
Sure enough, there they were with their small children, beaming and petting lion cubs in the bush.
But behind them in the photographs, amongst the scrub, were clearly visible the large, watchful eyes of the lioness mother.
When this was pointed out, our visitors did go a little pale and a silence descended for a few moments.
To be clear, the photo attached to this story is internet-sourced, for illustrative purposes only (the originals all returned with their owners to Milwaukee).
But it gives you a pretty good impression of the impression it left on me.