Wednesday, December 29, 2004


I Bet Jeremy Clarkson's Laughing

Having worked for the Queen, and latterly the Ancient William for all of my working life Christmas has always been a season of “Your single – its for the married men”, or “You don’t have children, let those with kids have the time off”. This has happened for so many years I could not believe it when out of the blue I checked my shift rosters and found that I had Christmas day off, and one of my colleagues offered to do Boxing day so – blank amazement on face of she who must be obeyed when I gave her the news – “Off from the 22nd to the 28th m’dear”
Says I . “Great”, says she “We’ll take the caravan down to Maidenhead and go to mumsie’s for Christmas”
Thinks “What happened to me grand plan to get absolutely shit faced and wake up Boxing day – foiled again SOOOO we loaded up the van and headed for a little 5 van site in Holyport – just behind mumsie’s house on the Windsor Road at Bray. As usual, everything started to go wrong. We appear to have had a mouse(s) in the van and there were little mouse presents everywhere . More worrying was the intermittent electrical fault on the heater system. Fired up the Generator and worked off mains power – all right but still no gas heating ? Just before we set off I changed the gas cylinder in Witney so thought I had at least one and a half before it ran out. Was ok Christmas eve, then Christmas morning – low gas warning
Check bottles – both empty It would appear that when I went to the hop in Witney to change the cylinder I picked up the empty one instead of a full one – Dumbo. Ran round all morning Boxing day trying to find someone selling propane cylinders (the orange ones ) – no chance –lots of blue butane ones – they freeze up in cold weather, and true to form we have just hit the coldest snap of the winter. Ended up buying a small electric fan heater and ramping up the generator to run it ! used up a gallon of petrol on boxing day but kept warm at least. Packed up yesterday and came home – Two nights at work and then back out in the van for New Year – I am a glutton for punishment !!
Tired !

Wednesday, December 22, 2004


How to Give Bad Advice

There I was looking after my own small patch of God’s land and Lord of all I surveyed. I had a substantial Wood right in the middle of the patch, and as often happens; in the middle of the wood was a large pit. The sort of thing that in my day we used to cycle up and down. Times change and the little cherubs had trials motorcycles with exhausts sounding like a large bottle of wasps! This wood was also the recreation area for dog walkers, recreational walkers, lovers and other outdoor pursuits. In the course of my patrols I used to love walking through the woods until the scourge of the gits on motorcycles coming whizzing through, causing alarm and correspondence. One little old man with a walking stick grasped me with a grip like the ancient mariner and told me tales of woe about being forced into bushes and stinging nettles by these unthinking little toe-rags.
“Well”, says I. “What I would do when I heard one coming, would be to hide behind a tree and when they came past, I would stick my walking stick through the front wheel of the bike. That would give them a shock!!”
Having given the old chap some food for thought I resumed my steady 2mph peregrinations through God’s wonderful creation. Later that week I’m in the High Street, when a call comes through on the bat phone
“To the woods, it cries!” “No, No, I’ll tell the vicar” – Sorry wrong joke!
“To the woods” it cries, “There’s been an accident, Ambulance attending” So girding up of the loins, and full ramming speed on the trusty velocipede, I make my way to the woods. “Good oh”, thinks me medics have got here first as I can see the blue lights of the ambulance twinkling. “What’s the score?” – says I the paramedic is working on what looks like one of my little biker chums
“Broken arm. Several ribs and lacerations to both legs, and it looks like his bike is a write off”. “What the hell did you hit?” I ask the poor little wounded soldier, as he lays there groaning. “I didn’t hit nothing”, he replies with the council house grammar of his forbears. “Some old geezer was hiding behind a tree and as I rode past he stuck a stick in me front wheel, and I went right over the top!!”
Exit stage left pursued by a bear !!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004


Wonders of Technology

I have just bought myself an IPOD as a sort of Christmas present. Mainly because nobody I know would buy me one anyway – even for Christmas !! It is amazing. First the box it comes in is beautifully designed. Its packaging fits, all the equipment with it has little plastic protectors and the docking station and mains plug are really heavy, well engineered bits of kit. The unit is self is a little shiny white plastic and metal brick. The controls are feather light and once worked out, really simple. Load the disk on to the computer and up, up and away ! This is a superb bit of kit
I now begin to see how Apple Mac users stay with them. Why did we go with the other lot when this sort of kit is available ? It happened with Videos – Betamax went and VHS stayed. This ranks alongside the new sky box for simplicity and even old fools like me can operate it.
Going into PC world for another look at the Apple Mac on me next day off – who knows – perhaps another convert !
Evenin all

Sunday, December 19, 2004


Stranger than Fiction

Took a report of an abandoned Marina Estate, apparently parked at side of road. Left with keys in. Been there two days now, not really amazing that no one had nicked it! Did a Computer check and came up with a local owner. Sent officers to address, real bottom of the range council estate. Officers book on scene then come back immediately to say that all the doors on the house are open – local kids running in an out but no adults at this time. Stranger and stranger ? Twilight zone here we come. House full of furniture – food in fridge, lights and gas on. Beds made – well spooky.
Police enquiries with neighbours reveal (standard terminology) “Aint you ‘eard mate” “He won the lottery,last week ,fifteen million.” “Heard it on the car radio driving home”. According to witnesses (standard terminology again) The car owner was seen to stop the car jump out making strange whooping noises and call a taxi. According to neighbours – he got home, grabbed the wife and kids, packed passports only, taxied to London and was now, apparently living the life of Riley in Jamaica.
Further enquiries with Immigration and Jamaican Police confirmed this – He told them “Anyone who wants the car ??? can take it away, keys are in it “ and the Council can keep their sodding house – furniture and fittings free”
Funny thing – they haven’t returned yet – that was six months ago now
Evenin all

Sunday, December 12, 2004


Damned Furriners

I never really thought much about the American sense of humour back in the late sixties. American trips were not so common and our view of them was coloured by the writings of Thurber, Steinbeck and Co and by early TV shows of Happy Days, Beverley Hill Billies etc. So when a fellow Corporal and I decided to go back to UK, from British Hondura, overland through Mexico, into the States and home via RAF from Washington we did not think much about it.
Arriving at Nogales, Mexico, the border town, we scouted about a bit and found the “Official Border Crossing Point”.
We were in uniform (jungle greens, and berets), carrying large Bergen rucksacks with tents, bedrolls etc, including large machete type jungle knives strapped on to the top, and Union Flags sewn on the Top flap.
There were two distinct crossing points. A very nice, airconditioned, carpeted building marked “US and Domestic” and a sort of Cattle shed hot and dusty with long lines of persons outside marked “Foreigners and Aliens”. So we thought, bugger waiting about with the hoi polloi we’ll take the easy option. So in we go to the nice, air conditioned, carpeted US and Domestic building. Two very large Americans festooned with guns, cords, badges and patches, wearing what they call Smokey the Bear hats – but we call Boy Scout (Baden Powell) hats ! approach. We politely enquire regarding entry to the Land of the Free ! At which point they put on their War faces and start shouting – “Listen you foreigners – get back in line with the wet backs in the Aliens entry point”, and start to try and shove us out of the building. Up speaks John Bull, whipping out his trusty Blue Passport (in those days we had proper Passports!)
“Listen my good man”(always a good start when dealing with over officious authority)
“It says here”(opening at page one)
“Her Brittanic Majesty’s Principle Secretary for Foreign Affairs, REQUIRES you to assist the bearer of this Passport without let or hinderance, AND, apart from anything else, We are English, YOU are foreigners !”
Strange, they turned a funny shade of purple – went well with the purple pocket flaps on their shirts – Next thing we know its into the cell block and the strip search and the significant putting on the rubber gloves with the elastic snap ! Ouch, oh, oh the enema didn’t help much either. The machete on top of the bed roll had slipped round underneath it, so they were also trying to charge us with concealed weapons as well as “unspecified”, “possible” charges of trying to enter the Country illegally and some sort of drugs charges – At this time the only drugs us squaddies used were Asprin to get rid of the hangovers ! Luckily I had been going out with a Secretary in the American Consulate in Belize, so she had arranged an A1 multiple entry, diplomatic Visa for us ( all multi coloured and taking up a whole page in the Passport.
They had absolutely no sense of humour at all – it took several phone calls and umming and arring before they would let us in (although after that I wasn’t sure I wanted to go ! Mind you I’ve dined out on the story several times and most of us seemed to think it was amusing ! strange persons our colonial cousins
Evenin all

Tuesday, December 07, 2004


Enough Already

Enough already. I have just read through the nominations for the 2004 Blog of the year awards, and though I swore that I would not get hot under the collar about current affairs and would write about things which amused my in my life as a squaddie, and latterly as a policeman. we all have to take a stand somewhere. Most of the blogs were beautifully written, erudite politically aware comments on current affairs – not like the blogs I love to read, Scary Duck, Neighbour of the hoors, Howling spoons and company who’s amusing, sometimes raw and certainly not PC logs have something to say. Fox hunting – who cares (except the foxes) let’s do something about the gangs of “traveller types” who go coursing then abandon their dogs when police get close to them – badger baiters and dog/cock fights YES – lock em up – Persons who break in to your property to steal (or worse) follow the American Special Forces motto – “kill em all, let god sort them out”. Teachers being beaten up at school then the education committees forcing head teachers to take the little scrotes back ! Fire fighters and paramedics being stoned and petrol bombed whilst trying to save lives !
I admit to bias about the Police – but how can anyone in their right minds other than those with 20/20 hindsight
Want to prosecute officers who have a split second in which to decide whether or not to shoot the person coming towards them waving an imitation firearm/something that looks like a firearm, and then wonder why the other officers hand in their firearm’s tickets when they hand down a ludicrous decision. NO it’s not lack of sympathy for the poor person who does get shot or their families BUT if they weren’t behaving in that manner in the first place it would not put the officers between the rock and the hard place.
WE ARE ALL TO BLAME for this state of affairs. The educational experiments of the sixties (remember) now are the parents and grandparents of the don’t care generation – no respect for anyone How can any sane person break into an 84 yr old pensioner’s house and beat her up(or worse) for the sake of a few pounds ? School bullies? yes but bullying the teachers ! The police are just as culpable – lack of resources and “quicker response times” lead to the Panda car – no more bobbies pounding the beat – just reactive policing – send a car – the Old fashioned bobby – tea drinking, school visiting, helping old ladies across the road, Gone for ever. Now we have restorative justice ?, cautioning ? ARRRRGH – bring back hanging and flogging ! We are all so careful about being PC. we are all being bullied by Religious leaders from the Pope’s views on condoms, via the Imams trying to force Islam down the throats of the majority Christian population to the DUP’s “No surrender” policies. Gay rights, illegal immigrants’ rights, everybody else’s bloody rights. ENOUGH I SAY ENOUGH – SOMEONE SOMEWHERE DO SOMETHING BEFORE THE COUNTRY COLLAPSES UNDER THE RIGHTS OF SPANISH FISHERMEN TO DEPLETE OUR FISH STOCKS WHILST OUR TRAWLERS ARE LAID UP – WE LOSE WHAT’S LEFT OF OUR CURRENCY

Sunday, December 05, 2004


Reply After Caution

You remember the days of the great British Police Caution, after arrest (mostly miss-quoted on TV Cop dramas) the formal caution on arrest went like “You are not obliged to say anything, but any thing you do say will be taken down in writing and may be used in evidence”. This tended to be learned parrot fashion at training school, and was given out when muckling on to the toe-rag you happened to be “swifting” in one breath in a sort of monotone. One little scrote always replied to this “I’ll tell you anything you want officer but please stop hitting me”. So I duly wrote this down as his “reply after caution”. For some reason, unfathomable to persons of normal mind he decided to go “not guilty” this time. Strange as I had actually caught him driving the stolen car and leaped on to him as he was trying to get out of the driver’s seat (unfamiliar recessed door handles apparently). So there we were he had his day in Court.
Up stands me, a vision in my pressed blue uniform with the little halo over the top and the words “trust me” embroidered on the back !!! Produces trusty pocket book, “notes made at the time, your worship”
“And I arrested the defendant, in the seat of the Ford Cortina, index number ABC123D, a vehicle which had been reported stolen some 2 hours before. I cautioned him and his reply after caution was”
“I will tell you anything you want officer, but please stop hitting me”
Dreadful silence for some seconds. The magistrate says,
“Can you repeat that Officer” – so I repeat it. Another silence. The magistrate then says
“Officer, did you in anyway assault the defendant ?”
I says, “Other than holding his arm whilst arresting him (It was always considered good practice to actually hold on to the defendant when arresting them- in case they were away on their toes for one thing !), and then handcuffing him before placing him in to the police vehicle, no your Worship” The magistrate still looks puzzled and then says to the defendant. “Did the Officer assault you on your arrest ?”
Scrote replies “Nah mate, he’s nicked me loads of times and unless you kick off he‘s all right” (told you he was not right in the head !)
“So why did you make that reply, knowing that the Officer would write it down, and produce it as evidence in court”
“Don’t know mate, but I thought it sounded funny at the time – didn’t think he’d write it all down”
“That, young man, is a typical example of the worst type of behaviour that you young persons of today seem to think is amusing”
“Gotcha”, thinks I
He tries to give some sort of rambling evidence on his own behalf about being in the passenger seat and as I had forced the vehicle into a wall whilst trying to stop the lunatic doing 60-70mph in a 30mph limit he couldn’t get out of the passenger side so had tried to get our of the driver’s door ?? – As there were about 10-15 witnesses to the pursuit, and subsequent arrest, who all, strangely enough only saw the defendant in the car, driving. This defence sort of fell apart.
The magistrate then says to chummie
“It is plain that you have not only wasted the Court’s time, the witnesses and the Officer’s time with your frivolous “not guilty” plea, you seem to find it amusing to make stupid statements after caution, you can therefore laugh this off” He then gave him 28 days in jug, £200 fine, disqualified him (again) from driving and £200 costs
I managed to get out of court before I fell about laughing.
Some times you have good days in court ! This was one of the best
Evenin all

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