Friday, January 28, 2005


They Think Its All Over

I joined the Army in 1964 – spent 1965 in the Med (Malta etc) and was then, along with most of the British Army posted to Germany (or BAOR)(British Army of the Rhine), as it was known for reasons best known to itself. My Regiment was posted to one of the Backsides of the Universe or Minden as it was known. When I researched the area later in life (watched the History Channel mainly!) I discovered that the Minden Gap was where the Red hordes were going to come charging through life the mongol horde, on a wave of T62 main battle tanks – the estimate was 100 tanks to overwhelme a Company position armed with mainly 4 or 5 84mm Carl Gustav anti tank weapons or if you were support company 4 wombat 120 mm anti tank guns – You would last just long enough to kiss your Ass, or donkey if you had one,goodbye, before being blown to molecules – This if they decided on conventional warfare – or perhaps being tactical nuked, or gassed etc if they decided to let technology take the strain. Us fat and happy foot soldiers didn’t know any of this – we just firkled about on these large NATO exercises – you know the thing – drive within a mile of a german farmer’s barn and he sets it on fire and claims damages So there we were in our second year – 1966 – lots of good footy on – and German TV even showed some of the England games – and the local bars stocked up for what even they knew to be the inevitable final. Mien Gott, it happened. There we were, England in the Final of the World Cup with the Kaiser’s (Franz Beckenbaur) men.
My platoon were in a bar in Siemens Strasse watching the TV surrounded by the locals. Come half time and the bar owner started to get out the beer mats with “Deutchland, World Miesters” on them. My lot started to get quiet, an extremely bad sign with squaddies ! and then those immortal words “They think its all over “ The first bar stool went through the window – I was about 3 half litres of good German beer (Weser pills) brave and led from the front what a fight ! to the immensely politically incorrect war cries of “two world wars and one world cup” we cried havoc and let loose the dogs of war – I know I ended up in the local jail with half my section – along with another 40 or 50 squaddies from the garrison and it eventually cost us another 100 marks each in damages but it was worth it. Another great battle added to the Regiment’s Battle honours the”Battle of Minden 1966!!! “
mornin all

Thursday, January 20, 2005


Bent Coppers !

We lived in a very nice police house. This was quite an imposing building, nicely detached on its own plot. Its Office attached,and a very nice double garage so that the van could go in one side and you could put your own car in the other. Of course, being TVP the van wouldn’t fit as the blue light on top was too tall to go under the swing up door. This meant that unless you had two cars, unlikely on police wages ! one of the garages would be going spare. The guy who owned the garage on the other corner was a friend – He was a useful sort of chap, he bought and sold cars at auction and could always be relied on if cheap reliable transport was needed. His tea pot was always full and you could keep an eye on all sorts from the back room of the garage. Anyway, another of my friends on the new estate was having problems with kids damaging a very nice new catamaran he had bought a really upmarket Hobie Cat which he kept on a trailer in his drive. He knew I sailed (both sailboards and dinghies) and had a large garden in the police house. So he asked me if I would look after the Cat as no one would damage it in the garden of the police house – the caveat being that I could use it anytime I wanted to. This worked out nicely as I could never afford a beast like that. So, Mike, the garage owner also did “Weddings, Airport runs, and funeral limo” on the side and had a very nice Rolls Royce for this. He had to keep this in a compound at the back of the garage. This was a wired off bit locked with a padlock and chain and not very secure. He noticed the free garage, and the fact that I had Dave’s Catamaran in the garden, and asked me if he could put his Roller under cover in my spare garage.
So, a bit cheekily, I said that he could under the same conditions as Dave’s Cat. He didn’t even flinch – Any time you want to use it that’s fine with me – I’ll even put petrol in it (11mph) and you can use it on the garage insurance as I have to employ a bloke to drive it for weddings etc. The upshot being there’s this great thing sticking out of the garage as it was a bit long and the door kept blowing up as it would not quite click on to the lock. Next thing I know I get a phone call from someone I knew at HQ telling me to watch my back as I’m being investigated for being “bent”. Strange, that’s usually for the old time ex metpol CID not village bobbies. Sure enough comes the call in to the main police station. In I go, ushered in to the Inspector’s office to “cool my heels” – then comes the Spanish Inquisition ! Insp ***** and Sgt !!!!! from Complaints and Discipline.
“We’ve had a complaint from one of your parishioners that you must either have a private income that we don’t know about, or you’re on the take “ “I must caution you that etc etc etc “
“wot”, says I, confused ? “No doubt you have checked my bank account and know that until pay day next week I am about £20 overdrawn”
“Exactly”, “How can you afford expensive cars, and boats then ??”
“Wot”, says I, in another stunning verbal riposte – “I’ve got a 10 year old Volvo estate, in dire need of a full service” and a 5 year old caravan which is paid for”
A Great light suddenly dawns - With some fast talking and the general belief that no one could be that stupid I manage to convince them that all is above board, couple of phone calls and two statements of ownership and the wheels stuck back on to the wagon.
It would appear that some sticky beaking, nosy b*****d on the patch had seen said car and boat in my garden and leapt to the conclusion that their village bobby was some sort of bent copper, like on the TV ! I ask you, deep in rural Oxfordshire (mind you the Krogers Lived in Great Barrington) just a couple of villages down the road. Just as a final sort of cherry on top. I only used the Roller once, just too sort of try it out and say that I had driven one. Drove she who must be obeyed into the middle of Oxford. Parked on the double yellow lines right outside the Randolph Hotel, the doorman in waistcoat and top hat no less – opened the doors and ushered us in. Went in to bar, had an orange juice and watched to see if Morse would come in (he didn’t) went back out a half hour later. The doorman ushered us in to car and we drove off. Its true, the power of a Roller negates all parking wardens !!!
He sold the car a while later, and we got a new van with a lower, badge bar type blue light instead of the blue “tit”
On the top. This fitted in to the garage. I had a happy summer sailing the Cat, as Dave admitted he had only bought it to impress his new partner and was scared of sailing it as it was a bit of a beast – you could get the damned thing up to about 30 knots in a good wind and it would literally tow a water skier behind it ! He sold it in the autumn – pity, and life returned to normal in the village. I would still like to know who “informed” on me.
There were some shifty looks in the pub for a few weeks but I never did find out !
Mornin all

Wednesday, January 12, 2005


The Ghost of Christmas Past

Now the dust has settled over the “festive?” season I can start thinking about Christmas Past ! As a Village Bobby for most of my career I seem to have had most Christmases working and it brings back memories of sad days going to sudden deaths (lots of lonely folk tend to die on Christmas day) The usual “Domestic Disputes” about Christmas Tea time when the turkey hits the wall and the drink starts the fights and spending Christmas evening in a cheery cell block with drunk drivers who have usually caused vast amounts of carnage, both vehicular and personal and usually come out of it unscathed, drunk and belligerent ! Waiting for the Solicitor to be dragged out of his Christmas Night Celebration and so it goes.
A policeman’s lot is not a ‘nappy one. On a lighter note, One Cold and crisp Christmas morn I’m on a nominal 9 to 5 so I ring in, and full of bonhomie and probably scotch
The Duty Sergeant says, “Don’t bust a gut today Mog, just spin the village once or twice to show the flag, then stay at home. As long as you are by the phone, we’ll call you if we need you” Merry Christmas thinks I, and ring round the outlaws etc, round to the Residence for Drinkeys and She who must be obeyed will do the turkey lunch time instead of a late night supper (dinners were definitely a moveable feast in the Mog household in those days) So there we all are – Delicious smells from kitchen area, log burning on the open fire (typical police house – too tight to have central heating) carols on the stereo and tinkling sherry glasses from the assorted Aunts and GAs Christmas tree lights flashing (not on a timer just a bad connection) Just about ready to “risk” a small beer when
BANG BANG BANG on the Office door – (bugger off we’re closed in a very small aside) Heavy sigh as I recognise the face of the very rich and obviously upset Company Lawyer who bought the big house in the woods a few months back and spent a fortune on lights, alarms etc etc and was the bane of my existence forever reminding me how many council/police committee/Senior Officers etc etc he knew ! He felt the need for his own personal policeman and Mog apparently fitted the bill – “Look after him”, says my Inspector, “He’s a nasty piece of work, but he knows where a lot of bodies are buried”
So, slightly less than full of Christmas spirit I wave him in to the Office (freezing as no central heating !)” What can I do for you Sir” No preamble, no compliments of the season and here’s a bottle of scotch Mog straight in to it
“Listen. there’s a band of Oiks ( he said Oiks!!) obviously from the Council estate (far side of the woods) Who have been given motorbikes for Christmas and they are up in my woods (his woods now, I thought they were public)
causing a terrific row and making all kinds of noise – I’m holding a Christmas party for all sorts of important people, including I may add, your Chief Constable I want you to go out right now and put a stop to this ! Slamming of doors, whooshing of Jaguar and Orf . Apologies to assorted relatives and in to trusty van (Bravo 39) Book on and tell Sgt – going to woods to sort out Oiks (I ask you Oiks !!) It is, at this point, a very quiet otherwise Christmas morning, so the next thing I know there are 2 Divisional cars, a dog van and 2 traffic cars (nothing to do with the fact that the Chief is at old Pig Face’s (She who must be obeyed description of the git) party. All volunteering to assist. Ah well a quick solution then at least I can get back to have lunch at lunch time ! As we all know, the best laid plans (what have mice got to do with it??) The plan to surround and deal comes together far too well and as we tighten the net to the big dip in the middle of the woods we have at least 8 or 9 of the little darlings in it. I hate to say it, Old Pig Face was right; they were from the estate on the far side of the woods. So we load them up in the big van, bikes pushed into bushes and take them home. Convoy stops outside the biggest block of flats – by now it’s getting on to be about 2 o’clock. Quick chat with the parents and up and away ! I don’t know where I get these ideas from !! The next thing we know is that a large number of angry and p****d up gents come boiling out of the block and the shouted comments range from the incredible to the inedible via unbelievable and the mildest is “These spoilsports have stopped the kids having fun on Christmas day”, and a full scale riot starts. By the time we have got it under control, arrested about 15, recovered one burnt out police van, turned another back onto its wheels and got that recovered, had our wounds treated and returned to the festive cell block it was 9 o’clock at night ! By the time the prisoners have been sorted out, property recovered and reports written its Boxing Day. In to van, creep home, quietly enter house – large note on Kitchen door “Welcome home, your dinner’s in the dog” “Don’t you dare wake me up when you come to bed” – Ah well, nothing changes
Mornin all

Thursday, January 06, 2005



Doing the post on the murder reminded me of another senseless death I got involved in. This one concerns neighbours and started with the radio message nearly every police officer hates “Go to ********, neighbourly dispute in progress” “both parties out in the road and appear to be about to come to blows according to witnesses”
Peddle the van up to full ramming speed ! about 40 mph up hill (this episode took place in High Wycombe, where the hills are so steep even mountain goats have nose bleeds !!) “B39(my callsign in those balmy days when we all knew each other) “B39, on scene and dealing)(no 10 codes either – American cop TV still in its infancy)
The scene is set – quite a nice area, detached houses in ¼ acre plots, two well dressed gents shouting nose to nose over the garden wall !
“Right chaps, you come with me, and you go back in to your house” – rule one – separate the contestants then they can both start on you!
“Right Sir, what’s the problem” – and so it unfolds
MR A, had applied for planning permission for a double garage on the side of the house next to Mr B. No problems in the first instance as Mr A and Mr B got on well and discussed it first. Mr B had no objections, and if it looked ok was probably going to get the same builder to do a double garage for him. So far, so good. The builders came, saw and sat down and had tea etc., and eventually built this magnificent edifice on the side of Mr A’s house.
They finished off, put in the new fangled electric doors and everyone stood and looked and OOHED and AAAHED as the doors opened and closed at the push of the button.
THEN COMES THE CRUNCH. Mr B, looking at the thing from the road realises that the garage is encroaching on to his property by AT LEAST 6 INCHES. When they were building it one of the things they had to do was take down the garden wall between the properties to dig footings etc and it was amicably agreed that Mr A would pay for the re-build of the wall and put a nice brick pier at the road end. Mr B was right ! it was noticeable, if you really looked hard that the wall was nearer his house than before and the side gate would not fit. Mr B gets a strop on and says “It will have to go”. “What,”says Mr A. “I’ll pay for a new gate etc etc etc “ “Nope” says Mr B, “Its coming down – its on my land without permission”, and proceeds to dig his heels in.
Enter TVP in the guise of Mog the magnificent (as I was in those days)
“We can sort this out amicably, can’t we gents”
WRONG !! This goes the whole route – Solicitor’s letters, County Courts, even I get dragged in to give evidence, and as is usual in these cases the worst possible outcome
ITS GOT TO GO. Appeals, much shouting over the now disputed wall, wives and children (who used to go on holidays together now pointedly ignoring each other in the street. Thousands spent in legal fees – all over 6 inches of land !
Comes the day when the bulldozers are due to appear. From evidence gathered later from witnesses in the road it seems that the forces of evil (in the shape of the council road gang) who were going to demolish the said garage had turned up and started a brew (as they do) when Mr A comes out to gloat – Its got that far ! – The usual shouting started and then witnesses stated that Mr B came out of the garage holding a spade which he was brandishing in a threatening fashion. “Don’t threaten me” says Mr A, “Its coming down today !” “Over my dead body”, says Mr B
“That can be arranged” says Mr A and the usual insults start to fly – Mr B suddenly seems to realise that he’s holding what becomes known as “the murder weapon”
and crash bang whallop – murder done over 6 stupid inches of ground !!!
Both houses ended up sold to pay for legal fees, one family ended up with no father, the other with a father in jail – what can you say – senseless ? – they didn’t think so
Evenin all



I went to a murder once ! – There I was doing a meal relief for the Station Duty Officer, leaning on the front counter and minding my own business when the Front door opens and in comes this little old lady – all dressed in black and walking all hunched over as they do.
“I’ve murdered me ‘usband” says she
“Ok” says I, “take a seat and we’ll get you a cup of tea”
Off I go and get a cup of tea from the switchboard lady
Old girl still sitting in the front office, takes tea and starts slurping. Shortly afterwards the SDO re-appears. Find another officer in the back yard
“Oi, Dave, we’ve got a murderer in the front office, have you got a car ?”
“affirmative”, says he (been watching too many American Cop dramas has Dave)
So we go round to the front where I go in, and tell the old lady we are giving her a lift home. She gets quietly into the car and tells where she lives. A little village outside the main town. We pull up at her isolated cottage and she waits in the car whilst Dave and I go round the side as we have noticed that the back door is open.
Push the door open and
Look a bit closer and there he is flat on his face with an axe stuck right through the back of his head. At this point we turn more than marginally green. Training takes over and we start shouting incoherently down the radio.!!
Eventually we remember the little old lady and there she is still sitting serenely in the back of the police car.
When the dust settles and she is eventually interviewed by the Detective Inspector – “All right Shag, I’ll take it from here” –(he called everybody Shag for some reason)
Dave, being a bit more street savvy that me, says
“Hang on Guv”(he’d been watching too much Sweeny)
Wait till the Custody Sergeant has booked her in. This ensures that Dave’s and my name are on the top of the Charge Sheet “Arrested on suspicion of Murder” A small but valid point when commendations are handed out.
Anyway it was a moot point as there was never going to be any trial ! – What happened was:-
Her husband had a distinct “sniff” every time he said something – and having done this every time he spoke for the 50 odd years they had been married she apparently got p*****d off with this and said “if you do that one more time I’ll kill you”
“sniff, Wh***” WHOMP and there he was “as a door nail”
as the old saying goes.
She was quietly committed at the “Queens pleasure”
It’s a funny old world
Evenin All

Monday, January 03, 2005


Bloody Fireworks

It’s a grim old thing when you can’t enjoy New Year’s Eve, with a few friends, lots of Scottish wine, ale and assorted nibbles. I’m sure that when I last looked we weren’t Chinese, or in any way Asian. SO WHY TO THEY HAVE TO LET FIREWORKS OFF – We had it at Christmas, now most of the evening our dogs were going ballistic and trying to dig holes in the furniture and get under carpets and things. They were bloody terrified – rather spoilt the evening with a 70 kilo German Shepherd climbing into my lap every time a firework went off, and the cross-breed weeing herself on the carpet in fright. Someone must have spent a fortune as they were great big fireworks and they went on for hours !! This tended to have the effect of a complete sense of humour failure from She who must be obeyed which does put a bit of a crimp in the proceedings so not too much in the way of alcohol and the dogs ate most of the nibbles by way of bribes to keep them quiet ! – Lets hope the New Year is brighter and
Better. On a happier note I got the complete Series one to three of “The West Wing” over Christmas – greatest TV Soap I have every watched. I also splashed out on a portable DVD player, So that when She who must be obeyed is watching East Enders/Hospital dramas/Neighbours etc I can plug in and get my fill of President Bartlett and his staff. God Bless America!
Mornin All

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