Saturday, March 19, 2005
Friday, March 18, 2005
The Sun has Set !
I am as diverse as the next man and any prejudices I hold I keep to myself. But, I remember when one of the great offices of state was the Foreign Minister, a grandee who would dine with Kings and Presidents a man who’s words and pronouncements were listened to with awe. In short, not a man who you would bump into , bumbling round the fruit department of your local Waitrose. Literally bumped into Lord Hurd of Westwell, who was dressed in his customary old tweedy coat and cords, with his shopping list and pushing his trolley like the next man and thought
How the mighty have fallen – this political giant, guiding the ship of state through the stormy seas of diplomacy reduced to pushing his trolley through Waitrose ! – This gave thought to what would other politicians do when they get their ermine ? Can you see Baron Blair Queuing
In The Butchers, Count “two jags” waiting in line at the Post Office – I don’t know but it’s a fascinating thought ?
Good old Duggie ! Not a bad sort of bloke (for a conservative peer that is)
Thursday, March 17, 2005
Tales from the Training School
“No, you namby pampy Crab”,(derogatory term for RAF- Fly Navy, Sail Army, walk sideways!!) “Try harder than that” – At this point, Brian who, before he retired from the RAF was the Combined Services full contact Karate champion – sort of quietly sighed and without any extraneous movement at all – “THWACK” You hardly saw his leg move at all as it was so fast – Upshot was the instructor writhing about on the mat with severe genital contusions and Brian quietly ambling back into the pack
After that we quietly concentrated on Aikido holds and trying to talk our way out of trouble – but that’s another story
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
(Excuse me Mr Smith, your shotgun licence has expired, and we will have to impound your shotgun until your new certificate arrives) Massive numbers of arrests for "public order offences" - two pissed up locals "duking it out" in the bog of the Red Lion etc etc. Anyway got back from that to find the letter in my
"docket" - sort of "in tray" for the uninitiated - You have been selected to go on Standard Driving Course number *** at the Force Driving School at Aylesbury.
This was a four week course, culminating in a very intensive "check drive" in which we had to drive absolutely to the speed limits, other than the de-restriction sign (known as a GLF or Go like F***k)
when you floored it and then had to give a running spoken commentary to the instructor so that he knew that you knew what you were doing !! - It was quite hard to pass the course and I was pretty damned pleased to pass first go. Arriving back at the station, it was back to foot patrol for the next few weeks as cars were allocated on seniority and there were about 4 on shift above me still waiting for the allocation of a car
We worked 3 double crewed cars on shift, plus an enquiry vehicle, and the crews were all the old sweats who were then crewed with a newer driver to show them the ropes. This stayed pretty static and the only changes were for postings, sickness, leave, court or courses etc, so most crews had been together for a couple of years. The biggest cause of change was the dreaded "POLACC", or police accident - When ever the word came over the radio there would be a deathly hush as we all listened with bated breath for the explanation - which no matter how it happened, we knew the driver of the police vehicle was going to get suspended from driving - There I was on a quiet night, walking the High St when the Sergeant pulled up in the Supervisor's car, "Hop in PC Mog" he says, have a bit of a warm - "And I'll sign your Pocket Book whilst I'm at it" (Cunning bastard thought he would catch me out - not having made up my pocket book - but by now I had caught on and it was bang up to date
2315 hrs - foot patrol, High St, shop security)(testing door knobs) There is another story about them later !
Anyway there I am, in the warm glow of the car heater and feeling good as the Sergeant (ex Colstream Guards and a right B****D) said, ""Well done son, you're catching on now". first time the swine has ever said anything nice to me "Let's do a tour of the pubs" he said, "maybe we can get you a drink driver. Its about time for you to do one of those files" - In those days a Drink/Drive file was quite complex with Doctors involved, statement and lab submissions etc and it was quite a step up from Construction and use offences - dirty number plates, blown bulbs etc. So feeling fine and full of legal zeal we progress at a gentle pace down the High St - the radio, which had been quiet suddenly bursts into life
"HB, HB, B21 - am in pursuit of a red hillman hunter, reg no ABC123D, veh at high speed towards Hazelmere cross roads from Wycombe towards Amersham, speed 70mph in 30 mph zone"
The Sergeant drops the cogs two gears and off like a long dog - I get on the radio
"HB, HB BS40 en route from High St, supervisor on
"HB to B21, keep the commentary coming"
"B21 straight across the Hazelmere cross, no deviation, speed 80mph and crossing the lights at Red
Trying to keep in sight"
For those that know the area - the road from Hazelmere to Amersham goes past Holmer Green, then down a steep hill into a compression with a couple of really good 45degree bends before going back up hill.
"B21, past the Country club, going down hill, speed now 85 mph and he is getting away"
The good old 1100 Ford Escort is now at full ramming speed and I remember the bends
"HB to B21", "HB to B21" - silence, same again, silence - We are just approaching the cross now - quick look both ways and over the lights - still red but luckily no one coming - "HB to B21" silence - seems strange - then a small voice "B21 to HB" I wait for the dreaded word POLACC, but then I hear "B21 to HB, can I have recovery please I have damaged my blue light" - Phew thinks I not so bad, he wont get suspended for that - "HB to B21, Clarify, how did you damage your blue light?" - Deafening silence - small voice then says "B21, I'm upside down in a field" -
For the first time I heard the Sergeant actually start to snigger, then giggle, then a full throated guffaw he was actually still virtually in tears of laughter when we went "on Scene" - Sorry sight - B21 hadn't made the bottom corner and sailed straight on, nosed into ditch and flipped over hedge on its roof - sure enough it had a damaged blue light !! "BS40 to HB, recovery for TVP Ford Escort MF333 - with damaged blue light please
"HB to BS40, confirm this is a POLACC". Another breathless hush. I don't know whether it was because he was amused or what but for whatever reason he then said "BS40 to HB, Negative POLACC, just a damaged blue light, will deal internally" - Silence and then a collective sigh HB to BS40 , Roger, out"
The red hunter got away, but B21 found himself back on foot patrol and I got my chance to drive - strange how things work out
It always bloody rains in Wales
Brecon Beacons - my Arse ! Every flogging road sign is written in two languages English and something else with multiple fffs and the odd ww - Given that when Welsh was actually spoken by SOME of the inhabitants of this outcrop of our home Island (GB)
Motorways, Bus lanes, speed cameras etc were not invented - Why in the name of Offa and his beloved dyke do they need to invent words for them with 3 fffs and a double ww ??? And it bloody well rained - all weekend - and to cap it all Swindon town got beat !
Tuesday, March 01, 2005
I Been Struck down in the prime of life