Brian's Brief Encounters

This is an Unofficial Kaffe Fassett fanzine. Brought to you from a Leafy Suburb of the Throbbing Metropolis.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Rules And Regs

Don’t panic!

You haven’t been in an accident, fallen into a coma and then travelled through time. This is just a post-dated post to keep it at the top of the page.

Having been out to grass for a few months now, the penny has finally dropped: Knoll building isn’t very exciting; whereas embroidery is full of thrills, spills and endless possibilities. While I try to get my (non-profit) pattern swap-shop up and running there’s a slim chance that my tales from the needle-face may overlap with observations surrounding the other things I do that actually pay my mortgage.

Fortunately, those very nice people who insist on depositing money into my bank account every month have been able to offer me some much needed guidance should such an overlap occur:

1. Unless otherwise stated, nothing you read below represents the views or opinions of any official organisation, public body or private individual other than me.

2. I can’t tell you any secrets; which is just as well because I don’t know any.

3. I can’t be offensive or an ‘-ist’ of any description. I’m afraid that means I won’t be able to have a ‘Page 3 Stunna’ in case you were hoping for one.

4. You can’t give me any cash, presents or heavily discounted takeaway meals.

5. Even if hot-off-the-press embroidery breaking news stories should come to my attention while I’m at work I can’t tell you about it until I finish my shift and am safely away from any computer equipment belonging to my employer.

6. I have to consider the impact of any views and opinions I may express with regards to potentially damaging a public organisation or bringing it into disrepute. I have no desire to damage or diss the people who pay my wages but, this is something that is open to interpretation. Should I suffer an interpretation malfunction I’d like to invite my (very, very nice) employers to get in touch and point out my shortcomings so that I can rectify them.

Readers should note that this site is, essentially, aimed at fellow embroiderers seeking a little light relief and is in no way purporting to be in the slightest bit serious. If you’ve accidentally surfed in here in your quest for Bodycam ‘Journalism’ or for relief of a more hardcore nature then I’ll save you some time:

Happiness is but a click away.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Every Cloud

I’m no Gordon Gekko.

Yet even I haven’t had a problem noticing that we’re in the throes of a banker cull.

I’m pleased to see that our leaders are doing their best to keep them in sharp suits and Lamborghinis with a few billion quid. It’s not surprising they didn’t have the cash for my three hundred pounds last year, nor this year. It’s all about priorities you understand.

It was also nice to see the recruitment firms standing outside the failed institutions trying to lure the recently jobless onto their books. Even the teachers have been at it. Yet I didn’t see anyone from Hendon there handing out leaflets extolling the advantages of keeping the Queen’s peace. So let me give it a go.

I know it might not be the first second career choice that springs to mind when you’ve been forced to hang up the red braces, but it’s not a bad one. There are a few changes you might have to get used to though. I mean actually having someone looking over your shoulder to ensure you’re not making a huge cock-up will probably be a first for you. There is often an army of people, right behind me, trying to get a glimpse of what I’m up to just so they can point out my many deficiencies.

The hours of work might not be what you’re used to either. You won’t be going home when the footsie closes every day, sometimes we have to work the odd unsociable hour, until you can get a nice little office number sorted out that is. Then there are the trips away; last minute breaks to Klosters and Barcelona might have to be put on hold if the very nice duties office people have decided it’s your turn to have your weekend ‘off’ enhanced with an unplanned visit to a football match or a front row seat at the ‘Save the Pickled Onion’ march and rally.

The company cars aren’t up to Italian exotica standards you might expect, but then you can’t exactly squeeze two average size officers and kit into an F50 can you? We can offer the latest IT systems though. Not at the sharp end you understand, down here we still use systems based on those used in air traffic control in the 1960’s, but we are constantly assured that there are new projects ‘just around the corner’. The average length of each of these corners is about six years.

Then there is our customer focussed philosophy. It works quite well until you come face to face with someone who isn’t up to speed with the policy of the day. Then there may be some friction that takes a bit of getting used to. Just because Her Majesty, the 650 dole dodgers, the judiciary and every decent person in the country says that certain behaviour is unacceptable doesn’t mean that the customer guilty of this lapse will be in agreement. Be prepared for the occasional cross word. Try to imagine what the language around water cooler would be like if it was dispensing neat wifebeater instead of eau de Thames.

At least you won’t have to lose out on the bonus culture. The rest of us will have to make do with the Special Priority Payment though, so long as Gordon can afford it after chucking the merchant bankers just enough to keep them in quails eggs and Picassos.

I’m not holding my breath.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Home Sweet Home

I’m no Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen.

But no-one would accuse me of not knowing one end of a stipple brush from the other.

Sadly the same can’t be said for much of my customer base.

It can also be said, quite safely, that I’ve never been to a house pictured in a Homes & Gardens centrefold. Though this doesn’t mean that I haven’t seen some jaw dropping ‘design features’ that should have been in a magazine or two. If there is a publisher out there contemplating a new idea, I think ‘Squats and Sheds’ would fill a huge gap in the market.

As the saying goes:

‘A multicultural society’s non gender specific person’s home is their castle’

So I don’t wish to be rude, but can anyone tell me what place plaster gargoyles have in a local authority maisonette? The stone lions at the gate and the multi-coloured stone cladding are probably a bit much too. How many modern day crackhouse wannabes look right with a fake bearskin rug on the dirty linoleum in front of a radiator?

It’s not that I’m an Ikea (pronounced Ick-aya) snob you understand, but I think I can spot a design faux-pas when it rears it’s shagpile head. I’m sure some will recall the ostentatious furniture of the decadence decade that was the eighties. All long since cast into a landfill in the Home Counties right? Wrong. I’ve seen enough leather, glass, highly lacquered and fake gold leaf embossed fixtures and fittings still in circulation to prove ebay and car boot sales have a lot to answer for.

At least the savings made through this thrift haven’t been wasted. Facing the grease-stained and fag-burned armchair can be found the focal point of the house. The home entertainment system. If you can get the rest of the home furnishings for £3.50, it’s worth splashing out the remainder of your social money on the weekly payments for the biggest flat screen goggle box your house foundations can cope with.

In the small hours of the morning recently, I stood open-mouthed as I gazed at the daddy of all TV’s. The cartoon characters that the two year old was staring at were bigger than he was. His mother subsequently confirmed that Jeremy Kyle was almost life-size. She also promised me that she would check with the council that she didn’t need planning permission.

If a publisher does go with my idea, I think the first edition should be scratch’n’sniff, as well as having a free snide DVD included of course. Property shows may promote the merits of the fragrances of freshly baked bread or brewed coffee, but that hasn’t reached everyone yet. I find that the overpowering odour these days is eau de Staff, as there is always one frolicking with the toddlers. Cigarette smoke is the next discernible smell, closely followed by damp, body odour, used nappies and takeaway food. A veritable cornucopia of nasal assailants.

While I stand taking the report in the one room with a working light bulb I like to let my appreciation of their efforts known.

“I love how you’ve decorated” usually works.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Scene Enough?

A wise response officer is always armed to the teeth.

With a book, magazine or a portable gaming device.

They should also consider the value of a cheese sandwich or pork pie.

What use are they in the modern crimefighter’s toolbox I hear you ask. Surely we won’t be able to rid the Metropolis of murderers, rapists and robbers with the threat of a light snack or two? How will a well-thumbed lads mag help out at a domestic? Will a winner-takes-all challenge match on FIFA 08 really solve the decade long neighbour dispute? Much as I’d like to think so they won’t, but they do have other uses.

This may come as a shock to some of you who think we all go out with our Austrian strap-ons next to our Tasers and backed up with a wad of 124d’s should all else fail. I’m sorry to break the news to you, but sometimes real life isn’t like The Bill. Believe it or not.

The truth is that, when turning up for work, there really is only a 50-50 chance that I’ll be solving major crimes or otherwise assisting with our league position in the national statistics championships. With a superfluity of other important tasks to carry out, it’s a wonder we get to answer any calls at all.

Chief among those other jobs is the crime scene.

If your policing education has been taught by Tony, June and Reg, you’ll know that crime scenes are open for seconds and are always a hive of activity with paper-suited CSI’s performing complex tasks directed by important looking people wearing designer threads. TV tells us that the same thing happens in Las Vegas and Miami; with better clothes obviously.

Back in the real world, the woodentops get a much bigger part in proceedings. Who do you think does the important job of guarding it while the clever people get on with the rest of their lives? We wouldn’t want them to miss out on a good night’s kip would we? They might turn up with a wrinkled suit, and that just wouldn’t be cricket.

If a scene is outside you’d be amazed at the speed it can be dealt with, thanks to our weather. If it’s covered or inside then you’ll be equally amazed, and this where the entertainment aids are required. While all the clever people get on with arguing over who should be doing what and when, our needs are far simpler. The most important things we need to know about a scene are: Will we be exposed to the elements? Can we sit down? Is there a toilet? What are the probabilities of SFQs?

The best way to get everyone out of their houses and to get a bit of community spirit going is to break out the magic tape and make a crime scene. Word will quickly spread and it’ll soon be the focal point of the neighbourhood. Of course there will be the ghouls who’ve been seduced by the rolling news channels and will want a video record of the outside of a house where something may or may not have happened. Unless you’re going to offer me a beverage, please don’t interrupt my enjoyment of the latest Chris McNab training manual. Try to get my best side too if you can.

In these belt-tightening times, I’ve often been tempted to pick a random group of trees in the local park and cordon them off with some tape on my lunch break. Within half an hour, most of the local residents will have appeared to find out what’s going on and there will be a flood of offers of refreshments. Obviously I’ll have to pick a park in the posher part of town.

It increases the chances of a chocolate biscuit or two.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Party On

Apologies for not posting last week.

I was tied up at the largest street festival in Europe. It’s something I look forward to every year, not as much as my electricity bill, but not far off. Try as I might, I can’t avoid either of them, until I get some solar panels fitted I suppose.

I especially enjoy getting there ridiculously early. That increases my chances of bumping into an actual resident. They’re the ones making sure their minions have correctly fixed the Florida hurricane style protection to their multi-million pound pads. Just before they flee the area until the middle of the week, by which time they hope the council will have removed the urine and faeces from their doorsteps. I guess they’re just party poopers.

With everything removable removed and everything breakable covered up it’s time to turn the streets over to swarms of jolly officers and even jollier crowd barrier operatives. We’re always there hours before anyone else being very diligent. I really like it when successive ranks of supervisors make their decisions on just how and where we should be standing/walking when there is no-one else there but departing residents and super keen Japanese tourists with their Nikons on overdrive.

Doing ‘pulse’ patrols up and down two hundred yards of deserted road at 8am with six colleagues is just exercise, it’s not policing. I know you can get your runner to write something in your decision log that might get you noticed by whoever you’re sucking up to this month, but wouldn’t it be more productive to leave us at the feeding centre playing contract for an extra hour or two?

When the noise gets going the senior officers generally retreat somewhere to strategise and make important decisions, like how many biscuits. When I say ‘noise’ it’s a little bit hard to describe, but I can feel and see my shirt moving with the bass that gets pumped out from the dozens of ‘floats’. Even this loses its novelty effect after the third scruffy articulated lorry populated by a sweaty, deaf collection of whistle blowers lumbers past. It’s not quite the Hastings Town Show. There are less Victoria sponges and unusually large butternut squashes for a start.

It’s at around this time when we need to use our honed policing skills to deal with the marauding groups of disaffected youths getting into the party mood. So long as it fits into our mission, vision and values and is commensurate to the event we are dealing with of course. Suffice to say, if you’re struggling for cannabis detections your worries are over. Public order fanatics will get their fill too. So long as it’s not a foot outside the route of course, in which case it’ll be unrelated to the event. Yeah right.

This year some colleagues got to show their prowess at the brick & bottle quickstep. For those of you who haven’t seen it, it’s a bit like Morris dancing only with less handbells. I’m sure Bruno, Arlene and Len would have given them a ten and Craig would probably have knocked one out over the strapping men in uniforms.

I missed all that. Instead, I got to meet the real heroes of the event. Chris, Rebecca and Christine may have been flaunting their medals in front of a flag waving Bozza. But, they were nowhere to be seen when the 302 portaloos needed emptying were they?

No they weren’t, but I met the men who were.

We didn’t shake hands.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Thug Life

I wasn’t always this angelic.

There was a time in my life that my mother would rather forget.

The time when I was a big fish in The Piranha Posse to be exact.

It wasn’t for very long, just while I was a teenager doing my bit for the disaffected yoof. The members were all from the same inner city collection of vertical communities much vaunted in the drug addled sixties and seventies. These days the liberal fashionistas would call it a ghetto and be clamouring to star in a documentary filmed there, and Jeremy Kyle would have most of the residents on speed-dial.

We were formed shortly after the opening of our new chip shop. It wasn’t called ‘The Piranha’ as the owner, Andy, probably didn’t think that would draw many customers in. Besides, piranhas are very bony and a bit hard to find at Billingsgate. We could hardly call ourselves the ‘Golden Cod Posse’ could we? Not if we wanted to keep our dignity we couldn’t.

Andy always had the latest video game machine in the shop and a permanent special on out of date saveloys. Gang membership was obviously subject to an initiation ceremony which was pretty gruesome in nature. Anything that involves pickled eggs and a Casio stopwatch is never going to be pretty is it?

Once in though, you were able to show off your prowess in the quest for the Holy Grail that was the Pac Man fifth key. Any non member found at the controls when a Pee-Pee comrade was waiting with his ten pence in his hand got many a hard stare I can tell you. If they looked like getting close to the high score they may even have been the recipient of a tut or two.

Our intimidation didn’t stop there, oh no. Every now and then there was tension between us and our sworn enemies, The Kebab Krew. This often happened when they dissed the product range Andy offered, or when we suggested that the doners they offered weren’t strictly all meat. Every now and then someone’s pride would be wounded enough to prompt some fisticuffs. Trying to get chilli sauce stains off faded jeans and pastel coloured desert boots afterwards was quite a challenge.

Towards the end of that era, true to form, the Yanks turned up in the shape of the MacMuffin Massive and tried to impress out ladyfolk with their brash behaviour. An uneasy truce brought a temporary alliance with the Kebabers to combat the superior numbers. Summer evenings were the favourite time for dozens of takeaway fanatics to gather to take part in lively debates about the merits of their particular cuisines of choice.

Occasionally, someone would find the noise too much and they couldn’t quite hear Jack and Vera’s latest domestic so they’d get on the phone and invite the biggest group of fast food connoisseurs along to join the party. Bobby’s Boyz would turn up in numbers in their green Transits to have some fun and generally get some much needed exercise. They never brought a bottle though. Cheapskates.

Things have moved on since then.

For a start, the names have got sillier.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

With All Due Respect

I may have been away knitting.

But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t paying attention.

The thing is, my working hours are filled with an endless stream of initiatives and new ideas. It makes for an entertaining and varied life I can tell you. At the start of most weeks I like to think I’m a crime fighter, just for nostalgic purposes you understand. This illusion is usually shattered by the time I’ve read through the office-spam that has built up over my relaxing break from the front-line.

By Day Two, I’m back in my proper role as either an HM Government statistics mandarin or form filling executive. It doesn’t matter much to me anymore; I get paid exactly the same amount for ticking boxes as I do for catching burglars. There are perks to the former too. I mean, how many forms with astonishingly smelly feet do you think I have to strip-search?

I’m sure it’s a relief for all of you to know that, while I‘m otherwise engaged, someone else is keeping a lid on things and making sure you’re safe. There was much fanfare to their launch, just two short years ago, and they even managed to identify forty zones worthy of their attention. None of which were in the Throbbing Metropolis, but why would we have needed their help here?

At the time, a minister got upset at critics and said they weren’t going to walk away from the problem. Nor was there any mention of ASBO’s, maybe because they were receiving a general panning at the time. I can’t tell you how much of a relief it was that we were getting all this extra expertise. I’d really like to find out what a cracking job they surely did. Only I can’t.

You see, there is no longer any sign of them. Perhaps this means they’ve solved the problem and we now have a country full of respectful citizens? Well, in forty zones at least. Or maybe we don’t; as the links now take you to a new youth crime action plan. The wheel has been re-invented yet again and ASBO’s are back in fashion for this season.

I can’t believe how callously the squad has been chucked onto the scrapheap. I hope they got a good package after their twenty four months of toil. The cynical among you may question why we had them in the first place. You may want to point out that Sir Robert Peel came up with a good concept a couple of hundred years ago.

His squad is still going strong to this day and can often be found tackling yobbishness on a weekend night. They’ve even been known to tick the right boxes on the forms afterwards. In fact, some of them foolishly believe that getting stuck into ruffians and scallywags is what they were employed for in the first place. I know, I know, obviously this isn’t the case; what were they thinking?

The new action plan, set to be with us for the next twelve years, makes only one passing reference to policing and nothing at all about what the role of Sir Robert’s misguided disciples will be taking in all of this. Maybe the ex-members of the defunct Respect Squad are all over this one too. Let’s hope so.

We all know what a fine job they did.

Don’t we?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Data Con

With true British reserve.

We’re trying to make sure our prisoners keep up with the 21st Century.

The Home Office has been planning, for some time now, to let some of our incarcerated lads and lasses have limited access to the internet, for education purposes only of course. Obviously, this will only be used when there isn’t anything on their Plasma TVs, they’re suffering from Playstation thumb and their mobiles are charging.

Across the Atlantic, our special friends don’t let their inmates anywhere near the worldwide web. They recognise that it might be a bit of a security concern. I mean, you wouldn’t want the residents of Guantanamo Bay being allowed to discuss the pros and cons of US foreign policy on MSN with Osama would you?

Although unable to access the net directly, inmates in US prisons are allowed to put profiles onto a website to entice well-wishers to write to them, with the hope of leading to more. It’s a thriving community with two hundred people regularly online viewing the forum that accompanies the site. Now, maybe writing to a convict wasn’t top of your list of things to do today, but let me see if I can tempt you with some of those available:

How about Ralph? He’s a committed Christian who’s just killing time until his rape sentence finishes.

Or, there’s Kaniah who has a little bit of a drink problem. Best you drive on any date as she isn’t the luckiest behind the wheel after a few bevies.

Then we have Bryan, he’s particularly ambitious and lists his interests as ‘Property’, I’m sure he’ll be quite the entrepreneur as soon as he walks free from his embezzlement sentence.

Deborah caught my eye I have to confess, the unlucky lady has been recently widowed. I’m not sure if this was what resulted in her manslaughter conviction, but nothing ventured, nothing gained right?

Reuben says he’s caring and loveable; something the judge who sentenced him for aggravated battery clearly didn’t spot.

Darlene the child abuser helpfully confides that she’s disease-free. That’s a relief.

Eric the persistent burglar is happy to travel anywhere.

Brandi lists herself as a lonely thug. I don’t know why, she should be able to find someone of similar tastes not too far away.

Jimmie gets the award for optimism. He’s a budding globetrotter you see. Unfortunately, his next opportunity of travel, outside the prison system, will come sometime in 2029, parole board willing. His sentence wasn’t for jaywalking by the way, just in case you were wondering.

Lastly, there is potential sweetheart Sherrie, I’m not ashamed to say I’m smitten. It’s her adventurous spirit that I noticed. She may have just finished some federal time for importing drugs, but her determination to get her pilot’s licence as soon as she gets released has to be admired. You go girl!!

Not for the first time recently, I’ve thought:

You couldn’t make it up.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Much Memo Mirth

I do often wonder how we used to manage.

Before the electronic age I mean.

How did we ever know what direction the Force was taking that week? I think we just assumed it was the same as the previous century and we were supposed to be fighting crime. These days it’s not entirely clear, but at least we can be pointed at the right missive to put us straight.

In fact, I’m inundated with missives, none from the Supreme Being I hasten to add; I don’t think Jacqui has my email address. Everybody else knows it though and they are all itching to send me a quickie letting me know my shortcoming of that hour/day/week. Being at the bottom end of the totem pole means I have many, many imperfections and a profusion of people helping me come to terms with them.

I have to admit that I do try and inject some mirth into the lives of the defect highlighters wherever possible. It can’t be easy having to agonise over whether or not to send a message to a hard-pressed frontline officer who has made a simple error or omission. I’m almost certain they need to have counselling after every occasion.

There was the time I got sent a simple request to put a cross referencing number on a report that wasn’t initially required. I found an independent adjudicator to work a stopwatch that proved it took eleven seconds longer to send the email than it did to find the number. I pointed this out on my carefully worded reply to the good sergeant. I must say that the response I got to that was somewhat frosty. Maybe I shouldn’t have tried to help? I mean eleven seconds at top sergeant rate must surely be very expensive?

Then there was Mary. Mary very eloquently let me know that ‘The flavour of the month report requires that you provide this information’. Now, I’m not one to pick a fight with a mouthpiece, she was only doing what the report had ordered her to do. So, I asked that she point out to her master that the information was recorded on a different form more appropriate to the circumstances. I also asked her to let the boss know that if this wasn’t good enough then perhaps it could meet me behind the bikesheds after work where we could sort it out man to err…report. All I got was silence, not even an invitation to an Anger Management course.

I can’t leave this subject without mentioning Detective Sergeant X. You see, DS X sent me an email with a glaring error that made the whole message funny. Unfortunately, DS X worked for the really serious department who only speak to us when we’ve (allegedly) been naughty. Much of DS X’s handful of years in the Service must have been spent studying to reach those dizzy heights, probably bunking off the lessons where a sense of humour was taught.

My jocular retort wasn’t taken in the spirit that it was meant and I’m now well aware that DS X takes his job and position very seriously and I should keep that in mind. If only he had said that in the first place.

Well, that’s for the foreseeable future.

Maybe next week he’ll get the message instructing him to have a sense of humour.

I live in hope.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Egg On My Tie

Something strange has happened since we last spoke.

No, I haven’t gone sick with stress.

Nor gone ‘on the square’.

I haven’t even transferred to the colonies with hundreds of my ex-colleagues.

No, it’s stranger than that: You see, I’ve become an old sweat.

This now means that the pens you can see in my pocket are there purely for show, and for filling in the overtime state of course. If you’re lucky enough to be my operator for the day then you may borrow one, if you ask respectfully, to record the details you’ll need to complete the various reports. When you’re done with it, I’ll be in the car.

Old sweat status is something that starts very early in the career of an officer. I mean, you don’t even have to have actually done any real policing yet. You first reach that level five weeks after joining Hendon. This was when the next intake started, and they were the beneficiaries of some sage-like advice from yours truly in the smoker’s alcove over an Old Holborn or two.

It didn’t stop there of course; I mean each succeeding intake needed some handy tips didn’t they? Although they were only recipients of our benevolence if we were in the mood, or they bought us a pint. Only then would we let them in on the secrets of getting through the dreaded traffic week. The awe on their faces was unmistakable.

There was a temporary hiatus in full status when first joining borough and finding oneself at the bottom of the totem pole and struggling to run the tea club at a profit. Remembering to get the milk before each shift is, thankfully, a short-lived task as there will soon be a replacement joining fresh out of Hendon.

This is yet another opportunity to take a sharp intake of breath and let them know how you managed to keep everyone in chocolate digestives whilst making a tidy sum on the side. If truth be told, you actually had to add it to your student debt and will be paying it off for a few years yet.

But that doesn’t matter. You see, there is now someone else to do all the crap jobs you used to do. It gets better too. Before you know it, you’ll be finished your probation and the fun really starts then. Especially when you get to drive a car. Not that you’ll be able to do anything the average motorist can’t at first. But, it’s an opportunity to get those Aviator shades out and look like you know what you’re doing. Even if it’s only to drive to sudden deaths and crime scenes.

At some point, someone will realise you’re no longer a liability and you’ll get to go to driving school to give those shades a real workout on a course. Provided you avoid the ditches and remember to pull before you push, you’ll get sent back to your division as a junior old sweat with your response classification. Now you can really let loose. Where are all the Basic drivers to take those crap calls? It wasn’t like that in your day was it? You always took the triple children’s home Mispers almost before the operator had finished putting the call out when you were a Panda-punter.

At some point you will have had enough consecutive years of not reversing the station van into immovable objects that someone thinks you’re worthy of the ultimate in accolades: The advanced driving course. Now, remember that no-one will ever find out you only got a Class Two unless you tell them. Nuff said.

So that’s it right? You’ve finally reached the status summit? Err…Not quite. There are still many questions left. Like Sergeants for instance. I mean, if they’re still telling you what to do then you’re not quite there yet. If they have to ask you nicely to do your job then you’re nearly at the peak.

Sadly, the final stages of sweatiness are more designed to highlight your advancing years. Before you know it you’ll be working with a partner who is young enough to be the fruits of your loins. Soon after this it’ll be apparent that you could have sired half of your team. That’s not the ultimate step though. That happens when you start working with officers who were born after you joined The Job.

Then it really is time to hang those pens up.

And swing that lamp for all it’s worth.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Smashing Pumpkins

Years of nurturing.

Molly-coddling, research, trial and error and heartache has finally left you with a prize winning effort. Something you’d be proud to have judged by a retired chap with a handlebar moustache at the local fete.

Every day you go out to work and most of your colleagues are unaware of the dirty little secret you’ve got hidden away in your back garden. Maybe it’s an elephantine fruit or vegetable? Perhaps it’s an ornamental pond full of cherished Koi Carp?

Either way it doesn’t matter.

You may have an annual planner,fixed to the wall of your immaculate shed, listing everything you need to do, in glorious Technicolor, and all of your secret potions and mixtures arranged in alphabetical order. There may even be a technical manual or two to masticate over in those quiet moments when no-one is looking.

But it won’t mean a thing.

You see, at some point one of your neighbours is going to let you down. Not intentionally of course, but they will. In our aspirational world it’s always nice to keep up with the Jones’, and this will attract Billy. The only thing he wants to keep up with is his drug habit and he likes houses displaying the trappings of successful endeavourment.

You probably won’t even know the person Billy has chosen as an unwitting donor for his heroin fund. They could well live on the road you back on to and some distance away. Mrs Jones across the road does know Mr Ambitious and also knows that Billy is not one of the immediate family. So, when she gets woken by the noise Billy makes forcing a window she gets on the phone to us.

Now you’re in for it.

An unstoppable chain of events has now started. Mrs Jones will wake someone at Metcall up who will assign the unit furthest away, but the one round the corner will hear the call too and take it. Now, you may believe that Billy will get caught in the act and that will be that right?

Err…Not quite. No matter how subtle we like to be, any car racing up the road in the early hours of the morning will spook Billy into legging it. To go out the front would mean running straight into the arms of plod. Even without a stripy top and a bag marked ‘swag’ we’ll spot something is up. Instead, he’ll be on his toes out the back and the game will be well and truly afoot.

The first you’ll know about it is when the lithe and appropriately dressed Billy skips across your back garden and onto the next. You’ll wake just in time to look out and see the not quite so lissom officer heading for the fence separating your valuable produce form the outside world. He’ll be weighed down with equipment, several years of doughnut residue and enough disorder penalty tickets to keep the government in second home allowances for years to come.

You can try crossing your fingers, toes and those of your nearest and dearest too. You could pray to your chosen deity, rub the foot of an ex-rabbit touch every piece of wood you can lay your hands on, but it won’t make the slightest bit of difference. As the puffing officer launches himself over the fence there is only one place he’s going to land.

Try to keep a stiff upper lip at this point, just think of the compensation (probably about 29 pence per kilo with the current credit crunch). Don’t be tempted to go and look to see how bad the damage is, it’ll be total, trust me on this one. Besides, we’ll help you out with that anyway.

Standard practice would have the officer requesting support services at the same time as demolishing everything in his path. They’ll be along in a minute. First to arrive will be the owners of the voices so often heard on Police, Camera, Action. They’ll illuminate your garden with a very bright light. This will let you see the extent of the damage.

It’ll also help you witness the arrival of the burglar’s nemesis: The Mark One landshark. As the handler launches it over the fence into your garden you’ll have a front row seat, to watch the crowning moment to your horror night.

The cocking of a leg.

Sunday, April 29, 2007


It’s always a good icebreaker.

A list that is.

I think I need one as it’s so long since we’ve chatted properly and some of you seem to have got here via a certain naughty book, without a clue about what to expect. All I can say is that you shouldn’t take anything here seriously. No one else takes me seriously so there shouldn’t be any reason for you to buck the trend.

Despite the best efforts of the Pensions Department, I won’t be switching schemes to one that requires me to work longer for less benefits. So I only had to come up with thirty things to do before I retire. I can only apologise for not being totally inclusive, as some of you county mounties may discover:-

A Brian List Of Things To Do Before Hanging Up Your Truncheon

Drive a station van with egg on your tie/cravat.

Say something inappropriate to your Superintendent or their significant other at a social gathering.

Transfer out to a county then transfer back when you find out how hard real work is.

Sleep with a nurse/firefighter/both/both together.

Arrest someone famous.

Have your photo taken by Japanese tourists.

Arrest someone for murder.

Blag your way onto the helicopter.

Use the phrase “Get your trousers on, you’re nicked” for real.

Get bitten by a Mark I.

Win the song title game on early turn.

Kick a suspect package.

Put the wrong door in on a warrant.

Serve on a jury.

Seize a Super-car for no insurance (bonus point for driving it in yourself).

Get a suspect to stop running by shouting “Armed Police!!”

Get over 20 skills listed on CARMS.

CS spray your guvnor (by accident).

Have a spectacular Polacc.

Get interviewed at Tintagel House in your tunic.

Get bleeped out on a reality Police TV show.

Be one of eight officers who all get the word ‘splendiforous’ in while giving evidence at the Old Bailey.

Tazer someone.

Be the phantom farter at an NSY briefing (bonus point if the speaker is of ACPO rank).

Head the ball back into play at a televised football match, in full uniform.

Get in the national press dancing at the carnival.

Close a road or station that gets you on the Flying Eye.

Get the phrase “He’s all over the road MP” into a commentary.

Sell a colleagues big jugs/miniature cockerel in Pravda.

Stop a large pub fight by firing a gun into the ceiling.

How did you do? I’m well on my way and have found that pacing myself works. With it being appraisal time of year you can always ask for one of these to be set as your objective if you’re having inspirational problems.

Personally, I wanted a Tazer course this year. However, I’ve been told that my objective must be either Race and Diversity or Customer focussed. So, with all the arresting ones out of the frame again, I’ve plumped for number 6.

Everyone up to the HR Manager has signed off on it.

Of course they read it. Right?

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Loud And Blurred

I felt like a burglar.

Sneaking through the door in the early hours of the morning, after another busy shift of relationship counselling and meeting future members of Alcoholics Anonymous. My bitch seemed strangely subdued, that might have something to do with the large box in the hall.

The one that said “Chainsaw” on the side.

Now, I like to think I’m a pretty observant kinda guy, I can spot a drunk driver at half a mile and a doomed relationship at the first utterance of “Iwanimnicked”. I was reasonably certain that I hadn’t owned a chainsaw when I had left for work the previous day. My gardening skills hadn’t yet stretched to growing anything in need of its attentions. Besides, I’ve moved on to embroidery now.

The last time Mrs Brian and I had had a conversation I’m sure she hadn’t mentioned sending her CV out to logging firms. I don’t think the Disability Discrimination Act could make any of them employ a lumberjack with vertigo. Even if she did have her own tools.

I was nonplussed.

My bitch looked nonplussed.

From the gentle snoring coming from elsewhere in the house I guessed we were two for three. I could go and accidentally nudge her awake to find out why the household power tools had doubled overnight, but this course of action was fraught with danger. What if she confirmed my (so far unmentioned) suspicions that her mother was related to Leatherface and she had worn her old one out? No, that was a conversation best left until Mrs B was definitely in a good mood. She can get quite grumpy if woken up a couple of hours before her alarm clock is due to go off. She’s a bit funny like that.

Erring further on to the side of caution I made up my, now familiar, spare room bed and slept fitfully between dreams of picking up strange hitch-hikers and imagining every central heating creak to be the pulling of a starter cord.

Having successfully made it through unscathed until lunchtime and time to get up in preparation for another afternoon/evening/night of Small Corner peacemaking; I was no closer to solving the mysterious power tool materialization. I was even further away from enlightenment when I got downstairs to find said chainsaw now missing. I’m positive I hadn’t imagined its presence and I know it wasn’t a hallucination. I may have been nearly knocked out by cannabis fumes when opening the door of a pool car earlier the previous evening, but I certainly hadn’t inhaled.

This was a dilemma best pondered in the park with man’s best friend and a rubber ball. Having reached a solution, a quick detour was called for.

“Your sign says you have flowers for every occasion…..?” I enquired.

“Yes, that’s right. What sort of event are you celebrating?”


It seems a fifteen quid mixed bouquet and a card saying “Sorry” are the solution to all chainsaw occurrences.

Even if you’re not sure what you’re apologising for.

It has something to do with Mars and Venus, apparently.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Suite Music

Pretty paint colours are all well and good.

But is it enough for the twenty first century arrestee? I think not.

Some may say that we already pander to their every whim with Ooman Rights, uppers, downers and nicotine gum being as freely dispensed as a clip round the ear was in days gone by. Yet, I can’t help feeling that we’re not doing all that we can for the little treasures. It’s not like they’re actually guilty of anything is it? Only the wisdom of a court of law can decide that.

Meanwhile I think there are three things we could be doing to make their stay with us more comfortable without too much trouble:-

1. Aromatherapy. Admittedly these would have to be particularly strong scents to overcome the lack of foot hygiene common with the average arrestee. A whiff of Frankincense could do wonders for the insecurities and loneliness of the first timer. A puff or two of Jasmine could calm the angry with a strong lemon and peppermint cocktail just prior to interview to aid memories of those who may otherwise have gone “No Comment”.

2. Mood Lighting. Instead of the half-hearted stripes we could change the atmosphere at the touch of a knob. Soothing yellow for the aggressive, dim with twinkly stars for the sleepy and royal blue for those prone to telling tall tales.

3. Music. Nothing does more for the ambience than some slammin’ tunes. There is a small problem to solve with this one though. If you’ve ever been into a custody suite and the radio is on there is a 99% chance that it’ll be tuned into the local easy listening station. It generally keeps the custody sergeant from climbing the walls, but they’re tough and can take multiple hours of Lionel Richie, Foreigner and Chris de Burgh.

Besides, it would be nice to have that personal touch. With Top of the Pops being replaced by some sort of celebrity/island/dancing/cooking docusoap we should act fast and snap up some of the up and coming talent before MTV offer them videojock slots. Imagine the line up we could have:

Mike Read could play Relax for Smudger and Billy who have had to share a cell due to a busy night.

Simon Bates could update his show to include “Our Text”. Where Tracy could tell Dazza in cell four: ‘Fanks 4 protectin me onor lst nt. Wen th pigs dragged u in2 the van ur best m8 degsy took me home an e got me drunk and took me onor 3 times an once mor dis morning. It don’t mean nuffin I woz upset. Im only telling u coz e sez e as crabs an I don’t wan u finking Im a slag or sumfing. Mum sez I don’t av 2 go 2 skool 2day so Il c u at court. I ope u don’t get sent down coz the baby wil need is dad.’

Steve Wright could see if he can impersonate Mr Angry in cell twelve.

Kid Jensen could make sure Disqual Dave in cell seven was kept up to speed with the traffic situation for when he gets bail.

Obviously there would be occasions when we would override these semi-pros. Like when solicitors go in for a chat with their clients. We wouldn’t want them upset by an inadvertent burst of Lady in Red would we? We’d have to have a special setting for them that automatically played some soothing gangsta rap.

With the mood lighting turned to blood red/strobe effect and the aromatherapy system pumping out vodka red bull they could have a whale of a time. It should stop the two hour long consultations for a No Comment interview strategy. Think of the Legal Aid money we would save.

I’ll let all of you non-subscribers know if The Sharp End editors decide to put my ideas into a future edition.

I can’t see how they can refuse.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Don't Mock The Inflicted

It’s not big and it’s not clever.

You know who you are.

I cannot believe the waves of negativity I feel in the canteen every month when the new edition of the award winning magazine The Sharp End hits the specially constructed and taxpayer funded holders. There are more scoffs and howls of derision than you get at an average Prime Minister’s question time. One day I fear someone is going to choke on their 999 breakfast.

Thankfully the Home Office appear to have thought of this potential problem. It’s the only reason I can think of for their insightful disclaimer in the small print:-

‘…the Home Office accept no responsibility for damage or illness that results from advice given in this magazine’

Even the Met Federation don’t seem to be that enamoured with being sent enough copies to pass around to their entire extended families. I think that they should have led by example and used the handy text number to subscribe. Then, like me, they would be the first to read it every month. I believe it definitely gives me the jump on the average villain as my regulars have recently been commenting on.

Only the other day I was discussing the merits of colour psychology (issue 16 if you missed it) with a tipsy domestic assault suspect when I was part of a team carrying out a cell re-location on him. He was (almost) speechless when I told him that he would have been in a much better mood if we had been lucky enough to have been pinning him down in a state of the art cell somewhere in Gwent. In fact he stopped trying to kick my teeth down my throat long enough to enquire:

“Are you a ******* sheep ******* then you ****?”

Knowing that our cells aren’t equipped with bright yellow door frames I continued my end of the conversation from the safety of the other side of the heavy steel door. As I pointed out to him, yellow is a calming colour and he would have been feeling less fraught if the door frame had been painted thus. I could hear him clearing his throat, but before he could butt in I thought I’d let him know about the benefits of having a broad blue border painted around the walls of the cell.

I have to say that I was hoping for some constructive input from him as I had doubts about this one. I can understand that the line could help the visually impaired define the boundaries of the cell. I mean every visually impaired person has this scheme in their own homes don’t they? It was the more the belief of psychologists that certain shades of blue encourage truthfulness that I wanted his views on. You see, the police have traditionally worn blue for many years and I can’t say that it has had the desired effect on most of the people I speak to. Maybe we should try a lighter shade?

Unfortunately the conversation ended there as I had to close the wicket to avoid the mouthful of saliva and mucus aimed at me. His muffled reply, although following the blue theme, didn’t sound like a suggestion I could put forward to the Uniform Department.

I went off, armed with my scientific proof, to see if I could convince the Custody Sergeant to spring for some yellow paint.

Sadly though, he was a scoffer.

(…to be continued…)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Dear Diary (2)

Nodded off yet?


I’ll continue then:

After the initial excitement of using my investigative powers to add to the statistics had worn off, we settled down into an unfamiliar routine. In normal circumstances we’d be going from one call to the next making copious notes and avoiding contact with bodily fluids.

Instead we got to trawl around looking for naughty people doing naughty things. Invariably this means we have to make use of some of our special powers. Sadly these don’t include leaping from tall buildings (banned under HASAW), x-ray vision (banned under RIPA) nor running at the speed of sound (banned under the Too Many Pies Act).

That just leaves section 1 of PACE, section 163 of the RTA and section 23 of MOD. For those of you not past the preface of ‘Law for Dummies’; these are the most common powers we use to stop cars and to stop and search suspected naughty people. Our use of them is not an exact science and unlike integrative biology the decision to stop someone isn’t easy to explain.

Stop them we did though. It is amazing how many people you can find “just waiting for a friend” in the early hours of the morning. Stops are like buying a house, you know if they’re ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ in the first eleven seconds. Although several will be having a day out at court in the next six months we didn’t arrest anyone.

The best answer of the night came from an unemployed eighteen year old driving his nearly new German car. All forty grand’s worth.

“I got traders insurance innit”

Yeah right, just like the only person he could name with a non-‘international’ driving licence was someone related to his second cousin’s girlfriend.

Before retiring to the station to write down everything we had done in triplicate, there was a final call. We refer to it as a “suspects on” and it is one of the few remaining good calls. By this time of night those units not tied up with a drink drive or domestic prisoner will all go. So that was two cars then.

Local knowledge of the area was enough to know that we’d need some specialist help and the furry exocet was requested. Fortunately one was close by and arrived shortly after us. Now, without revealing any trade secrets; I can only say that the Mark I can do in a few seconds what could have taken us twenty or so minutes to do. The handler then makes their buddy do it all over again in a more thorough manner just to make it look good. Then they say “They went that way”, coupled with vague pointing.

However, this particular Mark I had obviously had a big dinner. After his first scoot around he settled down out of sight of his handler to lighten the load. When he didn’t respond to commands I informed the handler, from my vantage point, that his partner was temporarily indisposed.

I’m no Gillian McKeith, but I don’t think that he was getting enough fibre in his diet as the movement went on for what seemed like an eternity. I started wondering what overtime code I could use for this situation.

“Has he finished yet?” came the cry, followed by some very juvenile giggling from the darkness.

“Nope, has anyone got a newspaper for him?” The only one not laughing by now was the handler who made use of a very rude phrase.

That seemed to do the trick and the Mark I was off with a new found spring in his step. After a meticulous search to the accompaniment of a barrage of toilet humour the, now hangdog, handler said “They went that way”. I had a feeling someone wouldn’t be throwing any rubber balls for a while.

So, Insomniac of Tonbridge Wells, there you go. Some real police work to get you off on. I trust it worked and I can get back to normal?

After all, it’s not all thrills and spills.

Defecating dogs aside that is.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Dear Diary

I have been inundated.

By an e-mail.

It seems that the various satellite channels full of reality Police programmes aren’t enough for everyone. Well, at least not for an apparent insomniac from Tonbridge Wells anyway. He would like nothing better than to read about the thrills and spills of modern day policing to help him get off at night.

Even in my pre-gardening days I tend not to write about specific events in a journal style. Any particular incidents I mentioned were usually very old and had some details altered to protect the guilty. Likewise, any minor involvement I’ve had in headline making stories or dealings with ‘celebs’ I steer clear of writing about. Those are saved for leaving dos, and always get better the later into the night it gets.

Of course, as any officer will know, not everything we do is in the slightest bit interesting. That goes for about ninety five percent of the incidents I deal with. Of the remainder, a lot is identifiable and/or sub judice, therefore unblogable.

However, to try and stop the tossing and turning going on in Tonbridge Wells, I decided to make a note of the events of one shift:-

The Secret Diary of Brian, Aged 54⅞.

February 30th 2006

It’s a night shift and I’ve had to take drastic measures in the pursuit of appeasing a restless Kent resident. In normal circumstances I would be lucky to get one or two calls in before ending up at a disturbance on private premises call that kept me busy for the rest of the night. Fortunately, we’re pretty flush with officers and are putting a crime car out. It’s not something I’d normally volunteer for as it means working in plain clothes. Personally, I prefer to wear uniform just in case someone decides to bleed/spit/vomit/urinate/defecate/ejaculate/all of the above on me.

In a stroke of good planning; my partner for the night is also experienced, meaning I don’t have to drive. It’s slightly risky tactic though as not driving more than doubles my chances of having to run. As a driver you soon learn the value of using the power of an internal combustion engine in a foot pursuit.

Onto the first call of the night then; it can be best summed up as alcohol, angry words, weapons and blood. A busy street and twenty upstanding members of the public there before us, none of whom had seen a thing of course. That would be too simple. The victim (loser of the fight he probably started) spent most of his time trying to refuse treatment and speaking on his mobile in a language I didn’t understand. When he finally deigned to speak to me he had completely forgotten what had just happened and didn’t want to trouble us any further. He wasn’t quite that polite about it though. After eventually persuading him to give me his details he told me, in heavily accented English, he was ‘John Smith’ of no fixed abode. Now, I’m no detective, but I suspect this might be another violent crime statistic that we aren’t going to get a tick in the detection box for.

Cured your insomnia yet? Don’t worry, there’s more.

I’ll bet you can’t wait.

(…to be continued…)

Monday, July 17, 2006

James Who?

At least they were very polite.

Although it wasn’t mentioned; I’m pretty certain the admissions in my covering letter may have tipped the scales against me. Next time I’ll tell them I like my lager shaken, not stirred and I’ll take the chance that there won’t be a skiing test at the interview.

So, the successful applicants may now be traveling the globe by submarine/private jet/hot air balloon saving it from destruction, but could they deal with a disturbance on private premises? I’m pretty sure it won’t be in the Spy School curriculum. To show that there are no hard feelings, I’ve put together a training package for them:-

Brian’s Handy Guide To Domestics (For Spies).

1. The Journey. It’s unlikely that you’ll be needing your Q-Boat or attack helicopter, any low powered diesel vehicle will do. Try not to jump any rivers on the way, it’s not big and it’s not clever. Besides, the Garage Sergeant is not going to be impressed. Trust me.

2. The Arrival. I’m in no doubt that you’re used to looking for a mansion set in several hundred acres with a mile long drive and valet parking? Just in case this isn’t the scenario you find, please remember to lock your car.

3. The Entrance. Be prepared, I’m yet to find a hat stand at a domestic.

4. The Introductions. If there isn’t a butler to announce your arrival you’ll have to do this for yourself.

5. The Participants. You may find yourself faced with a facially disfigured despot stroking a white cat while exchanging barbed comments with a supermodel in a bikini. Then again, you may not. Look for something similar.

6. The Offspring. There’s a good chance that there will be a large number of these. Having seen all twenty of your training videos I’m aware that it’s something you don’t ever come across. They’re easy to spot; just keep an eye out for people roughly the size of Nick Nack, but with shorter sideburns.

7. The Smalltalk. It’s possible this could be laced with the odd profanity and a veiled threat or two. Try not to take it personally and get the despot and supermodel separated.

8. The Investigation. Yes, it could be that the dispute is with regards to a devilishly clever plan to steal the nuclear secrets of an ally. There may be a plot to overthrow their democratically elected government in the process and it could be that there is a booby trapped explosive device involved too. As hard as it may be to believe, the quarrel could even have something to do with alcohol consumption, a lowering of moral standards and/or the lack of a live-in anger management consultant. You just never know.

9. The Solution. Not every house you’ll visit will have a trapdoor leading to a shark infested pool. Nor will testing your skills with your trusty Walther be necessary in most cases. Fortunately, Q has put some thought to this problem and has come up with an answer: Codename 124D.

10. The Escape. Try not to run out screaming in frustration. It makes us all look bad.

Now you can go back to your base and write this all up in quadruplicate, or just cut and paste from the last report.

Remember guys, the pen is mightier than the PPK.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A Brief Resumé

Before I’d be let loose with my licence to kill.

I suspect that they might do some basic checks on me.

Like whether or not I have any form for leaving material marked ‘Top Secret’ in a pub, on a train, in a ditch or on the back seat of a taxi. I should be pretty safe with this one. The closest I’ve ever got to ‘Top Secret’ information was having a source on the canteen staff who always gave me the nod when chicken tikka masala was to be on the menu for the following day.

So, I thought it best to tone down my CV a tad. I have to admit removing the part about me teaching Kofi Annan everything he knows about diplomacy was a blow; but it’s probably for the best as I’m guessing they might ask him if he remembers me. He’s getting on now and I can’t rely on his memory. Similarly, even though it stung quite a lot, my first in Colonicology from Our Souls College, Oxted had to go too.

Adding these deletions to the others I wasn’t left with a lot to work with:-

A C.S.E. grade two (I wuz robbed) in needlework from a top inner-city comprehensive. Admittedly it was only top of the league for truancy, but I was one of their ‘high achievers’. This could explain why I wasn’t there to get my tap on the shoulder from the visitor from Vauxhall. I’m pretty sure I had an emergency poker game that day.

A six month stint as a Cub Scout. I’d have to be careful with this one, considering how it ended. Tent pegs at dawn, blood, tears and a court martial would be an accurate summary. Mother still can’t bear to talk about it.

A very hard paper-round.

I’m sure that even the most optimistic of people would be slightly daunted at applying for the job of stopping evil megalomaniacs from invading countries with these attributes. Although, I was hoping that the recruitment advisors would add sufficient weight to my proficiency with a tent peg. Imagine what I could do with a rocket launching tiepin?

With the advice to tailor a CV to the job for which one is applying; I did have one ace to play: The time I arrested ‘Osama’. This would be sure to impress even though it wasn’t quite enough to get Gorgeous to cough up the $50 million reward.

I have to confess that ‘Osama’ was driving to a party having had a few too many in the pub beforehand. My honed detective skills were instrumental in discovering that he was in fact Gary, a faux-cockney plasterer from Kent despite his insistence otherwise. His passengers, a tipsy Tinky Winky and a portly Spiderman, were left at a bus stop while ‘Osama’ accompanied us to the Small Corner version of Camp X-Ray.

I went into great detail on this, just in case they hadn’t read the intelligence report I submitted.

Besides, I had a lot of space to fill.

(…to be continued…)

Friday, July 07, 2006

At Your Service Ma'am

Yes, yes I know.

It’s not strictly true anymore.

Somewhere along the line we seem to have painted ourselves into a bit of a grey area; albeit a grey area that was slowly turning more black and white as the days passed. Now we’re back in the corner with a thick fog obscuring the route out. Just who are we supposed to be protecting and from who or what? Oh, that’s right, I remember now. We’re protecting everyone from everyone else. That’s simple enough then; now all I need to know is who’s at the top of the pecking order today?

Traditionally, we work for the reigning monarch; they even get a free thirty minutes of my time every now and then. These days we don’t get too many demands from that direction. I don’t know if anyone has broken the news to Junior yet but, by the time he’s had Changing Rooms in to jazz up the wind farm in the back garden of SW1A 1AA it won’t be his peace we’ll be struggling to keep.

As a dyed in the wool patriot this realisation disillusioned me somewhat. After all, I only joined so that I could do my bit to make the Throbbing Metropolis a nicer place for our pensioners; aiming to keep their bedrooms Chav-free and to prevent naked paragliders from landing on their roofs. Maybe I could concentrate on helping just one out with a career change then?

I narrowed down my options. I don’t know one end of a pumice stone from the other, so a footman post wasn’t for me. My bitch turns her nose up at my cooking and opts for the tin every time, Mrs Brian has pointed out on numerous occasions that moving things around doesn’t match the dictionary definition of “cleaning” and I’ve long accepted that I don’t have the requisite gravitas to be a butler. I mean, how many butlers do you know who own a whoopee cushion? State dinners would never be the same again.

I considered offering my knoll building services too. In my book, every land owner should have at least one knoll from which to ambush their neighbour; you never know when you might need it. However, it’s a long way to Calais from Victoria and I didn’t think that even the most powerful Super Soaker would reach that far.

Feeling certain that the right opportunity would turn up soon, even if I had to widen my net a touch, I kept one eye on the recruitment section of the Leafy Suburb Tribune and the other on constant watch for nude aviators. You never know when they might strike.

My patience was finally rewarded with this advert. If ever a job were tailor made for me this was it. It looked like it came with a pretty natty company runabout too. I’d make sure to ask about the dual fuel version at the interview to keep Junior happy. I was certain he would want me to keep my carbon emissions to an absolute minimum while travelling the globe saving it from destruction.

Now all that needed doing was to update my CV.

And to practice my eyebrow arching.

(…to be continued…)

Friday, May 26, 2006

In Google We Trust

Yippee-ki-ay muthanature!

Well, that's what would have happened had it not been for a small oversight on my part.

As with a lot of people who find themselves in a desperate situation I too found myself increasingly drawn towards a chemical solution. Extensive internet research pointed me in the direction of a very potent cure-all for eliminating pesky critters. That’s right; Agent Orange.

Those spiky watchamacallits wouldn’t know what had hit them. Unfortunately, my search didn’t turn up a recipe. It seemed that the original manufacturers would be somewhat reluctant to sell it direct to me, besides they didn’t have any left. So, I’d have to try a less direct route involving a phone call to the newest agency of the appropriate country’s government. Needless to say, most of the conversation is “classified” so I can only give you the edited highlights:-

Patti-Sue was very pleasant and clearly happy in her work.

Patti-Sue didn’t quite understand my request. I think it may have been my accent.

Patti-Sue put me on hold for a few minutes.

Special Agent Joe wasn’t as friendly.

Special Agent Joe insisted that they didn’t have any chemical agents currently in stock.

Special Agent Joe didn’t think I’d find any on ebay either.

Special Agent Joe didn’t know what a spiky watchamacallit was.

Special Agent Joe was very interested in my employer. I assured him I didn’t work for anyone called ‘Al’.

Special Agent Joe did know exactly what a knoll is. I didn’t have to spell it out for him.

Special Agent Joe didn’t wish me a nice day before he hung up.

With nowhere else to turn, knoll site preparation was put on hold. Besides, now that the great British summer is upon us, working outside has had to cease due to a water shortage that Mother Nature is doing her level best to rectify. I’ve taken up embroidery in the interim. I’ve even got a monogrammed thimble.

It’s only now that I can share this with you as it has been at least a week since the last sighting of a black SUV with tinted windows in Leafy Suburb. The neighbourhood gossip was that they were timeshare salesmen looking to offload a des-res in the Havana suburbs to one lucky winner. I sure could do with some sunshine at the moment but, I’ve seen the TV reports and it looks like the nightlife isn’t up to much. If they’re not careful Nicky and the crew from Watchdog will be on their case.

So, now that I’m back and knoll construction has been cruelly curtailed due to circumstances beyond my control, I’ll have to think of something else I have an interest in to write about. Hmmm……I suppose it’ll have to be the ups and downs of embroidery then. The blogging world can never have too many sites dedicated to the crazy Cross Stitch community. I’m already looking forward to pattern swapping with like-minded readers.

Unless something else springs to mind that is.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Natural Enemies

Sometimes the obvious solution isn’t.

Obvious, I mean.

In times of crisis it’s nice to know that there is always someone there for you. Even though Mrs Brian with her disdainful looks and pithy comments weren’t readily available; there is always another option. In my case I turned to the internet and They may have been having an off day recently but, it’s hard to miss their advertisements these days. So, I gave them another chance.

“Hello, Leafy Suburb Naturist Club. Brad speaking, how can I help you?”

“Oh…err….hello. I….erm… got your number from the internet….”


I had the feeling that this wasn’t the first slightly tongue-tied person Brad had fielded a call from. The truth is that I didn’t really think about who I would be speaking to when I dialled the number. I challenge anyone to telephone a naturist club and not imagine the person on the other end being in the buff. I’m sure Brad was a lovely chap. However, the images that persisted on presenting themselves in my mind were somewhat disturbing. I hoped he and his co-workers had designated chairs.

“Yes, I have a little problem I wondered if you could help me with?”

“Oh I see. Don’t worry, we offer a wholesome, clothing optional environment focusing on body acceptance and giving you the opportunity to gain a better body image and more self-esteem.”

I wondered if they used Blu-Tac or drawing pins in their office. My money was on the Blu-Tac.

“Oh right. How are you with stingy things and spiky watchamacallits?”


I hoped they had the air conditioning cranked up so that they didn’t catch a chill in this cold snap we’ve been having.

“You see, I searched for ‘fighting dirty against Mother Nature’ and you were recommended.”

“We were?!?”

Buffy Brad wasn’t sounding so cocky now.

“Yes. Do you have a callout charge? Or, is it just an hourly rate?”

“Err… We don’t do home visits.”

“How are you going to rid my knoll site of the stingy things and spiky watchamacallits then?”

“I’m not exactly sure we can help you. We don’t fight against Mother Nature; we embrace her.”

Sigh. I wasn’t entirely certain that Mrs Brian would be too chuffed with Brad and his chums embracing in the garden. She’d be bound to ask some tricky questions. Still, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

“Any chance you could pop round to embrace some of her less welcome offspring and rip them out by the roots?”

“I don’t think so.”

“I have plenty of Dettol…..”


“….and an angle grinder if it helps?”


Click, buurrrr.

Typical. Trotting out a flashy mission statement but, when it comes down to the nitty-gritty they turn their noses up. I’ll bet they’ll be the first to complain when cheap EU labour comes in and takes their jobs. They’re safe for a while yet; searching for a Polish naturist club willing to do a home visit was beyond even the trusty Yell. It’s only a matter of time though.

With Mother Nature still winning the battle of the knoll site and Buffy Brad falling woefully short of expectations; it was time to bring out the big gun. No more Mr Nice Guy.

It was Google-Time.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A Thorny Issue

Much like one of those punchbags for kids.

There was a slight sway and then my chosen target righted itself with one leaf looking a bit worse for wear. No problem; I have the genes for this and made some corrections to my backswing. A flex of the knees, hips pointing at the target, head down and fast acceleration through the turn. David Leadbetter might have had some disapproving words as I picked myself up and surveyed the sum total of my efforts. Three leaves.

With my bitch firmly hunkered down in the furthest corner of her kennel, I went in search of the correct footwear. Once I had donned my Callaway Comfort slip-ons I really gave it some welly. A dozen swings and nearly as many leaves later I took a breather. These stingy and spiky opponents weren’t giving up without a struggle. Time to fight dirty.

Grabbing a handful of stalks near to the base seemed like a good idea at the time. Mother Nature had thought of that one though. After tweezering out the thorns and a liberal application of Dettol I retrieved a pair of gloves and tried again. Several hacks later I had reduced a couple of stalks to stumps and needed to pause for some reflection; and to get my breath back.

When carrying out tricky tasks I find contemplation time to be invaluable. With a deck chair, cans of stale beer and some reading material to hand I felt sure that inspiration would soon strike. Sure enough, an hour and three beers later I realised my problems: Apart from being locationally challenged when it comes to clitorides, I had a blunt sickle. Obviously both of these issues needed dealing with. As my assortment of power tools were designed for building and destroying things I felt sure that Mrs Brian would be in full agreement if I used them to deal with the second problem first. I don’t think the ‘marital aids’ mentioned by the Cosmo feature writers included my orbital sander. Even on its slowest speed.

The following ten minutes or so have prompted me to issue some important safety advice. If you try to sharpen the blade of a sickle with an angle grinder, don’t hold the sickle between your knees. At least, not without the proper protection. A cricket box should do the job.

After another, slightly more painful, Dettol application I realised I’d had the solution in my hands all along. Mrs Brian was going to be very impressed when she got home. You see, even the most sturdy of growths can’t resist the determined efforts of an angle grinder. Mother Nature hadn’t planned for that one had she?

A third of the way through I decide to step back and admire my handiwork with the assistance of the final beer. My smirk of satisfaction disappeared as my bitch ventured out during the hiatus and had a scratch’n’sniff around the base of one of the remaining stumps. Clearly Mother Nature wasn’t going to go down that easy; and neither was I. There was a battle of wills to be fought and, if she was going to submit to me, I’d need more help than Cosmo and alcohol could offer.

What I need is an expert.

(…you can open your eyes now ladies…)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Trade Secrets

Unfortunately the snow didn’t venture this far south.

Which left me fresh out of site clearance excuses.

As I have previously mentioned: I should be in possession of the DNA footprint required for gardening. If not the tools. I have no idea what happened to Granddad Brian’s (RIP) horticultural implements when he left us for the cabbage patch in the sky. He bequeathed me a fruit bowl. It’s a very nice fruit bowl, but it’s usefulness outside of holding fruit are somewhat limited. To the best of my knowledge the stars of Groundforce have never found a use for one on their shows.

In fact, much like you never see Hollywood actors going to the toilet in movies; you never see Charlie and Tommy clearing any stingy things and spiky watchamacallits do you? We only ever get to see the sexy side of gardening where nail guns and water features are the order of the day. So I guess there is a chance they have a fruit bowl on their lorry that they whip out when the cameras aren’t looking. Unless I can get hold of a ‘Groundforce- The Director’s Cut’ DVD, the use for this item in knoll site clearance will have to remain a mystery.

Not to be deterred, I made my way to the garage in the certain knowledge that my genes were of sufficient quality to overcome this problem. I could almost hear Granddad Brian (RIP) whooping an “Attaboy!”

Now I don’t wish to be rude but, if you are of the female persuasion I’ll have to ask you to look away now. You see, I am about to reveal some blokey type stuff to which you should not be privy. Much as you girls never tell us what really goes on at an Ann Summers party; you shouldn’t know what happens when you go off to your mother’s having left us with a ‘project’. All that both sexes are really interested in is the net result; the rest should remain a secret. So bear with me ladies.

Now that we’re alone guys, I’m sure that, like me, you are well aware of the contents of your garage. Just maybe not the exact location of everything. With my bitch at my side, an extensive root around commenced. Five minutes in and she was busy licking her bits while I had turned up:-

Various oily thingummies.
A deck chair.
An unused socket set.
A four pack of beer past it’s sell by date.
An assortment of power tools.
Old copies of Cosmo, dated when Mrs Brian and I were courting.
A dozen half-tins of paint in assorted terracotta shades.
A rusty sickle.
A collection of rock-hard paintbrushes.

Hang on, I’d hit the jackpot! I had a rusty sickle. The previous occupants had clearly not been too vigilant when they had left over a decade earlier. Having left behind such a useful tool I could almost forgive them the dodgy wiring, floral wallpaper and bailiff visits.

Now that I had a tool designed centuries ago for exactly the purpose required, I squared up to the stingy/spiky jungle. My bitch quickly sized up the situation and made for the nearest cover.

With Granddad Brian (RIP) whispering encouragement in my ear.

I took a swing.

(…no peeking yet girls…)

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Special Delivery

“Whaddya want?”

“Oh, hello is that Customer Service?”

“Last time I checked.”

He sounded like he had been having a bad day. Best I keep it brief and to the point so he can get back to tossing fragile parcels around the office to keep his spirits up.

“I wondered if you could explain Division 6.2 of the 2005-2006 Edition Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods to me?”

“What the ****?”

I think he must be new.

“I’ve read your website list of prohibited items and this part isn’t very clear.”


“I’m trying to import some produce from another country and your standard parcel rate, at three sixty a kilo, seems very reasonable. I just need to know if it’s legal.”

“We can charge whatever we want. It’s called a monopoly.”

“Quite. Could you explain the dangerous goods instructions to me please?”

“No. Tell me what you want to send, and I’ll tell you if you can.”

He didn’t sound like the type of person who was up to speed with the ins and outs of the camelid species. I’ll have to keep it simple.

“It’s a fresh product originally from South America.”

“We don’t have the monopoly in South America.”

“It’s not coming from there. An acquaintance has done all the hard work and he has the refined product on his remote farm in Wales.”


“Yes, he says he could easily send me a kilo a day.”

“A kilo of what exactly?”

Sadly, it seemed that I had not yet reached his level of comprehension. I’ll have to try speaking in language he’d understand.

“Good s***.”

“Good s***?”

“Yeah, really good s*** from Peru via Wales.”

“And you want to post it?!”

Not the most convincing sales technique I’d ever heard.

“Yeah, I need to get it here quickly so I can mix it up in my garden.”


“Obviously I don’t want it to burst open when it gets put through my letter box; so I’d appreciate it if you could get the postie to lob it over my back fence.”

Click, buuurrrr.

Oh dear, it sounded like Division 6.2 of the 2005-2006 Edition Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods included a section on Alp-p-paca waste. I just wish I knew what it said. Maybe he had gone to look it up.

Meanwhile I’d have to tell G-G-Gareth to hold his pooh.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

On Hold

Standby, I'm on the phone.....

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

G-Good Samaritan

“Hello, Leafy Suburb one two one two.”

“C-c-can I speak to B-Brian please?”

He sounds nervous, maybe some joker has placed my number in the ‘Adult’ section of the local paper. I put on my most manly voice.

“This is Brian, what can I do for you?”

“It’s m-m-more what I c-c-can d-do for you.”

Uh-oh, there was me thinking all of the double glazing companies were boycotting me following the unfortunate rape-alarm testing incident(s). Still unsure of the caller’s needs; I kept my chin tucked firmly into my chest.

“What would that be then?”

“I have a p-p-product you m-m-might b-be interested in.”

There was a definite Celtic lilt to the voice, combined with an overuse of consonants I guessed he was calling from somewhere west of the Severn. Not being fully au-fait with the laws passed in the new assembly, I let go of the alarm rip cord. No sense in creating an international incident; I’ll have to out-smart him instead. Adopting an unfamiliar mocking tone, I continue:

“Are you a mind reader then?”

“N-n-no y-you asked f-f-for it.”

He was being defensive, obviously he was very new. I think someone in a Welsh Job Centre had played a cruel joke.

“When did I ask for a phone-call from someone to sell me something I don’t need? My double glazing is in very good order. If that changes in the next ten minutes, I’ll call you back.”

“I’m n-n-not s-selling d-double g-g-glazing.”

“New gas supplier?”




“Internet service provider?”

“I’m n-n-not s-s-selling anything.”

Aha! A book club then was it? Two upfront best sellers of dubious quality followed by sixty monthly purchases of Jeffrey Archer novels to stave off the bailiffs. No chance matey, I’m not going to fall for that one again.

“I’m not interested. I can’t take the shame.”

“I b-breed Alp-p-pacas.”

What?! He might be new to this but, as a tryonelastefforttokeepthemugonthephone line, this was a beauty. Hand on heart I can say that I’ve never spoken to an Alp-p-paca breeder before. He had me. Damn!

“What’s an Alp-p-paca?”

“It’s a c-c-camelid.”

Silly me, of course it was.

“Oh, of course it is. What have they got to do with a book club?”

“N-n-nothing, they c-can’t read.”

I was confused.

“I’m confused.”

“They p-produce a lot of p-p-pooh; I have a s-s-surplus I thought y-y-you c-c-could use.”

Ahh, everything was becoming clear. Obviously there was an EC directive instructing welsh camelid breeders up and down the valleys to cold call unsuspecting people and offer them a chance to help reduce the Alp-p-paca pooh mountain. Either that or he was trying to get his own back for recent sporting results.

“Why would I want your surplus of Alp-p-paca pooh?”

“F-f-for your k-k-kinoll.”

With all of the recent distractions I had completely forgotten about my plea for help. Why hadn’t he just said so?

“What did you say your name was again?”


G-G-Gareth and I d-discussed d-d-details.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


With shared access issues to consider.

Not to mention the space problem; exacerbated by the recent neighbourly erections of barbed and electrified fences. Together with a recent, top-secret government decision; I have a fruitless morning of telephone conversations. The very nice people at 118 insisted on continually putting me straight through to either a locksmith or plumber for some reason.

The search engine at must have been having an off day too. In response to my request of “rip a fox to shreds and feed on its entrails” I was directed to their office equipment listings. To save readers from wasting their time; I can confirm that none of them sell a shredder recommended for fox eradication. Even, somewhat surprisingly, the confidential destruction experts at Reisswolf baulked at my query. I couldn‘t get through to James, Trinny or Susannah to complain either.

Several plummy voices also confirmed that none of my local hunts were willing to provide a herd of Shetland ponies and a couple of Yorkshire terriers to flush him towards my super-soaker. Which is a shame; I thought they would have been pleased with an offer of work. ‘Brother X’ at the Leafy Suburb branch of animal liberationalists wasn’t a great deal of help. In fact, he was very coarse.

In desperation I call a familiar number.

“Hello, Leafy Suburb Enviro-Crime Unit. Kay speaking; how can I help you?”

I decide to keep it friendly, there’s no point being antagonistic just because the lazygoodfornothingcow refused to help with my previous problem.

“Hello Kay”

“Oh God”

She wasn’t going to make it easy then.

“I have a problem.”

“Yes, I know.”

What? Maybe I had misjudged the Enviro-Crime Unit. Had they been carrying out their own surveillance? They could have given me the nod; I hardly got a wink of sleep.

“Oh, you’ll know I need an exterminator then?”

“A what!?”

Aha! Sleeping on the job were we?

“Well the law says I can’t use poison or shoot them in an urban area; I can’t chase them on horseback and I can’t get a big enough shredder. I’ve tried encouraging my bitch to savage one of them, but she seems reluctant.”


“The law says I can trap them though.”

“It does?!?”

Clearly Kay wasn’t up to speed with the current legal situation.

“Yes it does. I need to know what to do with him afterwards though. Do I put him in the boot of my car then drive to a forest and dump him, or do you have a better suggestion?”

“Err…I think I need to put you through to someone else.”

At last, some action.

Ten minutes later.

“Hello, you’ve reached the Leafy Suburb Conflict Resolution Team. We’re not in the office at present. If you’d like to leave a message after the tone we’ll get back to you.”

Great; I hate answer-phones.


“Err….hello, my name is Brian…..I don’t know how much you’ve been told? I’m trying to build a knoll in my garden so I can ambush my neighbour and it’s not going very smoothly…. Last night I was on stag and spotted an interloper that I need to get rid of first. I would be grateful if you could send me the details of an exterminator…”

Beep Beep.

“...who specialises in...”

Click, buuurrrr.

Damn! Still, at least they got the gist.

That fox won’t know what’s hit it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Dog Wish 2

While Andy’s hero checked his Traser for the umpteenth time;

I must have drifted off.

Playtime over then is it? Oh well….

Zzzz zzzz zzzz

Zzzz zzzz zzzz

What was that? OI! WAKE UP!!


Oh, false alarm. It was just a bit of wind.

“Was that you?”

You’re a fine one to talk. Besides, it’s your fault for giving me that dodgy treat earlier. You know salt doesn’t agree with me.

Zzzz zzzz zzzz

Zzzz zzzz zzzz

What was that? Something moved. There’s something out there near the bins. It’s gotta be that stupid cat from next door. OI!! OI!!

“What now? You spotted them?”

Come on, get the door open. I need to teach a cat some manners. This is my manor. COME ON!!

“I can’t see anything. Are you sure?”

Get a move on…..Oh, hang on a sec…. That aint no cat….. In fact, just forget I said anything.

“What’s that by the bins?”

It’s nothing. Like I said: Sorry for waking you up and all that. If you could just go back to sleep I’ll get on with licking my bits and we can forget this ever happened.

“That looks like a fox.”

Fox? Did someone say fox? If I wasn’t so busy bits licking I might have been able to do something about it for you. As it is, I think we should ignore him.

“Where did I put the key?”

Whoa, easy tiger. Haven’t you forgotten something? I’ve carried out a dynamic risk assessment and I know I’m twice his size. He won’t be alone though, and that they all have really sharp teeth. Have you seen what they can do to a sheep? I think we should withdraw to the RVP, somewhere upstairs under your bed works for me; while we wait for the local wildlife officer, a hostage negotiator and Teapot One.

“Go get him!”

Hey, HEY!! Enough of the pushing already! Do I look like a foxhound?

“Where’d he go?”

Eh? He’s done a bunk, yeehaw! WHO’S YOUR DADDY? WHO’S YOUR DADDY?

“Shush, you’ll wake the neighbours.”


This gardening is truly a complicated business. I can see why Andy’s hero never tackles so much as a geranium without an Eastern European gun and a cheap leather jacket to hand.

This has got to be worth something.

What I need is an expert.

How about a bit of rubber lovin’ for the heroine then boss?

And a new dog.


Thursday, February 09, 2006

Dog Wish 1

Nothing. Not a sausage.

I scoured the rolling media channels, in vain, for news of a Super-tanker running aground in the Leafy Suburb lido to explain the delay. Leaving me with the conclusion that Kay wasn’t taking her job too seriously. Either that or she was chained to her desk compiling important government statistics. Time to take matters into my own hands. No more Mr Nice Guy.

I hatch a plan and gather the essential kit together:-

One (1) bucket of cold water conveniently sited for ardour dampening.
One (1) very bright torch to assist with aim.
One (1) sun lounger positioned inside the patio doors.
One (1) Andy McNab novel for motivation.
One (1) fearless guard dog for general fearlessness and keen hearing.
One (1) rubber ball for motivation.

With Mrs Brian safely tucked up in bed out of harms way. I settle down on ‘stag’ (cheers Andy).

Hmmm…. What’s he up to now? He’s got my ball so it must be a new game he’s thought up.

Damn! Forgot the briefing.


Wahey!! Rubber ball time!

“Right, tonight’s intention is to catch some hardened environmentalists in the act.”

Look boss, I’ve told you before; I’m a dog which means I understand words of one syllable. The rest might just as well be Greek. Just get on with it and dish out the goodies.

“You’re well aware of the information that has got us to this stage. I’m willing to forgive you if you get this bit right.”

No ball yet? Maybe if I look really cute.

“I want you to report any sightings and then we’ll rush them. You’ll be in the lead. Do your really scary look. I’ll deliver the good news (cheers again Andy) and then you cover my tactical withdrawal. Okay?”

Perhaps if I just chased my tail for a bit? He always laughs at that.

“You’ll be pleased to hear we won’t be doing any writing for this but, it is a potentially risky operation. So, I need you to cover me. Can I rely on you?”

Whoa…! Dizzy now. I need a lie down. He obviously isn’t giving the ball up that easily. If I play dead I could at least get a tummy rub out of this.

“Make sure you listen out for my commands and we’ll be alright.”

Well, I’ve tried everything and you’re obviously not paying attention. So I’m going to lick my bits until you come to your senses.

“I’ve considered their human rights and we should be safe as we’re protecting our morals.”

Yeah, yeah; whatever. Can’t you see I’m not interested?

“Any questions?”

Listen up pal: If you get any closer I’m gonna lick your face.

With the team pumped up and ready for action.

I settle down to learn some more from the master.


Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Granddad Brian (RIP) was keen gardener.

He liked nothing better than to work up a sweat pottering in his vegetable patch.

Sadly, the current weather isn’t set for mopping ones brow while leaning contently on a pitchfork. Not to be deterred, I wrap up well and venture outside with my bitch for a site survey. To be honest I did try this from inside first, but the American garden design software I purchased kept crashing every time I tried to site my knoll. Still, if Granddad Brian managed without electronic aids I felt sure I had the genes for it too.

As I attempt to get a vision of knoll-like splendiforousness while avoiding the stingy things and spiky watchamacallits, I can’t help but notice my bitch seems distracted. She’s snuffling, and it’s ruining my concentration. When I investigate, all thoughts of genetic hand-me-downs are quickly discarded. After placing a bucket over the discovery, I move out into the quiet lane beyond my property border where my suspicions are confirmed. Oh dear.

What I need is an expert.

“Hello, Leafy Suburb Enviro-Crime Unit. Kay speaking; how can I help you?”

While I’m all for equal opportunities and the like, there are occasions when a man to man conversation is preferable. This was one of those occasions. Not wishing to offend the very pleasant and very young sounding Kay, I try a subtle tactic to try and save her from any embarrassment.

“Hello Kay. Could you put me through to your Enviro-Crime Investigation Department please?”

“We don’t have one of those. Perhaps if you told me the problem I could assist?”

Fiddlesticks! She was a tough cookie. There was not going to be an easy way around this. In times like these I find it good practice to be professional; eschewing slang as it can be potentially misleading.

“My bitch has found a prophylactic hidden in my knoll site.”

“A prophylactic?”

Poor girl, I can almost hear her blushing.

“Yes, a used one.”


Clearly Kay was a skilled interrogator and destined for promotion.

“Yes, the knot in it has preserved some vital evidence too.”

“Let me get this straight: Your bitch has found a knotted, used prophylactic in your nole site?”

I told you she was sharp.

“Yes, I’ve done my best to cover it up; but it’ll need removing as soon as possible.”

“Oh… errm… How did it get there?”

“Well, I’ve done some rooting round in my back alley and I think it came from there.”

“Your back alley?”

She didn’t sound too impressed with my amateurish investigation. Best I explain:

“There are some fresh tracks outside my garage door. I’m a heavy sleeper so I can’t be certain; but I think they were left by the culprits.”

“Fresh tracks?”

“Yes, they’re too big to cover up. In case they wash away, would you like me to take some photos for you?”

“NO!! Sorry. I meant that won’t be necessary.”

Oh good, the Enviro-Crime Unit obviously had its own CSIs.

“Can I ask why you have called us about your…err… problem?”

Well I never, there was a definite tone of sarcasm now. Maybe Kay wasn’t quite ready for promotion yet.

“I would have thought that were obvious. I have a dogging issue here that needs stamping out before any D-List celebrities try to squeeze their big four by fours up my narrow lane.”

There, that told her. I’m sure Granddad Brian would have been proud of this direct approach.

Click, buuuurrrrrr.

Aha! Kay had clearly been galvanised into action and I headed back to the garden to await the arrival of the Enviro-Crime Rapid Response Unit. I wondered if they had a charter time as I had a site survey to complete.


It seemed I had underestimated my bitch’s latex fetish. I should have put a brick on the bucket.

As I retrieved the tattered remains:

My bitch smacked her chops.

All ramblings Copyright(c) 2005/2006 by Brian. Ask First.