Archive for January, 2009

Spain 4

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

HTML clipboardThe next day as arranged I went to see the client at her hotel with a view to examining her husbands laptop.  Why does that sound so gay?  Anyway, Mrs Willis was staying at the Victoria Park Plaza, which is a very swish modern hotel not far from Victoria Station.  It confirmed, if it needed confirming that is, my suspicion that she had  sense of style and lived rather well and was rather used to doing so.

I asked for her at reception and was directed to her room, which turned out to be a one bedroom apartment rather than your run of the mill hotel room.  I have to say the expensive hotel thing is  bit of a mystery to me as generally you only need a bed, TV and bathroom.  We use a well known budget chain and they do us very well.  Every now and again I splash out or if I am flying I like to stay right by the airport and they tent to be expensive, but by in large when you are staying at hotels all you need in the way if facilities  is somewhere to get some grub and a drink and as for your room, well, all you do is get your kit off, maybe watch a bit of TV, kip shower and clear off.  I mean how often do you use the spa or gym facilities?  The bar yes, the sauna rarely.  You get my drift.  Mrs Willis clearly did not share my Yorkshiremans view on hotel accommodation, but I must admit the room did have style and was a pleasant place to do business.

I had decided yesterday not to go into all the exact details of her husband’s disappearance over lunch as I wanted to get these in a less public environment where I could concentrate better.

There was nothing startling in what she told me.  They had been at home all day, eaten about 7.30 a bottle of vino and then relaxed.  She did repeat the point she had made that he had been a bit preoccupied for a couple of days, but on this evening he seemed more his old self.  She had then gone up to bed to read and he had stayed up watching Sky news and said he would be up in a minute.  When he didn’t come up immediately she assumed he had become engrossed in some programme, so eventually she had gone to sleep.  She woke up the next morning to find he had not come to bed and so she got up to see where he was and found he had gone.  When she went to look round the house etc she found the car had gone as well.  I asked the usual plod like questions and made notes about what he had been wearing, was anything missing, the car etc.  The car was an almost new black Nissan X trail on Spanish plates.

Her next move had been to contact the Spanish Police the embassy or consulate and all that sort of thing.  Shortly afterwards se was contacted by somebody at the Foreign Office who asked her a load of questions and said they would do all they could.  Several weeks later and the husband had not turned up and subsequently either somebody at the FO or embassy gave her my details and she got in touch.

I made a note of his UK, Spanish and French Mobile numbers, we would look at tracking these and I could get Cyclops to pass this information to the police and you never know he might turn up in the car.

As regards bank accounts they had a joint account, but both of them had their own accounts as well.  There had been no unusual transactions on their joint accounts last time she looked, but she did say she had not logged in since she had been in the UK and she had not been able to access his personal account.

It was time to look at the laptop.  Mrs Wallis had already told me she had broadband access from her room should we need it and gave me the access details.

It is interesting how different people set up their machines and organise their files and it can take a while to find even the most billy basic things sometimes.  This machine was very new and very quick and yet again not a cheap bit of kit.  There didn’t really seem to e very much on it.  A few letters to friends and the odd organisation, but not as much crap as I usually find or have on my PC for example.

I trawled through his files, but as I said there was nothing really remarkable there amongst his documents.

Then I looked at his internet history and book marked pages and at last I felt if I was starting to get somewhere.  I say that, but to be honest the things I found may not sound that out of the ordinary, but they did seem to be at odds to what I knew of these people.  Actually by that I mean Mrs W.  The first thing that got me thinking was when I saw the Ryanair and Easyjet sites bookmarked.

“Mrs Willis who did you fly with when you came over”

“Oh British airways almost all the time” which was the response I was expecting

“Do you ever use Ryan Air or Easyjet?”

“No, very very rarely and not if I can possibly help it, in fact, I can tell you we used them once about two years ago when we were going on holiday and it really was not for me”.

“What about Tom?”

“Well he felt the same” she confirmed “And besides he has one of these loyalty point card accounts which he has had for simply ever, because of all the travelling he did with work.”

“Where do you fly from usually?”

“Granada, why?”

“Out of curiosity at the moment”

“We are about 80 Kilometres from the airport, so it is pretty handy”

I carried on looking on the pc, but there was not really a lot on there.

I asked her how long they had had the laptop and she said about six months, maybe a little more.  She did say that neither she nor her husband were very computer literate and really just used it and the internet for the bare bones, ie emailing , booking flights and hire cars, on line banking and buying a few bits from Amazon.  Oh and the Telegraph Crossword of course.  Of course, how silly to forget that important gem.

None the less something did not seem right.  I checked the browser settings and it was set to clear the history after 90 days, but the browser history started a week before Mr W went walkabout. It may well have been that the last lot of 90 days had been just before Tom went walkies.

I noticed though, that there were a lot of sites visited for people who apparently did not use the internet or computer much.  Not all savoury, but not the load of porn you find on most mens computers.  In this case he had looked up escort agencies, sauna/massage parlours both in the UK and Europe

He had also visited the website for the chain of hotels I mentioned we used, which seemed at odds with where I was sitting.

In particular I found that on the night he had disappeared he looked at sites for two hotels in Frankfurt one in Sophia, Brussels, another in  London, Prague and then one in Trieste and another in Venice, which is odd as these last two places are not so far apart as to need to move hotels, besides which Trieste is really one big ship yard and an odd place for a tourist trip if you ask me, if indeed that’s what he was were going on.

I noted the details of the hotels.

I then found a yahoo email account which was odd because Mrs Willis had contacted me from an AOL account.  I quickly confirmed that they both used the same email address and did not know anything about the Yahoo account.

Mrs W came over and stood behind me looking over my shoulder.

“I thought Yahoo was just a search engine thing” she said

I explained it was similar to AOL.  Having already told me she was not computer literate I did not want to bore her with the ins and outs of it.

I called up the yahoo mail log in page.  I wondered what he would use as a user name.  Now people can be very smart in their usernames and pass words, in fact they can be too smart for their own good, but by in large for passwords they like to use the same things such as date of birth, wifes date of birth, kids names address of their last house are just a few of the common ones.  For user names they tend to use their names oddly enough or their names and DOB or part of their DOB or last but by no means least their postcodes

I typed in Toms name to the username and then his date of birth for the password.  Wrong. Then Name and her name as password. Wrong.

“Mrs Willis do you know if your husband has a password he uses a lot “

“Well there is one you could try” she said going a little pink

“Go on”

“I know he uses Willis18600 for Amazon and interflora and his password is Helen38dd” I typed before the significance of the password sunk in.  Instinctively I looked up and at her.  Clear she was expecting this.  She passed her hand down in front of her chest, she gave a cheeky smile and said “All my own work”

The screen changed and the Message Good Morning Tom came up and he apparently had 2 unread messages from the last couple of day, one from a hotmail account and the other from somebody on AOL.

I didn’t open those, but  I did have a look at what was in his inbox and this is where we struck gold. 

He had  15 saved messages almost all confirming flights, hotels and car hire from not long after he disappeared.  In fact one of the first emails I looked at confirmed a flight from Sofia in Bulgaria to Milan with Easy jet for yesterday.  Then just three days ago there was an email confirming car hire starting yesterday for 5 days in Milan.

“Have you found something?” she asked with interest

“I do believe I have” I said “It would seem your husband has gone on a European tour”

“Why would he do that?” she asked

“lets have a look and see what else we can find out shall we”

She gave a slight nod of the head but she didn’t seem overly enthusiastic.

Spain 3

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

I concluded my initial meeting by getting details of her ex husband and their kids, Toms kids, ex colleges and friends, you know the obvious stuff, because at the moment there was not much to go on.  I was sure that the laptop would have something on it, but obviously there was no guarantee.  Anyway it was agreed that I would go and look at Toms laptop at Mrs Willis’s hotel the next day and until then there was not much I could do.

However although there wasn’t much I could do I was sure there was something for Cyclops to follow up.  I was curious why a Special Branch officer would be working with a “Steady Eddie” civil servant, and where as they might have been looking at animal rights activists,  I have to say I had my doubts.

I rang Cyclops and gave him the details of the ex husband.  He didn’t know him and I suppose why should he, Cyclops had been out of the Police for a while now and there are about 30,000 police officers in the Met so the chances of them knowing each other were slim.

However about five minutes later, Cyclops rang me back to say that a mate of his knew the ex husband as he had been a uniform Inspector some years ago.  Apparently the ex husband was a bit of a high flyer and some time ago there was a thing in the Met called interchange where detectives and specialists had to go back to mainstream policing for a year or so on promotion – all very interesting I know, but the point was that Cyclops mate had told him that the ex husband had been Willie Whitelaws body guard and had been on “B” squad and had gone back to “B” Squad on his return to “The Branch” or to put it as Cyclops and his policeman mates do “The Bwarnch”.

“B” squad dealt with Northern Ireland terrorism at that time until it was handed over to MI5 in 1992.  This would have been about the time that the ex husband would have been working with Tom.  This was all very tenuous of course and there was a a whole lot of supposition and gap filling on my part, but for some reason had the sneaking suspicion that maybe, just maybe Tom was not just a “Steady Eddie” pencil pushing civil servant slowly and quietly making his way up the career ladder.  I mean you don’t just arrive as a senior Civil servant by chance do you.  I know that in all big organisations there is a jaundiced view of those who reach very senior positions and their ability to actually do the job they allegedly do, but you have to do something to get there, even if you do not do it particularly well.  The other thing is why would a civil servant be involved in work relating to animal activists and more to the point why would he work so closely and be so chummy with a Special Branch officer.  I wonder if they were friends and if they still kept in contact?

The excellent food, wine and the large brandy were making me feel sleepy and I decided to call it a day and to start a fresh on the laptop the next morning and got tube back to Hammersmith Broadway.

I felt full and sleepy and decided that maybe I would give grub a miss tonight

Well no, maybe a couple of slice of toast and soup wouldn’t go a miss.

Oh and some of that nice ham from the deli counter or some pastrami.  Hmmm Pastrami I haven’t had any pastrami for ages.

I was woken from my dreams of pastrami just in time to realise that I was at Hammersmith and just get off the in time before the doors shut.  It was not a dignified departure and I was sure that I must have been snoring but at least I hadn’t dribbled.

I remembered why I don’t drink at lunchtimes.

Spain 2

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

After my agreeable lunch it was down to business to find out a little bit more about the vanishing husband.

Apparently he was 62 years of age and prior to retirement about  15 months ago had been a senior civil servant.

He had worked in London and he and his wife had lived in a village in Essex not far from Stanstead Airport.   Both he and his wife had been married before, he was a widower and she was apparently divorced.

The place in Spain had been hers and had been part of her divorce settlement the place in France was his.  The Essex property had been bought jointly and was now let on a long term basis as they had chosen to live most of the time in Spain and have holidays in the house in France, although she did tell me that they let it to friends and friends of friends.

They had a couple of grown up children each who were either working, away or at uni.

My client who I will call Mrs Willis described her husband as “A steady Eddie, popular at work doing nothing terribly Earth shattering”.  I did think he must have been more than steady to have had a place in Essex and a house in France and to have risen to his position as a senior civil servant, although she did not say how senior, but from the way she dressed, talked, acted and her overall demeanour I got the distinct impression that either money was not an object or they lived beyond their means, but carried it off very well.

I asked the usual questions about him, but she didn’t tell me anything which would give any hint as to why he should just up and off without a bye or leave to anyone.

“Well, what do you think, has he gone off with another woman?” she asked after a pause in the conversation.

“I have no idea, but what would make you ask or think that?” I said rather startled by the sudden change of tact.

“Oh you know one is always reading about these older men who suddenly rediscover their youth and go off with a younger woman a mid life crisis sort of thing” she explained rather matter of factly.

“Mmm I suppose, but from what you have told me it seems out of character for your husband” I replied.

“Well yes and no” she paused “You see Tom and I had a lengthy affair before we were together officially” she said quietly.

“Oh I see” I said rather lamely

“Yes, he had a loveless marriage, and mine was no better.  My ex husband treated me like an object to be exhibited saddled and mounted as and when he felt like it”

I choked slightly on my after dinner chocolate mint at her words, but I think I got away with it. “How long did this affair last?”

“Ten years give or take a few months”

“Why didn’t you leave your respective spouses?” I asked

She threw her head back and laughed “Spouses” She laughed again “Spouses, now you sound like Rumpole of the Bailey rather than Inspector Morse” she ribbed me.

“I can do a good Jack Regan impersonation if you like” I retorted slightly taken aback at the latest change in tone and pace of the conversation.

She looked at me very seriously “Shall I see you back at the factory then guv?” she rasped in a very passable George Carter accent.

“Very good George,  very good” I responded “Gotta say though I’d never had you doqn as a sweeney fan”

She smiled “My ex husband was on Special Branch and he loved  it, actually so did I and I used to live in Chiswick a few doors away from John Thaw and Sheila Hancock.  He was a nice man”

“Why did you divorce him then?”

“No not him you oaf, John Thaw!” she exclaimed

“Anyway back to the point in hand, why didn’t you leave your spouses” I pressed her.

“Well Mr Rumpole it was for the children, we wanted to wait until they were older and could understand”  She sighed “What a mistake that was”

“Why?”

“Very simply they never understand, whether they are ten, twenty or thrity years old they are still children whose parents have split up.  It had never occurred to me before we got together.  In fact I will tell you this, it would have been easier all round if we had done it nine years earlier, less deceit, less stress, less pretending oh God all that time wasted and by the time we had the chance to be togther so much damage had been done to us in one way or another.” She paused “Would you think me and old lush if I got a brandy?”

“Not at all, you’re paying”

“Very true, we will have big ones, or mayne you have already, but as I am paying I will insist you join me” She signalled the waiter and ordered the drinks and more coffee and then shook her head.

“It was worse because Joan, thats Toms first wife died in an accident.  When he first told me, I am ashamed to say I cried and danced for joy.  I only met her twice and that was briefly so I din’t really know her, but Tom was very unhappy and his pain hurt me more than my own existence.  When Tom told me she was dead I thought “this is it, we can be together at last”, but life plays cruel tricks on people”

“Why, what happened” I asked

“well Toms kids had lost their mother, and of course as soon as someboy dies they become perfect.  Look at Pricess Di for Gods sake.  One week a pain in the arse and then public are really fed up with her and her carrying on and then the next thing she dead and becomes Mother Terresas twin sister and evryone is going round wailing and mourning.  It was mass hysteria.  Do you think I am terrible saying that?”

“No not all, I have to say I thought the same thing about the Diana business”

“Do you think it was an accident” she asked very intently

“No”

“Who do you think killed her, the Queen, Prince Phillip?”

“I would say they were the outside runners when it came to the lengthy list of suspects.” I replied

“Hmm but….”

“Look” I interupted “Why was there such a problem when the wife died” bring her back again to the matter I was being paid for.

“Ah yes well of course death also brings guilt and remorse, Tom started thinking he had contributed to her death, which he hadn’t of course, he just felt he had.  And then there were his children they had lost there mother as I said and they needed to be helped through that period, although the thing is that period never ended for them so that when we finally made the split and got together officially they took it very badly indeed.  Actually Tom has really only just got back on to what you might call natural terms and there sis till anomosity from the younger girl.”

“How do they get on with you?”

“Fine”  she said abrubtly ” I had a few months of prima donna stuff and then said enough is enough.  I told them it was not my fault their mother was dead and that I had no intention of trying to replace her in their lives and that we could either get on and be friendly or they could take a hike.”  she paused “Actually I really wanted to tell the two of them to piss off, but it wouldn’t have been right in the circumstances.”

“Fair enough” I said “How did the wife die?”

“Oh it was quite ghastly really, she was burnt to death in their caravan.”

“Doesn’t sound too pleasant” I agreed

“No, they had this caravan down in Dorset,  Joan went down there for the weekend prior to them all going for a short holiday.  It was low season and not many people around. There was a problem with the gas or a fire and the place went up in flames.  It would seem as if she had had a bit too much to drink that evening and so was over come by alcohol and fumes and as I said there were not many people around so by the time anyone realised anything was wrong and called the fire brigade it was too late.”

“A bad business in deed” I ageed.

“Well out of all good comes bad” She said “And I know I will sound terrible, but it sort of removed one of the obstacles to Tom and I being together, although there were the other issues which as I explained cropped up as a result and there was insurance money from the fire and life insurance on Joan which was quite considerable.  In fact Tom used that to buy the place in France.  His kids wont go there, say its not the same and that he shouldn’t of bought it.”

“How did you and Tom meet?” I asked trying to move on to more cheerful topics.

“Oh through my husband ironically enough”

“How come?”

“Well David, my husband had been working with Toms department – something to do with animal activists or some such group, I forget and they had a function near Holborn.  I got a bit tidled but  had a really good time and Tom was a real gentleman and charming.  David and Tom worked together on this project quite a bit and then something else.  They weren’t friends as such…..” she tailed off.

“And what made you and your husband split up finally, did he find out about you and Tom”

She laughed “No I found out about him and Vanessa the undresser.”

“Who?”

“Vanessa the undresser, the slut he had been keeping and having children with for God knows how long” she snarled all signs of good nature gone. ” She was a collegue of his that he had been shagging for years.  The fool, she was half his age”

“Probably still is” I interjected

She stared at me for an instant and then smiled “Yes I suppose she still is”

“Why the venom, you were having an affair for Tom and yet you seemed to be miffed that the old man was doing the same?”

“It was because I was having the affair with Tom that I was so miffed as you put it.  All that time I stayed with him qand I could have been with Tom.  It also transpires that David Hated me and wanted to be with her from the momenbt he met her.  I have no doubt he loves her more than life itself.  You know since we have divirced and he has been with her he is actually a really nice chap.  I couldn’t ask for a nice ex husband.  He is a wonnderful father to his second set of kids and has beome a better father to our children.  But do you know the bit that real sticks in my craw Mr Norman”

“No tell me”

“She is a really nice woman.  Nobody has the right to be that pretty and that nice and understanding.”

“Do you get on Ok with her”

“Of course I bloody do thats what’s so bloody annoying, it is mpossible to dislike her she is a genuinely nice good person.  The bitch”

“So then”  I said taking stock of everything that had been said “Where does that leave us with Tom?”

She shrugged her shoulders.

“I would like to visit your home and through some of your husbands papers and things, it might help.  Do you have a computer?”

“Yes, avtually i have Toms laptop with me at the hotel”

“I would like to look at it if you don’t mind”

“No not at all, but do you need to visit the house”

“Maybe not, but it often helps, as I said people often leave a little clue somewhere”

She looked at me and did not seem convinced and there was something in that look and her manner that for an instant made me think of Gollam in Lord of the rings.

I don’t mean she looked like Gollam, but the bit in the where he has lost the magic ring which he calls his precious.  I don’t know why he came to mind, but I got the feeling she felt she had lost her precious.

The thing is where was her precious?

Spain

Monday, January 19th, 2009

My meeting was with a female client who had said she was coming to the UK from her home in Spain and wanted to eat a proper English meal.  I assumed by that she meant the British National dish- Chicken Tikka Masala, so was a little surprised  but not too unhappy to find myself being instructed to be at Rules (English) Restaurant, Maiden Lane Covent Garden for 12.30 sharp.

The lady was in her mid to late sixties, trim, well dressed but not matronly nor by the same token mutton dressed up as lamb, well spoken but not gratting, tanned but not leathered and had an air of being used to getting her own way without being domineering. and all in all was quite likeable.

The food was very good as always and just for the record I had potted shrimps followed by Steak and kidney Pudding.

As I said, she was agreeable enough company, but maybe a bit too right wing for us to make it as a couple.  I said this to her and she laughed heartily and said it was funny I should say that, because she had been a very active socialist and member of CND in her youth and was a friend and collegue ofBruce Kent or was it Clarke Kent?

“You know Mr Norman, today’s socialist worker is tomorrows stuffed shirt.”

“What makes you say that?” I asked not disagreeing with her.

“Well my dear, just look at Peter Hain for goodness sake, a few years ago he was a subversive menace, London’s answer to Che Guevara, throwing stones at the window of the South African Embassy and being a right pain in the rear, fighting the oppressor, alleging he was framed by Special Branch and now he has Special Branch protection and there are concrete blocks around parliament to stop people who were just like him from attacking the seat of democracy, by which I mean he doesn’t want to get blown up now that he has made it to the big time and has all the trappings it brings”

“A bit cynical don’t you think?” I said again not entirely disagreeing with her.

“Maybe, I am not just picking on Peter Hain, just using him as an example, but I have been around these sorts of people all my life.  Everyone in Politics talks a good job and how they are there for the people, but they aren’t they are in it for themselves, look at the expenses submitted by some MPs, many of them claim three times the average salary, how can they be in touch, its not them that will be made redundant because they have messed up the economy is it?”

“No, but they could loose their seats at the elections, which is the same thing”

She laughed and smiled “Ah yes and then they move on to the board of some company or other, so they just change jobs, they don’t have to make ends meet on unemployment benefit”

She had a point.

“All very interesting, but you didn’t ask me to lunch to discuss the rights and wrongs of politics did you?”

“No, but I understand that you studied Politics at unviersity and I was intrigued as to what kind of person…..”

“Goes there, does that and then eventually becomes a mercenary”  I said saving her the awkward question.

“Well yes” she laughed

“That still doesn’t really tell me what you want me to do for you”

“No, it doesn’t you’re right.  Its my husband, he has had a late life crisis and has gone walk about”

“Another woman?”

She shook her head “No, well I say that, I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think so, but he had been acting odd for a while and then just took off”

“How do you mean?”

“Well he was there in the evening and I got up the next morning and he had gone, no note, no goodbye, nothing”

“Any ideas where he may have gone?”

“Well I thought he had gone to our place in France”

“Where abouts”

“Near Cahors”

“And”

“So far nothing. I tried ring him on his mobile and on the landline plus email, but that got no response, nothing”

“What about friends and family?”

“No, I tried that but nobody has seen hide nor hair of him”

“Very odd indeed” I agreed

“Well done Inspector Morse” She said with good humour. “It is odd”

“Well you know it is funny you should mention Inspector Morse, because I remember him saying to Sergeant Lewis “People just don’t disappear Lewis, they have to go somewhere” and I have always kept that in mind, he has to be somewhere and somebody knows where he is, all we have to do is find him.

“That simple?” she said

“Well simple might be putting it a bit strongly”

“So where do you think he is then?”

“I have absolutely no idea at the moment, but people usually leave some trail, it is just a question of finding it and then following it”

“Is  everything in your life so simple?”

I looked at the plush surroundings of the restaurant and the murmur of conversation and felt that satisfying flush of lunchtime wine and having eaten well, it seemed so unreal when only a few days earlier I had been under the baking sun hot, tired, thirsty and hungry.

I shut my eyes I could almost hear the flies and the sounds of the dying children and the human desperation that war brings.

I opened my eyes and looked at her

“I wish”

Happy New Year – I Think

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy, healthy and safe New Year.

I ended 2008 by being told by my bank that I was dead yet again.  I am beginning to wonder if they know something I don’t.  Although I have to say if this is being dead I feeling pretty good on it!

Well only three days in and 2009 looks as if it is going to be busy and I will be spending more of my time working from my place in France rather than the UK.  I have been toying with the idea of moving full time for the last 18 months, and although I have still not made the decision to totally up sticks there are a number of things pushing me in this direction

First and foremost I like France and the French and how they do things, plus the French don’t keep telling me I have died, which is reassuring.

Every month we do at least two days field and weapons training and we do this in France over there because we cannot do it here.  As it happens we have quite a few jobs on the go  in Europe at the moment and quite a bit in France itself so it is just seems easier to be there from that point of view

Last but by no means not least, I understand my own country and countrymen less and less and do not like what I see or hear anymore.

I am not saying things in France are perfect- especially with the exchange rate as it is, but from the time I have spent there they are a little more realistic and in touch with what is what.

To be fair a lot of the fault in not being in tune with modern life in Britain is down to me and having spent such long periods away so that I have been out of touch plus I am getting older.  Things have moved on and I haven’t.  The over riding thing is that we as a nation seem to have lost grip on reality, what is important and right and wrong.  The other day hundreds of people were being bombed in Gaza and the leading news article was some footballer being arrested for assault.

I know I am not alone in some of these views but I hear everyone blaming foreigners for the woes of the country, but it is us who have allowed this to happen not them, we have to accept responsibility for our actions or inactions.

Actually I don’t because I haven’t been here, but you lot do!

Somebody does something wrong and they don’t take responsibility for their actions, instead they look to blame somebody else or for technicality to get them off.

I will give you a couple of examples.

If your football team losses or your budgie dies everyone is devastated.  Hiroshima was devastated not Mrs Jones over Bluey.

All to often we hear that somebody goes out for the night and leaves their  small children unattended and something bad happens to one or all of the kids. We all know that those adults have abandoned those kids and have failed them and broken the law.  It is terrible thing when these incident occur, and surely such things should be investigated in the same impartial way no matter who you are, but that is just not the case, because in our country these incidents are treated very differently depending on who or what you are.

For the family on benefits,  the boys in blue are onto them like a rash.  Mum and dad or  boyfriends get nicked sent to court and banged up and made to pay the price for their wrong doing.  In any event the other kids if there are any get taken straight into care, job done.  However for the Middle class professional family it is very different, the parents don’t get nicked or the kids whisked into care.  The family might immediately appoint a professional spokesperson , are supported by all sorts of people, maybe even the home secretary, launch an expensive appeal get the public to give them loads of money, get to see the pope (I have to say the pontif has never been much help on any of the jobs we have done) light candles etc.

So why is it your fault and an offensive to abandon your kids if you are unemployed and down the pub getting pissed but not if you are earning 100K + and eating at a fancy restaurant and and getting wazzed on Chateau du Chateaulay?

I dunno.

Recently a bloke was filmed getting a whack from a police officer whilst being arrested.  I don’t want to comment on the rights or wrongs of the officers actions, but the alleged victim of this bwutal assault by Mr Plod was a soldier who had recently returned from Afghanistan.  He said that whilst being arrested and getting said slap he “feared for his life”.

What?  He feared for his life whilst getting a bit of slap from Mr Plod!  Sorry son, but do my a favour,  if that made you fear for your life, you need to rethink your choice of job.  I don’t suppose it has occurred to this donkey that maybe if he hadn’t been pissed, gobby and a right pain in the arse in the first place he wouldn’t have got a slap.  I am not condoning police violence but having dealt with lots of soldiers who have fallen foul of the law when on leave I have to side with the police.  If they weren’t tucked up dealing with knob heads they could be doing other more useful things like sorting out bent MPs who were leaking documents to journalists- just my little joke.

On New Years Day I was invited to a lunch/ buffet organized by my brother in law – dead sisters husband.   He is a bit of a gullible drip in my book, a typical business lacy, jobs worth. I understand he speaks highly of me as well.  Actually we get on OK most of the time because we are such different personalities.

Anyway, the food was good and there was an interesting mix of people there, but there was a knot of fifty somethings bemoaning “Gordons” Birtain and the nanny state and the fact that the health and safety brigade and Johnny foreigner were ruining life for all and sundry.  One of the most vocal people was a rather overweight lady stuffing her face with nosh and getting well stuck into the G&T who had her left leg in plaster.

The conversation eventually got round to what she had done to her leg.  It transpired she had been on a team building week  to some, place in Welsh Wales and had fallen whilst abseiling or climbing.  She immediately told the group that she was suing because certain Health and safety procedures had not been followed.

The assembled grey hairs gave a a chorus of ” good for you”

I have to be honest and say that having looked at her I wouldn’t have let he slide up and down on my rope and asked what had gone wrong.  I was expecting to hear that there was an issue over bad kit, poor instruction or something like that.  No, apparently it was on a technicality, in that there was supposed to be some notice or some such thing on display and each participant should have had a leaflet saying X, Y and Z.  It really had nothing what so ever to do with the actual event.  I asked what actually happened and it emerged that this woman was just too fat and unfit to abseil 20 feet down a rope- I was right then.

When pushed- by me that is, not off the cliff -she actually said that one of the instructors had said he didn’t think she should do it.  He even had the audacity to say she was too overweight and not fit enough. So guess what? Her legal team are also suing him for “attempting to discriminate against her and in doing so making inappropriate, offensive and disparaging remarks of a highly personal nature which caused her distress” even though he was clearly right!

Distress I would have given her distress.

I couldn’t quite get to grips and thought I must have missed something with all this and actually had to ask her “He told you he didn’t think you should do it because it could be dangerous and yet you ignored his advice, did it anyway, got hurt and now think it is his fault because there wasn’t some sign up somewhere”  she thought for a moment and then said “Yes I suppose you could put it that way” The group nodded and then a grey haired trendy said “bloody cheek, what was he thinking of, who did he think he was”  “yah yah” went the assembled croup of middle aged dick heads, they could not see that she was in the wrong not the instructor.

Now then, You know sometime you wan to say one thing and another comes out, for example you might want to say “Typical Manchester weather” but instead it comes out as “Tickle my arse with a feather” well I thought I was going to say ” I am so sorry to hear of your misfortune madam and I wish you a speedy recovery and all the success in you litigation”, but instead it came out as “Sadly it’s probably due to your fat arse breaking your fall that you only hurt your leg and didn’t break your piss taking neck”.

The group were aghast and the trendy bloke said “How dare you, could you be any more abusive and offensive?”

“Oh yes he could ” chipped in  L who had just joined the group and was guidig me away gently by the arm”without any problem at all”

I was thinking of making a move towards home anyway.

Wherever that is.

Bonne annèe