Tag Archives: crime

21 Minutes and some Serious Reflections

I have 21 minutes to post and maintain my target of posting every day. I had gone off on one, writing a difficult post about something I read on LA’s blog. Unfortunately I keep wandering off the point.

Here’s the question – if somebody does something bad (and for the moment I won’t discuss how bad they are, or if they really were bad) do they deserve to be dismissed from their jobs, have honours and awards stripped from them and have record contracts annulled?

Or should we leave it to the public to decide? After the Brexit debacle I’m not sure we should ever leave anything to the public again.

And, if they have been convicted, should they be additionally punished? Do you believe  that the legal system is about revenge or rehabilitation?

I liked Gary Glitter in his 1970s heyday. I still quite like his music, though, like me and Glitter, it hasn’t aged well. These days he is known for much more than his music career.

I also quite liked Rolf Harris. He did some decent songs and he’s a good painter. He has such a likeable persona I actually still find it difficult to dislike him now. Sorry if that makes me appear a bad person, but I am, above all, a simple and a truthful man.

It’s very confusing when a childhood hero becomes a villain. I would still buy a Rolf Harris painting if I was offered one. I mean, I’d be a fool not too, the prices have gone way down and it’s clearly a good time to buy.

However, all joking apart – how much punishment is justified, and, in some of the more recent cases, how much indignation is really justified over an inappropriate tweet or word?

And Again!

Please excuse the plain unadulterated nature of this report. I want to note it down as part of the historic record, but I don’t want to dwell on it.

I turned up to work this morning and was surprised to find (a) a Police car and (b) the owner and his wife with brushes and dustpans.

It seems the burglars came back last night and though they didn’t get much, they did smash more glass.

The boarded up front door lasted only two kicks despite the claims of the boarding up service.

I can’t say any more because I don’t want to prejudice any case that may be brought.

That’s slightly tongue in cheek because the police have given us a number of excuses for not taking any action even though they have a person or persons in mind.

If, however, they had made their escape down a bus lane they would already have a threat of legal action in the post.

When the police wrote to me about my speeding offence they threatened me with a £1,000 fine if I didn’t comply with their procedures. When they wrote a few weeks ago inviting Julia to participate in a jury, they threatened her with a £1,000 fine if she didn’t return the letter as specified.

I have checked but there seems to be no mechanism for us to threaten the police with a £1,000 fine if they don’t do their job.

Now, let me be clear. This isn’t aimed at individual police officers. They have to operate within an environment of budget cuts and under-staffing and they are constrained by a legal system that seems to actively prevent the prosecution and punishment of habitual criminals.

Having said that, when the owner rang 999 on on his way to the shop this morning (the alarm calls his phone) the emergency operator asked him (a) if he was in a car and (b) if he was using hands-free. Burglars are bad, but car drivers, it seems, are worse.

Then we were given a quick course in the registration of CCTV cameras and the Data Protection Act. It seems that someone walking down a public street has the power to object to being filmed. I would have thought that a person walking along a public street could have no expectation of privacy, but there you go. More nonsensical laws aimed at making life difficult for honest people.

I hope that in addition to the afflictions I wished on them yesterday the malefactors also contract a corrosive fungal condition of the dark recesses of their bodies and souls, and a plague of boils would be a nice bonus too.

Sorry – no photos again today. I thought I’d better leave it in case anyone could object in court. (See above regarding prejudicing a case that will, in all reality, never be brought).



Smash and Grab

I was relaxing last night, having had an easy run up to Leeds, and a slightly less easy run back (rain, spray and lorries).

Number One Son is safely in his riverside apartment with half my kitchen equipment (Julia decided I didn’t need things if I hadn’t used them for a few months, though I notice her breadmaker is still here).

Julia was rattling round the kitchen, newly released from jury duty, and all was well with the world. Apart from famine, poverty and the shadow of Armageddon, but I normally manage to ignore that.

Then I get a phone call.

It’s from the owner of the shop.

He had left it till the end of my day off, but was just ringing to warn me the shop was in a bit of a mess after a break in.

A pair of robbers, who I sincerely hope will be afflicted by scabies and erectile dysfunction for the rest of their miserable lives, smashed their way in through two front doors and grabbed (a) the box of 50p pieces and (b) a random selection of coins.

The box of 50p coins probably contains £100 of coins. The random selection contains a rare 50p, and  other coins to a value of about £5,000. We think they were after the 50p rather than the other coins.

Of course, to do this, they had to smash the counters rather than reaching in through to open backs.

Considering all the effort he has put in to expanding the business, this is a real slap in the face.

Much worse than a car rolling away.

Sometimes you wonder why you even bother trying. A lifetime building up and two scrotes with a hammer can cost you thousands in five minutes.

The police have said they will get there as soon as possible.

Life and Times of a Couch Potato

I’ve not covered myself in glory today, as far as work is concerned. Starting with good intentions, I have fallen far short of my ambitions.

Dusk is falling now and I’m watching a documentary about the Durrell family.

I have been struggling to concentrate and have read a few poems from the new edition of Acumen, but little else. The magazine has just been turned down for Arts Council Funding and is starting to raise money for itself.

As someone who has struggled to raise funds for junior sport and people with learning difficulties I am in two minds. I do sympathise with the loss of funding, but I can’t help feeling that poetry isn’t quite as important as kids or people with disabilities.

Much of the day was taken up with a couple of Columbo episodes, including one where Dick van Dyke, in a beard borrowed from a Boer Farmer, performs a murder that could have been solved by a child who had once watched CSI. How times have changed…

Today’s plots revolved around things like telephone answering machines and altering the hands of clocks. There wasn’t a mobile phone in sight, and certainly no mention of DNA.

It was a refreshing change, but also slightly frustrating, as even I seem to know more about the forensics of gunshots than Columbo.

The coin in the featured image is a Dylan Thomas commemorative. I’ve mentioned poetry and I happen to have it stored where it’s available to the blog, so it’s vaguely suitable. Hopefully I’ll soon be back on track with computers, though I’ve made no progress yet.

It’s quite a good likeness, despite looking like he’s standing in a wind tunnel.


And Again!

Sorry about last night. I didn’t have a lot of time between returning home from seeing my Dad and setting off to take Number Two Son to work. In between the two events I ate tea, shouted at TV, lost my sense of humour and realised that I only had fifteen minutes to write a post. I do have a little time after getting back from dropping him off, but it can be a bit touch and go. I will try not to let it happen again.

Unfortunately, the gardens have been attacked again. All the plants that escaped destruction last time have been tipped over, crushing seedlings and losing seeds, including seeds bought by individual members of the group. A lemon tree, which has been growing in a pot for several years has been smashed to pieces, all the drawers searched, screws, nails and tools thrown around and Feathers McGraw has been dismantled again. They also damaged the plastic in the door this time.

The group members are upset, perplexed and annoyed. The police are doing their best. Julia has been preparing a press release, hoping to get some support and possibly donations, but she’s been told not to by her boss, and even banned from putting anything about the attacks on their private Facebook group.

This has put the start of the growing season back by a couple of months. Thank goodness we hadn’t moved the new cacti and succulents down to the gardens.

On the plus side, they sighted Brimstones, Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshells and Hummingbird Hawkmoths.

Hummingbird Hawk Moth

We’ve entered the sighting on the Butterfly Conservation sightings page – there are 84 for the UK this year, and three in the area (Burton, Derby and Ripley), or 85 and four, after ours.

Sorry it’s a poor photo, but it’s the best I have, and I prefer to use my own when I can.

Bad Start

When I dropped Julia off at work we noticed a table on the veranda had been knocked over.

“Must have been windy last night.” I said.

“Or we’ve been burgled.”

They had an attempted break in last week and she can sometimes concentrate on the negative too much.

I, on the other hand, can sometimes be wrong, and I was wrong today.

A person of low moral standards had indeed tried, unsuccessfully, to break in. They have wrecked the door handle, scratched the exterior, left boot prints all over the front and strained the window shutters.

What they didn’t do was gain entry. And if they had have done their haul would have been confined to a selection of second-hand gardening books and used wellingtons.

I imagine the police are looking for a youth of low intelligence and poor upper body strength,. He will be either unemployed or in a low-paid job.

“How,” asked my imaginary assistant, “can you tell that? (Apart from the fact the majority of burglars fall into that category).”

Well, he’s male because he wears big boots. He’s stupid because there’s clearly nothing of value in there. He’s not in a highly paid job, because if he was he’d have access to £10 and he could buy a decent wrecking bar. He has poor upper body strength because anyone with decent strength would have levered the door or shutters within minutes, even using a makeshift tool. And finally he’s youthful because nobody over 40 could lift his legs enough to leave boot prints that high up a wall.

The police, meanwhile, are going to come out and look at the damage.

They say the boot prints are unlikely to be of much value.

This is real life, not CSI – no database of boot prints for us.





Book Review – Wycliffe and Death in a Salubrious Place

Wycliffe and Death in a Salubrious Place

by W J Burley

Orion Books (2016)

Paperback 222 pp  £8.99

ISBN-10: 0752865358

ISBN-13: 978-0752865355

The murder is on the second page, which I always consider an advantage in a crime novel. I’m not keen on the ones where you have to read half a book to get to the action.

It’s an easy read, being well-written and moving on without undue delay. That’s not to say that the plot is simple – it isn’t. There is a satisfying complexity to the plot, which isn’t mirrored in the characters. They are, in the main, simple men and, in the case of the police, all of them seem to smoke pipes.

This, as much as the point on which the plot hinges, indicates that this is one of the earlier books. There is more character development in later books and they also allow women in later. First published in 1973 this is a fourth novel in a series that eventually went to over 20 titles.

The plot point? A local girl, infatuated with a pop star who has retired to the Isles of Scilly, purposely gets pregnant by him in the belief that he will then feel he has to marry her. It’s not a moral dilemma that has worn well over the years, though it’s nice to take a step back in time when things were more innocent.

Good read, well paced and with a challenging plot. I’d recommend it, but as someone said in another review, don’t buy it as you aren’t likely to read it again.

My copy was passed to me by a neighbour, which allows me to feel quite relaxed about the whole thing. If I’d paid full price I may have been more critical.

A day of strange events

It’s been a funny old day.

It started normally, and as I parked to collect a prescription, although I did notice a police car parked by the side of the road. That’s slightly unusual.

I collected the prescription and drew cash from the nearby cash machine, which gave me four £5 notes with my cash. They don’t usually dispense fives, but these are the new plastic ones and I imagine they are trying to get them into circulation quickly.

Then I crossed the road to the jeweller’s to see them about some earrings for Julia, to find them giving statements to the police after fighting off an attempted hold up.

After buying the earrings I drove past a public toilet that appears to have been converted to a coffee shop (though it was closed). The link shows the sale was over a year ago, but I’m sure it was still up for sale last month. Maybe it was a matter of convenience, though there was reportedly no chain. I hope the new buyer is flushed with success.

Then, at the narrow entrance to the supermarket car park I had to take avoiding action as a determined elderly lady insisted on driving the wrong way and using it as an exit.

In the shop I discovered I had won the lottery last week. After buying a ticket for tonight I had sixty pence left. I’m still deciding whether to blow it on partying or invest it for my old age.

Finally arriving at work, I did some paperwork and assembled the wormery for next week (which will be described later) the day became more normal.







Me – sleeping, moaning and changing things

I didn’t sleep well when we were away. Hot room, strange bed, hen party down the corridor…

However, I seem to have missed the last half hour, have a set of red marks on my face from the keyboard and have just had to edit the opening line of this post, which originally read “ro ro ro ro” for the first five and a half lines (I’ve edited it because it lost some of its novelty value after the first inch).

From this I deduce that I’ve got over my difficulty sleeping.

We’ve solved the mystery of the phantom gardeners – it was a local volunteer aided and abetted (not the first time they’ve heard a legal phrase) by the Community Payback Team. If you aren’t familiar with such teams they are the modern equivalent of the chain gang but without chains. Or a work ethic. I’m convinced that the ones who do come to work and rehabilitate themselves would have done anyway, and the ones who don’t want to work aren’t going to benefit from a day in the countryside wrecking a garden. It always seems to me that the difference between the two groups is the family support they get. Anyone can get into trouble – it’s something that can happen when you’re young (and I am making no claims or confessions here), but a supportive family is a big help when lining your life up again.

The volunteer in question has a record of despoiling the garden when left unsupervised and last time the Community Payback Team had a go with power tools they took the tops off all our fig tree cuttings and strimmed the leaves off a bed of leeks. There’s no difference in the result, but it’s a little easier to accept the results of ineptitude rather than malice.

Anyway, as a result of that I’ve come to a decision about blogging. This is supposed to be a blog about our group, though it’s a bit difficult, due to safeguarding legislation. I am therefore going to stop moaning on this one and only talk about the group, growing, sustainability and that sort of stuff. We will be making a few changes after talking to the parents of the group and you will be seeing more of them.

I am, however, not going to give up moaning entirely and intend restarting an old blog for moaning, travel and other things I do. I’m just going over to look at it now. It’s Sherwood Days at sherwooddays.com if you want to potter along and have a look.

I can’t see myself ever blogging 365 days in a year, or doubling my daily word count so we will have to see how it goes. Hope to see some of you over there.