Tag Archives: punishment

Vexed! And a Space-Filler Post

The planned post for the day was Scone Chronicles 33, and it actually had scones in it. I had done about 75% of it before I broke to make tea (corned beef hash with red cabbage, in case future researchers wonder what it was). When I looked for my camera to load the pictures after eating, I found that I must have left it at work again. I am quite annoyed with myself.

I am therefore going to write a blog around the recent photos that I have on the other camera. First I will have to check what they are, as I can’t remember what they are.

It’s not looking promising.

There are pictures of the Peace and Tribute medals which I’m going to use for my talk at the Numismatic Society, which is, as yet, amorphous and coming up in four weeks.

There are banknotes from the shop, some modern collectible coins and some “evasions”. Evasions are interesting to students of coins, Georgian history and crime. And Americans. A lot of them were used, and even made, in America until the emerging state got its coinage sorted out. I say “interesting”. If brass, rubbing, train spotting and collecting matchbox labels are interesting…well, you get the picture.

In the eighteenth century there was a shortage of small change for everyday transactions. The gap was filled by tradesmen who issued their own tokens, forgers and makers of evasions, which fill a gap between the two. This is one of ours on eBay. They were made to look worn so they blended in better, so this is actually quite a good example.

An evasion is a coin made to look like a coin, but with some very unsubtle differences – it may have King Alfred or another figure on it, it may be mispelled and it may bear a date on which no coins were minted. It will, however, have a head on the front, looking vaguely king-like, and it will have Britannia or a harp on the back. In other words, it is meant to deceive, but be an obvious fake when examined. And, as an obvious fake, it isn’t legally a forgery.

When you consider that the punishment for forgery was hanging for men, and burning at the stake for women, you cans see that this was an important distinction.

The last woman to be burned at the stake in Britain, was Catherine Murphy, executed in 1789 for coining. Her husband was hanged for coining that same morning. By that time the burning was mainly symbolic as the victims were usually hanged or strangled before the fire was lit. This must have been of small comfort.

Despite popular culture shouting “Burn her, she’s a witch!” the English never burned witches. We hanged them. The last witch burned in Scotland was in 1727. I’m sure that whether they died by hanging or burning, witches must have felt hard done by, seeing as witchcraft didn’t really exist.

The last woman imprisoned for witchcraft in the UK was Helen Duncan, who claimed to have had contact with dead sailors and to know that HMS Barham had been sunk before it was officially announced. She was jailed in 1944 under the provisions of the Witchcraft Act of 1735. This, to be fair, wasn’t a case about witchcraft but about wartime censorship and a fraudulent medium claiming to be in touch with dead servicemen.

They may look like worn out copper discs, but coins can be quite interesting.

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).

 

 

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.