A very funny clip of someone I can identify with...
It's Canada so it must be snowy, right? Well not quite - we live in a temperate (in fact the most temperate) region of this enormous country and snow is somewhat unusual, especially before the official start of winter. We can usually expect about 20 days of snow on the ground throughout the winter, but a white xmas is not usually expected. So this week's dumping of the white cold stuff has been fun for the dogs, and I thought I would make a record of today's outing and share some of it with you.
The pooches are currently growing their full coats, and the low temperatures will no doubt help that along. It seems like we have been dealing with them moulting/shedding for months now, so it will be a relief when that finally stops and the vacuum doesn't have to work quite so hard.
Today's walk was along a local logging road and trail, somewhere we use on many weekends because it's so quiet and we can allow the lads to run and run to their hearts' content.
Here we go:
I'm not sure how this will go...but I am going to metaphorically jump in with at least one toe...I'm going to step away from the doggy theme here for once (yes I know it's not exactly the most doggy dog blog out there but it's mine and it's honestly a bit like me)...without much ado I would like to share with you the opening page or two of a book I am writing about a short period of my life - the period of time when I became a British Bobby. Please read on:
Memoirs of an ordinary man in a
Chapter one: Destiny?
know the feeling? That hideous sensation of warm, thick glutinous lumpy liquid landing on your back… If you’re a
parent or anyone else who has comforted a sickly baby on your shoulder, you’ll know what I mean – the moment when your little darling brings up his or her last meal onto your shoulder along with a resounding belch – one of those ‘it comes with the territory’
moments. In such a situation, one generally grits one's teeth and deals with the situation sensitively...except on this night I wasn’t a
parent, in fact there were no babies in sight, and this abso-bloody-lutely, definitely did NOT come with this particular territory!
That particular moment stands out in my memory as the point at which I realized with a firm conviction that I very much needed to be doing something different with my life, and very soon. The moment that my hopelessly drunk branch manager, sitting behind me in a Peugeot 505 (three rows of seats) taxi, threw up over my one and only suit - that was my epiphany. Hardly a road to Damascus situation
but at the tender age of eighteen, a stinking wet jacket at 12.30am on December 14th 1983 in the back of a ‘Triple A’ taxi in Chester would have to do.
Two months earlier, with mediocre ‘A’level and ‘O’ level
results to spur me on, I had taken my first job as a trainee insurance
inspector in the proud city of Liverpool. It would be disingenuous of me to imply that insurance was my first calling - in fact what nobody in the office knew was that I had already embarked upon a road that would take me to a world of experiences I would never have imagined - yet here was I in my ill-fitting grey pinstripe suit (obviously cursed), a fully paid-up and very junior member of the rat race. I was part of the way of life I had declared never to join, with only a glimmer of hope to keep my dreams alive. And now, following a celebration of our branch achievements (all of which had taken place before my
arrival) and in the back of a taxi with 20 miles still to travel before I
arrived home, my boss had unceremoniously and extensively - if not generously - deposited the contents of his not inconsiderable stomach upon me. What the hell was going on? Was this really the
way the world was? Enough was bloody well enough. With all the self control my eighteen tender years could muster, I …remained absolutely silent…not a squeak left my lips, I faced the situation in stoic silence and with a deepening sense of disgust – obviously there was no way this man could have my respect from this moment on. Some may suggest I was being unkind but I’m sensitive like that – I have
this strange built-in aversion towards being vomited upon.
I had no way of knowing it, but I was already destined to enjoy a career of unremitting variety, excitement, laughter and fulfillment ( and with its fair share of pavement pizzas). You see, had I but realized it, I was already on the way to becoming a member of Her Majesty’s
It was that intention that had made it possible to even entertain the idea of an ‘office job’, something I had for years sworn that I would never do.
That I would ultimately attempt to join the police service was almost a foregone conclusion – the youngest child of a serving police officer and with my eldest brother already six years into a similar career, my options were limited as far as my father was concerned. With the best of intentions he had expectations of me, and even though I had a sense of being pressured into something I knew little about, I willingly went along with the unspoken plan. Going along with the plan was kind of what you did back then -that or become a punk rocker. This particular plan had been in place for as long as I could remember, cemented by my childhood desire to be just like my dad -manifested in my efforts at the age of nine to impose my authority upon my school friends by ‘arresting’ them based upon my interpretation of the laws of the land. Good grief, even at that age I was an officious and royal pain in the arse!
In the course of a spectacularly mediocre school career I had admittedly achieved little, my efforts being characterized by a distinct lack of a work ethic, and being brutally honest I did just enough to get by, just enough to stay ahead of the main pack. With money tight at home, University was never seriously considered to be an option, and by the time that the end of school loomed large on the horizon, I had, somewhat ruefully, and in the absence of any real ambition to do
anything different, decided that I would try to join the police service as soon as I could. To the very few humanized teachers with whom I came into contact, this appeared to be a severe disappointment.
My grammar school was a rather grandiose relic of the British Empire, a
former boarding-turned-Grammar school (grimly hanging on to the status that the title afforded it) with three centuries of self - proclaimed illustrious history (marked, in chief by the construction of an all-weather sports pitch which enthusiastically flooded during the smallest precipitation event). The teaching staff consisted of two main camps; the traditional public school masters whose idea of appropriate punishment revolved around inflicting immediate and humiliating pain; and the younger, more 'enlightened' group of former hippies
who had evolved into fierce socialists, although curiously many of the hippy crowd also favoured summary torture as a means of enforcing classroom discipline. No doubt it was all very good character-building stuff (aided by the simply ridiculous yet complete absence of the fairer sex from the student population) however it is certain that a certain Mr. Dickens would have recognized the environment.
These hallowed halls had allegedly produced captains of industry, nurtured leaders of our armed forces and given virtual birth to many an athletic prodigy. In fairness, numerous famous names had begun their political or commercial (or indeed sporting) careers at Calday Grange County Grammar School for boys…and now…now to the
abject horror of any member of the teaching staff who cared a hoot, Samolis was going to squander all this tradition and join the police service – or as one of my teachers (a committed socialist teaching economics and politics in a decidedly right wing establishment) supportively phrased it: “Ohhh - you’re going to be one of Thatcher’s boot boys are you?”…The lack of enthusiasm for my noble choice was palpable, but to me it seemed completely natural and equally inevitable - if a little foreboding.
The school authorities had only themselves to blame anyway, appointing me, as they had (and apparently in total ignorance of years of classroom and school yard mischief), a prefect during my
final two years…oh the heady delights of total power! I was
So it was a momentous day when I obtained an application for the Cheshire Constabulary and with some trepidation (after all I had been building up to this moment for a long, long time) filled in the details and answered the questions. Having been brought up on a diet of honesty and integrity, I was unprepared for my mother’s total
panic when it emerged that in my application I had confessed to suffering from a mild allergy to pollen. Disaster! What had I done?! For a few stark and dreary hours it seemed that I had apparently thrown everything away, ruined my life and lost a career, all with one honest yet foolish stroke of the pen. It seemed to my parents at least, that
in defiance of a life of catholic piety and guilt I should in fact have lied and portrayed myself as totally without blemishes of any kind –
essentially the perfect human. However now the damage had been done, and all I could do was wait to be rejected on medical grounds! Obviously in my parent’s eyes the curse of hay-fever was a dreadful weakness and I would be derisively cast from the recruiting pool as a result of my hideous genetic mutation. Needless to say, faith in the power of prayer, the lighting of thousands of candles and the
blessed virgin's intercession was confirmed when I received a letter informing me that the police service would like to get to know me a little better before
they made a decision…a miracle!