Well, its been a busy couple of weeks off the bike. Lots of travelling and things to do.
January 26th – Out with the Old
Today was a trip up to our York office for a legal training session provided to HMCPSI and the Northern Lawyers Network. The training was delivered by Andrew Keogh who runs Crime Line which is an invaluable update service for lawyers in relation to criminal law matters. It was not the usual training session where the lecturers blasts through important cases in the last 12 months at break neck speed. Andrew provided an interesting insight into how the cases and changes in Legal Aid law affect the bigger picture. It ended with a rousing remark about how passion is needed to prosecute or defend cases successfully.
The afternoon would normally be a train ride back to London, but this would be the last time the office was together before our Deputy Chief Inspector (SH) left. She is based in the York office, so there was a rather painful lunchtime get together when the Chief Inspector said a public farewell to her.
Painful as he just read out a speech written for him by another member of staff
Painful as he put no warmth into his speech
Painful as he paid no public personal thanks to the DCI
Painful as he was the sole cause of the DCI leaving
Still, that evening we went out in York for an early evening meal with the DCI, all the inspectors , the York administration team and some recent former members of staff, including the former Chief Inspector (SW) who set up HMCPSI and ran it for many years before retiring in 2010.
SH kindly paid for all the drinks both before the meal and afterwards. It was I have to say a very good evening with people able to relax and enjoy themselves knowing the “cuckoo in the nest” was not there at the function. SW gave a valedictory speech to SH. This was the sort of speech the CI should have made. It was delivered with warmth and passion and paid tribute to SH for the undoubted hard work she has done for HMCPSI. The meal had been chosen by SH and was excellent. I’d give the restaurant a name check if I could remember its name!
Sadly the London based inspectors had to leave early for the train back to London. This in itself was rather a lively journey as the usually staid inspectors were fortified by the alcohol from earlier. It was good to see people in a more informal state than normal and was a good team building exercise.
BTW – the night out was not paid for out of the public purse, so no story here Daily Mail – sorry.
January 27th – Not quite Madness
Well after last night’s late arrival back home (midnight!), I didn’t cycle to work and took the luxury of public transport to work. I did however leave work early as I had to get the train to Newcastle to see Michelle. However, it was not just a train trip to see Michelle as we were going to the theatre tonight.
“The theatre” I hear you say “Is it pantomime season?”
“Oh no it’s not”
No, it wasn’t a pantomime, it was a trip to the Tyne Theatre in Newcastle to see SUGG’S MY LIFE STORY IN WORDS AND MUSIC. This was exactly what it said on the tin. It was Suggs the lead singer of Madness telling the story of his life whilst telling of his attempts to find the father who he thought had died when he was 3 years old.
Although Michelle had purchased the tickets only a week or so before the event, we had the best seats in the house- front row, adjacent to the centre aisle.
On stage was just Suggs, a chair, a piano and a pianist. Suggs is a consummate entertainer. He performed a routine that puts many so-called comedians to shame. He has the timing of a good comic, and the ability to play an audience. The night was a positive pleasure and I recommend it the night to anyone who was into Madness, Two Tone or Ska in the 1980s. In particular, his take offs on The Specials and Jerry Dammers was good.
Great choice Michelle – getting the tickets I mean, not choosing me, although that too was one of your better choices.
January 28th – Happy Birthday Ma’am (belated greetings)
Today was a family get together for my mother’s birthday the previous evening. My parents, my sister, her partner, my brother, my son Tom, Michelle, Josh and I met at my sister’s house before heading to the Red Lion Pub in Plasworth for a meal. It’s a pub convenient for all of us, and does fantastic food. The quality of the food never ceases to amaze.
It was a good meal and good company. A thoroughly enjoyable time had by all. Hope you enjoyed it mum.
February 1st & 2nd – Looking for Lorraine Chase
Wednesday and Thursday saw me at that most beautiful of locations – Luton [can take tongue out of cheek now!]. I was there to observe a trial involving a Disability Hate Crime as part of my work. As I type this blog, I do not know the outcome of the trial. It may well be the defendant was acquitted, but what is heartening is that the criminal justice system treated the complaint of someone with mental health issues seriously and the case reached a trial. Sadly, in the past such cases would not be prosecuted, even if they had been investigated. This change has to be a positive, except for those who target disabled people for criminal purposes.
Looking for Lorraine Chase?
February 3rd – Driving in My Car
No, not a Madness gig, although I have this week booked to see Madness at Doncaster Racecourse on 30th June. Today, after work, I drove up to Michelle’s . yes, I set off at around 19:30 to drive the 290 miles to Michelle’s house. Come to think of it, it’s not driving in my car, its more a case of “It Must Be Love.” Fortunately the traffic wasn’t too heavy, but my right foot was”! A brief stop for fuel was all I need and I managed to get to Michelle’s whilst it was still Friday night. Hopefully no speeding tickets are in the post.
February 4th – Happy Birthday Monty
The weather took a turn for the worse today, but even the snow was not going to stop us from going to Berwick for Monty’s 50th birthday bash in Berwick-upon-Tweed. (not least because I had booked and paid for a hotel in Berwick). Now before I go much further, I need to quash the rumour that Berwick is still at war with Russia. Apparently a “peace treaty” was signed in 1966 ending the 213 year “war”
Anyway, Monty is a good friend from many years of watching Newcastle United and he arranged a bash at his local football club. It was a great reunion of Toon lads from years gone by, with people travelling from all over, including Spain, Cyprus and various other locations. It was great to see so many familiar faces and some that have changed rather a lot. A great night was had by all and not a hint of any trouble. It’s hard to reconcile that so many of those there were once ( in some cases still are) classed as “risk supporters” by Northumbria Police. So many so-called risk supporters in one place and not a hint of trouble! Says a lot about the so-called football intelligence unit at Northumbria Police.
Anyway, a great night was had by all. Lots of alcohol was drunk and lots of laughs and tales told. It was funny when Michelle was telling one of the lads where she was from and he said he knew 2 lads from there, R &P. His face when Michelle said R was her (ex) husband and P her brother-in-law. It was even funnier when he was told Michelle and I were a couple now.
Now, I know I said a lot of alcohol was drunk, possibly 4 bottles of wine by Michelle alone! I am sure this had nothing to do with her falling over in the street near our hotel. It clearly was not the heels on her shoes as these were in her pocket at that stage & she was wearing pumps!
Pizza in bed to round off the night for Michelle
February 5th – The morning after – well the whole day after the night before
Waking up in the hotel in Berwick, we managed to surprise ourselves and made it down to breakfast. Indeed e were checked out of the hotel by 10am and took the coastal route back to the Tyne Valley, going via Bamburgh, Seahouses, Craster and numerous other places. Passing Amble we stopped for the obligatory chips and a stroll around the breakwater.
I have to report that yesterday has taken its toll on one of us. I’m feeling good and was drinking wine at the meal table and not falling asleep in my food or on the sofa. Obviously being a gentleman I will not name and shame the young lady struggling to cope with last night’s alcohol and lack of sleep.
She did manage to rouse herself long enough to eat the Sunday dinner her mother had lovingly prepared. Thanks Mrs G, another great meal and more than your daughter would have been capable of managing today.
Now I must report one other thing that happened today. Michelle has 2 dogs, the eldest one is 5 years old and barks like mad when anyone comes to the door. This afternoon we were watching TV when the doorbell rang on the TV. Charlie ( the dog) ran barking to the front door and was jumping up at the same. What is wrong with that you ask? Well Michelle does not have a doorbell and has never had one in all the time she has Charlie. Quite why the dog thinks Michelle has acquired a doorbell is not clear.
As I type this, it’s a scene of domestic bliss here: the dogs & Michelle are snoring in front of the TV! Wild at Heart is so good isn’t it?
Still another win today for Newcastle and goals for Demba 1 & Demba 2 on the latter’s debut. Still 5th in the Premiership and 9 points ahead of the SMBs. More importantly the Toon finally passed through the 40 point safety target and are now theoretically safe from relegation this season.