Saturday, 17 December 2011

The Nightwatch



The painting above of the Nightwatch is my take on the painting by Rembrandt. Anyway the painting sold last year but is appropriate to the post.

When I first joined the Police in…well a long time ago I was first posted to Cotteridge, incidentally the police station is now long gone. You were “paraded” 15 minutes before your shift stood to attention showed your appointments (truncheon, pocketbook, whistle), were then briefed issued with a radio (yes they had them then) and left the station. On nights that meant being out of the station at 10pm and apart from 45 minutes to come in for food break you stayed out until 6am.

My beat was Northfield a 2-mile walk to get there. Other than closed shops and houses there was nothing on the beat so it meant walking around for seven and a quarter hours in whatever the weather.

One night it was so cold I sat on a bench in a bus shelter with my helmet pulled down and my hands and knees inside my cape. I finally woke up feeling very cramped and heard voices. I found I had been joined by workers going to Longbridge Car Factory for the early shift. I was cramped on the bench pushed into the corner of the bus shelter. I looked at my watch and saw it was 5.55am and I had to book off at 6am. I fell off the bench as my legs were cramped and didn’t work and found myself in a heap on the floor much to the amusement of the gathered workers. I gathered my helmet in my hand got up and ran back to the station, cold and frost covered. I bet the citizens of Northfield would have slept soundly in their beds knowing I was looking after them!

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