Tuesday, 27 November 2012

In the deep end


Here is another of the sketches I did at the weekend. You can clearly see the construction lines in the picture. The square was at a slight angle to allow for the slight tilt of the head. The only time the full width of the square was covered was at the bottom where the hair took it up.

I was asked today for some details by a young lady in Canada who is doing a project on my art work. I got to thinking about my earlier years. Its funny how first times stick in your mind or make an impression. (No, I think you may be getting ahead of yourself!).

During my first week as a policeman I was sent for familiarisation. Basically this involved going to different offices and places to see what the police did. I think it was really a way of using up a few days time, and giving the training sergeant a break.

 I was sent to Washwood Heath Police Station. Getting there was fine the bus was free for police officers in uniform or near uniform. I think conductors were glad to have you on board. To be honest there was hardly any trouble on a bus other than late at night.
Anyway 9am one morning I arrived at Washwood Heath Police Station. I had never been in a police station before, fortunately. There were a great many police stations dating back to the mid nineteenth century in Birmingham and they were all pretty much the same. When entering the charge office as it was called you were immediately met by a large polished wooden counter. Behind the counter was the office a highly polished floor and a coal fire heating the room. Behind this counter I met the master of the office the Station Sergeant.
Now there were two fundamental errors that you could make in the charge office.

1. As a member of the public it was generally accepted that it was mistake to complain about the police or be in any way disrespectful. This was likely to result being pulled over the counter and charged with being disorderly in a police station (a local bye law). This tended to keep complaints to a minimum.

2. An offence considered just as serious by the Station Sergeant was walking across his floor with dirty boots. I fortunately on that first day was as immaculate as I was ever going to be.

 I told the Sergeant who I was.
 He looked me up and down and said,
"Good I can go for my breakfast now."
I looked around in bewilderment at the machine in the corner ticking out tape with little holes in it and a radio giving garbled messages. "But what do I do Serge?"
"Call me Sergeant and don't let the bloody fire go out."
With that he pulled on his coat and left me "in charge" of my own police station.
I survived somehow, and  I kept the fire banked up.


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