Swansea has a lot to answer for . . .

John Ward
John Ward
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WARD’S WORLD: By John Ward

Being that time of the year, give or take the odd dollop of global warming coming down in bucket loads, I was attempting that process that involves great tenacity, dedicated enthusiasm and copious amounts of time to wander in to bung the kettle on and have a cup of tea, that is called cutting the lawn or if you prefer, grass cutting. It was during a moment of wandering back to the abode to get said kettle on after having done a couple of circuits that a van driver bounded up towards me with his electronic thing in his hand and asked if I was ‘Disa persona ana you leave ‘ere – yes?’ that I replied it was a biga dar ‘No’ from me as in the name was not mine plus also that the one he was looking for, according to the screen of his electronic thing, seemed to use up assorted letters, some more than once, in the alphabet that amounted to eighteen or so depending on how much sunlight (ha.. memories.. sunlight..) was hitting it and viewing it at angles etc. as I pointed out I was less greedy and only used up four letters of the alphabet, and none used twice, but only f-o-u-r of them so quite economical both in ink and speech in the long term.

Then that eagerly awaited “Sherlock Holmes” period then kicked in. ‘Maybee you know wherea I cana find this personer, yes?’ to which I replied once again ‘No’ and I felt I was fast using up my supply of ‘No’s at this rate on just this single transaction.

Undaunted by my feeble response, the unshaven one then went for the Gold Award by asking ‘Maybee youa know wherea disa address his?’ and I thought there is no stopping him, but as he dragged the parcel out from his white van, and we both viewed the address label and I spelt the words and letters out, I suggested he might have better luck as the address, or rather the town, was only a mere nine miles down the road.

It’s at times like this that I realise if a war broke out, Heaven forbid, we could well be safe for a while as the supposed enemy wouldn’t know where we lived so we would have a few days to prepare ourselves, or at least put the kettle on.

It was while this mental agility course was in full swing that, oh how the mind wanders, I remembered another bizarre name and address encounter some years ago.

The (then) Mrs W woke me one morning, early, to say she could hear the door bell chirping away and who could it be? – looking at the bedside clock and seeing it was just gone five o’clock in the morning, I assumed the Avon lady was either keen or lost as we hadn’t seen her in ages. Plan B then. I suggested open the window and see who it was as we slept within a brick or three over the front door and she gently opened it and was greeted with dense fog, lots of, coloured grey and then a voice said: ‘This is the Police! – we advise you to open up’ and the (then) Mrs W said ‘It’s the police!’(?!) my first reaction was I hadn’t ordered any, unless they have taken over the Avon round and keen to get sales going again as in talcum powder in hollow truncheons with the idea of giving a crack over the head bone but you will smell nicer for it afterwards.

So down we went in jimmy jams etc., opened the front door and once inside, the Hi Vis clad equivalent of Ant and the Other One strode in. I was asked my name, date of birth and ‘confirm my address’ (!). I replied that I did not really get into doing quizzes at that hour of the morning. PC Ant replied that it was serious crime I was ‘suspected of being involved in’ to wit the (then) Mrs W looked aghast although in fairness she did other looks as well, depending on the situation in hand. On inquiring as to what heinous crime it was, I was told I ‘should well know’ (?!) so the visit to the bathroom at just gone two o’clock must have been more involved than I gave it credit for.

PC Other One read out from his notebook that I ‘driven my motor vehicle (car) into numerous other vehicles (cars, many of) before coming to a rest in a person’s front garden, while in the process damaging their brick wall, which was not open at the time, and then absconding from the scene of the crime’ and on hearing all this, I thought that visit to the bathroom was indeed more exciting than it appeared and to think I was worried about there being enough bog roll (toilet paper) left on the cardboard holder as my concerns were that there were only five sheets – that is s-h-e-e-t-s - left and not as you may have thought, shots, of paper left. It was only when he said I was the ‘legal registered owner’ of vehicle index number X123 456 that caused this mayhem, which reeked of alcohol I was told as he sniffed around me, that the penny dropped (Exhibit B).

The ‘index number’ (the numbers at the front and back, usually the same but not always..) I knew but I pointed out that I had sold it about a month before to somebody and the documents sent to DVLA Swansea as required to which PC Ant replied: ‘Yes, Sir, they all say that..oh..oh..’

I then motioned I was going into the kitchen and this was greeted by ‘He’s doing a runner!’ as I replied I was in me jim-jams, so hardly plus the backdoor was locked up, with the key in the hallway we were standing in. With PC Other One at my elbow, I furkled through some paperwork in the ‘office (cupboard) and fished some bits out.

I then unfolded said paperwork (Exhibit C). One was a photocopy of the vehicle document (the V5, Exhibit D) with the new owner’s details, written in his own fair hand, copy of the receipt etc. we had both signed and as soon as I read the name out, it seems he was ‘known’ to them as they groaned in unison and pointed out he was ‘bit of a knuckle dragger and a mummy’s boy’ as his mum brought all ‘his toys’ as in cars etc. – he was in his thirties and work shy apparently – so her cheque book would be seeing a bit more action again soon.

So our keen Interseptics apologised, blamed ‘ruddy Swansea again not updating as quick as they should..’ and as I opened the door, it was still foggy, dense, and as they looked at one another, the exchange was priceless. ‘Any idea which end we parked the car then?’ Because they had parked at the end of the road, and walked down it due to the fog, neither could remember which end it was they came from.

As they left, I uttered a ‘Mind how you stumble’ but I didn’t get a Christmas card from either of them that year as I recall.