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A memorable evening

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In his weekly Ward's World column, John Ward recalls an encounter with the police...

I was watching some adverts on the FSW (flat screen wonder) recently when they were interrupted by some play or film thing for about 10 minutes or so but I stopped with it before getting back to the adverts, as the story line or what there was to grab of it had a certain ring to it.

The play or film showed two policemen on somebody’s doorstep with the idea/plot being they had gone to arrest somebody – these being the plot bits of which were there to break the adverts up by the way – so I didn’t stop with it as the fascination of hearing about sale offers on sofas was uppermost in my thoughts.

Columnist John Ward (55619296)
Columnist John Ward (55619296)

I had a similar ‘experience’ to the person in the said play/film some years ago but in my case it was, in theory, very much for real but before your mind goes into cartwheel motions of me being led away in handcuffs, I will set the scene for you but with no adverts in between – sorry about that.

It was a reasonable evening, basically still light as it was getting towards dusk, as I thought I heard something in our back garden, so being reasonably light out I didn’t bother with taking a torch with me.

I had gone but a few steps before I heard a voice behind me say: “I advise you to come quietly, Mr Whoever and let’s not make things more difficult than they already are for you.” At that point I turned to see a policeman with a torch standing there.

Those with a keen eye for detail may have noticed he called me ‘Mr Whoever’ and as my mum, of the people for the people, and dad allowed me to share their surname of Ward from my basic introduction into this world, you might wonder why I was now called Whoever which came as bit of surprise to me too.

Simple enough mistake I suppose as I explained I was not Mr Whoever but my name was Ward to which my very own, newly acquired version of Inspector Jacques Clouseau, as played by Peter Sellers in the Pink Panther films, replied with: “Don’t you give me that old rubbish, Whoever. Don’t think you can fool me!” as next came a clattering of hooves as yet another policeman joined this now increasingly happy throng. I was now blessed with Inspector Cousteau’s assistant and possibly manservant, Cato – in theory – but no, just another constable but as being in the same uniform with assorted hardware about his person: bristling with dangling equipment that ranged from a torch (for use in darkness) to assorted defence sprays (non-perfumed), personal radio, mobile phone, baton (formerly known as a truncheon or ‘insomnia curer’), handcuffs, notebook and pen but no Swiss Army-type knife.

It was with Cato’s appearance on the scene, or our back garden to be precise, that things started to shape up or unravel: Cato told Jacques that he/they were in the wrong location as the house they wanted was around the corner. This was greeted by stunned silence followed by a: “Are you sure?” from Jacques, bless.

Next Cato clarified the situation by explaining I wasn’t Mr Whoever but reassuringly further explained: “He’s that daft sod who does the funnies, innee?” I didn’t know if I felt flattered or was this another dollop of ‘fame’ that I was now to become accustomed to in its raw sense – I can take a hint you know.

While this toing and froing was going on I was trying to get a word in as I had just seen somebody clambering over fences and walls a few houses down and although I didn’t really know Mr Whoever all that much, apart from the occasional ‘How do’ or that sort of greeting in passing, I thought it was him.

Once I did get a word in to point out that I thought, not wishing to interrupt them, that the figure going over the fences and walls was, perhaps, maybe, could be their Mr Whoever they sought. They both looked in the direction I was pointing at, as once the penny dropped.Jacques then said: “Oh, shut!’ as I looked to my left to see he was quite right – our shed door was indeed shut plus had a padlock on it.

For those with a sporting mindset, at this point Mr Whoever was now in the lead, with five or so fences from home being the latest score as I stood there just before those gallant defenders of justice then went into hot pursuit once established where one would go which way in pursuit.

So off they went as then my wife came out to see what the fuss was about as I tried to explain as then Cato came from nowhere all hot and slightly bothered to ask: “Has he been back through this way?” I assumed he meant Mr Whoever – as I replied with an honest: “Not yet.”

From there on we heard no more about the matter although by now half the neighbourhood had heard through the grapevine that ‘something was going on’ as assorted folk wandered round looking for a cat or dog they never owned, then asked us what was going on.

I didn’t know was the truth of the matter but over the next day or so, it became clear or sort of, as it seems that Mr Whoever was due to appear in court the next morning but as he had also been booked to appear a while beforehand for the same alleged crime, but he had cleared off beforehand, then come back shortly afterwards.

He was then issued with another summons/whatever to re-appear but fearing he ‘might do another runner’ as before, it was decided to take him into custody the night before – or so assorted stories went I should say – as I didn’t really want to be involved.

This time he did actually vanish for a few months before eventually being appended and getting his moment in court but this time he went away for a few more months relaxation in a designated holiday and rest centre care of the taxpayer.

From my point of view it was a case of “I’m alright, Jacques.”

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