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Memoirs From A Picket Line – Part Three

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The second episode of any note found me billeted at an Army Camp somewhere on the outskirts of Grantham.

Prince William of Gloucester Barracks, Grantham
Prince William of Gloucester Barracks, Grantham
As far as I can remember we didn’t see a single striking miner for the entire duration of our week stay.  We thought that we were going to be in for a boring week.  How wrong were we.

Having finished our first, completely uneventful day on the picket line we collectively decided to give the NAAFI a swerve and find a local hostelry.

We settled on a pub, the name of which escapes me, but I remember it being at the bottom of a steep hill.  This was OK going, it was literally all downhill.  The problem came at chucking out time, a few pints the worse, and faced with a steep climb back up the hill to bed.

Some made the climb, some phoned for a cab, but we all got back before the witching hour, in time to get a few hours sleep before breakfast, and the start of boring Day Two.

Just as we were thinking that the highlight of our day was going to be the decision how many sausages to have with breakfast life unexpectedly got a whole load more interesting.

A Chief Inspector in full uniform burst into the feeding hall and interrupted our breakfast. “Listen up you lot, this is important”. That grabbed our attention.  Then amidst flecks of foam from his frothing mouth he proceeded to tell us how someone had stolen a car from the pub car park and crashed it outside the gates of the Army Camp. It was obviously one of you Met a Boys so was it? “Come on, own up, or else”. Not a word, deathly silence.

Our hero tried again, a bit more agitated this time, but the result was the same, stunned, stony silence.

“If nobody is going to own up then I have no alternative but to confine you to camp except for when you’re at the pit” “no buggering off down to the pub, you’re all grounded”.  He seemed genuinely taken aback at the rapturous applause and cheering this last pronouncement invoked.  He was last seen shuffling away shaking his head.

Not to be completely had over we just reverted to Plan A, drank in the NAAFI and didn’t go out. On a personal level it didn’t bother me at all. A drink is just a  drink after all.  Work, NAAFI, sleep was how the rest of the week went, until our final day when once again breakfast was interrupted by a local officer, a very sheepish looking Sergeant this time.  He had been sent by Chief Inspector Arsehole, who was apparently too busy to come himself, to tell us the fingerprint examination of the crashed vehicle had been done and a local car thief identified and arrested, so it wasn’t one of you at all.
We knew this, didn’t need telling.

We ended the week happy, Chief Inspector Arsehole was clearly too busy to be embarrassed.  We returned to London smiling, without a stain on our characters. Not everybody in the Met is a car thief guv.

To be continued………….


It has been suggested to me that the pub in question might have been The Black Dog.  Any ideas?

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