Further to yesterday's post, I thought I would tell you about the local constabulary.
There was one Policeman stationed in the Village, & he lived locally, in a house behind the Police Station, with his young wife, & 3 children.
He was a tall well liked young man, who coached the local under 18 Rugby team. And there were some very tall burly well built young lads, who liked a beer or 3. And the Policeman was realistic. He told us on the quiet, he knew the lads would drink, although they were underage. And he knew we ran a tidy Hotel, & would look out for the boys, ensuring they didn't get too drunk or were taken care of by their mates.
I have known HYPH run several home, on occasions, to make sure they did get safely home. And the Policeman, I will call him PC Dave, felt it in the interests of the community to keep the boy safe, rather than have them going off into the City, & killing themselves on the drive home, on the long country roads.
PC Dave came into the bar one evening, & caught several of the young lads sneaking out the back door. I heard him telling them, that he always wore his hat when he came into the Hotel, & he always entered via the Bottle Shop entrance, & he was sure that in his hat, he stood 7 ft tall, & those boys would be guaranteed to see him, long before he saw them, & he never wanted to catch one of them in the Hotel again. And so it worked, the boys would duck out the minute they saw Dave's hat.
He was a very fair Policeman. He quickly earned the reputation of a fair & reasonable man, within the district. On his nights off, he would often go to the Country Club, & someone was always sure to ring us to let us know, "Dave is off duty".
As it was customary for Country Hotels to do 'afterhours' we would know that Dave would not be coming snooping unexpectedly. Though we did get a call or two from him, asking that we made sure the heavy drapes were well closed, so as not to stir the nit pickers in the community.
Now there came to the District a Traffic Officer. The Traffic Department were quite apart from the Police Department, in those days. And they were not alway friendly 'rivals' in their enforcement of the law.
The Locals would always test a newcomer out very thoroughly before they took him to their hearts. And they would respect a person, if they thought they were fair decent & honest. And their loyalty was rock solid.
Now Officer Slime as I will call him began his time locally, by making himself well known at the Country Club, & ingratiating himself with the local regulars there. Which started out seemingly ok. But, he began to appear to drink heartily with the locals, & then he would lie in wait for them, & nab them as they left the Club, perhaps a drink or two 'over the limit'.
So, Officer Slime was to taught a lesson, on country manners. He lived alone, in a house on a property which was on a farm. There was no road gate to the drive up to the house, but one of those 'Cattle Stops' was at the entrance.
For those who dont know 'rural' a Cattle Stop is a pit dug quite deeply with a grid of iron placed over the pit, & it prevents animals from crossing, as they fear the open pit below the rails, but vehicles can use it as a normal roadway.
So one night when Officer Slime was in bed asleep - well the lights were out. Some of the young locals, roared into the driveway, & proceeded to do wheelies, chewing up huge chunks of turf in the home paddock, loudly honking their horn. They then roared off & out, down the driveway.
Of course Officer Slime leapt into the Department car & came screaming down the drive. Wrecking the car completely, as he drove straight into the deep pit, from which the Grill had mysterioulsy disappeared.
And, somehow the persons responsible were never found. And Officer Slime was posted to another area entirely. And the whole village chuckled loudly & long at each re-telling of the wonderful lesson taught to Officer Slime.
And for reasons known only to the Traffic Department, there was never another Traffic Officer posted to the area.
On occasion, the Police would come over from the nearest neighbouring larger Police Station. On those occasions they would pay us a visit & if we didnt have a permit for a late license night, we would be admonished. As there was not trouble, we didnt see them very often, & PC Dave would be almost apologetic. One night he did a quick check of the Beer Garden. He opened the doors, looked out, walked around the silent statues facing the fence, came back inside, & said quietly to me. "Meggie there seem to be some lost souls studying your fence out there. Perhaps they have lost their way?" He grinned & was off & away.
We did have a lot of troubles with the students, one way & another. They could be so mindlessly destructive when they got drinking. They would bend the chair legs, smash the light bulbs. Just foolish behaviour.
But they once stole a huge earth moving machine belonging to the Council, & drove it up the steps to the College, & smashed all the glass doors & windows. And finally the Dean was stirred into action, to try to control the young horrors. No wonder their father's sent them off to College. It was a year to get some wisdom.
Norah Jones, Anything she sings!