The architecture around
Royal Leamington Spa is gorgeous. Well…bits of it are. Some of it sucks, but you get the picture. Edwardian, Georgian, Victorian. The buildings are lovely and today while enjoying the delights of the hottest March 27th on record, I cycled around town and snapped photos of various places to show to my friends beyond passport control.
While snapping a few at the junction of Church Hill and
Regent Street a guy walks past with a toddler. Toddler is pushing a doll’s pushchair along and the guy smiles and says “lovely buildings round here”.
I recognise both him and his daughter. Saw them in the library months ago when I was on the dole and using the free Internet to scour the local job vacancies. The little girl is one of the cutest kids I’ve ever seen. Tiny, with big brown eyes, a permanent smile and always wearing red shoes.
I smile and say to the the dad, “little red shoes” pointing to his kid.
He looks confused for a second and smiles then goes “ah, today she is yeah”.
“No, no. I met you two a while back in the Pump Room library. We had a brief chat. Your daughter brightened up my day when I was on Benefits”.
He smiles again. “Ah yes, I remember.” He extends his hand and introduces himself.
The daughter is staring at me, big brown eyes sizing me up. She smiles and looks at her dad. “Daddy, itsaman.”
“Yes it is, very well observed,” he replies laughing.
“Man got a hat on”.
“Yes he has,” he turns back to me. “She’s obsessed with hats. Won’t wear one herself but fascinated with other people wearing them”.
He tells me her name’s Sky and I wave to her. “Hello Sky.”
She smiles and waves back then takes a stuffed sheep toy from her pushchair and proudly holds it up.
“Mr Sheepman wannasay hello,” she says, waving the toy’s front legs at me.
I can’t help giggling and smile at her then ask her dad. “How old is she? 2?”
“Two years, three months. Loves sheep but also obsessed with monkeys. Wants to be one ever since we watched a nature documentary with her”.
“There are worse things to aspire to be.”
I get him to take a photo of me and my cycle with
Regent Street behind me and thank him.
“Bye Sky” I say. She waves again, smiling and waves the sheep’s legs at me again.
“Mista Sheepman wanna say goodbye tu” she says grinning.
I laugh, my day and possibly whole week now made much better.
Her dad smiles again. “Think Mr Sheepman needs to go home and have a nap now.”
“Very crafty, have to remember that one” I say. We shake hands and I cycle off.
“Man had a hat on,” I hear as I pedal off.
I stop not far up and take a photo of the building on the corner of Milverton Hill and
Warwick New Road. Just as I’m doing so I see two Indian lads, teenagers possibly. One gives the other a leg up over the spiked fence outside the house and then follows him over. They disappear round the back.
Karma now transmogrifying from kiddy enhanced fluffiness to one of annoyance and anger. This area is posh and then some. Hit every week by burglars.
I phone 999.
While talking to the operator she asks me for a full description and about 4 minutes later two response vehicles skid to a stop. The double crewed car’s doors open and the Bobbies sprint to the wall. The male cop vaults over it and and they are followed by a single crewed, Tazer adorned female cop. Then a fourth cop runs up from round the corner. All pile over the walls and fences and scurry off searching for ne’er do wells.
I tell the operator they are on scene, hang up and wait near the vehicles.
After a couple of minutes the two female officers come back. “What did you see?” one asks. I tell her and give my description again. She thanks me and I cycle off towards
. I’m about 50 yards down the road when I see the two lads. Warwick
I stop the bike. “You been in that house at the end?” I ask.
The taller one looks nervous but shakes his head and goes “no”.
The other looks at the cops further up and quietly goes “shit!”
I cycle back. “Those two behind me.”
Lads are quickly surrounded. Male officer asks me to wait. Taller lad glares at me while answering their questions.
Neither know where they live. Youngest is 12. “So why isn’t he in school?” one female officer asks incredulously.
“Dunno,” his brother says sullenly.
“What were you doing in that house?”
“Weren’t in that house. We were looking for my other brother.”
“What’s his name?”
They are superficially searched and nothing is amiss. One claims he lives in
Wolverhampton but doesn’t know what his address is. The other Walsall but doesn’t know where he lives either.
The female cop snaps “I think you’re both lying to me and I don’t like being lied to. What were you doing in that property?”
“We didn’t go in there” the taller lad snaps, again glaring at me and trying to stare me out.
I glare back and say loudly “don’t lie to me either. I’m ex police and I’ve got a photo of you climbing the fence”.
The lad looks momentarily shocked, recovers and says “I don’t care if you’re ex police or who you are.”
The female officer says “did you go in the property? And less of the attitude”
He pauses, then. “Yeah, my brother did”.
“BOTH of you did,” I correct him, “I saw you shove him over the fence and then follow him over. Wanna see the photo?”
“Alright, both of us but I didn’t know it was private property. I was looking for my brother” he sullenly protests.
“Whose name you don’t remember!” the cop angrily snaps back.
“So what does that sign say?” the other female cop snaps pointing to the large “PRIVATE” sign behind me.
“Well…there wasn’t one of them round the other side,” the lad protests, desperate not to have to simply admit he was in the wrong.
“Where’s your mum?”
“Council offices down there,” he says pointing down the road. He calls a number on his mobile and hands one of the male cops the phone. As the cop takes it he adds “but she can’t speak English”.
The cops glares at him and ends the call without talking. “So what use is THAT then? What does she speak?”
“I can’t speak Punjabi. You’re both wasting our time and lying to us. Not sure what about yet but you’re not being straight with us.”
The fourth cop then says “what’s your mum’s name? Patel? Right so if I walk into that office and shout ‘Mrs Patel’ she’ll stand up right?”
“I guess so.”
Cop marches off to the council block. The tazer officer walks over to me. “Thank you. Can I have your name and number. We’ll call you if we need any more.”
I give them to her. She smiles. “Thank you. This area is getting slammed by burglars lately”.