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Coppers cheat Curly at Royal visit

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Countess of WessexAs part of my daily exercise routine I walked about a mile to Boldon Lane, South Shields this afternoon with the real intention of capturing some pictures for South Shields Daily Photo, my target was Sophie, the Countess of Wessex on her visit to the West Harton Church Action Station. I was aware that she would arrive somewhere between 13.30 and 14.00 so timed my walk acordingly, arriving opposite the Colliery Hotel at 13.15. One could tell that a very quiet security operation was underway, a stout man in a high visibility yellow jacket was diligently emptying all of the waste bins on Boldon Lane, and he had a discreet earpiece in place. Two very smartly dressed tall men in dark suits with silver ties were chatting in the foyer of the Action Station and two uniformed police in ‘high viz’ yellow jackets were placing Police No Waiting cones along the kerb sides. A little old lady was sheltering from the wind in a neighbouring shop doorway tightly grasping her carrier bag of groceries from Liddl, it wasn’t long before one of the ‘suits’ was talking to her and persuading her it was time to walkhome!

I was looking around for signs of press interest, but there didn’t seem to be any, perhaps the local hacks had received special invitations and were already waiting inside the small cement rendered building, no fuss at all as the Mayor and Mayoress alighted from their car and quickly got inside away from the biting wind. It was now 13.30 and I decided it was time to introduce myself to the ‘suit’ (not wanting to be regarded as suspicious while hanging around).

“Hello, I’m just here to try and take a few photo’s if that’s alright, I’ll try and keep well back and out of the way”

“Who are you working for then?”

“Nobody”

“Are you a fan then?

“Sunderland? Oh yes”

“No the Countess”

“Oh, sorry not really, the pictures are for one of my websites”

“What sort of websites sir?”

“Well one just features a new picture from South Shields every day and the other is a commentary on local life”

“What, around here?”

“Yes”

“Well, I think you would be best about twenty yards behind that uniformed officer, her car will be dropping her off right on this corner, perhaps you might have to peer above that fence to get a good shot”

So far so good, I thought, at least I haven’t been arrested and bundled away like a psychopath, so I took up station as I had been requested. A little later “suit” reappeared with some more questions.

“What’s your name? Do you have any identification on you?”

“Yes of course, here’s one of my business cards, it has the websites on them”

“Right, and what’s your date of birth then, sorry I’m not a normal copper you know, we need to know these things”

“Oh, yes, October 1956”

“Thank you sir, and can I ask, when she gets out of the car that you do not take any pictures until she is on the pavement, you know, ladies getting out of cars and that sort of thing”

I would have given a suitable reply to the suggestion (she’s hardly Britney Spears) that I was a psychopathic pervert but both of us had to make an emrgency exit from the middle of the road as five police motorcycle outriders came screeching round the corner, two blocking off the traffic from Tyne Dock and the other three forcing me to scurry to one side. As I pulled myself together Sophie was already out of the car and quickly into the Action Station!

All that preparation gone to waste! I consoled myself on the way home by thinking things could have been a lot worse – it could have been Tony Blair visiting the town! But at least I got a good long walk!

Written by curly

January 30, 2007 at 10:46 pm

Posted in Curly, South Tyneside

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