Friday, January 8, 2016

Free Masonry taught me the lesson Europe is still struggling to understand

The migrant influx from Syria and north Africa into Europe has been overwhelming for some countries in the EU yet their governments stand by their decisions to allow increasing numbers into their lands. They say it is the right thing to do, that migrants and the skills they bring in are good for their economy.. they come up with a host of reasons why their decision to let them in are good ones.

Let me tell you a story. I always wanted to be a Freemason. I don't know why, I think because I read a story book when I was a teenager and thought there was some kind of power in being involved.. because I'd heard that masons have to help each other and in the back of my mind perhaps I saw it as a means to wealth.. anyway, going back to around 1995 I owned a small  business in Newbury, Berkshire with glass fronted premises on the high street.

Every morning an elderly man would pass by my window, tap the glass and mouth 'good morning' as I sat at my desk. This evolved in me actually looking forward to him appearing and sometimes, if I had time I would go to the door and have a brief chat. His name - God Bless him, was Bill McGill. He was 88 years old, lived by himself on the local housing estate and walked up to the 'village' every day to 'keep fit' and buy his lunch. On many occasions I invited him into my office for a sit down and we would chat some more - just about the weather and inconsequential things for just a few minutes each time.. Then one day, he asked me if I 'believed in God'. 'Yes', I said... and so followed my introduction, most unexpectedly, to Freemasonry. Bill nominated me, his fellow lodge members seconded me and after taking the oaths and learning the various passages, I was inducted into the lodge.

I quickly learned that masonry is more about helping others than yourself. We raised money for charities and supported those who were recently bereaved or in need of company etc. There was nothing 'dark and mysterious' about masonry and to an extent I was disappointed not to be 'a special one'. I enjoyed it though, it was special because it was so pompous and 'secret' even though there really were no secrets.. it was like a fancy wrapped package but with a house brick inside.

Anyway, it was special to me. I had another friend Dave, who I had told about my being a mason and he badgered me over a period of a year to nominate him into my lodge. I finally agreed. A part of me (and this is the key to my story), felt very strong and powerful that I had the power and capability to determine whether I granted Dave access into my exclusive club or not. I was thinking 'Ha, thanks to me and my power, you can become a mason - or not!'. I felt superior. That is probably the most accurate/honest way I describe my feelings.. a bit like a Roman emperor deciding whether the defeated gladiator lives or dies, a thumb turned this way or that being the decider...

And so Dave became a mason.

At first, he was very grateful to me for getting him in. He would say things like 'If it wasn't wasn't for me...' and 'Thanks to you'...

But then after a while, all that stopped, he got to know all the other lodge members and gained confidence and I realised he wasn't deferring to me any more. He was a mason in his own right and I was reduced to thinking 'If it wasn't for me...'

I realised my 'power' had diminished. I was no longer superior but merely equal at best, Dave actually voted against me on a couple of lodge issues and I felt rather let down. He was also spending more time at the lodge than I could afford to do with my work commitments thus becoming more influential than I, when debating causes and issues within the lodge.

To make matters worse, he didn't even consult me - his best friend - before nominating his two sons and another friend to the lodge and it wasn't long before he and his family and friend made up a significant part of the lodge who between them, were very powerful and able to dictate on almost any issue that arose.

I finally realised then, that I had lost the 'power' I once held, I had given it to Dave, who used it to swell his numbers and gain even more power, to the point that I was diminished, lacking any power or superiority to influence lodge decisions, my view point over-ridden by Dave, his sons and friend. Changes happened within the lodge that I, and several others didn't like so we resigned and left.

This is very honest if badly written account of what happened. My lodge was Charles Nichols, based at Sindlesham, Wokingham.

But what happened to me, at such a low level of importance, is happening across Europe on a vast scale. Do we expect these millions of migrants to 'be grateful' for the rest of their lives, humble to the good will and favour we've shown towards them.

Should we expect them to convert to our western cultures, to forget their strict religious beliefs, to integrate with different faiths and ways of life?

NO. We shouldn't expect this of them and NO, they won't integrate with us. Their women will give birth to children in Europe - who will legally be European - but anything but European in culture and belief. A generation of non-European Europeans will colour and change forever our way of life, our freedoms and our culture and in their numbers, we will lose our identities, our 'power' and our right to decide our own policies and culture.

We have already passed the point of no return, there is no going back. There is just a troubled, conflicted path ahead where two opposing cultures will clash and fight.

Recent events in Cologne, where Arab/N African men assaulted western women is just the mereset start of what is to come. We bring men into our western societies with no understanding of our way of life, of the freedoms our women enjoy and of the behaviour expected of men toward women here - and expect them to treat our women as anything other than 'fair game'.

And we haven't helped ourselves.. in cases, our western society has gone to far in normalising attitudes to sex, gender, homosexuality (to pick on a subject matter), to the point that anyone with a different view is demonised as racist or homophobic etc..

In finishing, remember my story. It compares exactly with what is happening. If we don't want to lose our culture (power), we have to think very carefully and act very decisively now, before we find our culture - and our western countries have been taken from us, powered and governed by Islam.. because if we carry on doing nothing, my 20 year old son - and most definitely his children, will be singing to a different, more intolerant tune in the two decades to come.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Jeremy Corbyn - No to Shoot to Kill - Corbyn is a danger not only to himself but all of us..

Jeremy Corbyn is a man deeply entrenched in his own ideals and woe betides anyone who dares question them. For Corbyn, despite his pacifist leanings, is quick to discipline those around him who disagree or show the slightest disloyalty.. and as leader of the opposition party, he relishes the new power that enables him to do so.

It won’t take long before Labour’s ‘old guard’ are removed (whether of their own free will or not), and Corbynites moved in… to follow his idealistic agenda without question or regard for the greater good.

Corbyn and the corbynites are people with no regard for the ‘ordinary person’. In their (ideal) world we would be equalised, our individual ambitions crushed, our housing, clothing, food, employment and wages provided for us in a way to ensure no one had more or less than anybody else. Sounds good? Then check out that 70’s hipster Pol Pot from that little place on the other side of the world called Cambodia. Take your time..

Like Pol Pot, Corbyn has benefitted from a good education – of a standard he would have denied his own children had his wife not stood her ground, divorced him and taken control of their children’s education.

Why is Corbyn so very, very wrong?

Because life is not equal. If it were, we would all be clones of each other, the same looks, the same heights, strengths and weaknesses. We would be ants..! (and he would be the queen).

At school, there was always the child who ran faster and won at sports day, there was the child who could work out mathematic equations in their head in a flash whilst the rest of us struggled even with a calculator. There were those who could draw, others who understood languages and so on. We were never equal..!

And then the social differences, differing degrees of luck, of learning ability, intelligence, ambition and opportunity absolutely mean that some of us are destined for more or less success than others. Is it always fair? Is it equal? No, not always. But it’s not fair that some people are blessed with good looks and others not and that some people are more prone to disease than others. Come to that, it’s not fair that some people live longer than others is it?

We are not equal..! nor should we be..!

That is why Corbyn is so wrong.

But worse.. Corbyn’s beliefs make him dangerous to all of us, no matter where we are on the social scale.

Corbyn fails to recognise – in his idealistic view of an equal society – that in addition to everything else that makes us individuals, we do not think the same thoughts as each other – and that by instilling his individual ideals on us, he is acting in exactly the biased, non-equal way he bemoans…
In other words, we will all be equal but he will be a ‘little bit more’ equal..!
(The queen ant to all us ordinary ants)

Make no mistake, Corbyn is drunk on power, willing to sack his advisers if they disagree with him, confident enough to not to sing the national anthem if he doesn’t want to, with his top button undone and tie askew, a deliberate finger not only at the establishment but at everyone – all of us who understand what a privilege it is to be British.

Which brings me to current affairs.. Corbyn says he doesn’t agree with shoot to kill, says Jihadi John should have been clapped in handcuffs and put before a court.. all very peaceable and idealistic isn’t it?

True, events that have occurred over generations have contributed to the situation and terror threats we face today – but that, I’m afraid, is the consequence of human nature in a realistic world, where mistakes are made and decisions regretted.. and true, one mistake should not condone another. Yet mistakes have been made, people lives and beliefs changed forever and there is no reset button to life so we have to deal with the consequences.

There are those amongst us who would give the shirts off our backs to help people in need but there are also those who would rip the shirts from our bodies, pull our hearts from our chests and eat them raw. That is not ideal.. but it is a reality. In other words, some of us respect life at every level and others have no regard for life whatsoever.

If, following Corbyn’s ideal, we lay down our weapons and open our arms to ISIS, attempt to talk, attempt to compromise, it will be too late when they simply aim their own weapons at us, flick off the safeties and send us to our graves.. too late for Corbyn also, who will have the most surprised and disappointed look on his face as the bullets rip through him.. too late to utter the words… ‘But I thought…’ 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

...Been a long time since I wrote last...been busy...mind on other things... no time to indulge in writing..

But my wife has recently started work in central London and commutes from our home in Reading (Berkshire) by train. I usually don't need to rise from my bed until 8.15 at the earliest but as my wife is now up at 6am I have followed suit and drive her to the station for 7am.

I quite enjoy it. I'm getting more out of my day than before and whilst I've always been a late-to-bed rather than an early riser, even I have to admit that 11pm is a more sensible bed-time than 1am..

But this blog isn't about my sleeping habits or my wife's new job.

On my way into the town centre it's still dark (its November as I write).. and whilst I'm not surprised at the number of people making their way to work at that time, I am staggered by the amount of cyclists... who pedal along the main roads without lights and wearing dark clothing, relying on luck and alert motorists to get from point a to point b without being hit. Believe me, they are almost invisible and especially this morning in heavy fog...

...Because he was responsible for a viral video (motorist takes a pratfall), I follow a cycling 'militant' on YouTube who goes by the name 'uphillfreewheeler'. This cyclist also lives in Reading and has gained quite a reputation for his petulant self righteous vigilante methods of shaming any drivers he deems to have done anything contrary to the highway code. He takes their registration number and posts his footage online. He wears a head cam and rear facing cycle cam.

He has stopped reporting every 'incident' to the Police after they 'advised' him to stop wasting their time.

True, some of his videos show genuinely bad and dangerous driving but most simply show him chasing down motorists in order to preach at them... and in the case of the pratfall video.. needlessly antagonise situations until they boil over. He has actually taken down a lot of hisYouTube clips where viewers comments were telling him to pull himself together and stop acting like a idiot..

But I digress. This cyclist is waging a one man war against all motorists. He wants better cycling infrastructure (which I agree with), but I think he should be seeking support and raising cycle awareness in a positive way, not simply playing the vigilante and more likely, playing up to his cameras.

To his credit, he at least wears high vis clothing, has good quality lights and even an air horn on his bike.. unlike the majority of cyclists I'm seeing every morning - in the dark - who should not be putting their faith in motorist's alertness and ability to see their silhouettes in the gloom but in their own safety precautions.. high vis clothing and cycle lights.

Pro-rata, for every bad driving incident I'm witnessing, there is a bad cycling incident. By all means, make use of speed cameras, road humps, chicanes and whatever else is suitable to curb errant drivers.. but the rules should apply to all road users, cyclists included.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Celebrities, Skewed Law and Privacy

Changes in the law in October 2012 have meant that many defendants who don’t qualify for legal aid are now liable for their own legal costs even when acquitted.

Given the expense of retaining a legal defence it is suspected (by members of the legal profession apparently), that some defendants have weighed this onerous financial impact against what they perceive as the ‘lesser of two evils’ by pleading guilty.

After all, if the cost of proving your innocence is greater than the consequences of pleading guilty and you are at a stage in life where a criminal record isn’t likely to make a difference to the way you live, a person would do well to take time to consider their options.

The principle that the loser pays the winners’ costs has been fundamental to English law and was the safeguard that prevented litigators and prosecutors from launching actions on a whim.

In the UK, we presume innocence until proven guilty yet this new system proposes that even when proven innocent, the defendant stands to lose. If we are convicting innocent people because they can’t afford legal representation then the new system is dangerously wrong and we are employing a system of justice for those who can afford it and rough justice for those who can’t.
I am not an apologist for criminals of any kind or in any way. I trust in the justice system of our country to safely convict criminals in the vast majority of cases, based on evidential proof. There are always going to be those who are wrongly convicted and whilst my heart goes out to them, there is nothing I can do to alter the fact.

The purpose of my rant?

I’m shocked at the intense public divide of opinion in the prosecutions of Dave Lee Travis, Bill Roache, Stuart Hall and other celebrities who have been very publically ‘roasted’. . I’m not so much interested that these defendants have been convicted or acquitted as concerned they have been judged fairly and correctly. If only we had that confidence in the justice system, perhaps people wouldn’t need to vent their opinions with such vitriol.

I’ve heard people talking, I read the papers etc.. and there is such a chasm between those berating the authorities for bringing these cases to court in the first place and those whose comments include;  ‘guilty as hell’ , ‘a guilty man got off’ and ‘confiscate his house and assets’, ‘put his wife on the street to die’ and ‘should die in jail’.

The truth is, we don’t actually, physically, absolutely know that Bill Roache and Mr Travis are innocent in the same way we don’t actually, physically, absolutely know that Mr Hall is guilty – or a victim himself,  in the way I’ve described above.

We’ve not been privy to the court papers and interview transcripts and we certainly weren’t ‘there’ when these things ‘happened’, so what right do we have to be so judgemental? We actually ‘know’ nothing and for this reason, we do have the right to expect our justice system to balance the scales evenly.

It should not matter if a person has wealth or none at all. We should all have the right to defend ourselves without penalty – until such time as proven guilty when penalties should apply.

We should all expect privacy, only the verdict being made public - along with transcripts and notes. I looked at Oscar Pistorius on the news this morning. Surrounded by cameras and media, his life being paraded, every expression analysed. It is for the South African court to decide his guilt, not the media, not us. His Prosecution should be the business of barristers, a judge and jury. If he is found guilty his life should then become the property of the state. Until then, leave the man alone.

We should all be able to believe in the incorruptibility of our justice system and stop being encouraged by the media to become judge and jury ourselves.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Has Reading Got Talent?

For the sixth year (since the contest started), I was at Reading's Broad Street Mall with my camcorder filming "Has Reading Got Talent 2013" last weekend.

My job is to record snippets (50 seconds) of each of the 70 - 80 or so quarter finalists acts, a little more of the 40+ semi finalists acts and all of the ten finalists acts. This normally means two full days sat/stood in front of the stage on the Saturday and Sunday...but that's the easy part!

Because the camcorder I use for the talent contest uses DV tape, if I record eight hours of footage that's exactly the time it takes to move it from tape onto my computer ready to edit. Then it takes approximately an hour per half hour of footage to create a first edit, and double that to arrive at a reasonably finished project.

Once the encoding starts, I can add on another day before the footage, in web or DVD format, is ready to go out.

Needless to say I make a huge loss on the talent show each year. The shopping centre simply doesn't have the budget to pay me what the time and effort demands - yet I really don't care!

I enjoy doing it, despite moaning about standing or sitting about all day, despite the job jamming up two computers for almost a week afterwards...

I've worked for Broad Street Mall for over a decade, running their website, filming their events and producing the odd piece of artwork. I like the people and I like being involved.

The centre manager, Steve Fawke, will be leaving soon for pastures new and I for one will be sad to see him go. Having sweated over this years talent show filming and editing I hope the new centre manager chooses to continue with the show and to use my services...

...although I will make one concession, next year I will use my super huge professional camcorder that records onto CF cards.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Bus or Bust

Okay, you need the next bus into town to avoid missing a an important meeting and you’re making your way to the stop, around the next corner. You can hear a commotion going on  - a male and female voice - and it’s becoming clear you’re walking towards it. Sure enough, you round the corner and a fully-fledged row is going on between boyfriend and girlfriend. She’s accusing him of cheating on her and he’s saying he didn’t, but is trying to control her flailing arms, pushing her back against the bus shelter. She’s telling him to get the F**k off and he’s screaming back, right in her face. The whole thing appears to be escalating and unfortunately you are the only other person in sight.

What do you do?

 1.    Continue to the stop and pretend you can’t see/hear what’s going on three feet from you.
 2.   Turn around, miss the bus and the important meeting, all on account of these two idiots.
 3.     Intervene, asking them to realise where they are – and risk them both turning on you.

It’s not as easy as it sounds. What did I do?  I took option 1. – but stood outside the shelter to give them more room.

What happened? They were oblivious to me until the girl pushed the boy into me. Did I react? No! Did he apologise? No. 

In fact, she pushed him again and this time he stepped back onto my foot, at which point I said ‘Ow!’…at which point the girl rounded on me and asked ‘what the f**k was my problem?’

I shook my head, saying nothing. The girl took that, not as a sign of submission but of disrespect and she was about to step forward and hit me when her boyfriend held her arms – and the bus turned up. Relief!

They continued bellowing at each other during the fifteen minute trip and although I managed to sit at the opposite end of the bus and avert my gaze, the girl made to come towards me on no fewer than four occasions, still convinced I was ‘dissing’ her.

I made my appointment but it didn’t go well. I was in the wrong frame of mind. I also had a large scratch on one of my expensive shoes where they’d been trodden on. That was the first time I’ve used a bus in years, and the last. 

Reading buses are great but no-matter how good the transport, the method stinks.

Aggressive Bureaucracy

I bought a moped in 2001. It was a 50cc Peugeot and I wanted it for tripping in and out of Reading. It saved me a lot of money - not having to pay for car parking each time I went to see a client – but before the year was up I was getting busier and busier and having to take more files or equipment in with me and the bike just wasn’t big enough. That, coupled with the fact I gained a free parking concession and the bike became redundant. We moved house at the time as well and the bike went up into the shed.

Life overtook and rolled forward to 2011, whereupon my son turned sixteen. The moped became of interest to him and we unearthed it from the shed for the first time in a decade. Both tyres had rotted, the engine had no compression, (we later discovered the rollers had flattened and the cone gone rusty)… but the bike was otherwise spotless and had just 1500Km on the clock.

We took it to a specialist and had all the work done. By the end it ran as good as new. I had it Mot’d and insured for my son and was told the MOT would alert the DVLA to the fact the bike was back on the road.
I was very happy for my son, who proudly rode it to and from school.

Then, after ten months of doing so, he called me up at 4pm after school one day in a panic. His bike wasn’t where he left it. He was in a state. By the time I got to him he had recovered enough to enter the office building adjacent to where he parked and asked to view their cctv. It clearly showed his bike being lifted into a van by a DVLA van.

Okay, it took a few moments to register but I realised I hadn’t ever received a notification from DVLA regarding road tax and that I hadn’t done anything about it. (Before anyone starts screaming ‘heard it all before’, ‘Likely story’ and so on, I would add that road tax for the bike was £15. I have two large cars, which incur road tax charges of £490.00 apiece … so I’m not likely to worry about £15 for a scooter).

After making calls, I discovered the bike had been impounded in Reading and by the time we got there it was 4.45pm. I spoke to the man through a Perspex safety window, explaining our problem.
The man, (from here on in and for the purposes of my story called call ‘mister obstructive’), was not very helpful. He told us bluntly we would have to pay a penalty charge of £270 to get the bike back.

I swallowed hard. The bike was barely worth that much but it was my fault I hadn’t taxed it and I was carrying enough cash so offered to pay the fine there and then - but mister obstructive said I couldn’t pay until he saw the bike’s log book.

Of course I didn’t have it on me and asked if I could pay the fine and come back with the log book and collect the bike the next day.

He refused my money saying he couldn’t take payment without seeing the log book so I accepted that – but he went on to say that he was closing at 5.30pm and a further ‘overnight storage’ charge of £100 would apply in the morning. This would make the fine rise to £370 and there was no way the bike was worth that much. I checked my watch and it was five to five. We live across town from the yard and stood virtually no chance of getting home, retrieving the log book and getting back before the deadline but I looked at my sons face and said I’d give it a go.

…So I broke a few more traffic laws!

I keep all my vehicle documents in a box file entitled ‘vehicle documents’! It sits to the right, on the top shelf in my study. I got home, ran inside, grabbed the entire box file and was back in the car inside 30 seconds. Whilst I drove like a man possessed, my son found the log book, MOT and insurance certificate. We arrived at the impound yard at exactly 5.29pm. Mister obstructive tried to push the door shut on my son, who had dived out of the car but reluctantly took the log book and looked at the MOT and insurance.

Then he smiled…and asked to see… a household bill!

I could feel my blood rising but kept it down. I showed him my driving licence and credit cards but he insisted on seeing a household bill. I said, ‘You didn’t mention wanting to see a household bill earlier’.

‘I did’, he said.

‘You didn’t’, my son and I replied in unison… ‘If you had asked’, I went on, ’I could have grabbed a handful of bills off my desk at the same time as grabbing this box file’, waving it in front of me.

Mister obstructive wasn’t having it. He lurked behind his safety screen and simply repeated that he now wanted to see a household bill. Then he smiled and told us it was six o’clock and his payment machine was shut down for the night anyway. He said he could do nothing more until the next day.

 ‘For an extra £100?’  I said. He nodded.

I asked him what would happen if we decided not to pay to get the bike back and were told the DVLA would ‘dispose’ of it, either by destroying it of selling it on.

We weren’t getting anywhere and we were not going to get the bike back there and then. We drove home, dejected.

We spoke about it as a family that evening, explored the internet for advice and decided that the bike really wasn’t worth £370. My son was disappointed but we were actually in the process of buying him a car to learn in so persuaded him not to worry too much. As my wife and I were in London early the next day on business we mentally wrote the bike off.

My wife and I duly spent the next day and night in London but that evening my son called to say he had spotted something on the internet we had all missed the night before.

The DVLA website made no mention of a £270 fine, but plenty of references relating to a £100 fine and a £170 returnable deposit in lieu of proving and showing a current road fund licence!

So the fine wasn’t £270 as Mister obstructive had told us, it was £100!

Mister obstructive had not told us that all we had to do was buy a tax disc and show it to him. We could have done that.. the bike was MOT’d and insured after all. It would have made all the difference, a £200 fine as opposed to £370. Then we realised that by going up to London the bike would have incurred a second night’s storage fee, an additional £100. This brought the cost back up to £300 and again we had to conclude it wasn’t worth paying for.

We made plans to go back to the yard early the following day anyway to retrieve my sons bike jacket (locked under the saddle), and his helmet, locked to the rear of the bike.

I was going to at least try and negotiate a fair deal, as Mister obstructive hadn’t told us the truth. As a precaution, my son’s mobile phone has a voice recorder app and when we went in we turned it on.

We asked Mister obstructive why he hadn’t told us a large portion of the cost was returnable and why he claimed he had asked to see a household bill when we knew he hadn’t. On both counts we got him – and still have him recorded admitting gleefully that he was ‘not there to make our lives easier’… and ‘it served us right’.

Mister obstructive still wasn’t going to budge though, so we asked if we could retrieve the personal items from the bike. Straight-away we could see my son’s helmet had been ruined - scraped across the ground where it had been pulled away from the rear of the bike. It was completely trashed. Then we saw the bike’s front faring and indictor light had been pulled and broken off. These impound yards have a duty of care and it was clear my sons bike had not been properly handled. 

We decided to take pictures of the damage and asked to see the yard manager to make a complaint. This was the first time Mister obstructive lost his smug confidence and he told us the manager would not be available until the following day.

As my son had to go to school, I went in to the yard on my own the next day. I had my own phone with its version of dictaphone which I tried to use a bit too obviously. Mister obstructive took one look at it and refused to say anything and disappeared into the back office. There was no sign of the manager and I was left on my own, twiddling my thumbs. Then, after ten minutes or so, two uniformed Police officers entered the room; I was in an impound yard and didn’t think it was strange to see Police, thinking they probably came regularly to check on stolen vehicles or something…but when one of them pointed at me I became a little alarmed.

‘We were told someone was kicking off in here’, they said.

‘I’ve been the only one here’, I replied…and was then asked to go outside with them. They asked me if I had a mobile phone, of course I did and I produced it from my pocket. They asked me if I had any pictures on it… a bit odd, but ‘yes, I think so’, I replied. They asked to see them and then studied each one as I flicked through.

I asked them why they wanted to see my phone pictures.

‘That man’, they said, pointing to ‘mister obstructive’, 'has called 999 and said you’ve got pictures of his wife and child on your phone and that you’ve threatened them’.

I nearly fell over! The Police were a bit mystified as well. I was questioned for over twenty minutes before being sent on my way and told not to re-visit the yard. I never got the opportunity to speak to the manager and make my complaint. As I walked away the Police officers were talking to mister obstructive but to this day I don’t know what happened.

Mister obstructive obviously knew I was there to make a complaint about him…I had told him my intention the day before – clever bastard - what better way to divert attention away from a complaint than by making one of his own!

We lost the bike. It just wasn’t worth the hassle. I complained in writing and never got anywhere.

The Police contacted me and said they didn’t know what to think, telling me Mister obstructive insisted to the end that I was out to murder his family…! They simply advised me not to go back.

And yes, we got to the bottom of it. We had moved into our new house a decade earlier - before the bike had been a year old and the road tax renewable. Because it had gone straight into the shed and left there, it had never crossed our minds – as it had with the cars – to update it’s log book, hence any road tax reminders had gone to our old address… it really just hadn’t occurred to us.

No excuses, we were clearly wrong and many will think we deserved what we got...

What do you think?  Sympathy..or none?