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Monday, November 21, 2005

 

Brr!

Much as I like being out on foot patrol, sometimes the elements get the better of me. It’s not so bad on the town centre beats as there are a couple of big stores with nice toasty air curtains operating at full blast that you can take advantage of. Unfortunately, I’ve been pounding the leafy suburbs for the past couple of days, so there hasn’t been much of a chance to get warm.

When we first did our training, we had an ex traffic inspector as our instructor who made a comment which has stuck with me ever since; “A good officer never gets wet.” I’ve kind of extended this principle to cover a wide variety of discomforts. On hot days you pick a path that keeps you mostly in the shade. On wet days you pick a vantage point out of the rain but visible to the erring public. On windy days you avoid the streets you know from experience act like wind tunnels, and so on. You can’t always get away with it, but a little intelligence correctly applied usually helps.

Regrettably, cold foggy days like the last few offer few opportunities for slacking in some form of shelter. On the plus side it means that your distinctive silhouette doesn’t register on the malefactors Traffic Warden Radar until it’s too late, but then your fingers freeze while writing out the damned ticket. Not only that but fingers of probing coldness seem to find a way through your clothing at the most inopportune places and times. Gets very cheeky in the nethers sometimes, despite a thick coat and thermal underwear.

You might scoff, but when you are out on patrol for between two and four hours at a stretch, especially when you’re too far out to take your tea break at base in weather like this, the heat leaches right out of you. A couple of hours vigorous walk in these damp foggy conditions could be called bracing; however, walking slowly as we have to out in damp sub zero temperatures all day can turn into a real tyre kicker.

Despite the thickest socks your toes go first. Followed shortly thereafter by your fingers, ears and nose, in that order. In spite of your best intentions you often develop a dripping nose where a clear droplet gathers on the web of flesh between your nostrils (It’s so embarrassing when that happens.).

Doesn’t improve a normally sunny disposition either, when upon returning home, hoping to spend half an hour in a hot bath to get some heat into a partly chilled carcase, this relief is denied. Especially when stepkids have invited all their excitable (The squealing and squeaking noise is like having a houseful of hyperactive mice sometimes, it drives the dog bananas.) little friends round with their excitable little bladders and guess what? There’s only one lavatory in the house and they all want to use it - NOW! So guess who has to haul his lardy arse out of his baths restoring warmth so the little darlings don’t have to put a cork in it. Got it in one. You’d think I’d be used to it all by now. When I’ve finally warmed up a bit I’ll think about that.

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Exasperated expatriate expostulations all the way from British Columbia, Canada. As if anyone really cared. Oh, I also watch Icelandic Volcanoes and seismic activity. Don't ask me why.

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