Most of us have probably seen a police stinger operation on television. Perhaps in a blockbuster movie or even a gritty live action police documentary? Recently, I witnessed an attempt at a live intervention by the police and it was just around the corner from my house in Morningside.
It all started off so calmly as I walked from my house to the bus stop in the adjacent street. Daisy and I were off for our afternoon walk and we joined the two other people at the stop. Naturally, the bus tracker screen was out of order and with none of us having any idea when the bus was likely to arrive, we each tried to avoid catching another's eye in the fear that we might be asked advice on when it was likely to appear.
I was drawn to a noise, near to the traffic lights, 50 yards or so up the road. It sounded a bit like metal being thrown in the road. Then it registered: a policeman was spreading a stinger over the entire roadway. But why? I quickly found out as two high-speed, high-performance police cars appeared from nowhere and moved to block in traffic immediately across the street from where we were standing. As one police car attempted a blocking manoeuvre, a small dark blue car, at that point hemmed in by an adjacent white car, sped forward, slamming into the white car. It pushed its way through the narrow space ahead, speeding over and through the stinger, then attempted to turn left. The road was blocked by the stinger operator's vehicle and so the car made a volte face and sped off to the right – I presume with four burst tyres. All of this with three police cars in hot pursuit.
Just like that, we three passengers moved on from our previously averted gaze to shared looks of astonishment at what we had just witnessed. We each poured forth with our testimony, all with slightly different memories of what had actually happened. This made me think that I would be a useless witness. I had to be corrected of my view that the small blue car had sped off to the left and we continued to mull over what had happened until the bus arrived. The bus driver further confirmed this indeed was the direction the car had taken as it had sped past him.
I have been scouring websites, local newspapers, BBC, etc, in an attempt to find out more about the incident, but to no avail. And where there is lack of information, we are likely to see gaps being filled by sometimes wild speculation. It could be that the 'news blackout' is to protect the nation's interest, or the attempted capture was one cog in a myriad of other related operations, not yet mounted? Not wishing to add to the conjecture, more in public service, I have a few ideas of my own, each in their own way plausible.
Firstly, it is possible that the person, unknown, was attempting to flee the scene after having been unable to identify okra in the local Waitrose. Alternatively, they had perhaps composed an entry in the local Facebook, community page and used 'you're', instead of 'your' when referring to someone's opinion. Maybe they had let slip that they were not aware that the family run shop at the bottom of Comiston Road, though it has the same name, is not part of the same enterprise as the one at the top of said road. To be fair, that catches loads of people out.
I will continue on the case for this one and will hopefully get to the bottom of the issue. In the meantime and in the spirit of today's social media, all suggestions are welcome. The more outlandish the suggestion, the nearer the truth. That last part I say tongue in cheek... Or do I?
Sunday is colour supplement day. Just why they have to include some chef dishing out recipes for tasty meals is one of life's irritations – a hangover I imagine from the long lost days when everyone gave dinner parties. Or at least the long gone time when I did. Maybe people still do – assuming they can afford to pay for the gas to cook with – give them. The recipes proposed by the celebrity food writers are invariably composed by people who live in a parallel universe rather than this world. They should try shopping at my Sainsbury's or Tesco locals, let alone the Co-op for the ingredients they suggest.
My neighbourhood stores are fine for every day goods. But take this recent Sunday. To start with, one was told that the new season olive oil is here – since the old stuff costs at least £5 a bottle, maybe I will stick to sunflower oil, but anyway there is no sign of this season's oil anywhere. The ingredients for crostini on sour dough bread included chicken livers, anchovy fillets, sage leaves and salted capers, while the one for grilled pork chops proposed adding dried figs, fennel seeds, and rosemary, sage and thyme branches – one could go on. But why labour the point? Not to be found in my shops.
The challenge some commissioning editor should pose the likes of Nigel Slater, Joe Trivelli and Jamie Oliver, to name but a few, is to shop in the average local supermarket and come up with things made from ingredients readers can actually buy. Meat, other than pork chops and mince, disappeared from mine ages ago for example, while the fresh herbs on offer might just on a good day stretch to parsley.
My giving dinner party days are long gone but the occasional supper a deux is always possible. Man cannot live by ready meals alone whether or not from Iceland. Maybe I should look for a war-time recipe book. Anyone for Spam fritters? Snoek?
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