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This would be back in the mid seventies when my mate Paul and I still had our private investigation agency. We were looking for some ne'er do wells' in Speke which is a pretty rough area of Liverpool. We'd parked the car and were on foot. Road to the left of us and a wire mesh fence which marks the boundary of Liverpool airport on the right.

Suddenly this motor comes screaming 'round the corner (we must have been spotted). He mounts the pavement and comes straight at us. Paul's up the mesh fence like a bonobo monkey and I ducked behind one of those green metal boxes that the telephone company sticks everywhere on the sidewalk. The car shoots past and starts to make a sharp left at the other end of the road.

Having obviously watched far too much television we had a go at shooting out his back tyre as he went 'round the corner. Not a chance. Behind him though and across the dual carriageway was a car showroom. The display window must have been at least seventy five feet long. A piece of glass fell out of it. Then another piece. Then the whole thing collapsed in a shower of crystal. Paul and I reckoned we'd better leave before people turned up to ask awkward questions.

Firearms laws are pretty strict over here and you're required to inform the law about any use of ammunition. A couple of days later Mr Plod the Policeman turns up to check our records. In my daybook it says "Four rounds accidentally discharged while cleaning weapon". Pauls' book says the same. "That's unusual with revolvers" says Plod. He knew us though and it was pretty obvious that if we didn't want to say anything then we weren't going to. He let it drop.


Speaking of the police though. My fiance, Margaret, and I used to go out to dinner most Friday or Saturday nights. Usually at a lovely inn outside of town and on the bank of the river. One night we'd had a 'stay behind' so the taxi didn't drop us off at home until about two in the morning.

My street joined the main road at a bit of an angle and I could see an officer of the law shouting at somebody down there. I asked Margaret to go into the house and light the fire. I'd be along in a minute. I ambled down the street.

"Evening all." I says to Plod "What's occurring?". Hellsfire, he looked to be about seventeen. Probably got his pointy hat in his last Christmas stocking. "Don't be concerned sir." he says "Just some rowdies making a fuss and I'm remonstrating with them.". There were indeed five or six hooligans across the road. One of them was kicking at a shop window while the others cheered him on. They were taking absolutely no notice of Junior Plod.

"If you don't mind I'll just stand here then and admire the myriad of stars on this clear winters night." I told him. I gazed at the sky, put my hands behind my back, rocked back and forth a bit. This was great. With half a bottle of brandy inside me I was just in the mood for a ruckus and here it was. Perfect end to the evening really. The shouting toe rags began to cross the road towards us.

All of a sudden they stopped. Muttered a bit among themselves and, suddenly subdued, wandered off with their tails between their legs. Plod and I looked at each other. We caught a movement out of the corners of our eyes and looked behind us. Margaret had put her handbag on the floor and carefully folded her cream jacket on top of it. She was rolling up the sleeves of her blouse to get stuck in. Apparently Plod and I aren't scary but they weren't prepared to tackle Margaret.


But, on to driving. Margaret and I with two of my mates called Paul Mk.1 And Paul Mk.2 had been out for a drink one Sunday afternoon. We'd gone to a hotel south of the river because hotels don't have weird drinking laws and you can drink as long as you want to. 'Round the back of the hotel was the car park. This was stepped in three or four levels a bit like a mayan pyramid. Maybe three feet or so drop between each level with ramps up the side. At the bottom was the canal and tow path.

Margaret wanted to learn to drive. She couldn't have a licence as she was epileptic but, it never hurts to have someone who knows the rudiments to watch your back. Paul Mk.2 said that as the car park was empty she could drive his car around there for a bit. I got in the front passenger seat and the two Pauls in the back. Margaret turned on the ignition.

The car shot forward as it was still in gear. Margaret seemed to think the accelerator was an on/off switch and she'd floored it. We shot off the top car park and went down to the next one with an almighty crash........ And we're still going.

I dive onto the floor and try to lever her foot off the accelerator. All I get is her other foot on top of my head. Paul Mk.1 pulls on the handbrake but the cable snapped months ago. That's why the other Paul had left it in gear. Second Paul tries to grab the steering wheel but Margarets arms were locked and he couldn't move it.

Crash. We go down another level and the canal's getting closer. All four of us are screaming at the tops of our voices. Primary Paul turns off the ignition and the two of the Pauls turn the wheel to the right. I'm pressing down like mad on the brake. We stopped at the edge of the canal. In fact so close to the edge of the canal that we could only get out of one side of the car.

It seems that police, drink and driving don't mix.