Dear Assistant Chief Constable,
Happy New Year to you, too. I hope you and Mrs. Constable were able to relax.
Thank you for your letter of Jan 3rd, offering me a speed awareness course. That is very kind of you, and I am much looking forward to it. I am going to the one in Arundel, as most of my friends have done that one, and they say it’s a nice run over there. If it was summer time, I would go to the one in Hove, as I could sneak off and watch Sussex at the County Ground afterwards, and pretend that I had driven home so slowly when it had finished that there wasn’t time to go to the office. Purists might question the value of spending £90 to pass a bit of time with a bearded bloke showing them pictures of car crashes but not me: it’s cheaper than two months of Sky.
I am grateful to the team that alerted you, and me by extension, to the fact that I was travelling at 38 mph on Station Road in Petworth at a time and in a place where I should have been going 30 mph. We all need reminding from time to time, and I have no complaints. Actually, my day got worse. I was on my way for a dog walk with my sister near Pulborough, during which my wellies leaked in the flooded fields. And then I forgot to go to Sainsbury’s on the way back to buy supper. But you’ve got a fixed camera just outside that one, so I might have just saved myself some money there, which is good, isn’t it, even if my wife wasn’t so pleased about the lack of tuna.
It’s nice that your team were able to come up to Petworth that Saturday afternoon, as we don’t see much of them these days. The last time you and I spoke, you told me that they are normally too busy with drunks at Butlins and at the Cineworld complex to come up here at a weekend. I hope they had a good day. But then after we were burgled, your colleagues spent twice as long with us on the ‘customer satisfaction’ survey as they did on investigating the crime, so I can see that you are truly market-driven these days, like everyone else.
I am sorry about all that Gatwick business. You won’t be the only person in the county who can’t tell a criminal drone from one of your own, or even a drone from a buzzard. We Sussex folk must stick together, and I have taken great issue with my friends who are mocking the county force for bringing the whole of the Northern European aviation infrastructure to a 36 hour halt while they look diligently for a big black thing flying noisily through a small bit of the sky. And I understand the bit about you not wanting to shoot it down in case you hit someone you weren’t aiming at; when I was a soldier, high velocity bullets eventually just stopped and fell harmlessly to earth when you fired them up in the sky, but I see that these days we live in dangerous times, and you can’t be too careful And try to be positive: that couple you arrested must have had a cracking story to tell at their Christmas dinner.
Come up and have a round of golf with me at Cowdray. If we go early any weekend morning in the Spring or Summer, we can be enraptured together from the 8thand 16thgreens by the throaty roar and squealing tyres of hundreds of motorcycles thundering along the private race track they like to call the A272, with 38 mph just a distant molecular memory in their brains. You can’t buy fun like that any more.
Thank you again for your letter.