The day everything went 'pear shaped'


The getting of any residential facility ready for the boarders' return, after a break, is always hard and intensive. Often completing a month's work in several days!

I took my two days break, after nearly five days of solid 16 hours a day work, and went away to see some former colleagues I promised to 'drop-in on' on my way back to college after the holidays, but failed to do so.Their place was half-way to my house in the South.

The sheer distance to my house only afforded me a rare return for just an overnight stay to touch base, during some half terms, as it constituted a full 5-hour drive with good traffic flow it was tolerable. Every day off was savoured. After 'sleeping in' four nights, often working 16 hours a day (when on duty) with unsettled students; the majority of which were poor English speaking internationals, who had little consideration to those on duty suffering disturbed sleep. The whole environment (driven by commercialism) left little considerations, by my employers, to a 'work-life' balance and the high turnover of staff reflecting the 'if you don't like it then leave' attitude (resolving nothing, but that is another story completely),  I was always eager to get away from the place. The cheapest and nearest room stay (costing around £20 a night) or 'Travelodge' allowed me to start to recover my physical strength and mind for the next shift. Family, friends, and a former colleague gave me refuge in Lancashire and the Midlands during term time off, all for the want of me paying for meals out and the petrol to get there. There was always the danger of out-staying my welcome. When this seemed to happen I would get a 'Travelodge' bed. I somewhat enjoyed traveling around and got to know many picturesque towns and villages in the north and even ventured down to the midlands. I enjoyed canal walks even in the rain where the Midlands people are polite and generous, not something I always found elsewhere!

Upon my return to duty, on Wednesday I parked myself in my office. Read through the trail of emails and unopened letters. I missed breakfast and morning coffee with my staff team. At 9.05 I had a message from the Head of Residences via ' the Office'. I had been summoned to Owners 'Private' Residence. On entering the owners' lounge I was introduced to two Police officers from North Yorkshire Police.

Immediately a Police Officer said: "I am arresting you on the suspicion of having and distributing indecent images of children . . .  . ",  much else  I cannot remember, as I was stunned, except  "  . . . do we need to put these on you?"  The female officer was referring to Handcuffs. The decision was taken that they would not and I was escorted to a waiting Police car. 

In life 'regret is often for something we do not do, rather than what we do'. This would not rank in my regret list and  was an absolutely 'new experience'. I had never been involved with the Police, other than professionally. My only brush with 'authority' was a speeding ticket for doing 33 mph in a 30 mph area. And yes, (as I am revealing all) I also had to pay a Fixed penalty notice of £30, for not displaying a parking ticket in Barking in 1996!