The police come in for a lot of criticism these days, but they’re still the people to turn to when you’re in trouble. When I explained what I’d posted about cross-dressing in Yorkshire, there was a panda car round the front of our house before you could say Maurice Wilson.
The senior detective who turned up to interview me looked exactly like the David Jason character in A Touch of Frost, even down to the trilby and dated moustache.
By coincidence, he is also called Jack Frost, but in order to protect his anonymity and mine, I shall refer to him as Jon Snow from now on.
“That was rather unwise,” he said when I showed him my post from Friday. “They’re a vindictive lot these Yorkies and I should know — I’m married to one.”
He licked the end of his pencil and made a few notes, an old habit he obviously found hard to break since the force is now issued with electronic notebooks.
Inspector Snow sucked his teeth and solemnly explained that both me and my family were in immediate danger from across the border and that the only way he could guarantee our safety would be by moving us out of the area and giving us new identities.
This means a new name and history, new passport and National Insurance number. We will even have to find a new family dentist which is the trickiest part of the whole procedure.
We were also told that we can have no further contact with our family and friends. That cheered me up immensely as it spares me the embarrassment of having to explain why I’ve forgotten to send them a Christmas card yet again.
Within the hour, we were whisked away in an unmarked car with just our essential possessions packed in a small suitcase. The dog looked particularly pathetic with his bowl, ball and bone tied up in a red spotted handkerchief.
As we drove through the night, Inspector Snow told us that he was a great believer in the ‘hiding in plain sight’ strategem which is why found ourselves crossing the Pennines. It was a hairy journey as we negotiated the snow covered passes, but police driver Clarkson got us through without serious incident.
And so we found ourselves in our new home in a bleak Yorkshire town. I can’t tell you exactly where it is, so I shall call the place Cleckhuddersfax.
Our new abode is a 14th floor flat in a social housing tower block, the back-to-back houses having been replaced by one-on-top-of-another. The lift doesn’t work and the stairwell smells of urine, but at least we are safe.
I’ve marked our flat on the photo above, but I was made to use invisible ink so as not to give the game away.
It is quite cosy, if in need of some cleaning. Mrs P is currently scrubbing the bathtub to remove the coal dust, while I’ve thrown another whippet on the fire and settled down with my laptop.
That’s him on the left and his disguise is quite passable save for the aroma of pipe tobacco and John Smith’s bitter when he wafts into view.
I am hoping to get out to do some Christmas shopping tomorrow and was told that I would have to be accompanied by a uniformed officer “just in case”.
He also hones his martial arts skills through Saturday nights spent visiting stag parties in Leeds city centre with his speciality kissagram service. That’s him on the right.
It will be strange, spending the festive season in a foreign land — I don’t even speak the language, for goodness sake — but I suppose that is the price I have to pay for free speech.
* Henry IV Part One (A proper Lancastrian king)