31 July 2011

One-and-a-half up.

Today, after a slow start, a long breakfast, quite a bit of coffee and  a run around the park with the dogs (Well, half with the dogs...John and I ran around the paths, Sherlock and Mycroft played frisbee with the dogs in the middle, the dogs occasionally came and tried to trip us up), Mycroft and I headed off on the bike.

We didn't go too far, just for a spin out of town, a few different roads, nothing spectacular. And he mainly liked it. Well, he smiled when he got off...and I think it was because he enjoyed it, not because he was pleased to be off the back. He did say he didn't like filtering through the traffic much ("Because you never know what the other drivers might do - some of them are idiots.") We stopped and had a drink, then came back into town and went straight to the swimming pool, where we met John and Sherlock.

30 July 2011

School Daze

Well. Wow. I can honestly say I've never been anywhere like Harrow before. Especially not a school. It was...grand.

We were shown around by a master, and saw loads of classrooms, dining rooms, boarding houses, sports halls - you name it.

I was mainly there, it seems, as Sherlock's trusty steed. Well, there's a massive advantage to having him on my shoulders - it's far harder for him to run off! Although now I have to hold onto his ankles all the time. He's developed a system of dismount otherwise, which involves (with no warning) unhooking his legs from my shoulders, grabbing my collar/shirt and sliding down my back very fast. Resulting in me being strangled and him escaping. And to think it wasn't long ago when he'd only sit up there if John held his hand.

Mycroft and his mum asked a lot of questions. John asked some questions. I tried to stop Sherlock asking questions, and not look like a fish, with my mouth hanging open all the time. Or laugh as Sherlock tried to wriggle free of John's grip in the science labs. He was like an eel on a line, twisting and turning and struggling, and John was just standing, calm as you like, completely focussed on what was being said as his arm was almost removed.

I did almost spit coffee across the room when fees were discussed, though...

So, obviously it's up to Mycroft if he wants to tell you his impressions, but they got as far as starting to discuss which house he might join...which I assume is a good sign?

28 July 2011

Back to School

Tomorrow we're going to Harrow. I think it'll be really interesting. And I hope Mycroft likes it.

I think this visit is just to meet the Masters and look around, and then later in the holidays there are days when Mycroft can meet other pupils who'll be starting there.

He's been really good with Sherlock so far in the holidays - I know it's only a few days in, but it's lovely to see.

John and I are doing fairly well on the running front. Which is good - I think first practice may be next week. Although he let me off tonight, because I look tired, apparently. I take back what I said about him being a slave driver.

27 July 2011

All the things that might have been

Twenty five years ago today a friend of mine died. He was twenty three. His name was Steve.

Not long after I arrived in London I met him through mutual friends. He was only three years older than me, but a Londoner born and bred. And a genuinely nice bloke. To me, it felt like he knew everything and everyone. He had tireless energy, for work, for music, for clubbing, for everyone.

People used to call us boyfriends, but we weren't really. We were close - I was probably, emotionally, closer to him than a few of the people who were my boyfriends, over the time we knew one another. We'd crash in each other's beds, spend evenings on each other's sofas, and probably did seem, from the outside, like and old married couple.

24 July 2011

Normal service is resumed...

...with the aid of bike-gear porn. I mean...that's the sort of thing John says when I look at bike gear. I can't help coveting some stuff, can I??

Anyway, finally finally we got back to the shops and bought Mycroft some biker gear. [Biker gear makes me sound like, well, a biker. Which I'm not. M]

We got him some black jeans, and ...what the...Mycroft! How do you do that? You are a biker, I mean, you will be. Enough to need biker gear, anyway. Now either come down here and contribute to the post with me or stop...doing that thing. [Okay. M]

Okay to which? Oh, he's here. Right. So, jeans, a nice plain black helmet, some decent boots and gloves, and The Jacket. Yes, Mycroft, it does need capitals.

23 July 2011

Has the world gone mad?

As if the famine in Africa isn't completely terrible enough for the world to cope with (try to cope with? Try to help? How do you even begin? I just sort of sit and stare at the pictures and can't even imagine the scale of the disaster.) Then there's a bomb in Norway, and before that news has even sunk in then this same guy (reportedly) has killed...how many now? 92 people. And he was dressed as a policeman. And that just...that just hurts in so many ways. I can't imagine how anyone who is linked in any way to that entire situation is coping. It's so many people - young people - and for what? I know it's nothing in scale compared to the famine - but that's one person, one person has taken all of those lives. One person who dressed in a uniform and gathered those kids around him, before shooting them in cold blood.

And now the media has gone mad because Amy Winehouse is dead. Again, a young person, who could have been and done so much - who was so talented, who touched so many people - and what happened? How did her life get so out of control?

It's all on such different scales, but...but nothing is more or less tragic than anything else, in its own way. Just like all the other deaths, all the other small, personal tragedies that happen every day, that all touch someone...sometimes it's just too much, isn't it?

And...I feel like I should have something more insightful to say. And I don't.

I just know I'll be thinking about all those people. And all the people who I see, frozen in death. All the friends I've lost. And all the families I still remember, even after years in the job. And even all the people I've watched step down from the dock. I'll think about all of those.

And in the midst of all that, try to think about all the living too, everyone who makes the world a better place. And I suppose all we can do, when it gets too much, is to think about people like that. Like a life-buoy to cling to.

20 July 2011

caught. court. banged up.

Spent the day in court. It's been slow going. Legal wrangling going on for hours. It was pretty tedious.

But over now. Unless i get called back. Can't see what else they could ask me. But you never know.

Started feeling a bit rough this afternoon. Really didn't want to be there after that. Just felt all...like being drunk, dizzy, sort of. And sick.

Sherlock is wildly excited about his sports day tomorrow. I think just because it's a chance to be outside and run about, not because he's particularly competitive at sports. He's asked if there could be a dog race, apparently. I can just imagine how well that would go...

Mycroft seems happy to be going to visit Harrow (less said about Eton the better.) I hope it'll be a good day for him - interesting, and maybe put his mind at rest about a few things. Maybe put ours at rest, too.

When I was at primary school kids in the village didn't want to know us, because they all lived in big farm houses and we were from the council houses. I liked going to big school better, because we all had to get the bus, so no one ever saw where you lived to judge you.

17 July 2011

Home, Holmeses and Horrible weather.

There's a lot to be said for waking up in your own bed, wrapped up in your own boyfriend, happy in your own city.

Even if you are woken up by a Sherlock travelling at high velocity.

But even that was kind of nice.

We had pancakes for breakfast, with fruit in them, and watched as the rain varied between hard and harder...with occasional moments looking as if it may clear up...before raining again. So baking was done, stories told, pictures drawn, pretend arrests made, some attempts at further dog training done (sadly Sherlock's wish to train them to bring him food keep getting thwarted by them eating everything that comes near them).

Still, it was just lovely being with everyone. We did get out with the dogs this afternoon - although we didn't let them off the leads, because of the massive potential for excessive mud rolling and general chaos. And the lack of a hose to wash them down with afterward.

And tonight...Mrs H is going to mind the boys, and Danger is letting me cook for him, at my place, to get a bit of time alone.

I'm thinking pork chops, blue cheese and apple sauce, veg and probably mash, or crushed and roasted spuds. Sound okay, Danger? You get to choose dessert...

16 July 2011

Crime in the countryside....

I'm home. Finally. There were times when I thought I may never get back.

The case...well, yeah, local knowledge was vital. But so was being that step away from the community, being the outsider.


There was a girl and a boy, who've kknown each other since they were just little kids, who had a brief fling. He's pretty introverted, a bit awkward.

They broke up - I'm not even sure it was more than a one night stand. But she found out she was pregnant. She told him. He was over the moon. She...wasn't, but she wasn't devestated either. She seemed to be dealing with it, was thinking about keeping it, even. But her parents said no way, that she was to go to university, not waste her life, all that. Arranged an abortion. Even drove her to the clinic. Without telling him.

Obviously she had to tell him at some point. And she could never have anticipated his reaction. Which was to get his Dad's shotgun and kill them. Then he panicked and hid the gun. Which his father, after asking a few questions, reported as stolen. Which made him panic more, so he took it back, which meant his father had to withdraw the report. Which was part of what made me very suspicious.

All of this was fairly secret, but the gossip had got about that something had happened between the two of them. That, plus the gun, meant I overrode all the 'he's a sweet boy, known him since he was a toddler', all that.

So when we turned up he tried to shoot us, but from way too far away, so it damaged the car a bit. Even if we'd been out of the car, we'd have been okay.

And now, thank God, I'm home, the boys are being wonderful. We all had a big group hug when I got in. Sherlock is pleading for his own set of handcuffs.

John is just...brilliant, and wonderful, and I've missed him so much.

All is well with the world.

Anyway, bloody glad it's over.

14 July 2011

Day in the life of a lonely baggage handler

You lot have been suspiciously quiet today. I'd almost believe the world had ended outside of this little corner of East Anglia. But I've seen the odd plane overhead, so I assume civilisation is still out there somewhere?

I'm still here, obviously. Wondering what delights to sample for dinner tonight. Might just go to a supermarket on the bike, get some salad or something.

It's been raining here today. Grey, then a proper downpour. We were out in it, so we just sat in the car (I was working with Cameron again.) he used to be a biker, before his three kids showed up, so we had plenty to talk about.

Anyway, today has been...semi productive. Let's just say local knowledge may solve the case. But it could also have meant it going unsolved. If I'm right (and I'd bet you a pound to a bag of shit I am) then 'i've known him since he were a nipper' will not stand up in court as evidence of innocence, no matter how many people here say it. Tomorrow...we'll be going to have a chat with someone. And I think he'll give himself away.

12 July 2011

Policing in Nowheresville, Ruralshire

They really do knock of at 5 here. Unbelievable. Apparently after that there are officers on call from about 25 miles away, but even their station closes, so they have to be called in from home.

It's like stepping back in time.

Usual stuff about can't say much about the case - you all know how it goes now.

Middle aged couple, killed in their own home, no apparent motive. Only one officer here has ever worked a murder case before. But they don't want to bring an entire team in because they think local knowledge will be key. Which it might be.

9 July 2011

Yoga bear

I've just done some yoga. There's a first time for everything, right?

Also had Sherlock critiquing my poses. And Mycroft explaining that 'old people aren't as flexible' to him. Thanks, boys.

John suggested it, as Sherlock was being manic. So we all joined in. John (with the help of a laptop, for the finer details of poses) directing us.

7 July 2011

Lazy rainy days

Day off.

It's really nice being abke to walk Sherlock and Mycroft to lessons/classes. They're such interesting boys - so full of questions. Just a walk to school with them makes you feel like you're seeing the world in a new light.

John and I came back to the flat, I prepped up dinner for tonight, so there's no need for effort later on, and we did a few chores, and had a pretty lazy morning. Which was good, because it lashed it down with rain.

We headed into town for lunch and a mooch around Soho. Mainly dodging the bad weather.

5 July 2011

The hardest words

We do a lot of training in the police. For all eventualities.

Of course nothing really prepares you fully for a riot, or having a gun waved at you. But those things, you deal with however you can, and it's all adrenalin and sweat and action and you get through, and once you have, it's pats on the back and a few in the pub and a celebration of another day you've survived.

And then you do training for informing people of tragedy. Loved ones who've died or been seriously injured. And when it comes to doing it for real, nothing's prepared you for that, either. But it's all long silences and awkwardly watching as someone's world caves in on them.

Obivously it's something I have to deal with more than most. It's hard every single time. It's different every single time. You're never prepared, no matter how many times you do it.

And telling people their child is dead...that's the hardest of all.

Add to that today that I'm not just telling these people that their missing child is dead, I'm telling them that through an interpreter. And they're terrified of me, because they're currently staying in this country as illegal immigrants. Everything I say will be carefully translated and i watch, sitting in silence, as the reality hits them.

And these are just the first parents I'm going to go through this with.

Is it better for them, knowing, but now also exposing themselves and the rest of their family to the law, and the prospect of deportation? Or is it better for the ones we may never find, who choose not to come forward?

I really don't know.

We're starting a huge campaign within the community to try to find out the identities of all the victims. It's a hard slog of trying to win trust and break down barriers. I hope, for them, it's worth it.

And after that doom and gloom, here's a typical Sherlock conversation from this morning, when he arrived in the kitchen.

Me: Sherlock! Why are you picking your nose? Stop it, it's horrible.

Sherlock, frowning: It's not horrible. Earwax tastes horrible. Bogeys are nicer.

I wish I'd had a come back, but it just made me wonder how do we all know ear wax tastes horrible?? Is it just a universal fact you'rer born knowing? Or do we all experiment, then wipe it from our minds in disgust?

I should add, he and Mycroft (and I salute you, Mycroft, for being in control of that situation!) made Brownies last night - and they were delicious. Well done to both of them.

And John was wonderful. I didn't want to go back to his, I thought I'd go home and be on my own. But...well, it doesn't make either of us feel better, doing that. And I'd've had a drink.

It's just going to take a while to get used to being around people who don't treat the job as an inconvenience that should be left at the office, and never brought home in any way shape or form.

2 July 2011

A matter of Pride

I'm eating a bacon roll. I ought to be working, but realised that no sensible work would be done when all I could think about was coffee and food. Most of the Yard's food isn't much to write home about. But after years of feeding hungry police officers, bacon rolls they can do well.

Breakfast (very quiet, this morning, with Sherlock not making his presence felt) seems like an awfully long time ago.