Sunday, 27 March 2011

Sod's Law in Seighford

I said In my last post that I would tell you a little bit about my experience of Sod's Law because I think it has influenced my life.

It happened in the summer of 1969, the year I returned to Seighford (pictured on the right)after enforced emigration to Australia. I was 16 years old when my father came back from the pub one night and declared that we were going to the promised lane, but that is another story. I was now 18 years old and life was never more full of excitement.

Seighford is an idyllic village set about three miles to the west of Stafford. It has a village green, a pub, a primary school, a ford and a village shop. As far as housing is concerned the village was made up of a few farmhouses, a few private properties and the inevitable quota of council houses that are common in Staffordshire villages.

Actually there were two lots of council houses in Seighford. The Cumbers, is a row of 10 semi-detached house running alongside the main road that passes through the village and Bramall Close which runs off to the side.

Anyway, before my father dragged me and the rest of the family to the other side of the world we lived at 12, Bramall Close. However, when my father had had enough of the land down under he managed to get us a council property eight doors away. So after going to the other side of the world and back we ended up living at number 20, Bramall Close, Seighford.

Now, if you are wondering what this has got to do with Sod's Law, stick with me because I'm just about to get to the plot. On the evening of the day in question I had arranged to go out for a couple of pints with Robert, a mate who lived in The Cumbers. At 7:30, Robert picked me up as arranged and I jumped onto the back seat of his scooter, which was an unusual Zundapp model(The most popular scooters at the time were Lambrettas and Vespas).

Anyway, as we roared (well perhaps it didn't roar, but you know what I mean)out of Bramall Close instead of turning to the left in the direction of the Hand and Cleaver pub, he turned right and pulled up outside his house on The Cumbers.

"It's a bit nippy," he said, "I'm just going to pop in and get a jacket. Take it for a whizz if you like."
Well I'd got a provisional motorcycle licence, and I wouldn't mind checking out the performance of the Zundapp, so I took it up to Waterfall's Corner and back, which I suppose is a distance of a quarter of a mile and must have taken something like two minutes. The ride was good and I was impressed with the power of the Zundapp and was feeling quite happy as I turned the scooter around outside The Cumbers to wait for Robert. This was when it all went terribly wrong. A police car that had followed me back into the village from Waterfall's corner stopped and the officer inside wound down his window.
"Does that vehicle belong to you sir?" He asked.
"No it's a friend's," I replied, "he's just gone into his house to pick up a jacket; I was just trying it out."
"Have you got a licence?"
"Yes," I said pleased with myself that I wasn't breaking the law, but then as I handed my licence over I realised the scooter wasn't displaying any 'L' plates.
"Sorry," I said, "I've just realised that it hasn't got any 'L' plates, but I only went down to the corner and back while I was waiting for my friend." He didn't seem interested in what I was saying.
"Are you insured to use the vehicle sir?" he asked in the same mono tonal voice.
"My friend's insurance will cover cover me," I said hoping that I was right.

Anyway, Robert came out with his jacket and after a short conversation with the policeman it became clear that he didn't have any insurance either. My little ride through Seighford, where the police are as rare as vegan tigers, cost me a hefty fine and two endorsements on my licence.
Never again would I do anything without considering the consequences and I am therefore an overcautious soul.
If the police hadn't turned up that day in Seighford I would probably gone on to live a life of wanton pleasure. Ah well...

On the left you can see one of my sketches of Seighford Church.

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