55) Theft, and “papers, please!”

“We saw him smoking by the newspaper stand” We Are Detective – Thompson Twins

Hi there girls and boys, I hope you’re well.

Our homeless community, if it can be called that, seems to be on the rise. With no lockdown restrictions here any more, I see more people begging in the street. I’ve commented previously on giving money to street beggars. Recently on Reddit I was taken to task about this, the other party telling me that my stance of not giving money as it may well go to drink or drugs was wrong and that the outcome isn’t my concern, let them do with it what they will.. Soo I’ll give them £20 and they go and get smacked up, with the additional cost to the NHS where they send out an ambulance when someone like me finds him in the street? Not to mention putting the paramedics in danger from assault, when they bring the person round from their drug induced sleep? Assaults on ambulances are also on the rise, I mean who assaults a paramedic?? Or do we leave the homeless person to die in the cold?

No, I’ll give them food. Yes yes, it may the the tenth food item he’s been offered that day, but at least you cant inject a chicken bake into your veins. This reply was average.. “Y’know.. They are homeless. They literally have fuck all. It’s OK for you to go home to whatever drug of choice you desire but somehow think it’s OK to tell them how to spend a quid? If they want to block out the fact that they are living in a doorway can you blame them?” A Fox’s choc biscuit is my drug of choice. Food helps a body stay warmer by thermogenesis, and as I don’t carry blankets and hot water bottle around with me.. So that sandwich or coffee or fish and chips may well not be able to find them a bed for the night, but it will at the very least put off starvation and perhaps even death, something their drug dealer isn’t concerned about. Careful Anna, it’s not your Sunday Service..

The ongoing trouble/Taliban takeover/Blair and Bush repercussions in Afghanistan has provided more migrants to deal with. Our little church group here has a containers worth of clothes, toiletries and toys being delivered this week to places where they are housing the migrants. Closer to home, I do my tiny bit by helping out in or contributing to a food bank. I usually go to the nearest supermarket to the food bank, and did so this week. After filling up a trolley and bagging the items at the checkout I turned around to pay and as I do, chat to the cashier. When I went to roll away my trolley, I saw that two of the bags had gone. Nothing much riles me, but theft is one of them, girls and boys. Through the window I spied the culprit, a middle aged bloke. In hot pursuit, I blocked him just about as he was about to drive of, in a BMW.

It has been said that since Ellie has been living away, my anger has been quick to rise. In general life I’m an easy going girl, dear reader. I care about people, can cry at situations they are in. Am I angrier or is the world just that bit meaner? I see so many people that are just twats, for no reason. This week the bins at the back of our houses were set on fire, this is the third time so far this year. We live in a nice place, a few of us sweep that back lane, have planted trees, flowers etc. It looks lovely, for a back lane. So do I get angry when some arse decides he, and it’s always a teenaged he, sorry lads, thinks it would look better as a tip? Too right I do. But I fume inside. Letting others see anger is an easy way for them to win. So I keep it to myself, or at least try.

A confession. You’re going to hate me for this. In May I was on the beach with a few others doing a beach clean. We’d done two miles, collected twenty odd bags of crap, and it had taken us from eight in the morning until half three. As we sat down for a tea, two teenagers chucked away their chip wrappers onto the sand in front of us.. I had one of them in my hands and was shaking him before I knew it. I can’t recall getting up, going to him. He was about 13, and on the brink of crying. My fellow beachcleaners gently took me way, but I could have easily have drowned the little shit. I’ve seen him and his friends twice and apologised since, and he seems ok. He even offered me a chip last time, and appeared on the next beachclean. So, why didn’t I do that to the gym bunny?

Back in the supermarket carpark, my thief instantly handed over the bags of food. No arguments, no excuses, I didn’t even have to ask. I took them and walked away. What’s the price of a BMW? So much that you’d see someone else’s shopping and think, I’ll have that?


I love an old movie where the “occupying force” ask for papers. (Stereotyping alert!) “You, yes you, ze woman vith ze blonde hair, long legs, viggle, and ze dark coat..papers!” In my mind I pull out a copy of the Times, open at the crossword. It’s completed, at which the guard will smile as he says, “Excellent, on your vay”. I return his smile and say thanks, pleased that he didn’t notice 7 and 14 across were both answered ghtywidhsg. Or it’s the Sun, open at the gossip section. That would earn me well deserved a shot in the face, though. In those days before laminators, how did people keep their identification papers from becoming tatty? Watching the news this week and seeing the plight of people at Kabul airport, I see many of them have not even a plastic bag into which to keep what may be their only form of identification. My thoughts, if not prayers, are with them.

As identification I have a passport and a bike license, although where the latter is.. no idea!. I think it may be on Skye, at mum and dad 2’s house. The last time we rode up there I had it, but since.. don’t know. I don’t use my Harley much and so it sits in my garage, amongst the life-laundry that one day I will sort out, but if I were to go out on it I just know the police would be doing spot checks. Despite me smiling sweetly and saying that my gf’s dad used to be a policeman, that’s a nice uniform, oops can you see down the front off my leathers etc, (Oh please!), the outcome would still be a “producer”, forcing me to find the bloody thing. Can’t we have stuff like this imbedded into our hands? “Just slip your finger into here”. Oo-er. Or is injecting microchips what the covid jabs are all about? Aha!

I’m pretty good when it comes to the renewal of such items as insurance. I always find renewing insurance THE most mundane thing ever, but strangely feel nice after doing it. I insure everything. You know when you purchase anything like a toaster, do you complete the card and return it? I bet you don’t, nobody ever does. Well I do. Have I ever needed to contact anyone about an item? Of course not. My shredder, ooh I love my shredder, well that’s about due for a renewal. “Why not just wait until it conks out, then get a new one, cheaper in the long run, poppet” Dad1 will say, forgetting that it was him that told me to do all of this insuring lark when I was getting my first apartment at 18.

My Excel skills make it easy to keep track of bills and important dates. One of these is passport renewal. In the UK, ten years is the time that has been set as the renewal date. I suppose facial features change, and celebrities and terrorists have to be given some time in order for their plastic surgery to become better looking-ish. Or not. Hi Katie Price.

This has been the first time I’ve renewed my passport online, and for the most part its easy. Name, address, old passport number.. Looks like you’re renewing.. then it asks for the very same details.. type type. Then it needs a photo. This causes a fuss as I don’t own a camera or phone, so I either get Abby or one of the lads nextdoor round or find a photobooth. I’ve images of me but hardly think they would be acceptable to the UK government. Reading through the webpage, I see that I have to return my old passport but it will be returned, at which I’m glad. I don’t want to lose the stamps it contains, such as Russia. It helps with the memories.

So then, a photo. Abby arrived and after tea, biscuits and a gossip, I mean chat, we set about a photoshoot. The next morning.. haha.. no, not this time. God, you lot are obsessed with sex!

There are certain rules to a pic for a passport. It must be in even light, no hats, no smiles. No arty shots then? No La Perla? Or from behind, looking over my shoulder, Jaclyn Smith-like? Her in the intro to Charlie’s Angels, oh wow. Just don’t watch the rest of the programme. So you need a straight on head shot then? Do I tie back my hair, or pin it up? You DON’T want me to make love to the camera? Well if you insist, spoilsport.

Then, THEN, the cheeky fucking website has the gall to give me it’s findings on the uploaded image. “Fair. Your image may not be acceptable” FAIR??? Oh please. I’m fucking gorgeous! (cough cough).

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is screenshot-2021-08-27-at-18.01.11.png

We try again, this time producing a better “Good” result. Theres no indication of what made the second image any better. Perhaps it was the scowl.

The rest of the thing is plain sailing, with the cost being £75, and an additional question of do I want it delivered back to me safely for another fiver? No I’d like it be to chucked out of the passport office window in Durham, straight into the Wear, for me to fish out later. Why is secure postage an extra charge? I realise that the Post Office is a private company, but surely some Tory minister could do a deal with them? They’re very good at doing dodgy deals.

Ellie had a problem with her passport when she arrived in America. Looking at the image and at her face you’d be forgiven for thinking that it was another girl. The eyes are the same, her perky nose, her mouth, but it just looks different all-together. The camera performs some sort of rearranging of her face. She had to let down her hair in order for the immigration to see it was the same person. You hear tales of dark skinned folk having trouble with the UK passport website. You’d think that in a multicultural Britain we could provide software that recognises facial features and adapts to them?


So what have we learned? That posing for Abby is a deliciousness that we don’t do often enough? That the Government Gateway website need looking at? No. Just that sometimes you have to take things slowly. The experience, whether applying for a passport, making a cuppa, or asking yourself whether risking being arrested because somebody made a mess of your beach, are best done slowly and with some thought.

As ever, thanks for reading

Anna

Tynemouth

28th August, 2021

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2 thoughts on “55) Theft, and “papers, please!””

  1. One of the things I like about your writing is the humour. Well what would you expect? (Edit out joke about how I like birds so much I married one.) Another is that you understand our actions, all our actions, have consequence beyond the immediate. Most people (like the BMW driving thief and the littering child) do not. They make extra work for the rest of us.
    As for the passport experience … yes the Mrs. recently renewed her UK edition which included mailing documents back and forth under fear of the vanishing in between. She regrets not having submitted a photo of the cat in her place; since it’s good enough for the AI on her phone to accept it should be good enough for the government, right? Yes it is a bit worrying.
    May your future days be less trying times. Unlikely, but here’s hoping.

    Like

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