Oh dear. Stopped by the cambridgeshire plod. Again. Which makes my sum total for stops now two in as many months. (well, the last instance was the new year’s eve one, which was really formality, and which, i am sure pedants will point out, makes this twice in THREE months).
Still, no harm done: a wonderfully sensitive handling of a potentially embarrassing situation by a good-natured policeman and…i was back on my way. Chastened. And determined to sort out a few last details of my personal life.
Friday night, i was up meeting folks in London.
Great stuff! And not for the first time, i found myself haring back up the A1 at some ungodly hour, pausing only for coffee at South Mimms, before hitting Peterborough at a little after 4 am.
I was, as you can imagine, knackered – espesh as i’d driven down to London little more than eight hours previously. Coming off the A1 and turning on to one of the many ringroads that surround the city, i suspect it showed. Enough, anyway, for a police van following me to decide i was a worthy candidate for pulling over.
Do not go into the (blue) light!
Though not for them. They summoned a patrol car, and a few scant miles short of home and bed, i had that blue light in the rearview mirror experience.
Nah! merely Cambridge’s finest, stopping to inquire if i had been drinking.
Nope. I love the fact that i am pretty much teetotal nowadays. It makes such encounters so much easier, so much more confidence filled when you know that, short of something untoward on the rohypnol front, you are going to test 100% negative.
The problem, however, arose as the officer called in checks on the police computer.
Before i explain, allow me to describe my garage. Its a lot tidier than it was. Last month, i decided i could no longer stand the mess in there and i had a blitz on the accumulated piles of untidy junk. It is now 90% neat and tidy, with a definite 10% of unfinished business. Stuff i need to get back to and sort thru with a fine toothcomb before the job is done.
Now fast forward to the present state of my life, document-wise. Over the last couple of years, i have been slowly but assiduously amending. Tax, NHS, banking. You name it: pretty much everything, now, is in the name of Jane Fae.
There are a few odd exceptions. Stuff i am scarcely aware is still out there and which very occasionally reminds me of its existence via direct mail campaigns. Mostly very low level contacts, which impacts little or not at all on my life.
And three biggies. My passport, driving license and vehicle registration.
First up, the passport. Technically, i no longer have one at all. The old one ran out over a year ago and there was no way i was going fork out £90 to renew with “M” against gender. A new one will be forthcoming in the not too distant: but its complicated because i definitely need to manage not just name change, but an amend to gender marker too.
Vehicle registration is an oversight. Mea culpa! I can change name there whenever i wish – and it will be done by Monday.
Last up is the driving license which i have been putting off. To date, i have tackled and overcome every major bureaucracy known to man in the pursuit of name change without deed poll. So far i have won every time.
My concern, in this instance, from having written about the DVLA over the years, and from intimate knowledge of just how bloody-minded they can be is that this could be the biggest battle yet. Immovable object meeting trans-powered force, with the outcome not yet certain.
Tolerant good-natured policing
Still, to return to the roadside, Friday morning. My police interrogator displayed a remarkable degree of tolerance and restraint as he called in details and found my identity, as far as driving was concerned, was a patchwork of conflicting information.
As he put it: “what would happen if he issued a ‘producer’ and i had to turn up at the nearest police station with my documents?”
Er, yes. Point taken.
He sent me on my way with a lecture (definitely heeded) about the dangers of driving when tired, and a finger-wag in the direction of my documents. Also heard: and next week i will commence what looks like being the last battle: me or the DVLA; who will emerge victorious?
(Wait and see: i do have an ace up my sleeve in that respect!)
In the end, i was more than happy with how the guy dealt with me. Either good old-fashioned tolerant policing.
Or maybe the van hadn’t collected any video evidence so the only thing he COULD have done me for was the documentary offence, which in turn would have been a nightmare for any desk sergeant tasked with dealing with it.
“Ah well”, i said as we parted: “at least you’ll have a good story to tell in the canteen”. 🙂
“I don’t do gossip”, was his respectful rejoinder.
As if! I know i would…but perhaps he really is that old-fashioned and decent.
I dunno. However, the event was definitely wake-up call, in more ways than one…and perhaps in future i shall be more inclined to spend the night over in London than make an early morning exhausted return.