I mentioned a week or so ago that I had another story after my ‘How I met the Pope‘ blog entry.
Well, as coincidences go, it comes nicely at the time we hear six road sweepers have been arrested (& now released) on suspicion of plotting to harm the Pope.
I can exclusively reveal that this is not the first time this has happened on British soil, kind of.
Back in 1982 I disappeared off for a couple of days up to Coventry to guard Pope John Paul. It all went off extremely well, he came, kissed the tarmac, did his Pope-mobile thing & some other stuff & went home.
A couple of months later after a late shift at work, the shift went down to the police bar & ended up getting pissed. We persuaded one of the non-drinkers to give us a lift to Dover, whereupon we jumped on a ferry & spent 2 days pissed in France.
One of the lads was engaged to be married & on arrival back in good old Blighty he was met with something of a frosty reception, his better-looking half having been completely clueless as to the whereabouts of her precious man for 2 whole days. Such ‘oversights’ demand a high level of poetic licence to recover from & my mate’s was genius. According to his future wife, if she ever tells the story, her hero husband was on duty in Coventry protecting the Pope when an un-named lunatic dived out of the crowd hell-bent on harming his Holiness.
Apparently, my mate & some of the shift, I think even me included, bravely disarmed the would-be assassin & wrestled him to the ground. The court case took exactly two days but was so secretive that the officers involved were warned not to reveal details, not even to their nearest & dearest, lest the wider world learned of the apparent dangers to foreign heads of state whilst on British soil which had the potential for incalculable damage to our foreign interests. Hence he could make no contact with his beloved while he was incommunicado in a secret court somewhere in the Midlands.
When my mate got married a few months later, not one of the shift was invited, just in case the truth of what really happened leaked out to any new brides that day.