|Off the Record|
Curiously it was only after the statement had left the room that the officer started to ask me questions: "Just how did I lose the tickets?" "Which day?" "At what time?" "Who did I think had got them?" and "What attempt did I make to find them?" Given the report was already being typed I took this as sympathetic conversation rather than meticulous information gathering. Still I was keen not to say anything that would delay the statement.
I noticed each statement piled on the table had an orange slip pinned to it. Good to use pins I thought, less wasteful than staples and does not require a stapler. The slips were receipts. Before long he explained there was a government fee to be paid. What followed was not clear to me; two other police officers interjected and there grew quite a heated discussion. I was preparing for some extremely disadvantageous refinement of the rules and was beginning to fear further delays. Reluctantly accepting his colleagues’ advice, my police officer rather sheepishly explained that the TS1000 was the fee for "nationals". Here we go. "Internationals do not have to pay. You are our guests." Phew!
I returned to the station 45 minutes later, proudly carrying the statement. By now the ticket officer was eating his lunch, he did not seem to be very interested. There was nothing he could do for me; I would have to take it to the stationmaster. I thanked him for his earlier assistance. Of course the stationmaster was out. Probably gone to lunch like any sensible fellow. I was beginning to feel the pressure. Although we originally had hours to spare they were slipping away too easily. I went to look for Barry who by now had moved camp to the first class (frequent flyer?) lounge. We ordered lunch. I went back to the stationmaster’s office to find he had returned. He asked me to sit down. He read through the police statement. He took a blank sheet of paper. "Oh here we go," I thought. Ruler, biro, carbon paper. Slowly and carefully he began to write in longhand "To whom it may concern." I asked if he had every thing he needed, as I wanted to get some lunch. He assured me that it would be fine and by the time I have eaten, the paperwork would be ready. Actually, I was settling into my chicken and rice when he came and found me delighted to have "solved our problems". I was quite pleased too.
|Off the Record|