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Brushes with the law and sporting fame
for Classical Music Agony Aunt ALICE McVEIGH

? ' Dear Alice,

I recently received a note from traffic police observing (completely erroneously) that I had done 61 mph in a 50 mph zone.

How am I so sure that this was erroneous? -- Er, well, ah, because the police got the number of my car wrong and -- additionally -- fingered me on a day when I never stirred from my home in the Cotswolds, let alone ventured, on that day, on the road where the speeding took place!

I wonder if you have ever heard of a similar case??

Cotswold Chick

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Alice Dear Chick,

Yes, indeedy. Oddly enough the same thing recently happened to me, with regard to the frightening and abysmally inefficient Bedfordshire traffic department.

You would scarcely credit it, but our motorway car was also 'spotted' speeding (except that they brilliantly 'misread' one digit on the license-plate so it wasn't us at all!!!!!) within the last six months.

All I can say is, they must be frighteningly short of money Bedfordshire-way, for them to be swiping people into court for going exactly 11 mph above the speed limit, when the limit (on a motorway) was 50!!! I have never forgotten being fingered by the South Wales constabulary for their scam at the end of the M4 (where, on a normal stretch of motorway) a sudden 50 mph is erected purposely to soak non-natives.

Of course, I am currently in the enjoyable position of being able to deride and mock these Bedfordshire bozos (having trouble with our eyesight, are we? Finding it tricky to summon up enough brain cells to access the correct address of the real malfeasant??) but what of the poor Bedfordshire bloke (or blokess?) who has been nabbed for going -- on a motorway, remember, which normally has a 70 mph limit -- at a measly 61?? They -- like me, until reason returned to its throne -- are going to have a very bad day.

It will come to the point where Bedfordshire police, instead of protecting god-fearing Bedfordshire folk from muggings, burglaries etc, will instead be perched around every street corner, nabbing innocent drivers whose speedometers have snuck a smidgeon of a millimetre over any given speed limit.

(Of course, by then they might have gotten marginally more competent at reading license plates and addressing envelopes ...)

We can but hope.
Yours in commiseration,

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? ' Dear Alice,

I was catching up with your columns the other day and could hardly believe my eye-peepers What, no mention of winning your very first tennis trophy? Surely this modesty is unlike you!! Are you feeling quite well??

Your father (Jack Taylor)

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Alice Dear Doodie,

Yes, well, as you know, I did win my first tennis trophy, but as it is most likely to be also my last tennis trophy I didn't really want to make ye song and dance about it.

You see, in our club they appoint partners by drawing lots, and I drew by far the best male player in the mixed doubles. Admittedly you have more rounds in the mixed doubles than in any other competition, but they just seemed to breeze past, with Paul Taylor (doubtless, judging by his outstanding serve and net work, a distant relative of ours?)

So despite my fears that I would screw up (grounded in the fact that anyone partnered with P Taylor was expected to triumph) I never did. In fact, there were times when I felt as if painted fetchingly on the backdrop while said Paul Taylor pounced on the ball to his left, rammed home the ball to his right, and served so well that only the feeblest returns in my direction (because every team we played, of course, tried to target me constantly) could be anticipated. As for his service games, I had the air of a proud mother at a school concert. And my own serves? -- Well, it's amazing what confidence it gives you, to have someone at the net who seems to regard any shot within his (long) reach as some kind of capital offense. My serve was just fine -- In the final I even pulled off a teeny weeny little ace of my very own. So when they were doling out the silver cups (to be kept for a year) and the little trophies of tennis rackets (mine forever!!!!!) I shoved the silver cup in Paul's direction. No question who carried us to victory, especially in the final. Only too pleased to tag along.

But every now and then, while feeling lowish, I get out my very own first (and last) trophy and pat it, and admire it's coppery sheen, and the little plate saying (since you asked)
Farnborough Tennis Club
Mixed Doubles
Winners 2008

And then I think, yes, that was me. With grace and elan, I got out of Paul's way.

Copyright © 15 August 2008 Alice McVeigh, Kent UK

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