Across Continents

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Inspector Knacker

In the corner Inspector Knacker of the Yard was being chummy. Probably not a hack as they’d be off covering the Levenson Inquiry. Or on the run. And it was plain old coffee rather than a bit of bubbly and a brown envelope. Tough times for all. I’d stopped off in a small cafe opposite New Scotland Yard. Made better time with my errands than I’d thought, and disliked the idea of getting to Paddington too early for my train back to the Westcountry. Instead, passing the time listening to PC Plod making the inexcusable schoolboy error of not picking an establishment with alcoves. Sharing their indiscretions with anyone inclined to listen.

I was pleased to be heading over to Somerset. It was my home of course. And it wasn’t Corby-by-the-Sea. I’d not quite been declared persona non grata. Not yet anyway. But had been gentled teased that a few friends and acquaintances had seen through my especially feeble efforts at concealing its real identity. Busy sharpening their pitchforks I’d been told. Some people. No sense of humour. Which had surprised me. Living there.

The guard on the train was from Exeter. He said so over the tannoy. Very proud of it. We’d probably have guessed anyway. Affable chap. Softly spoken. Something of a favourite uncle. I’d met him as I’d boarded. Quiet train he’d said to me, smiling. I’d nodded appreciatively, struggling to stow my bulging rucksack before the other passengers caught up with me. His modest enthusiasm was infectious. Cheery. Masking the tatty upholstery unchanged since I’d commuted on the same line over a decade ago.

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