Where's Monty? Where's my lift?


 There are moments in life when one is tempted to doubt one’s position in society, feeling isolated, alone, vulnerable, and indeed even, forgotten. I am pleased to announce that such moments have been rare in my life but one such occasion did happen late one night in 1972…or was it ’73?

As is often the way these days the mind can be foggy about specific details especially over something that happened 50 years ago. I will add that the haze that would oft’ dull my mind due to overindulgence of the amber stuff does not play a part in this reminisce. Indeed, it was a rare night when a drop of the stuff didn’t pass my lips and, on this occasion, I was stone cold sober following an evening “working” front of house in the college theatre.

The only occasional downside of living at Killerton was the lack of immediacy of transport, and the reliance of the goodwill and friendship of fellow Killertonians who “had wheels” was always hugely appreciated. On the night in question one Martin Hannant (forgive me Martin) had offered his services in picking me up at around 11.00pm from outside the college directly opposite the Heavitree “cop shop.”

I duly arrived early and leant against the wall awaiting the arrival of Martin. A passing police car drew no attention from me; after all, why should it? The minutes passed, slowly I may add, but my confidence in Martin’s arrival was total. My mind probably wandered back to the events of the evening and I patiently wiled away the time. I vaguely recall seeing the jam jar come by again, one of the inhabitants glancing at me; I thought nothing of it. Martin was late but that was fine.

Police carIt was when half an hour or so had passed and the same car of the law was now making what seemed like regular trips around the station and each time showed more interest in me, that I began to suspect that perhaps I had been forgotten. After an hour had passed, I was convinced and was contemplating the 7 mile walk back. My thoughts were broken by the police car stopping and a voice asking me what I was up to. My explanation that I was waiting for a lift did not hit the mark and I was rather firmly ordered to get into the back. A journey of approximately 50 yards saw me then getting back out of the car and being escorted to the front desk. There followed what seemed to be several hours of questioning – ok, it was probably 10 minutes.Exeter-Police.jpg

Why was I loitering outside the college? Was I intending to break in? Who else was with me? My response “Why the hell would I want to break into the college at which I was a student”. “I wish to god that my intended lift was with me!”

After some time, they decided that perhaps I wasn’t some gangster or thug and then, at last, took pity on me. A few failed attempts at ringing Killerton followed (Hele 311) and finally they decided that I could go. I was contemplating a night sleeping on the back seats in the theatre (something I did on another occasion) when pity turned to sympathy and they offered me a lift back.

One thing baffles me to this day – how did I get into mt room? For the life of me, I cannot remember. Guaranteed that Dai wasn’t aware when I entered the room. Come to think of it, I couldn’t guarantee that Dai was even in the room.