Policing Downshire in the Noughties – From Millmoor to Yesteryear
Millmoor was once a Military town, well actually it was always an army town, until the defense cuts, but the quarters had been refurbished and sold to eager would be home owners.
The old parade grounds had been dug up and replaced with new shoe-box like dwellings in the modern style, while the garages, workshops, barracks and stores buildings were now occupied by small businesses.
Millmoor had retained the Aerospace Britannia Company which was a huge employer in the area, but the town missed the peripheral business which a military establishment brings to a town.
Consequently, the town of Millmoor was not as prosperous as it had been, their former Football League Club had gone bankrupt and was as result two divisions below Abbottsford.
Having said all that, it was not an unpleasant place to be and the people did not live in abject poverty.
Bill indicated and turned into Montgomery road and then right into Churchill Court, the small neat houses were arranged in tidy formations like platoons of soldiers on a parade ground.
But driving to Millmoor from Chapel Hill took them through some the most beautiful English countryside you could ever want to see.
The weather was as different as it was possible to be from the previous day with the wind and rain having been replaced by bright spring sunshine, the only evidence of the previous days deluge were the areas of standing water in the fields and on the low-lying points in the lanes.
As they drove down the winding lanes of the steep hill from Upper Oakham down to the predicable named village of Lower Oakham they came across a young girl in the middle of the lane calmly trying to control a large chestnut horse, so they pulled to a stop a safe distance behind the pair and watched as she skillfully maneuvered the horse backwards and brought it to a stop and then tried to proceed again.
When the horse and rider reached the same spot, the chestnut reared again and again the rider deftly maneuvered the beast away.
When the young rider had again calmed the horse, she edged it gingerly forward, but the horse skirted whatever it could see and trotted sideways as if it were avoiding a hole in the ground and once the invisible evil was behind it the horse proceeded calmly on its way.
Bill released the handbrake and eased the car forward giving them both a wide berth and as they passed horse and rider the young girl smiled and waved in appreciation of their patience.
Watching the girl on the horse reminded him of the first time he met Sally all those years before.
He was a probationer straight out of Police College walking a rural beat in a village not unlike the Oakham’s when a horse and rider became separated.
The young woman riding was unseated and broke her ankle and although she was unable to stand she had the presence of mind to keep hold of the reigns.
Neither Bill nor the rider knew what had spooked the horse, but they could both see plainly that the horse wasn’t calming down any.
Bill’s knowledge of horses was restricted to watching the Grand National on television or old John Wayne movies on the Sunday afternoon matinee and a dodgy steak he had on a day trip to Calais three years previously.
It was at this point that Sally appeared in her car and she walked slowly up to the snorting creature and after a few soothing words she was leading the horse by the head out of the road.
The young woman mesmerized Bill for a few minutes and then he came to his senses and galvanized into action and got the traffic flowing again, he took Sally’s name and address, for the police report obviously, and a week later they were going on their first date.