Thursday, 17 March 2016

The Unofficial Policeman

He must have been in his 60's, but was in pretty good shape. Strong stocky body, full head of hair which might have been touched up gently. Pale ginger in colour, he styled it in a similar way to actor Martin Sheen. His name was Mick, he was from Northern Ireland and he hailed from Belfast. One thing he excelled at was talking and he proved to be a raconteur par excellence; his tales of happenings on the campsite were colourful and amusing.

Hamelin street scene
But why was he in Hamelin, and on a campsite of all places?

He wanted to chat more than anything else, and preferably in English. Married to a German woman, he'd lived in Germany for many years. Coming out of the army, where he'd been based in Germany, he'd returned to his native Belfast in the 70's. Finding life there amidst the Troubles not to his liking, he'd taken a job in Germany. His ability to speak German, after being based there, was an asset, and he stayed. Now retired, he and his wife lived near Hamelin, but had a permanent large caravan holiday home on the campsite by the banks of the Weser. He was, he said, the site's unofficial policeman, keeping an eye on things, observing the behaviour of the brisk turnover of campers who stayed there, and diffusing any trouble if needed.

He had an air of authority, and was not one to argue with. That was obvious from the way he spoke and from his body language. Gregarious, he seemed to be happiest when chatting to others; his long-suffering wife appeared to be neglected but she was used to him and one day went off with a flourish of independence to do the shopping, riding away on her Lambretta . She left him to it - he was inevitably talking to someone at the time. When she returned, he was still talking to the same person.

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