A Bonsai Tree Called Geoff

Issue 101

Tales from a bobby on the beat.

With a bit of luck, most of you reading this will only have had any sort of official contact with a police officer when you needed some help or were being told that a road was closed off.

However, we’re all aware of how difficult the role of the Constabulary can be. Thankfully, there are lighter moments…and you can read about some hilarious examples from the books written by John Donoghue.

That’s PC John Donoghue to you and me, whose introduction in the blurb on the back of his latest book gives us an indication of things to come:

Am I the best cop on the streets?…No.

But do I put in 100% effort to every incident I attend?…Also No.

What I do is write about the funny, unusual, or bizarre incidents I go to.

The book, A Bonsai Tree Called Geoff, has the sub-title ‘Police Stories I Probably Shouldn’t Share’…and we begin to see why as we are regaled with tales of him arresting a bride at her wedding, an Aztec-style sacrifice, a naked dog thief, an accidental kidnapping, subversion in the ranks, disappointing a nun…and more.

If you think that policing is much the same as you see on the telly…forget it. But if you want a glimpse behind the scenes to see what policing is REALLY like, this is for you.

John has spent over 40 years serving Queen, King and Country, in both the Royal Navy and British Army before joining Durham Constabulary. He retired recently on April 1st which, bearing in mind that his books are filled with humour and irony, seems appropriate.

“I thought I’d seen everything when I was in the military,” he tells us. “But when I joined the police, I realised it was a whole new world I’d stumbled upon…”

He paints such wonderfully vivid pictures with his writing that you feel that you’re actually on patrol with him.

“For most people, life is a mixture of amazing, breathtaking, brilliant, horrifying, dangerous, frightening and rewarding experiences,” says John. “But in the police, you can experience all of those in just one day.”

“I’ve been to murders, countless deaths and horrendous incidents,” he tells us, “but the flipside to the job is the strange calls we go to. One woman was moaning that bees from a neighbour were stealing pollen from her flowers, whilst another complained about a woman in the park who hid a cat under her jumper and was pretending she was pregnant with a very angry baby…none of them actual crimes at all!”

My worst task though followed an arrest of a prolific shoplifter. On Christmas Eve I was sent to his house to retrieve the stolen goods, but they were now under the Christmas tree…fully wrapped. I had to unwrap all of the presents in front of the sobbing children to discover which were genuine and which were stolen. And then go back to take the lights off the Christmas tree!”

Reading about crime really shouldn’t be so much fun…get ready for plenty of laugh-outloud moments!

All of John’s books are available from Amazon, with A Bonsai Tree Called Geoff released on 1st May.

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