I just got back from a week in the U.K., spending time with my pen pal Kate, catching my death of cold in drafty train stations, and doing tireless but futile battle against the forces of mayonnaise.
Cooking has come such a long way there since the days of boiled mutton pies and unseasoned turnip slurry and slug and lettuce jam that it's easy to get complacent and assume you can safely order anything without thoroughly reading the menu.
I ate one night in a hip and cosmopolitan gourmet burger joint only to discover it was impossible to find any burger on the menu that didn't come with ... mayonnaise.
Finally I ordered one, instructing the waiter to, in the name of all that was decent, leave out the mayo. "I don't know what it is with you folks," I said, "but in a burger setting, mayo is an option. Not a default."
"Goes with everything," the waiter sang ingratiatingly.
I put my hand on his arm. "No," I said. "No, it does not."
The problem is there is no law against excessive or inappropriate mayonnaise. If there were, I can think of the perfect officers to enforce such a law, endowed with an implacable sense of smell.
True, they are a bit shy about giving testimony in a legal environment. Read on.
West Midlands police have found themselves in a spot of bother over a statement furnished to the Crown Prosecution Service.
The CPS is investigating the conduct of officers in the apprehension of a perp (who, it may be assumed, objects to how he was brought to justice).
As part of its inquiry, the CPS apparently barraged the police with requests and demands for a statement from one Police Constable Peach, an officer involved in the arrest.
The only problem is that PC Peach happens to be a K-9 officer. He is, not to put too fine a point on it, a dog.
He thus finds paperwork a particular challenge.
His buddies down at the station house gave him a paw, though, and somebody on the force helped him get the lawyers off his furry back by filling out a statement for him from his uniquely Alsatian (what we call a German shepherd) point of view.
In a childlike, oversized printed scrawl, "PC Peach" filled out his name and the date of the incident, as well as his ID number. In the space marked "Age if Under 18" he dutifully put "4" and "signed" with a paw print in two places.
The statement of what occurred during the arrest is as straightforward as a dog would describe it:
"I Chase Him
"I Bite Him
"Good Boy Peach."
The Daily Mail reports that this was brought on by an endless stream of demands from the CPS for a statement from PC Peach. The police had grown increasingly frustrated by the legal demands because although they had explained that PC Peach was not actually capable of describing his role in the arrest, being unable either to speak English or type more than two or three words of gibberish a minute, none of this deterred the piercing legal minds at the CPS.
Of course, if there's one thing lawyers have it's a sense of humor - the whole incident is now under investigation, the CPS having gotten what it so doggedly insisted on having and finding itself Not Amused.
And what about the guy who brought in a wanted man at the Bradford, West Yorkshire, police headquarters while dressed as Batman?
"He was dressed in a full Batman outfit" and disappeared into the night, according to police.
These unrelated law enforcement oddities are giving me an idea. A reality show starring Batman and Peach, Special Condiment Unit. They could sniff out and foil excessive mayonnaise and Marmite and inferior chutney.
Making Britain Tasty. Good Boy Peach!
Samantha Bennett, freelance writer: email@example.com.