Wennol Photography
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At one time I briefly lived in Newbridge on Wye, just outside Llandrindod Wells. It was a new house on a new estate so all my neighbours were new to the area and that provided a great sense of camaraderie. As most of you will probably remember, the period after a move seems full of things that need to be done, very pressing and stressful things if you have a wife otherwise you can indulge in the things that are essential, the importance of which a woman will never understand.

Like a shed!

Now a shed needs a base and that means concrete and concrete needs a mixer which in turn has an unquenchable desire for sand, cement, chippings and water. All this means that the whole project can easily become one that you will do ‘next weekend’. However, my neighbour, Dave, was a handyman par excellence, he would fearlessly roll up his sleeves and attack any job, better still – he also wanted a shed.

So we ordered two.

The following Saturday morning we had our concrete mixer and all the ingredients and we set about mixing, pouring and patting the sloppy mess until it pleased the eye. By about mid-day we had finished the two bases and we were thirsty so it didn’t take much effort to get round to discussing that the village had two pubs and a closed-down temperance bar (which we could safely ignore). As newcomers it seemed incumbent upon us to check the quality of, not just the service, but also the product.

A tough job but someone has to do it!

But first the jeans would have to be thrown in the washing machine before the splashes of concrete rendered them only fit for a statue. No problem, take em off, chuck em in, pour in the powder and switch on. Even I could do that. In no time I was back downstairs, the machine was making healthy sloshing noises and I was bound for the door. As is my custom I pat my back pocket, not as a personal indulgence but to check that I have my wallet. Horror of horrors, I realise that the reassuring bulge is not there and the sloshing in the kitchen tells me that my wallet is taking part in some surfing acrobatics. The door won’t open, I press all the buttons – nothing. I calm down and switch the machine off at the mains and wait, within a minute the door clicks and I pull my jeans out, extract my sopping wallet and carefully remove the notes. I grab enough and place them in a tea towel and dry them as best as I can.

The barman is a bit doubtful about accepting my money but, as we are the only customers, sensible economics takes over. I suppose we had two or four pints – as I can’t quite remember it must have been four. Manual labour is thirsty work.

Closing time came and we were shown the door, we blinked at the bright sunshine and swayed rhythmically, a hand grabs my left arm, then another grabs my right.

“Would you get in the car please, sir,” asked a firm but friendly voice.

Fine, I thought, a lift home would be most welcome. The car sped off towards Llandrindod, obviously using the scenic route. I wondered why they didn’t offer Dave a lift, bit mean of them. I close my eyes and drift off. I awake to a blast of fresh air from an opening door and a hand grabs my elbow, helps me out, leads me up some steps and through some doors. I am standing at a sort of counter and another man seems to be interested in my details, like my name and address and stuff. I have to turn out my pockets and the contents are recorded and put in a bag. I am then taken to this room and led to a chair behind a table, they sit facing me and ask me questions, and seem very interested when I tell them that I have my own printing company. I begin to sober up and get concerned realising that I am in the inner depths of a police station. This is a first time for me and I am not quite sure what I should do, do I jump up and say “You’ll never take me alive, copper!” or do I ask for a solicitor? I box clever and ask for a solicitor. “All in good time sir,” the tall, thin one tells me “got a few more questions to ask you first.”

A further half hour goes by, my head is reeling and I feel exhausted. I am at the end of my tether.

“Look here, “ I say “You can’t do this, I know I was a bit drunk but I wasn’t causing any trouble, I’ve always done everything within the law, paid my taxes and all my bills, been a good citizen and all that. Why am I here?”

“Well, we are acting on information received,” said the short, fat one “what you might call a tip-off. We have reason to believe you have been doing some money laundering.”

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