My life of crime: time for an admission


When I was at the College of Law in 1978 taking my professional legal exams – my Part 2’s as they were known – now it is the Legal Practice Course which at least tells you what they were about – we received a letter from the Law Society. This august body was then both the representative of all Solicitors and the regulator, something of a conflict of roles not that anyone saw that back then. After all it represented lawyers so had to be fine to regulate itself. Didn’t it?

This letter, in the pompous style of the times, told us that we had to ‘fess up to any criminal convictions which it would then assess to see if we were ‘fit and proper’ persons to be admitted to the roll. Which means added to some book containing the names of qualified solicitors It did rather sound like your name was to printed on toilet paper, which some people might think more appropriate.

This caused much hilarity, save for one chap, Evan, who admitted he had a criminal record. We were scandalised. What had he done? Sheepishly he told us he had  received a fifty pound fine for ‘urinating in a public place, to whit within the curtillage of a shelter on the sea front at Llandudno’. Which reminds me of the old joke about the man who had a tattoo of Llandudno but that’s for another post.

Evan was unfortunate in that his micturition was a little too public. Though, if you were the next user of that shelter, you may well conclude he got off lightly. Others confessed to crimes for which they had avoided capture. It was one of those moments when, if you had led a totally unsullied life, you would have been ridiculed. But I couldn’t unburden myself then. I was too inhibited. Now, perhaps is the time to come clean, to see what is on my charge sheet.

1. Accessory to shop lifting. Not really my fault this. We were at scout camp in Lampeter in West Wales (actually that year it was more correctly Wet Wales). We had a day trip to Aberystwyth and one of my friends, as we cruised Woolworths looking for the pix and mix, grabbed a Kitkat and did a runner. The three of us left standing were panicked into running after him. I did enjoy eating the stolen goods mind you.

2. Drugs. I didn’t spend my youth puffing or popping or pricking myself, far from it. But I’m sure I committed various crimes involving packets of this or that being left here and there. A sort of passive handling as well as quite a degree of passive smoking. Me and Billy-boy Clinton never inhaled…

3. Arson. That same scout camp we dropped a match into a boy’s pubes – as you do by way of experiment. Les was sleeping off a night hike and on that one hot day had pulled open his sleeping bag to cool down… If memory serves it took him 11 seconds from the match being dropped to the scream… I ran. A lot of my criminality involves running.

4. Aggravated trespass. I get really cross, being an avid walker, if our dear farmers do not restore footpaths after planting or ploughing. One time, confronted with a field of wheat where the path had been eradicated, I furiously tramped diagonally across the field flattening the crop to create a two foot wide path, so future hikers weren’t defeated. About two thirds of the way across I realised I was in the field next door to the one with the path.

5. Stalking. I visited the doctor. I’d not been before. I was told to stay in the waiting room until called. A woman appeared, ‘Mr Le Pard?’ For reasons I still can’t explain I assumed she was a member of the surgery staff so I followed her down stairs out of the front door…. It was only on the pavement as she put up her umbrella I twigged she was the previous patient. The look of horror on her face as she turned and skedaddled will stay with me. Someone else did the running this time.

6. Theft. My mother was a great gardener and could conjure life from the most unpromising of situations. She was also cautious with money. So if she could take a cutting from a shrub and propagate it, she would. Summer pruning she called it. But she learnt that an innocent face breaking off the end of a branch was more likely to be forgiven than an adult.  I was the Arthur Dodger to her Horticulturalist Fagin. I do believe mum and her shenanigans were single handedly responsible for the WI being banned from the Royal Horticultural Gardens at Wisely for a while.

There. Guilty as charged. Time I moved on.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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45 Responses to My life of crime: time for an admission

  1. Ritu says:

    Oh my… You’ll never get a good CRB check! 😜

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jools says:

    A comprehensive and riotous unburdening, if ever there was one. Reminds me of (one of) my own youthful misdemeanours, notably the harvesting of two dozen kerb-side civic daffodils, a surprise gift for an astonished mother.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. trifflepudling says:

    Very amusing, a bit like Simon Mayo’s Drivetime Confessions! Nearly all of yours are completely understandable and need no absolution whatever, but I’m afraid this Mother Superior (as on Drivetime) cannot forgive dropping a match into a chap’s pubes!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Rachel M says:

    I wish they still fined people for urinating in public. It happens all the time up here. There should be fines for littering too.

    I break the law everyday when I cycle on the pavement. But the local police officers wave and smile at me 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Meredith says:

    You made me laugh. In my youth similar misdeeds could be reported. We say where I’m from that you always take a plant without asking, otherwise it won’t grow.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. jan says:

    You’ve lived quite a life of crime! Loved the stalker story!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Autism Mom says:

    I assume the requisite statutes of limitations have expired…? You were very handsome in your College of Law get-up, by the way. Mine was not nearly as impressive.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. noelleg44 says:

    Good grief, but you’ve been naughty! Definitely off to the penitentiary with you!


  9. musicwaffle says:

    Aww I wouldn’t call these crimes – more a case of life’s journey in action. I’m probably guilty of false accounting. I had a Saturday job in a high street chemist before the days of bar codes and automatic change calculation. The tills never balanced at the end of the day!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Annecdotist says:

    Reminds me of Arlo Guthrie:


  11. Are you sure you weren’t struck off?


  12. How did you manage to hold your head up high in court when you were hiding such a sordid past? A finger of stolen KitKat, and frightening innocent ladies, not to mention torching that poor boy’s pubes. I always knew you lawyers were an unsavoury bunch!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Should I be joining you by saying that yes I had my fist taste of alcohol before I was 18, and that I saw Saturday Night Fever at the cinema when I was only 15? I blame it both on my parents.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Charli Mills says:

    An amusing criminal record. #4 completely demystifies crop circles for me! Just an angry avid walker tramping wheat in the way of ambulation.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Sacha Black says:

    I proper laughed at this. Number three is OUTRAGEOUS!! I nearly snorted my drink out my nose!


  16. Pingback: Stealing stealthily | TanGental

  17. Norah says:

    I’m so pleased you linked back to this one, Geoff. I obviously missed it at the time of posting. It’s hilarious. I won’t start on my list of petty crimes; none of which were worthy of law enforcement but still make me cringe when I think of them. Why do we remember things we’d rather forget, and forget things we’d like to remember? Another mystery. I just about laughed out loud at your wheat field trampling. Oh boy! I’m sure the farmer needed a strong sense of humour to let you away with that one! The others seem pretty ordinary and nothing to be concerned about confessing. Thanks for sharing though! Oh, and I’d love the toothbrush introduction – sad, but true.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. You’ve just proved your human. Loved hearing of your misdemeanours.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Ha ha ha, brilliant! Thanks for the giggle, Geoffle 😉 *ponders about her own criminal activities then creeps off quietly*

    Liked by 1 person

  20. How do you feel now that you’ve come clean? A bit lighter perhaps?? Great post to share with us all.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Ritu says:

    Reading this two years later still made me giggle!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. noellekelly says:

    Haha, poor old Les, eh?! Tut tut!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Still laughing 🙂 I do enjoy your sense of humour Geoff.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. angelanoelauthor says:

    The thievery of local flora and fauna seems more like a public service than a crime! But oh that poor boy! Please tell me he either a) got his revenge or b) laughed it off and wasn’t permanently scarred or c) both.
    I’ve definitely done a few things I’m not so proud of, and faced a few police officers with what I hoped was an innocent enough look. If I run for office someday, I’ll have to disclose that I once drank banana liquor from a friend’s parents private store during a high school slumber party. But, that too should be considered a public service. Whoever buys banana liquor perhaps should be the one to blame. 🙂


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