Thursday, 26 February 2009

Adventures in patience

Last night I was out with my mate Martin in his car & he hit a deer as we drove through the Grandholm area of Aberdeen. This part of the city is mostly housing, but as it is beside the river Don there are lots of wooded areas & riverside paths. Deer are quite common in these parts.

The deer was stunned, still breathing, had no blood visible on its fur or on the road but was not moving by itself. We figured it may be in pain and distress & so we called directory inquiries (the '118 118' guys) asking for the SSPCA number.
They nearest branch they found was in Edinburgh. One frustrating automated respose later I was put through to the administrative office answering machine which told me the office was closed for the day.


Soooooo I had to call the police non-emergency number to ask if they could get hold of the local SSPCA offcier on duty. The bobbies said it was a reportable incident & as neither Martin nor I wanted to leave the scene of an accident (arguably an offence in itself, but unlikely given no other person or vehicle was involved) we waited in the car, since it was bloody cold.

After about fifteen minutes the deer got to it's feet, obviously having recovered enough to ge tthe hell out there, then shakily bounded off into the night & seemed to be using all of its legs. The SSPCA chap called Martin back for directions & we told him he might want to save himself a trip. He said that if the deer was up & moving then it would probably be alright, thanks for letting him know & he wouldn't come out all the way from Ellon after all.

However, we still couldn't leave the scene as we were expecting a police unit to turn up at some point so we continued to wait. And wait. And wait…

An hour and a half later the bobbies still hadn't arrived, bumped deer not being an especially high priority occurrence naturally. I called the non-emergency police number again to ask what the situation was. They said something on the lines of "Oh, we tried to call you at your flat" to which I reminded them that we were under the impression we had to stay at the scene as it we had been told it was a reportable incident.


It did give us the opportunity to bring to their attention that the deer by this time had recovered enough to get to its feet & disappear into the night. We also mentioned that the SSPCA chap had called earlier & wouldn't be coming out after all.

The police then said "Oh, well, thanks for letting us know, you can go now".


It did give Martin & I plenty of time to catch up & blether about life, the universe & everything - making the best of the situation - but we did come to some conclusions;

If you park your car with its hazard lights on in Aberdeen outwith the city centre no one will stop to ask "Are you OK?". This we believe to be something to do with the fact that they saw two blokes rather than a damsell in distress.

Yes, we do realise how dodgy it may have looked to passers by (suspicious minds and all that). It would have been worse had we put the interior light on, though.

If two blokes park up for up to an hour and a half at night with the car hazard lights on you give passers by some impromptu street theatre. We felt like fish in an aquarium. It must have been a slow news day.

Concussed deer are definitely a low priority for the police. Next time say you've knocked down an "old dear" (no, not really, but we had a good laugh at that one for several minutes.)

We did wonder if the control room duty officers were running a sweepstake on how long it would take for us to get bored & call them back. I reckon somewhere a police sergeant is chortling to themselves.