Held at pistol point and taken before the Judges

It was a dark dismal evening in March. I was driving down country roads on the outskirts of Manchester looking for the Judges Lodgings. I saw a friendly light some distance ahead and as I turned up a long drive towards it, I felt certain that I had reached my destination.

My headlights picked out the large shape of a policeman. He was waving a torch up and down and signalling for me to at OP. I lowered the car window - "Is this the Judges Lodgings?" I enquired.

"Who are you ?" was the policeman's curt reply. He leaned forward to look into my car, the rain dripped from his helmet on to my jacket - there was a distinct chill in the air; here I was hoping he might offer to carry my cine equipment into the house.

I explained that I was a friend of Sir Harold Parkinson and that I had come to join Sir Harold and his friends at dinner and later to show some of my films. Suddenly, the constable pulled open the car door and pointed a revolver a me.

"You may be whom you claim to be, but I would be obliged if you would step this way," the policeman insisted. I did not like the way he was nervously holding the revolver. He did not ask me to raise my hands, but I almost instinctively did so.

We walked towards a door and entered a brightly lit kitchen. The policeman still held his revolver, but when the butler arrived, the revolver was returned to its holster. The kitchen staff watched the proceedings from a distance, they looked as bewildered as I felt. It was only when I mentioned the High Sheriff that, to my relief, the butler confirmed that Mr Hanna was expected and that the High Sheriff and his guests were waiting for me in the lounge.

The policeman made some sort of apology and quickly returned to his sentry-box.

On entering the lounge I was met by Lady Omerod. I had been well briefed by Sir Harold on the etiquette of a guest about to meet representatives of the King. When he presented me to His Majesty's Judges, I bowed my head, my handshake at waist height, neither limp nor overpowering, and said "My Lord" .

I met Judge Omerod, Judge Walmsley and Judge Parker and greeted them in the correct manner.

The evening was most pleasant but I felt more comfortable when showing my films. I was still feeling a little shaken from my encounter with the policeman. The kitchen staff joined the audience when the films were being shown and the general atmosphere, after the meal, was more relaxed. The films were .ell received and as midnight approached, I quietly mentioned to Sir Harold that I had to be at school before 9 a.m.

The butler and the policeman helped me with my heavy equipment and packed it carefully into the car. The policeman was still apologetic and seemed concerned as to what my reaction had been to his reception, especially as in the drama of my arrival, I had left my car headlights on. The car battery was flat !

A push down the drive, the engine roared into life - and the car leapt forward; as I looked through the rear mirror of my car I saw the policeman picking himself up off his knees. I arrived home safely to snatch a few hours sleep before reporting back at school.