I know that Lego City had some farm kits and that there are forest police and fire sets. That isn’t what I mean. You see, while we were at Granny Scotland’s house, there was a programme on the BBC called Countryside 999. 999 is the UK equivalent of 911; and the stories were of rural police forces, paramedics, firefighters, mountain rescue teams, and RAF search and rescue helicopters going about their daily work. Since we have gotten home, the Lego City police, fire, and ambulance folk have been reenacting and embellishing the tales documented in these forty-five minute television programmes. Minifigs have saved and/or arrested their way from Castle Douglas to Newton Stewart, Gretna to Stranraer: OK, the living room floor to the sofa.
To throw some more petrol on The Boy’s imagination, I told him of the night, once upon a time, that the house in which I lived became the control centre of a mountain rescue operation.
The deer stalking on the hill behind the West highland community where I lived was let to an Inverness businessman. Two of his friends were up late in the season culling stags. They had separated on the hill; and one man had not returned to the rendezvous point by the appointed time. (We’ll call him Jim. It is not his name; but it makes my life easier.) It had been a grey, drizzly day to start with, and now it was dark.
The other waited for a while, then came to the manse. (We’ll call him Don.) It was next to the church and had the car park outside it. From the manse, he called the police. The plan was for Don to go back to the rendezvous point and wait until the police arrived. I was to stay by the phone (there were no cell phones then). So, the stalker unhitched the trailer with the Argocat from his Isuzu 4×4 and retuned to his spot. I, and the friends who were staying with me at the time, got changed into hill walking clothes, checked torches (flashlights), and filled thermos flasks.
About 45 minutes later the police arrived with Don and we spread out a map and went through the stalkers’ day. The result of that review was that Don, now fed and with a thermos under his arm, was sent back to the meeting place; one policeman stayed in the manse with us; and the other policeman went to check the bar at the hotel (seemingly, not an unusual place to find people missing on the hill) and points where one might come off the hill onto the road if taking paths of least resistance. All were to be back at the manse at 9:30 p.m.
By 9:45, we were discussing the procedure for organising a search at first light. The door bell rang. It was Jim.
We debriefed over more tea, accompanied by bacon and eggs. He had had to follow up a deer which he had shot and it had fallen into a corrie. Getting out had taken him a lot longer than he had thought it would; so when it was getting dark, he had fired off three shots, but the weather and terrain swallowed the sound. He had come off the hill, walking toward the light of the village and, recognizing the Isuzu (and noticing the police car), had come to the manse.
Rather than have a rifle sitting in a vehicle all evening, Don left his BSA Monarch in the manse. I locked it in the cupboard where I kept my shotgun. This met with the approval of the policemen. Jim had a Mannlicher which had gotten wet. So, while he was eating, I wiped it down and tried to dry off its case in front of the coal fire.
Don left the Argocat and trailer with us and drove himself and Jim home. The next day he came back with some other fellows to collect the culled stags. As a thank you, we got one of the deer for the freezer.