After the last two sad posts I am going to try and lighten the mood now ;-)
As anyone who has dealt with the death of a close relative will know, there is an awful lot of private and personal things to sort out.
I knew my mum kept anything of importance in the desk in the back room. So bracing myself for what I expected to be quite a tearful time, I plonked myself on the floor in front of the desk.
The desk in question is a fairly modern teak one, she’d got rid of the solid oak one (and matching table) that we’d had in the family for as long as I can remember, not long after my dad had died, stating that oak was too dark and she preferred teak.
Anyway, what I am getting around to, is that everything in that desk had only been in there since 2000.
I turned the key and opened the drop down flap. It was full of stationery of one sort and another, paper clips, sellotape, pens, pencils, erasers, bluetac, envelopes………… and the list goes on. if I didn’t know better, I’d have sworn she was running a stationery shop from her back room.
I discarded what I didn’t need, closed the flap and moved onto the first of three drawers.
This drawer was easy, it was obviously the keeping in touch drawer, full of unused christmas wrapping and cards, christmas decorations and birthday cards.
My mum bless her, was highly organised when sending birthday, anniversary and Christmas cards.
The second drawer was full of folders containing old utility bills, plus receipts and guarantees for items purchased.
The bottom drawer had instruction books for almost every item she’d ever bought. An old pipe of my dad’s, two silver cigarette cases and a rolled up plastic bag containing what looked like some silver, bone handled serving cutlery.
I unrolled the bag, reached inside and ……………
“F***ING HELL”…… I shouted out, which made T, who had been quietly reading the paper, jump out of his skin.
“What ever’s the matter” he spluttered.
“I’ve just found a gun” I replied, as I pulled it out of the bag.
We both stared in disbelief at what I was holding in my hand……….What on earth was my eighty five year old mum doing with a gun rolled up in a plastic bag along with some cutlery.
For anyone who doesn’t know, the UK has one of the toughest firearm laws in the world. Here for anyone interested is the Home Office Guide on Firearms Licensing Law
I knew it had to be reported, but how?
Should I phone them up and risk having a cop car pull up outside my mums house the day after her funeral?
Should I just walk into the police station with a gun?
What if something happened to me on the way there and I was found with it in my possession?
After much deliberation, we decided it was probably best to go to the police station (without the gun), explain what I’d found, and ask them what I needed to do.
A very helpful woman officer put my mind at rest ” Don’t worry, we get all sorts from old folks houses, Lugers are the most popular.
“Just bring it in and I’ll get our firearms officer to take it off your hands”
Walking back into my mums house, T, full of concern jokingly announced “Oh, they let you out then”
Later that afternoon, after T had offered to go with me for protection (so he said LOL) we returned to Knaresborough. Sitting on a bus with a gun in my bag, I’ve never felt so conspicuous in my life.
Handing it over to the firearms officer, he took one look at it and said….
“It’s a six shot Belgian Pinfire pistol, dating from the mid to late 1800’s. As it is an antique, and ammunition is rare or non existent, you are OK to keep it”.
We had a good chat about it, and he gave me his card, to carry with it, in case anything happened on our drive back to the midlands.
One thought did cross my mind, which I mentioned to the officer, Could it possibly have belonged to a woman in the French Resistance, who my nan had contact with during the war.
His reply, “it would be a typical type of pistol carried by a woman for protection”.
If only it could speak, I wonder what it could tell us.
Markings on the left side
Markings on right plus the barrel
Marks on pistol