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Pistol packing Mama

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.

IMG_4739

Marks on pistol

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25 thoughts on “Pistol packing Mama

  1. Wow! 😀 What a surprise!!! I would have reacted just as you, had this been found back home in Sweden, where the gun laws are really tough! As you say … if it only could speak! Could be a really interesting story behind that … and now it’s too late to ask. What a shame!

    • The odd thing is my mum never mentioned it, though I’ve always known about the Gurkha Kukri knife my dad brought back from India after the war.
      Blimey, this makes us sound like a violent family 😮

      • It’s strange, why they kept so secretive about certain things. I have one story like that too, not involving a firearm but a medal. My mum never told me a word about it, found out, parts of it, via a cousin.

  2. Your Mum truly never ceases to surprise 🙂 I was identifying with her via the contents of the desk, and feeling sorry in advance for the poor unfortunate soul who has to sort my belongings out in the event… How wonderful that you have left such an unusual keepsake (and such a great memory of finding it, amongst all the others), despite not really knowing the provenance, at least you have a bit of idea. Your Mum probably had a great laugh at your discomfiture 🙂

    • Haha! that is an understatement ED, I’ve had more surprises since her death than I ever did while she was alive.
      The same thought crossed my mind with my belongings…..as Ina has said below, like mother, like daughter 😉
      Yes, she probably looking down and having a right chuckle 🙂

  3. That’s a cracking story Vic. My first thought was how incredibly organised your mother was with her tidy desk. My second was would DuoTone have made that a brown or a grey post?

    My mother used to keep all her manuals, as do I. I’ve still got some of hers as I’ve still got the machines 😀 I thought about doing a post about them as they are so beautifully dated.

    I do think the gun looks very attractive. Not that I like guns, but in terms of an antique, I think is is very interesting. Does it have a serial number or anything? Gerry’s idea of some research would be a good project. (As if you haven’t enough to do).

    • Thanks K.
      She was a very immaculate and tidy person, a lot of the comments from friends at her wake where about her attention to minute detail, so the desk doesn’t surprise me.
      The gun is a lovely piece of equipment, though I still feel a bit uneasy having it in the house. I may look towards museums or something, there is an armoury one in Worcester.
      There are some ID marks on it, I will get some close up pics and post them on here.
      I will also try a test post on DT to see what colour it chooses.

  4. I didn’t expect that! I fully expected you to say you got to the police station and they said it was a toy gun (I had my fair share when I was a girl). But no an antique to boot! I agree with Gerry, some research is needed (you’ve probably got it in mind anyway knowing you) Having read about the organised drawers I now know where you get it from (like mother like daughter !!!!) What else are you going to find? Can’t wait for the next instalment of the life of Kath!

    • LOL, neither did I 😮
      I had plenty of toy guns from my ‘cowboy’ childhood too, but this one didn’t have anywhere for the caps, which arose my suspicions 😉
      Definitely going to try to research it, though according to the firearms officer, they were made in their thousands, some officially, but many in the back streets.
      This does have a Liège crest on it though.
      I don’t know if I want any more surprises 😉

  5. Is it loaded? I assume not as the firearms chappy let you keep it. Perhaps somewhere you will find a clue. Did she have a safe deposit box at the bank? There was nothing remotely so exciting in my mother’s belongings. I am still wondering what to do with her watch etc after 14 years. Don’t rush decisions. And whatever you do, don’t pull the trigger.

    • Haha, that’s the first thing T said when I pulled it from the bag.
      I haven’t come across any ammunition, but my mind is totally open for any more surprise finds.
      I have promised if I do, I will take it to the police station.
      No safe deposit box that I know of, whether one will ever come to light, who knows, but I wouldn’t even know where to start looking.

  6. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge – Treasure | Pic a colour 4 Me

    • I also have in my possession all the information relating to Madame D, the resistances woman, plus a photo of her receiving the Coix de Guerre from president de Gaulle.
      I think there’s another post there.

  7. That must have been quite a surprise Vicky. Sounds to me like she forgot about it as well. That is quite a lovely item to have as an antique. 😀

    • It certainly was 😳
      We’ve not found any more surprises.
      Everything we’ve found at her house is in multiples though, I assume, one to use, one for back up and further ones, just in case.

  8. First of all, sorry for your loss. Wow! that sure is something. Did you get any idea of how much that might be worth? Sounds really ancient, could very well be a collectible. I can imagine your shock at finding it though. Great story, love your title. 🙂

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