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JZ's Diary

Head of BBC Radio Scotland, Jeff Zycinski, with a sneak preview of programme plans and a behind-the-scenes glimpse of his life at the helm.

Photograph of Jeff Zycinski.

I Have No Guns, Drugs Or Potatoes So Please Don't Shoot!

  • Jeff Zycinski
  • 2 Jun 08, 12:57 PM

At first I thought someone was trying to steal my laptop, so I made a sudden lurch to protect it. That's when I saw the wet nose sniffing at the zipper of my bag and, when I looked up, I saw the guns.

All this happened at nine o'clock this morning in London just after I had boarded the Gatwick Express and was waiting for it to set off for Victoria Station. Deprived of my usual Scotman, Herald or P&J, I had bought a copy of The Guardian and was deeply engrossed in the front page story about terror suspects. The story suggested that the Americans are quizzing alleged bad guys and then detaining them on their warships.

I had been thinking about terrorism and airport security after seeing four armed police officers standing in line just outside the entrance to the train station. They looked quite intimidating, despite their jaunty 'Sussex Police' baseball caps. I had even tried to sneak a quick photograph of them for this blog, but abandoned the attempt when I realised this might make me a target for their suspicions.

And maybe it did.

Or maybe I just got caught up in a routine patrol as the armed officers made their way along the train carriages with a sniffer dog in front. I'm not sure why the beast stopped at my bag. I admit to having concealed giant slabs of chocolate in there from time to time, but that's mainly because Mrs Z. takes a dim view of my confectionery addiction. Other than that, I had nothing to hide.

But the dog paused, I lurched and the policeman brought the mutt back for a closer look. Then it moved on and I was in the clear.

It could have been worse. A family friend tells the story of her experience at Canadian Immigration when she was accused of trying to smuggle fruit and vegetables into the country. Again it was a sniffer dog that pointed the finger (or rather, paw) of suspicion.

No matter how many times she told the Immigartion Officer that she had not now, nor had she ever, enaged in the illicit transport of apples or spuds, the man simply gave her a blank, uncaring look and said, "the dog is never wrong" over and over again. This made her angrier and angrier until she probably began to look like a desperate woman capable of anything.

"I have a turnip in my bag and I'm not afraid to use it!" she might have screamed, but didn't.

Otherwise she might now be enjoying life on an American warship..

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