Wednesday morning dawned bright and beautiful in Wales with the sun shining and by 0700 I was already on the road taking Lima into London. Amusingly, once I crossed the bridge, it became quite cloudy. At a truckstop outside of Bristol the tone was set for the day:

“I think you’re lost mate, there’s no mountains around here.”

The M4 was mercifully clear and it wasn’t long before I pulled into Reading services where I was picking up John – a SARDA dog handler I knew from Derbyshire. Lima in front of the houses of parliamentOnce he and Biscuit (a lovely German Shepherd) were loaded up and I’d had sufficient coffee, we headed off into London, where the clouds had cleared. Traffic was typical of London and we eventaully arrived at Parliament Square amongst chaos – CND was organising a protest against the Trident missile scheme.

We parked and took some pictures in the glorious sunshine and relaxed a bit until Peter and Penny took John and Biscuit with them over to Portcullis House. I drove the Landrover around for a bit waiting for them to finish their meeting. London traffic was chaos and I managed to end up on the wrong side of it when I ws summoned to Downing Street immediately. Blue lights were authorised and I started my first “blue” drive in anger on my own in central London. Holborn, Charing Cross, Shaftesbury Avenue, Trafalgar Square and finally into Whitehall – using my new skills to the max as I had to deal with comms, sirens, directions from TomTom on top of the usual pressure of dealing with traffic. My thanks go out to London drivers – so used to blue lights, and also to a few police officers who helped greatly when the traffic was snarled up.

Our visit at Downing Street was short but eventful, with quite a positive outcome as Huw, Penny, Mark and myself said to the BBC in our various interviews. Hopefully this should help move things forward. I did a short piece for camera which firmly established my ability to speak Welsh on behalf of the team, so I may end up being the team’s Welsh spokesperson (oh joy).

We headed out of London eventually and after washing the Landrover I headed home – finally getting in just after midnight. Utterly exhausted from the day’s activities, I just flopped into bed.

We’re hopeful that this meeting will help bring our plight to the attention of the people that matter. There’s a petition which currently has over 1,000 signatories who agree with us, and the more support we can muster the better our chances of getting the UK government to put their hands in their deep pockets and offer us the same deal as Scottish teams have had for a few years. With the police placing more and more demands on us, I don’t think it’s really fair that our members have to put their hands into their own pockets to buy their own kit. Agree with me? Sign the petition then.

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