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OFF THE CUFF.

Byline: ADAM JUPP

AS A REPORTER, there's no better feeling than waking up and knowing you're going into work with a story under your belt.

That is because there's no worse feeling than going in with diddly squat, facing the embarrassment of telling the gaffer you have no stories to tell.

Two nights ago, I was lucky enough to wake with the first of these two scenarios ahead of me.

That is because I myself had become the subject of this particular news item, or so I thought.

Halfway through the night, myself and Mrs J both out for the count, we were woken by an almighty crash. It came in installments, getting progressively louder, before ending with the biggest clatter of all.

We both leapt out of the bed and neither of us had the foggiest what had happened but I assumed the role of Columbo, while Mrs J did her best Hetty Wainthrop impression as we tried to solve this particular mystery.

It was a process of elimination, as we had to rule out our initial hunches.

Creeping down the stairs, we tested the burglar hypothesis and that was, I am glad to say, not the answer.

Next up was the prospect of the boiler cover having fallen off and crashed to the garage floor - something that had happened before. This too was ruled out.

While Hetty crawled along the carpet with her magnifying glass in hand, Columbo cracked it with a great piece of lateral thinking.

Gazing out the window in hope of inspiration, it suddenly dawned on me rain was pelting the window and it all started to make sense.

I dashed upstairs and stuck my radio and my theory was confirmed, with electric storms sweeping the country. I invited Mrs J to hear me reveal my conclusion.

Relieved, we both put the thunderous sound we had heard down to, well, thunder.

With the adrenaline pumping, it was a little difficult to get back to sleep but when I woke, I felt no tiredness, safe in the knowledge the storms of the night were bound to be the day's big news.

In the office, I checked-in with the reporters investigating the story and quizzed them about the extent of damage at the coast but was met with blank looks.

I insisted there must have been something - surely a few church spires had been struck by lightening or a couple of denes had burst their banks? No, not a jot.

I put in eight hours' of protestation, questioning the strength of the reporters' probing but eventually gave up and went home.

By now, the rain had cleared up and after dumping my bag, I opened the patio doors to get a bit of fresh air - Mrs J's driving home had once again left me feeling a bit queasy.

As I stepped on to the decking, something crunched and I looked down to find our glass-topped garden table was in a million pieces.

Lying in-between the shards was a solitary roof slate, split in two, which had seemingly toppled off the roof in the night and, as luck would have it, landed slap-bang in the middle of our prize piece of furniture.

With my confidence in both my news sense and sleuth skills shattered in almost as many pieces at the table, I texted the weather correspondents with my apologies. Surely a few church spires had been struck by lightening? No, not a jot
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 18, 2009
Words:576
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