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Smooth Sergeant is a hit with the ladies, but not with criminals

PUBLISHED: 15:49 19 June 2008 | UPDATED: 15:10 07 September 2010

I try to avoid taking a typical day in the life approach to this column, mainly because there s no such thing.Take the last seven days. They started with reading a brazenly defamatory, libellous and scurrilously misleading attack on myself and my employ

I try to avoid taking a typical 'day in the life' approach to this column, mainly because there's no such thing.Take the last seven days. They started with reading a brazenly defamatory, libellous and scurrilously misleading attack on myself and my employers by a Hampstead magazine whose editor thinks he is running a local version of Private Eye, but who lurks under a cloak of anonymity. Shame on you, Sebastian - you're surely tall enough to stick your head above the parapet (you may have to when the writs arrive).

A more gentle and thoughtful rebuke came from the Heath and Hampstead Society's Anne Eastman, who thought we should have featured the recent Garden House planning row on our front page ... on reflection, she may be right. Then it was off with the editorial team to our local hostelry, Ye Olde Swiss Cottage Inn, to say goodbye to departing colleague Mark Mullen, off to seek fame and fortune in the world of financial journalism.

Later that night I dropped in on the Haslemere Road Residents' Association annual meeting in Crouch End. It isn't every residents' group that can bring an MP, a councillor and the local chief of police to their table at the same time, but this impressive organisation can. The MP was Lynne Featherstone and very impressive she was too, handling questions on local and national issues with absolute confidence.

Not so impressive was Cllr Lyn Weber who came across as something of an apologist for Haringey Council, though I'm not sure that too many of the good women of Haslemere Road noticed. They had eyes only for the uniformed heart-throb that is Sgt John McGrath, discreetly referred to by one admirer as 'devilishly good looking'. What is more apparent to me is that he is devilishly good at his job, and the good people of Crouch End know only too well how lucky they are to have him on their beat until he moves on to bigger things.

Monday brought a chance to meet some of the nicest people in Hampstead, the organisers of the Proms at St Jude's. The welcome was as warm as ever, and the performance by guitarists John Williams and John Etheridge was mesmerising.

John once had flowing locks but now looks a bit like Sven Goran Erickson. One of his pieces was entitled Extra Time but I don't think it had much to do with football. I could only marvel at his skill and wonder for how long you must practice before your hands can move around a fretboard like quicksilver. John Etheridge was no slouch either, introducing a bluesy feel with his earthy solos. If this is the same Mr Etheridge who is performing outdoors at Hampstead Heath on July 4, I'll be there.

Proms organiser Susie Gregson tells me that the FRON Male Voice Choir, which performs on Saturday night, will stop over and participate in the Festival Eucharist on Sunday morning at 10.30am. I'm not surprised: once the Welsh start singing, it's hard to stop them - as any rugby fan will confirm.

Geoff Martin


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