Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Criminal suspects

Last Friday afternoon was going to be fun. The reasons were twofold
a) It was Friday afternoon. Enough said.
b) It was Stitch in Public day and some of The Stitchettes were getting together to take part.

All we had to do was just take some pictures of us stitching in public. Easy peasy. No big deal. But no. It couldn’t just be us stitching in public, we do that every week in a nearby coffee shop, we had to go one better and do something really interesting. One person described it as “epic”.

It was decided that we wouldn’t just sit in a park and take some nice photos. Too easy. We would instead go and stitch in public against as many Hull landmarks and as many weird places as we could fit in.

We went to Ferens Art Gallery and posed among the pictures. All was good but our next move was the biggest mistake I think I’ve ever made.

We decided it would be hilarious to go into one of our shopping centres and take pictures of us embroidering in there. Then we decided it would be even more hilarious for one of us (me) to stand at the bottom of the escalator and to take a picture of the other three coming down it whilst embroidering.

I snapped a couple of pictures and we were marvelling at how hilarious we were when we discovered that actually we weren’t so hilarious after all. The bearer of bad news was a power-tripping security guard who came rushing down the escalator in a style akin to Jack Bauer.

He could have said to us nicely that actually we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the shopping centre. He could have explained that this was to do with terrorist risk alerts that meant you couldn’t take photos inside shopping centres. He could have told us that as the shopping centre is private property they are within their rights to not allow people to take photos. He could have done all of these things and we would have said we were very sorry, we had no idea, and gone along our way.

Instead the following conversation ensued...

Power-tripping security guard: No no no you can’t do that in here
Shocked Stitchettes: What? Why?
PTSG: Terrorism. We’re on a terrorist risk alert that’s one down from severe.
SS: Yeah but why does that mean we can’t take pictures of an escalator
PTSG: Reconnaissance
One Stitchette in particular [who hadn’t heard what he said]: Sorry, what did you say?
PTSG: Reconnaissance. Do you want me to spell that for you?

For. Reals. My mouth immediately fell open. Seriously did he just say that?!

At that point we were kind of, sort of, escorted out of the building which was mortifying to say the least. We are all good girls. We’re not crazy risk takers. We are not rule breakers. But apparently we could be terrorists.

I understand that these polices might be in place and I understand that they can’t discriminate against particular groups of people but surely a little bit of common sense and discretion must play a part. Do four middle class, white women, embroidering, really look like trouble? And besides all of that was there any need to be quite so obnoxious?

I think it’s a ridiculous policy. It doesn’t make the slightest bit of sense. And I have also found out that the terrorist risk that our delightful security guard was talking about refers to government buildings, not empty shopping centres in Hull that no-one goes to anymore because there’s a better one round the corner.

If we’d have been more together and less taken aback by the treatment we’d just received one of us might have had the werewithal to take him up on his offer of spelling reconnaissance. Just to see.

So lessons were learnt. You can, by all means stitch in public, but for god’s sake don’t try to capture it on camera for posterity.

Or. Don’t bother visiting Princes Quay (which isn’t getting a link to it like I normally would because it doesn’t deserve one).
Stitching at The Deep which apparently doesn't pose a security risk.
(And yeah none of those people is me either.)


  1. Oh Security Guards really are jobworths aren't they?

    I got thrown out of Victoria Shopping Centre in Nottingham when I was about 14 - it was Xmas time, when the Santa's Grotto had just been set up and there was tons of fake snow. We thought it would be funny to throw a handful of this fake snow at each other - 2 seconds later we were all being escorted off the premises. Not good for ones street cred :0(

  2. I'd just like say that my jaw honestly just dropped open whilst reading that - followed by snorting with laughter. You probably made that guards year. He has been rehearsing that speech in his head for months. You know the way you do when someone says something that annoys you, and you later think of a reply to, but then it's too late? That sounds like something he wished he'd said to the last batch of potential terrorists he caught snapping photos of themselves in the escalator.

  3. Not to mention the fact they've been letting people photograph the Larkin Toad in there so they're obviously allowed to use their discretion. He was a prize idiot.

    I love this photo but it really doesn't manage to communicate how heart-pounding it was to sit high above the incoming tide and "sucky" mud whilst the wind blew my skirt up in the air and made me think i was about to fall off.

    Happy days.

  4. Absolute classic!!! What a knob...
    Anyway, love the photo! What happened to the shoes though??! (nothing gets past me! hihi)

  5. Yep, jobs worth! Some people, honestly. BUT on the plus you've all added excitement to an otherwise dull day for security guards and shoppers alike. Love the photo, makes shopping centres look boring.

  6. I bet he couldn't have spelt it!! You were probably the most action he's had all week lol. x

  7. Taking photos makes you a terrorist? What the... ?

    I bet he'd been rehearsing his reconnaissance speech for far too long, waiting for the perfect opportunity to use it haha.

  8. I would have asked him to spell it! And I would have taken a photo of him escorting us off the premises too, I can be obnoxious with the best of them!

  9. You hooligans!! (or should that be Hulligans!!) That is just soooooo hilarious! xxxx


    Without a doubt. Escorted off the premises for acts of terrorism-related reconnaissance. A-super-double-plus!

  11. Lol.. brilliant!! Wish you could have posted the pics anyway! U bad bad girls!!

  12. oh dear...that is taking it just a little bit too far...douche...love the ending to this though! Made me laugh! xxx

  13. I get stupid comments like that all the time as I work on a cruise ship! We aren't allowed cake in case we contaminate other countries.... I don't plan on feeding it to anyone but myself thank you! I was going to get a photo of me stitching in public on our private island but then I realised the needle and scissors were 'potentially lethal' and I might not get them back on the ship. I happen to really like my needle and scissors so gave up on the idea!

  14. This is ridiculous! Okay, so it's the rules and we should follow rules until we convince the powers that be to make new ones, but it doesn't even make sense. I don't know about in the States, but here in NZ, you can easily get the plans for the malls - you just go to the information spot and ask for a map... It tells you where all of the shops and facilities are. Or you look online and shops almost always give a graphic as to where they are. Just silly! Great story though! I just imagine the security guard trying to spell "R... E... C... Well you get the point!"


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