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
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.)