When I was about 8 years old, I had a crush on a boy called Derek, who was in my class at primary school. He was tall and thin, with swept back blond hair and a cynical look which I found wildly attractive: he was a romantic hero straight out of one of the too-old-for-me books I was fond of reading. He was an extremely fast runner, to add to his allure; my short-lived career as a runner (third in the East Lothian Schools' 200 metres in 1977) may well have been founded on (and certainly foundered on) an attempt to either emulate, or impress, Derek. Of course, he didn't even know I existed.
Not long afterwards my brother and sister and I were taken out of school to continue our schooling in a more maverick fashion, and I never saw Derek again.
My mum just emailed me to tell me that two policemen had arrived at her front door. She confessed to thinking "What have I done now?", having all too recently had an absurd brush with the law involving a knocked over bollard in a supermarket carpark, an off-duty policeman and jobsworth, and a summons to appear in court; but they were just following up on a local burglary. One of them asked after me and my sister; it turned out to be my very early hero, Derek, who's now a local copper. And somehow – perhaps because I still, risibly, harbour a secret yearning to be a police officer myself – that has really impressed me.