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4.7 out of 5 stars79
4.7 out of 5 stars
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At first glance, you will probably reject this book in favour of something else. After all, there is no reason why you should think that the recollections of a policeman from Sheffield during the 1960's and 1970's should be of interest except, perhaps, for other policemen or maybe the people from Sheffield. If you do reject this book, however, you will be denying yourself an excellent and compelling read.

Like the author, I also left school at the age of 15 and I well recall the time when police constables had a beat which they patrolled faithfully - checking every door was secure along their own personal route (their beat). In those pre-radio and pre-mobile phone days, these `Bobbies' were required to meet at pre-determined times with fellow constables and their only means of attracting attention was their police-issue whistle. In each town would also be found a police box to which each `Copper' had a key and from where they could call the station. It was also in the 1960's that Dr Who first appeared and he chose that police box as the design for his Tardis...

Author and former Policeman Martyn Johnson has portrayed his life in uniform with great style. In short, this man can write and what he writes is funny, witty and yet, at the same time, often telling. None more so than his account of his first arrest and how he ended up helping that thief steal the coal which was so much needed by a young lady with no food, no heating and a small child.

At 6 feet one inch (1m 85cm), Johnson was a big lad and, having spent a short time as a Blacksmith before joining the force, he was also a strong lad. It says much for his own personal style of policing and of the values he placed on the local community and his own integrity that he was not rebuked by his sergeant over the coal, nor did he hide behind his uniform when a couple of local thugs needed an old-fashioned lesson meted out with honest fists.

Hard to put down, this book tells a story of one man's time in police uniform. Curiously, although recounted with supreme honesty and without deliberate embellishments or exaggeration, the humour shines through like a bright light. The work is, therefore, supremely entertaining as it brings to life that much-lamented time when we felt safe because the streets outside were patrolled by policemen who, not only cared, but also made it their duty to get to know everyone on `their' beat!

They say there is a good book in everyone - if only they were all as good as this.

NM
0Comment22 of 24 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 24 December 2012
I had the pleasure of meeting Martyn at Parkgate in November He was signing books (What's Tha up to Na) my daughter bought it for me. It was a very good read, I just had to go and buy this one. I'v enjoyed going back in time, I was bought up in the midlands but it was so similar. Can't wait for his next book. Merry Xmas and a Happy new year to all God Bless. Joan Buttle (pretty little Lass)
I have recomended. They make good presants.
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on 24 April 2013
I love Martyn Johnson's writing. It's as if you have him sitting next to you reading these memoirs. They are written using local colloquialisms and very much aimed at retired or serving police officers. However, I gained much enjoyment from these stories, particularly the humorous ones - and I'm sure that there are characters in the book that we can all identify with. I am currently reading the sequel which is just as enjoyable.
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on 1 December 2011
'What's tha up to?' is the memoirs of a Yorkshire bobby, Martyn Johnson, who is also the author.

P.C. Johnson turned down the opportunity to join C.I.D. because he preferred working with the local community. Johnson's reminiscences of a long career in the Police force sweep the reader through happy times, tragic experiences and comic ones, even an encounter with a U.F.O.

I thoroughly enjoyed this gem of book. It is old-fashioned escapism which restores your faith in the English and humankind. If only there were more P.C. Johnsons around the world would be a happier place.

Johnson's writing style is flowing, easy on the eye and engages with the reader. The author paints a vivid picture of life on the beat and brings to life the colourful characters he meets there. The story of a real gentleman told by a real gentleman.
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on 14 November 2014
I read this book in one day and just could not put it down. Being a retired policeman and near contemporary of the author (joining Newcastle City Police in 1966) I too can remember the days of foot beats, police boxes, school points and traffic points before the advent of Panda cars and personal radios. These stories brought back some wonderful memories. As for the characters, they are so true to life and I was able to share some of the author's escapades. I too knew a PC Pretentious & a Sergeant Double-Dyed-Bastard! I can't wait to read the next 2 of Martyn's books. To former policemen - you will love these stories; to members of the public - this really was what it was like.
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on 4 January 2013
Really good stories about the life of a policeman when they really did pound the beat. A collection of stories about the Bobby on his beat before the police were hidebound with P C and had to earn the respect of criminal and the general public.
A good book. Well worth reading.
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on 29 September 2011
Up there with the best in this genre, I didn't want to put this book down once started.It tells a story of a golden age when commonsense prevailed instead of the political correctness of today.It should appeal to a wide audience and I would recommend it to everyone.
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on 7 July 2013
this was a very good insight into the life of a policeman back in the days when police were respected. This was a lovely read a book you could pick up and put down whenever you had a while to spare. I enjoyed it so much I bought the next one.
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on 5 September 2013
Great service, prompt delivery. I absolutely love this book and, although I never re-read books, I definitely will with this one. I have also read the next book, What's Tha up To Nah?, equally as brilliant.
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on 20 June 2013
A very good read for people of a certain age, meaning the days when people respected the police, and the police respected the people
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