As we get older, finding the perfect present gets harder and harder. It's not about the biggest box, the most fashionable item or the most expensive gift. For Doc Cambridge and me, and I'm sure for you, to paraphrase Baby Bear from Golidlocks, it's about finding something that's just right.
I'm very lucky because Doc C is brilliant at finding that special something. He always surprises me with his ingenuity and thoughtfulness. This year, was the best ever.
I'd been talking about going to the Writers' Police Academy (http://www.writerspoliceacademy.com) for some time. This is a special research conference for writers, where you get to train and learn about all aspects of law and crime, from real law enforcement professionals. But, I could never justify the expense of flying over to the US, when my books aren't romantic suspense (yet <g>). So it was always 'maybe next year'.
Imagine my surprise when I opened an ordinary box to find some papers inside - a registration to the Writers' Police Academy in Green Bay - leaving in 4 days! Makes me cry now thinking about it!
We had an amazing time in Green Bay. We got in a little early, so were able to fulfill the sports' geek in us and visit Lambeau Field, to see the Packers doing their famous pre-season bike ride with the kids. Plus a fabulous tour of the stadium.
Then, the WPA began and it was a blast - literally! We were based at NWTC (Northeast Wisconsin Technical College) at the International Public Safety Training Academy. On the first morning, they simulated a road traffic accident, complete with police, EMTs, fire crew and air ambulance!
On the second morning, we had a simulated terror attack, with lockdown.
In between, there were courses on everything from K-9s to ballistics to police driving to the mind of a serial killer. Participants got to shoot guns, drive vehicles, practice police simulations and emergency medical techniques. I took part in as much as I could, but I could have done the whole thing again, with completely different options and still not done everything!
I know that's not everyone's cup of tea - but for me, it was the most amazing present (as good as the surprise tickets to see my New Jersey Devils play in the Winter Classic outdoor game at Yankee Stadium!). Doc Cambridge done good!
How about you - what was the best present you've ever received?