Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ships that pass in the night

The other day, sitting here contemplating my navel, life, the universe and everything (a practice which I sink into from time to time - it keeps me off the streets), I somehow managed to direct my cesspit of a mind into thinking about the countless cohorts I have been associated with over the years. Some were in my range for short times, some for longer, but they all moved on in the end. Everyone goes their separate way in the final analysis - ships that pass in the night.

Many of them, those who I have been particularly friendly with, have left my dominion breathing promises of undying friendship and vowing that they would never forget me, and I am sure that each and every one of them meant it - and still does. They are still my friends and haven't forgotten me, they just aren't in contact with me now and probably wouldn't know how to contact me in the first place.

What are the words of a hymn I used to sing as a kid at school?

Time, like an endless stream,
Bears all its sons away.
That's not exactly what I mean, but the sentiment is there. The river of life has moved everybody downstream - apart from me. I'm sort of stuck on a beaver's lodge or some other obstruction.

However, out of the blue, in response to something I wrote on the blog, there has been a voice from the past. Not a voice exactly, more a few lines. Micky Boyle, a rather funny and fun-loving fellow from the land of the lobscouse and the Liver Birds, was incarcerated with me in Whitemoor for quite a long time, in his terms (but for a mere five minutes using my timescales) and then he left to progress to another jail and now apparently to home. Fair play to you Micky. Enjoy the rest of your life my ould son.

He has found me on the internet, sends a friendly message but says he has no idea where I am or how to get in touch with me. Well Michael, it's not rocket science, you nitwit. All you need to do is send a message to the website ( or Facebook ( and that will get to me. In fact, the address of this jail is there for all to see (, and anyone who would like to say anything to me or communicate in any way can do the same thing. I quite like communicating with people and I answer every letter I get. Let's be realistic here, I need every friend I can get.

So, if Missus Boyle's little soldier, her pride and joy, wants to write to me - then go and buy a biro, Einstein! Or use the "email a prisoner" service ( - I'm at HMP Long Lartin and my prisoner number is R60852.

I wonder where all of those ships are now, those ships that passed in the night, a lot of them practically unnoticed and often unremarked. Well, I have no idea where you are, all of you - men, women, and a few we were never sure about. All of you, wherever you are - and all of those I have never met and who only know of me from the website - the whole, bally lot of you, thank you for making my life that little bit richer and, do me a big favour, a service. The next time you have a drink (I don't drink myself) then have it to me. Raise a glass and silently salute the ships that pass in the night.

Finally, and I know I have used this one before but it IS a big favourite of mine, let me end with the words of the poet, Hilaire Belloc who wrote:

I will hold my house in the high wood,
Within a walk of the sea,
And the men who were boys when I was a boy
Shall sit and drink with me.
The Voice In The Wilderness

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