Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Officially no psychopath

Every week I say the same thing - no news from the 'Lazy L'. Well, it gives me a certain amount of, not so much pleasure, more of satisfaction, to say that this week there IS news. For a long time now, years in fact, people who had little or no idea what they were talking about, or what I am like these days as a person, have been condemning me:
"He hasn't got the right ticks in the right boxes!" they cried.
The more removed they were from me, the more vehement they were in this unreasonable bleating.

Finally, they 'ghosted' me from Whitemoor to the 'Lazy L' in March of last year to be psychologically assessed using various engines and tools specifically designed for the job. Then they went back into hibernation - and nothing happened.

Well this week I have finally completed my assessment for the Psychopathic Check List - Revised, the PCL-R as created by Dr Robert Hare. (Although these days, apparently, this seems to be looked on with a certain amount of scepticism by those who know what they are talking about.) This assessment, carried out over several days and involving five sessions of over two and a half hours each, was conducted by a fully qualified person, as opposed to one of the young trainees who are currently holding the whole prison service in thrall.

I can't use this person's real name because apparently that kind of thing is frowned upon, but I do want to say one or two words about her. Now, the last time I was nice about someone in this place they made a complaint and caused me a certain amount of aggro, but I am still going to be nice about her. However, I will have to change her name - which is a pity because it's a great name. I wish I had a great name too. I'd like to be called Aloysius, or Sigmund, or Theobald, or Bob - something exotic. Anyway, back to my psychologist. I shall call her Blodwin, a name I remember from "How Green Was My Valley", a tale of madness and Welsh coalmining, which are probably much the same thing.

I have met a great many people over the last quarter century working (them, not me) for the prison service and, whilst I have met more than my fair share of nasty buggers, I have met a few really nice people, none of whom I intend to list here - you will have to read the book. However, I have to say this, Blodwin could well be the nicest and most genuine I have met over the years. She was prepared to listen, that's her secret, that and simply being a genuine nice sort I suppose. She impressed me. She also has a sense of humour, a rare attribute with people who do her job normally. We seemed to spend quite a bit of time sniggering. (I like a good snigger, ask Boudica - and I'll come to HER in a minute or two. )

I'm not going to attempt to go through all of the things that were discussed (we'd be here all day), but only what was said when it was all over, as far as I can of course. The final outcome of the sessions was that I do not meet the criteria for courses - my scores are nowhere near high enough - that I shouldn't be in this environment and that she would be having a wee chat with The Wallace on the subject with a view to a move to much less secure conditions. Blodwin would also be making enquiries ahout a move to Kingston to join all the other geriatrics. Even my propensity to vulgarianism* didn't bother her at all. Mind, she has a pet cat, and I have found that folk who have cats are generally much nicer than those who keep no pets at all - or dog lovers. (That should annoy one or two.) Now we wait for Blodwin's final report - I expect good things.

At this point it occurs to me that a word or two needs to be said on Boudica's behalf - she of the bad temper and the desire to turn every pigeon in the world into a heavyweight. The Tall Ships were in Hartlepool so, being fond of ships, I asked good old Lucretia Borgia to get me a few pictures in between her feud with "her next door", feeding pigeons, terrorising the postman, taking the piss out of me and generally sniggering at passing pedestrians. I got three pictures and one of those doesn't actually show anything at all - they must have had the cap over the lens. To be fair, Boudica didn't take them so I can't blame her for it, but I thought someone, somewhere would have taken decent pics and put them on the internet for the rest of us.

Now I have to say, with a great deal of sincerity, that I have to show caution when I tell Boudica that I like something or that there is something I could use - she gets it for me almost instantly! The simple fact is that Boudica, despite all of my carping and mockery of dumb blondes, is one in a million. She is a diamond. Miss Twin-Set 1960. One of her pigeons died - she wanted to call in Scotland Yard because it looked like it had been assassinated! (What makes a pigeon look like it has been assassinated?)

However, to get back to the main theme, there is news this week! I am no longer unassessed; everyone seems to be singing from the same hymn sheet at last; all are in agreement - so we can expect progress.

Having said all that, I now fully expect that fickle ould tart Lady Luck to be currently polishing her boots and putting new laces in ready to give me the usual, right where it hurts. Just when I think things are getting better, she does it every time without exception. Of course Boudica says that I should have more positive thoughts and attitude. I've got news for you, Twin-Set - it's not you getting booted in the family heirlooms, is it?

* I know this should be "vulgarism", but I like "vulgarianism" better!

The Voice In The Wilderness

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Psychology - and the post - delivered at last

Would you believe that there is finally some sort of progress in my being psychologically assessed? Would you credit it! That's quick! I was sent here with indecent haste in March of last year as a matter of urgency for such assessments - and someone from the psychology department has finally come to speak to me. I call that progress. The fact that she only came (I suspect) because the Parole Board ORDERED it is neither here nor there - we should be thankful for small mercies at the Lazy L.

She came on Wednesday 11th and, I have to be fair about this, she seemed perfectly nice about things. We had a chat - a lot longer than she expected to be chatting I think too. I'm not sure that she had met anyone like me before. Most cons approach such interviews fairly aggressively and with the express intent of "having them over" - lying and cheating their way through the interview. Not me. I am no longer interested in putting myself in a good light, cheating and lying to anyone or attempting to create a false impression. I am who and what I am - people can take it or leave it, I don't care. I am comfortable with the fairly reasonable character I have become. I am comfortable with me and my own company. That's not me being clever, that's me being me - ask Boudica.

However, this first little chat was (I suspect) meant to be nothing more than a prelim to what are to be four sessions during the first three days of the coming week starting tomorrow. Next week's "Voice In The Wilderness" might be interesting.

That neatly brings me to mentioning something about the Voice! I write a letter, generally rude and offensive, to Boudica every day. Each end of each day I sit and write about the day just to keep her in the style of boredom I think she deserves. I write these letters and shove them into the postbox every morning. For ten days she had no letters at all - all my fault of course. Oh she wrote to me every day and ostensibly blamed the post-office or the censors here, but really she blamed me. "Where's my letters?" she would demand. I told her, I can write them and I can post them, but after that it's out of my hands. Amongst the missing letters of those ten days were two "Voices In The Wilderness". So if anyone was wondering why nothing was put on the blog for two weeks, now you know.

On Thursday 10th, Boudica was given ten letters by her postman, a man who probably fears knocking on her door much like the postman in "Keeping Up Appearances". Mind, to be fair, Boudica is no Hyacinth Bucket. Oh no, Boudica is much nicer than that and the fact that the "Voice" didn't show up for people to snigger at is not Boudica's fault, although if anyone feels like writing her rude emails about it, be my guest - I'll get the blame anyway.

She keeps all of my letters of course and freely admits that she does so in case she needs one to blackmail me with in the future at any point. "You old goat!" she will cry in her ladylike way, "You said ten years ago that..." blah blah blah "...and here is the bloody letter to prove it." Oh no, I'm getting away with nothing when it comes to her, trust me on this. Boudica forgets nothing. She may not say much about it, but she hasn't forgotten.

Women in general are like that - they forget bugger-all and stand ready to trot out facts and figures from decades ago. In fact, they have got memories like supergrasses - they can remember things that never happened in the first place!

Thinking about it, so can policemen.

The Voice In The Wilderness

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

All and sundry

And so we arrive at the end of yet another week during which little enough has happened worth boring anyone with so I suppose that I will have to fall back on that old favourite - facetious comments about all and sundry.

All and sundry, that's a great phrase, covers a lot of ground.

Andrew has gone off to France for a week, taking his brood with him for a bit of a rest, and why not? I was going to say that he has gone off to sunnier climes, but looking at the weather I'm not so sure. When he told me he would be away for a while I presumed that the weekly Voice in the Wilderness would be sort of left hanging in abeyance, or purgatory, and some folk probably think that is the best place for it. They could be right of course - let's face it, I'm no William Shakespeare.
I presumed that while he was away (Andrew that is, not Willy - he's been away a long time) I would simply continue to write these little vignettes (bit of French for you there, Andrew) and send them as usual to pile up on the doormat. In steps the heroine of the piece at the eleventh hour - well she is either the heroine or the villain of the piece, it all depends on a fellow's perception really. Anyway, up steps good old Boudica, or as she is known to her feathered friends, The Mad Pigeon Lady.

"I have a scanner!" says she. "Don't know how to work it, don't know nuffink about it, but I've got one."
"Excellent!" cries Andrew, "Here's what we will do..."
There followed a complicated series of test runs and texts which I do not understand, me being a simple man, and the upshot of it all is that I continue to write this drivel, send it to Lesley by "snail mail", as Andrew calls it, Boudica then scans it or fries it or something, then somehow manages to send it to France
where it is edited and sent back by electronic means to Andrew's base where it is put onto the web for everyone else to snigger at and threaten to send me Emails about.

Clearly I bring out the best in people.

She is blonde you know and, like all blondes, she pretends to be a bit dumb. Don't be fooled, there is nothing silly about Boudica, she's nobody's fool. They have a saying in Yorkshire, (or somewhere) which goes:

"There's none as thick as them who want to be."

Lesley is currently at war with a neighbour because it seems that the neighbour, an absentee landlady who can't find anyone silly enough to rent the house next to Lesley, has been complaining about good old Lucretia Borgia feeding the pigeons - and blackbirds and bleedin' penguins for all I know.

A big mistake, going to war with Boudica. People learn nothing from history, clearly. She just digs her heels in and gets quite rude, and until you've heard Lesley being rude and offensive you ain't heard nowt! Strong men gulp and quail, the SAS apply for compassionate leave and people of a nervous disposition are advised to double their medication until she calms down again.

I have no idea who the neighbour is but she is one of those who bought the house just to rent out. But whoever she is, she is clearly a fully qualified nitwit for annoying Boudica. Either that or she is a braver man than I am.

Where does that bring me to? Right back to where I started at the beginning of this little meander through the depths of my own insanity, and that is that there is nothing to tell anyone this week, so I probably won't be writing a Voice.

I could of course merely write a catalogue of abuse about the various fools who run things, but that would only annoy them and I don't particularly want to do that. Let sleeping dogs lie, that's my motto.

It's like the story of the ould IRA man who is lying on his death-bed and the priest comes to give him the last rites.

"Do you renounce the Divil and all his works my son?"

The ould IRA man looks up and croaks out, "It's a bit late to go making new enemies now Father."

The Voice In The Wilderness

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The unceasing search for power

It may be remembered (or it may not) by those who read this drivel on a weekly basis, that I have been trying to purchase
certain items from Argos, a practice fraught with pitfalls here at the Lazy L. Well, I finally managed a sort of partial success
in that direction during the week, Tuesday in fact. They called me down to reception and handed me two of the items which I had gone to great expense to get - they handed me my new watch and my new alarm clock.

The watch is first class, nothing to be said about it at all. The alarm clock is a retro thing, stainless steel, huge face, large, sweeping hands and two bells on top with a little hammer which will batter the two bells and wake me up like the proverbial.

"Wonderful!" you may cry. "But what is the idiot telling us about a poxy alarm clock for?"

Give me a break! Do I look like Ernest Hemingway?

So, I got the alarm clock. (The rest of the stuff I ordered is lost in the maze of the Lazy L system, better left ignored.) I got the clock and then that fickle ould tart Lady Luck decided to take a hand in the game, as she does with me on a regular
basis. She's got bugger all else to do apparently apart from polish the toecaps of her second-hand army boots, take careful aim and give me a quick crippler in the testacularities, (a word, incidentally, that I am hoping will catch on, but which hasn't so far.)

The alarm clock isn't a wind-up one. (The only wind-up around here seems to be me.) No, it isn't a wind-up one, as I had expected, but takes a battery. Of course, being me, and considering my general association with the Fickle Ould Boiler, it isn't just any old battery - it wouldn't be, would it? No, it's a little fat one that is about twice the size of a pencil battery, such as those in remote controls for the telly.

Okay, I needed a battery, so I gathered myself together and set about putting out the word that the Miserable Old Bastard needed a size 'C' battery.

I had terrorists, armed robbers, thugs, muggers and buggers running around searching - but to no avail.

I got batteries that could have powered the space lab, but not one single 'C' battery that would fit my alarm clock, which by then I was wishing I hadn't bought in the first place.

At that point I grabbed an insane Welshman who assured me that he could wire up a pencil battery to do the job of a 'C' battery.

Taff's ambition outstripped his ability - he failed.

'Right!' said I to he. "Time for lateral thinking." And I went to see a couple of the kangas who are usually quite helpful in problematic situations. I had them searching office drawers, cupboards, desks - and they even went down the Seg Unit and had a look down there.

I got little square batteries and offers of a plethora of others from various sources - but did I get one that fitted the poxy
clock (which by now was in danger of being consigned to the bin)?

Of course I didn't.

Well, yesterday was canteen day and, when I got my order sheet for next week, the first thing I ticked off was of course a 'C' battery at the princely sum of ten bob. (For those born in more modern times, that is fifty pence.)

Hopefully that will be the end of the story. I'll get the battery next week, put it in the clock and.....what if the clock doesn't actually work after all of this? Let's face it, Argos are notorious for sending out duff stuff. If that happens I will have to send it back and start all over again. The saga will continue as I seek power - much like Cameron and Clegg. (Odd that both of their names start with a 'C'.)

Now, at this point I just bet that Boudica, or Lesley (as her mother christened her), will be shaking her head at this little tale and saying, "Are you serious? Are you taking the piss? Are you trying to wind ME up?"

Not me mate - and besides, it's a well known fact that you can't wind up a broken clock.

The Voice In The Wilderness