Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A fish and chip tale

Once again we reach the end of yet another pointless week here at the Lazy L where nothing at all has happened - nothing of any interest to me, at least. Mind, to be fair, that’s not entirely correct, although what IS new isn’t exactly earth-moving. This week, all I have been able to discover or find out is that I WILL be going to North Sea Camp as soon as there is a space for me there - I have to wait for room, a place. That’s all I ever do - wait. I’m thinking about changing my name to Mr Wait - maybe I will be able to claim Terry as my brother. Having said that, would I want to?

So, North Sea Camp (or, as Boudica calls it, the Home for Gay Sailors - she only thinks she's funny!) - when will I be off to the world of fresh air, cabbage fields and seagull guano? (I was going to say seagull shit, but that sounds a bit rude.)

Speaking of Boudica, I understand that she wasn’t impressed by my little vignette of last week and the fishy fingers. She says everything about me is fishy, but she only says that because she likes me. Apparently she objects (not very strongly) at my hinting that she was travelling around in trains in the swinging sixties, and she says we never met like that anyway. Okay, fair enough - I’ll tell another story then about how we first met. Of course, people will ask, "Is he telling the truth THIS time?" and the answer is, "Of course I am." Well, as near to the truth as a policeman gets when he is swearing someone’s life away in a Crown Court.

Is it any wonder that policemen and supergasses get on so well? They both have the same kind of mind - they can remember things that never happened in the first place and are willing to swear to them on their mothers’ lives.

Anyway, to get back to how I met Boudica. Many years ago, when I was a mere youth in my salad days, I took to the sea and travelled around a good deal. I used to ask the local populace, “Where am I?” Come to think on it, I’m still doing it - I rarely know what I am doing or where I am.

What was I saying? Oh yes, Boudica and the meeting of the same. So there was I, docked in Middlesboro and, for some strange and unfathomable reason, I went to Hartlepool one evening to sample the beverages being retailed in one or three of the public houses, as was my wont in those halcyon days.

I was in a pub called the "Lord Nelson" (I'm safe with that one - every town has a "Lord Nelson" public house), and I was doing my best to "score" for one of the local girls and meeting with very little success - the story of my life really. So, come closing time it was me for a solitary taxi ride back to the ship and an evening spent in the company of Palmler Handerson and her five skinny daughters.

I came out of the pub at about ten-thirty in the evening and across the road was a fish and chip emporium with a bus-stop just outside, one of those with the shelters.

I wandered across toward the chippie and then saw that standing in the bus shelter was a young blonde eating fish and chips from a paper parcel held in her hand.

Nothing unusual about that, it’s a scene being enacted in every town all over the country every day, but what I didn’t tell you, and what caught my attention, was the fact that she had her knickers down around her ankles.

"Erm,” said I approaching hopefully. “Excuse me, Miss, but your knickers have fallen down!”

She looked at me, looked down, looked back at me and said, “Oh! My boyfriend must have gone home.”

Oh dear - she'll make me pay for that one.

The Voice In The Wilderness

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A very sick man

Well here we are again, the end of yet another week of strolling the rolling pastures of the Lazy L with neither care nor worry. Whatever you may say about the prison service, there is one thing they cannot be accused of and that is actually doing anything in haste, not for the cons’ benefit anyway.

Having said that, there are a couple of little signs that just maybe something may happen before the Olympics. Actually I’m thinking about putting my name down for one of the events - the Not Moving A Muscle and Doing Fuck All marathon. I think I’m a certainty for double gold.

The other day they came to see me and asked me to sign a paper which said that I agreed to share a cell on arrival in North Sea Camp (if it should be necessary), so I signed that. There was also a question on the paper for this prison which asked:
“Would you accept Prisoner back in the event of a Serious Open Conditions Failure.”
and of course this place has agreed. They are not too keen on letting me go but they will have me back at the shake of a rat’s whiskers. I’m informed that the document was faxed back to North Sea Camp on Wednesday 10th and that I would know what was oing on within a week - so this next few days should provide something definite at last and I’ll believe it when I see it. Next week’s "Voice" should be interesting.

Has anyone noticed that when any of us (human beans, that is) is in a pensive or thoughtful mood we have a tendency to relax and go off into a daydream. Our faces completely relax and turn to rubber, sagging and drooping I expect. The overall effect can be of having a miserable countenance. We ain't (miserable, I mean), but that’s the perception of a casual observer.

The other day, I was leaning on the railing outside of cell, (well, it stops me from falling to the floor if I lean) and I was thinking of cabbages and kings, off in a world of my own I expect, miles away. My face must have looked even more miserable than usual because one of the female kangaroos came to lean next to me and asked, “Are you all right? Frank.”
Well, you know me, never miss a trick, never spurn a chance at a good joke, that’s me.
“No,” said I. “As a matter of fact, I’m not.”
“What’s the trouble?” asked she, all concerned and walking right into it.

“Well,” said I, “it’s my brother, Cecil.”
I haven’t got a brother called Cecil - nobody has.
“What’s the problem?” asked Florence Nightinga1e.
“Well,” I settled down to fool her. “He’s a lot older then me and he’s been living in sheltered accommodation for a few years now. The thing is, nobody had seen him for a few weeks and the warden at the sheltered housing place got a bit concerned so he contacted Social Services about it. They arrived with the police and they all started knocking on the door of the flat but couldn’t get any answer. In the end they had to break the door down and when they got inside they found the curtains all closed and all over the place there were opened and half eaten tins of Chum dog food and there were spoons in some of the tins. They searched the flat and every room had these half eaten tins of dog food everywhere."
“What about your brother?” asked Miss Gullible 1962.
“They found him lying on the kitchen floor,” said I, sadly. “Oh my God! Was he dead?”
“No,” said I “But he had broken his neck trying to lick his own bollocks.”
She just looked at me and finally said, “You are a very sick man,” and burst out laughing.
Well, you know what Julius Caesar said just before the Senators perforated his torso:
“Coppula eams se non posit acceptera jocularum.”
(Fuck them if they can't take a joke.)

The Voice In The Wilderness

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A fishy tale

Well here we are again, the end of yet another week which has seen about as much progress as the coal mining industry - not a lot. Having said that, I did get an answer to a letter I wrote to Hoss the Boss a couple of weeks back. I wrote to him letting him know that there was a dastardly plot afoot, by persons better left unnamed, to circumvent the Secretary of State and the Parole Board. The plot was to send me to a Category C prison, ostensibly to "wait for a place in open prison". Of course that is pure humbug - once
they got me there they would effectively put years onto my sentence and defeat the whole issue.

Anyway, I told Hoss the Boss and he wrote back to say (amongst other things):

...I can categorically state that we will arrange your transfer to a Category D prison in line with the Parole Board directions...
Well, that seems to be plain enough - unambiguous and final - but it doesn't mention when.

I sent the governor of North Sea Camp a sort of letter-of-introduction-cum-CV and apparently he got it all right and it has been added to my file there. They (North Sea Camp) are in possession of my application, my file, Parole Board and Secretary of State's order, my medical file and my letter-cum-CV. They (apparently) have selection boards at regular intervals and whenever they hold their next one they will decide whether to accept me or not. Back to waiting again.

Boudica says that I have applied for the Governor's job - but we all know that she's got a twisted sense of humour at the best of times.

Wonder Woman and Titus Pullo want to ask the governor of NSC if they can take me out for a meal on one of my days-out, if and when I get to NSC - they must think I need feeding up to get me ready to take Boudica on.

Speaking of Boudica, I am often asked how I met her - well, I was asked once by Blodwyn. You know me - never the same answer to that question twice in a row, so this time will be no exception to that rule.

How did I meet Boudica?

Well, many years ago, when I first took to the sea, we docked one time in Edinburgh, at the Port of Leith, which had a huge fishing market at the time. I was a callow youth then and spent my time at my grandparents' house in Sunderland. So for my leave from the ship I set out to go to Sunderland. However, before I went I visited one of those sea-food stalls they had on the docks at the Port of Leith and bought a huge carrier-bag full of prawns for my grandmother - she liked a prawn now and then. So, carrying my sea bag and the bag of prawns, I got onto the train at Edinburgh Central for the journey down to Newcastle. 

In those days most of the trains were just compartments, no corridors down the sides. If you got caught short during a journey, too bad.

So, I esconced myself into a compartment with one other person - a pretty young blonde girl.

"Oh ho!" said I to myself, "A mucky little matelot stuck into a train all the way to Newcastle with a pretty girl - enormous opportunity to get up to no good!"

Remember, it was the Swinging Sixties - not that I saw much of it at sea.

Once the train got moving, and she had nowhere to go, I started to chat her up - but she put me right down, looked down her nose at me with disdain (she's been doing it ever since), and made it quite plain to me that, as far as she was concerned, I could just bugger off. (She's been saying that ever since too).

So I turned nasty, as young men do under such provocation, and I started to eat the prawns and throw the shells at her. She objected, of course, but what could she do? Not a lot.

So there I sat, munching prawns and chucking the shells at her as she got more and more irate and annoyed until in the end she leapt to her feet and pulled the communication cord.

I laughed and pointed to the sign, "Hey!" said I. "When they see what you've done, you'll get fined five quid!"

She retorted, "And when they smell your fingers you'll get five years."

Bugger! She'll make me pay for that one. 

The Voice In The Wilderness

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Godot ain't here yet

Well, here we are again - Sunday 31st July and the end of yet one more week when nothing has happened and, while a lot seems to be promised, there is nothing forthcoming at all, not a thing, zilch, zero, nada, nowt, fuck all.

However, I don't choose to see it as the end of yet another week - my feet are planted firmly in the air - I see it as the start of a fresh month because it's August tomorrow. My next parole hearing is in September 2012. That's only thirteen months as the crow flies - and the way this place operates I'll still be sitting here doing G.B.H. to the typewriter. Forgive me if I sound a little cynical, but experience has taught me that this place offers much but delivers nothing.

As we all know, the Secretary of State gave me a sixteen month review and I now find out from my solicitor that sixteen months is actually a breach of my human nights under the ECHR Article 5 (4) - whatever that says. Twelve months is normal, apparently, and can only be extended under extraordinary circumstances - but that's MY interpretation, not my solicitor's.

So he is contemplating some form of challenge to have that period reduced to twelve months - and THAT would make my next parole hearing in May of next year, not September. What's that - nine months? Nine months to do all I have to do with interventions and the like and get reports written - all done IN open prison. The way this place operates, I'll still be sitting here in nine months.

However, my solicitor is the expert - I'm just the one who has the stress-filled and anxious nights where sleep sits on my shoulder and sniggers at me.

The trouble is, I'm not getting any younger. In the words of Pink Floyd:
So we run and we run to catch up with the sun
But it's sinking.
Racing around to come up behind us again.
The sun is the same in a relative way
But we're older,
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.
Well, I can subscribe to THAT!

It may be remembered (or it may not) that the other day I was told that my details would be sent off to every open prison in the country. That hasn't actually happened, as far as I know, and I've not had a word on the subject since. It's not going to happen, of course - remember, we are dealing with the Lazy L here, and what the Lazy L says and what the Lazy L does are always two entirely different things. As I say, they promise much but deliver nothing.

Still, we've got to be like Felix Dennis and see the world as a glass half full - it prevents insanity creeping up on us.

You can't really object to folk when they get a bit difficult when it comes to dealing with the likes of me - after all, I am scum. Hey! Before anyone starts getting the wrong idea, let me just say that it wasn't easy getting to be scum - I had to work hard at it, I suffered for my art! Scum is a calling that many aspire to but few actually get the gold star! Let me tell you, I've got the gold star and two bars. When the scum of the world have their judgement day, I'll be there, right at the front of the queue, waiting for what's coming as a reward.

In the meantime I'll just let the Lazy L continue to hold their own scum awards - and guess who will get the nomination here?

By the way, he's not here yet - that Godot feller. I'm getting toward the point where I'm starting to think that he's just a figment of someone's imagination - a bit like me being sent to open prison by the Lazy L.

The Voice In The Wilderness

To labour and to wait

Yesterday, July 27th, I was called to the office and when I got there I was handed a letter which I had originally sent out to Andrew on 3rd July, twenty-four days earlier. I was informed that Security had stopped the letter from leaving the prison on the grounds that it named members of staff. All I had done was quote the Parole Board document - but it's all academic now because times have moved on considerably. At least the envelope came in useful to send out another letter to him, this time without making anyone nervous, hopefully.

In fact, yesterday was a bit of an interesting day, as days go in the Lazy L. Someone from the Tactical Management Team came to see me (they are the mob who deal with transfers) and it was a very pleasant and hopefully reliable young woman. I won't use her name for two reasons - the first being that this place would start to panic again and the second being that I don't know her name anyway. The outcome of our little chat was that there was no question of me being sent anywhere other than to an open prison - which one is the only question.

She went off about her business promising to send my details to every open prison in the country, although I have no idea how many there are - as I said to her, this is all new territory to me. So, my details are going out to every open jail, and she also said that North Sea Camp had requested my medical details so they must be considering taking me already. I also sent the Governor of North Sea Camp my CV yesterday and asked him to accept me, so that can only help.

What it all boils down to is that I will stay here until I find a place to accept me, it's as simple as that. But I have to be where I am going by September because that is when my intervention time is supposed to commence, on the instructions of the Secretary of State for Justice. I am due twenty-six weeks of interventions and I think that is me and The Wallace sorting out details of my resettlement into the community, that type of thing. Then in April of next year there are another twenty-six weeks for parole reports to be written by North Sea Camp (or wherever I happen to go to) ready for the Oral Parole Hearing scheduled for September 2012. That's only fourteen months away and, provided that nothing goes drastically wrong, it will, in effect, be my release hearing.

Let me put it this way - this Christmas should be my last in jail, and even this one could be spent on home leave.

There's a lot to be done between now and then, of course, and it all starts with this place getting mobile and getting me moved to an open prison. I keep coming back to North Sea Camp, not because of any particular reason other than it is the one which The Wallace thinks is ideal for me and I don't know any others. I don't even know where North Sea Camp is beyond the fact that it is on the Lincolnshire coast near Boston and is partly to do with land reclaimed from The Wash.

Ha! I've got this mental vision of them dragging a lump of land out of a washing machine, drying it off and saying, "That's not a bad bit of land - we'll build a jail on that."

So, that's the position - once again a case of hurry up and wait. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote:

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labour and to wait.
Old Harry certainly knew what he was talking about all right - he must have spent time at the Lazy L.

The Voice In The Wilderness