Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I must go down to the sea again...

John Masefield had it right when he wrote:
I must go down to the sea again,
To the lonely sea and sky...
He went on to add the parts about tall ships, waves breaking sails shaking and the rest, but they don't apply here, so I won't bother with that part.

The lonely sea and sky... wonderful. When they told me that I was going (or coming) to North Sea Camp (or, as a certain person of our acquaintance would have it, the Home for Gay Sailors), I was as happy as a little fat puppy dog lying in front of a fire. So, when I arrived here on the shores of The Wash, in that limbo period between Christmas and the New Year, I had a plan. That plan being to perambulate sedately down to the sea shore and to stare vacantly at the waves whilst carefully avoiding the seagull shit.

It hasn't happened. Ha! Go down to the sea! We can't even see the bleedin' sea! There is a huge dyke between me and the water, and that is just as well because if it wasn't there I'd have to grow webbed feet and learn how to swim, both beinq equally impossible for me. (Having said that, a set of webbed feet might improve my chances in life - apparently normal people are passed over for the weird and talentless these days. However, I have no intention of wandering down that particular road at the minute so forget I even brought the subject up at all.)

So, here I am in the wilds of Lincolnshire and not very far from Skegness - a thriving resort in the summer months apparently. I've been given to believe that sooner or later I will be able to actually go and see Skegness on one of my days out and THAT'S going to be an experience in itself after so long staring at nothing but grey walls and barbed wire.

There are many things to be said about open prison, and no doubt I'll say them over the coming weeks and months - wandering around completely unfettered and unregimented for a start. I was walking slowly along the road the other day, talking cobblers with one of my new contemporaries, and we were rambling so slowly and leisurely that we were passed by a fellow in a wheelchair! He was being pushed by another feller and, as they passed, one was heard to remark, "We haven't got a decent lung between us!" I wonder if that was a reflection on the speed that my contemporary and I were travelling at.

I digress again. To get back to the theme - the most striking thing about this place so far (from my point of view) is the number of fellows who take it into their heads to run off! It makes no sense to me at all - not a smidgen. They have probably spent many years in security situations, albeit maybe not as many years as me, and they have managed finally to get to a place where they can simply wander around - no walls, no security, no limitations on freedom - and yet they run off! Not being very bright, they are invariably caught pretty quickly and are instantly returned to high security prison and automatically have years more added to their sentence for no good reason at all. Makes no sense to me. One fellow buggered off the day I got here and apparently there are several every week. I don't even begin to understand it.

Speaking personally, all I can say is that I have spent a quarter of a century waiting and trying to get myself into the position I now find myself in and nothing or no one is going to be allowed to make a mess of that for me - not under any circumstances.

Besides, I am like John Masefield - I must go down to the sea again - and that counts more with me than anything else. Or, as that well-known typing error Mike Spilligan would have it:

I must go down to the sea again,
To the lonely sea and sky.
I left my shoes and socks there,
I hope that they are dry.
The Voice In The Wilderness

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