Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The mill cannot grind with the water that is past

There is absolutely nothing nicer than getting up at the crack of dawn (in this case, about a quarter to seven) and making a cup of tea, then going outside to sit on the step with the hoar ­frost decorating the grass and every other surface in sight.

As I sit there in the dark, slowly catching hypothermia, I can see a waning moon in the clear sky above me along with a few die-hard stars that are still glittering for my personal entertainment. Off to my right, in the direction of the dyke that is protecting me from the sea, I can see various navigation lights of vessels, big and small, as they go about their early morning sailings or dockings.

There is, of course, the odd call from a blackbird and the cooing of the isolated ring-necked dove, but the birds won't really get into their stride until daylight. I can even hear the very comforting bleating of a sheep somewhere nearby.

Personally, I think it's wonderful, especially after the last quarter of a century - but that's over now, so I won't go on about it. It kind of surprises me that some fellows take it into their heads (for whatever reason) to decamp, run away, bugger off from this place. I don't understand their logic. Having said that, if their thinking patterns were up to scratch, they wouldn't be in jail in the first place - and I am no different in that respect. Howsomever, I would like to think that my thinking patterns have improved a good deal since those early days.

I've had a sort of interesting week, because on Wednesday just gone I went for a little chat with the internal probation officer here at the Home for Gay Sailors, and I spent a very pleasant hour in the company of two quite nice young women. Well, let's face it, at my age everyone else is young. It was merely a sort of "getting to know you" meeting, and they were wondering why I had so much difficulty getting along with the Offender Management lot at Long Lartin. All I could tell them was that Long Lartin seem to be stuck in their high security mode and couldn't adjust to my particular situation in that they had no experience of dealing with a Cat D prisoner. Still, all that is water under the bridge - the mill cannot grind with the water that is past.

We discussed the fact that my parole hearing will be in May of this year and consequently I will have to sort of hurry up to fill the criteria of days out and things of that nature. One asked me what plans I had for my days out and I think I quite surprised them when I said that the first thing I intended to do was nothing more exciting than go down to the beach, wherever it is, and watch the sea for an hour or so and then wander back. I think one of them said she wouldn't mind coming with me. I've got no mad desires to go running about in Boston, shopping like an insane shopaholic with thirty minutes to go to closing time prior to Christmas - not me.

She asked me how I was coping with my arrival here and all of the unaccostomed freedom and seemed surprised that I not only wasn't struggling but was actually loving it. When I do go down into Boston, I may be a little surprised by the traffic, but I can't see me having any difficulty with the teeming hordes, if Boston has hordes. We got on quite well, but then again I can get on with anyone really because, contrary to popular belief, I actually LIKE people generally. I like the energy of youth, but only in small doses - they tire me out. I like people, so I rarely have a problem getting on with anyone - and if I do, then the reason is generally because there is something wrong with them, not with me.

So, things are settling down nicely here at North Sea Camp. I see no icebergs on the horizon so my ship should sail sedately on until, like those lights I see at the crack of dawn, I come to a safe haven - in my case, freedom from durance vile. Until then, I'll simply sit with my feet in the frosty grass, drink my tea, listen to the birds - and wait patiently.

The Voice In The Wilderness

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