Saturday, August 25, 2012


So, there I was, wandering through the market square, minding my own business and hoping that it didn't get much warmer - because the sun was begining to make me wish that I had dressed in a pair of shorts. The trouble with wearing shorts is that I really haven't got the legs for it these days. Have you seen them? These fellows who have what I call "Lucky Legs" - because they are lucky they don't snap. They invariably wear socks pulled right up to their knees too! "Lucky legs" - ha ha.

So, there I was, doing my nomadic impressions, gazing blankly at shop windows because they were all closed at half-past nine on a Sunday morning.

I hear a voice calling "Oy!" and take a quick look around behind me, but all I see are two young people coming out of an alley across the market place, a young couple.

"Huh," I think to myself. "They had better not be OYing at me! That's just bad manners," and I went on my pointless way.

"OY!" came a little bit louder, but I ignored it and went around a corner.

Two seconds later - "OY!" - and this was much nearer, so I turned to have a look and possibly even straighten someone up.

Pat was standing on the corner I had just traversed.

"Are you deaf?" asked she.

"Ooo," said I as I hugged her, "I thought it was someone else."

Back to the car, which was Tracey's, so that's why I hadn't seen it. I was expecting to see one of Rover's off-roaders, not a Japanese two door rabbit hutch.

"Hello Trace," said I as I squeezed into the back.

Well, off we went to a car boot sale, and when we got there the rest of the family were there, apart from Dennis - he was still working to provide the country with salad ingredients.

It's amazing how much stuff is sold at these affairs, and for so little dosh too. Just as well really, because all I had in my pocket was just over six quid. Still, you can get a lot of stuff at a boot sale for six quid - and Jade did! She wasn't the only one either. As far as I could see, we all did well as we purchased lots of stuff which we were not aware that we couldn't live without.

The picnic was nice, I cannot say otherwise, but it was hot.

So, (I've got to stop saying that - it's the Irish in me you know) So, we all sat about munching away and stoking the furnace for a busy afternoon - we were off to an open day.

To start with there was Welly Whanging, which I intended to go in for but needless to say that didn't happen. I managed to steal an apple from a tree but after one bite I wished I hadn't. It was nice and red, firm - and as dry as a funeral drum. Clearly THAT tree needs a couple more months before the fruit is ready.

There was terrier racing, but two of them caught the hare, one ran off to look for its owner and another decided to go the wrong way. At that point the organisers decided to get little kids to race along the track instead and great fun was had by all, especially in one race where the three bigger children were off like rockets and a tiny little boy ran after them yelling at them.

Turkeys smell a good bit, that's a fact.

By about three in the afternoon the heat had defeated me and I was kind of wandering aimlessly so we all packed up and the other car went off home - can't blame anyone for that, it was too hot.

Tracy brought me back and that was the end of a fairly hectic sort of day where I seemed to hardly stop and yet I didn't do very much of anything at all. Summer weather does that to people, it tires them out - much like dealing with the prison service, it's tiring and generally aimless.

I'm not out for another three weeks now. Should give me time to work out how to use the pocket watch I bought to adorn my weskit. Actually, I didn't buy it, Pat did, which was nice of her.

The odd part about it all is that later, as I lay on top of my bed waiting to be enfolded into the arms of Orpheus, I realised that I had actually enjoyed the day. So thank you to those who made it all possible, especially the little kid who came last and was yelling at those going faster than him - I know how you feel my boy.

The Voice In The Wilderness

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I never actually met Cedric

I never actually met Cedric.

On Sunday just gone, I had to travel down to town under my own steam because the inestimable Patricia quite simply wasn't able to collect me as per. She has a trapped nerve in her neck which, amongst other things, is making sleep very difficult for her at the minute. Anyway, she couldn't pick me up at the gate as usual so I went down to town on the prison van with half a dozen other fellows heading for a day of wanderings around that huge metropolis which serves as the nerve centre for absolutely nowhere.

Got there and debussed (a great word, debussed - it should be given National Treasure status). So - I debussed at the railway station and wandered off into the haze to find the town centre.

It's a sleepy little place at the best of times and on Sundays it is practically comatose.

I finally found the market square - me, three pigeons and a couple of drunks sitting on the benches near the church there. That was it! That was my day more or less complete. There isn't a great lot to occupy an active mind in this town.

Then I saw that a charity shop had opened its doors for business so I went in there and perused the books - not to buy any, dosh is at a premium these days. I can only take a certain amount out with me - I think they must be Puritans who run the prison.

What is a Puritan? Someone who is frightened that somewhere, someone might be having a good time.

Anyway, once I had done that, I sat on the bench in the market place to blow smoke at the pigeons and to listen to a very entertaining slanging match between several drunks and junkies sitting inside the railings surrounding the church grounds. From what I could gather, one had taken more than his fair share of something or other and it had brought about a rude, crude and very acrimonious exchange which, while it entertained me, clearly caused those of a more genteel aspect to feel uncomfortable.

After a while, I even got tired of that, so I wandered about for a while and wondered about going back to the jail early when the phone in my pocket rang.

"Where are you?" she asked.

"Wandering about like a little lost lamb," said I.

"I will be there in an hour," said she. "Just let me put my gladrags on and wake Sara from her drunken sleep."

All right, okay, maybe those things weren't actually said, but the result was the same - they were coming to spend the day with me, so I went back to sit on the  bench to listen  to part two of the row, which now included three youngsters who had appeared on bikes.

Then my phone rang and, as I was sitting with my head down talking to Herman the Big Mug, a pair of feet passed - black, built-up shoes covered in pretty white pearl buttons. I obviously looked up to see who the feet belonged to - and it was a  bloke!

Then, across the road, dismounting from a bicycle, was a tall person, dressed in white with long red hair who turned as I watched - and revealed a ginger beard too!
By this time I was starting to feel that I had been transported to a scene from the Village People. Was it just me or could others see these weird and wonderful sights?

Thankfully, not long after that the rescue party arrived and they were three females - real ones too! You can never be sure these days, apparently.

Later, after a meal at our riverside bistro and sitting in the car in the market place, we all saw (so it wasn't just me) a person pass wearing a skirt and blouse, court shoes with hair in a pony tail but the face of an anorexic man.

Later I found out that this is Cedric, a famous figure around the area who minces about wearing ladies' stuff. He doesn't bother anyone apparently, just goes about doing his own thing.

"Jesus!" somebody said.

"Nah," said I. "He didn't have court shoes."

So, then we drove off to have some tea.

I never actually met Cedric, but I saw him in passing - just like ships that pass in the night.

The Voice In The Wilderness

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Pigeon parole

Somebody needs to phone the Vatican because there has been a bit of a miracle. No, a farmer in Ohio didn't repay his loan, nor did a Brazilian plant a tree - this miracle is much more satisfying than that. The pigeon/fantail/dove which was savaged by a cat and which looked like it had been caught in a threshing machine has actually survived. Not only has it survived, but its feathers are starting to grow again and it has turned aggressive! Put it this way, the next cat that chances its arm will get a nasty shock - we taught the pigeon how to look after itself, and that despite the fact that it's got a had limp (in fact we were calling it "The Gimp", but it will never catch on). The point is, it left to go back home on Friday, no doubt glad to be free of durance vile. It has been paroled!

Well, that's my good deed for the century done. I can now go back to being the horrible, despicable, grumpy, anti-social prat that the prison service created - free and  gratis I might add!

I've still got a few birds in the pigeon loft, that I built at no expense whatsoever, and I've got three baby birds, squeakers as they are called, or squabs as the dictionary would have it. Two more coming too. I'll have more young birds than old ones at this rate. Notice that I am restraining myself from making cracks about old birds - well, at my age I don't want to start making any new enemies, do I?

Okay, that's the bird news out of the way, now to the more - er - mundane and less interesting stuff.

There is no news again this week, not a word - nothing, nada, zero, zilch, absolutely nowt, as they say in Yorkshire. Actually they  say "bugger all" but that's verging on the rude at nine on a Sunday morning, so I'm not saying that.

No news about the parole hearing, nothing about my National Insurance number or driving licence - nowt. I'm going for a day out next week, but I have no idea where to or what we will be doing. What I'd like to do is go to another car boot sale. The last one I went to was very small but fascinating just the same. It's quite amazing how much stuff people flog for next to nothing and how many things you find that you simply can't live without  - until you get them back to the car park and somebody says, "What did you buy THAT for? It's junk!" Well, they DO say that one man's junk is another man's treasure.

The other day, one of the governors said that there had been a security report that I had been seen getting into a black Range Rover with blacked-out windows. Somebody has been watching far too many DVDs, that's all I can say. Which is much what the governor said too, actually. A black Range Rover with blacked-out windows! Well, I'm still here, still trying to get some sense out of the system about my parole hearing and still doing my Doctor Dolittle impressions - or, as my pal would have it, "Doctor Do-fuck-all!" And  I think THAT's quite rude for a Sunday morning in August.

The Voice In The Wilderness

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Invalids 'R' Us

On Monday evening, at about eight, when the jail is more or less winding down for the day and people are starting to think about getting their showers prior to retiring for the night, I was called to the wing office on the tannoy. One of the governors - I can't name him, because that causes palpitations of the security nerve that prisons have running through their veins. Anyway, the governor in question had brought a bird with him, a white fantail which had been severely savaged by a cat - blood all over the place and flesh ripped from its bones but still alive, just.

"Can you save it?" says he, to paraphrase.

"I'll have a go," said I.

"It's my favourite dove," said he.

"I'll do my best," said I.

He had brought a cage and all manner of medical stuff - antiseptic spray, cotton-wool and the like.

Off he went, and left myself and Naked to administer to the bird. We cleaned it up and settled it down for the night knowing full well that it didn't look good. However, if it could survive the night then it had a chance.

The bird was still alive the next morning and started drinking like a fish - always a good sign. By Wednesday morning it was starting to eat a bit and attempting to preen itself - another good sign. By Thursday morning it was all dried up, its wounds that is, and eating perfectly well, drinking well, preening and starting to grunt and try to pick fights with Naked every time he went into the cage to feed or water her.

On Friday morning, I had to go to the hospital to finally have my umbilical hernia done. I went down to theatre wearing very fetching paper knickers and anti-embolism socks and woke up a few hours later, all done. I came back to the shovel and pick at about six that evening and was still as high as a kite from the drugs that the hospital had filled me with.

They had asked, "Do you want pain-killers to take with you?"

"Nah," said the idiot. "I can't feel a thing, I'll be fine."

Back to my cell and Naked told me to go to bed, so I did - and that was me comatose until the following morning, when I woke up with several medieval torturers working steadily on my stomach and Naked fighting for his life in the corner with the dove, now renamed Lucky - although that didn't impress the governor.

Well, it's Sunday evening now and the bird goes from strength to strength while the only pain-killer I can get out of the medical people here is paracetamol - a lot of good THAT is. So, there's Lucky in one corner being tended to by Naked and there's me in another corner being tended to by Naked - and let me tell you, Nurse Of The Year he ain't. Rude, that's what he is. Any ladies who want a huge fellow for a boyfriend, let me know in a hrown envelope and I'll sort it out - no fees, just enough to cover my expenses, ho ho.
Actually, he's not doing a bad job - we'll both survive the ordeal. Okay, Lucky won't be so pretty as she was - and I never was. Luoky has got a limp - and I'm not too steady myself - but we'll survive, thanks to Naked. Patients 'R' us, I suppose - and Naked makes a lovely nurse, if you like your nurses about eighteen stones with fifty-four inch chests and a grin like a congenital idiot. Lucky and I will be fine by this time next week. Naked will never be fine. I'm not a medical doctor, but he's too far gone in my opinion.

Finally, how did he get the name Naked? It's a long story - I think it's better left to him to tell whoever may be dim enough to get him for a boyfriend. He wears girlie­-girlie socks sometimes - but I can't say much after spending two days wearing anti-embolism stockings. Very nice too, they were - blue. I joined the blue-stocking brigade for a while there.

The Voice In The Wilderness