Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A kestrel killed my pigeon

Thursday evening it was, just getting dusk, when all decent birds are settling on their perches for the night, fluffing up their feathers and indulging in a quick territorial fight with those other birds infringing on their personal spaces.

I leave the loft - sorry, the door to the North Sea Camp bird rescue centre - open. Well, in the evening I let the birds go in and settle at their own pace. It seems fair to me because that's what I like to do. I normally wander round there just as dusk is falling, give them all a drink and lock them in for the night. Thursday night was no different, I did exactly that. But as I rounded the corner of the loft, I saw a flurry of activity by the leg of my rustic bench (pause for sniggering) and a kestrel flew off. In the fading light it looked like a bit of a plastic bag wafting in the breeze, but when I got closer I saw that it was one of my birds. Clearly it was in a great deal of trouble. Its back had been ripped open and the back of its head was gone. I had no choice - I had to finish it off and threw the body in the bin, feeling very disappointed. Well, I have spent months bringing up each and every bird from chicks, so it's a  bit disappointing to lose one like that. The bloody kestrel had the front to fly back to try to get its supper, but buggered off when it saw me. I know this much - the birds are now getting into the loft early in the evenings.

So, that puts me down to twenty-eight birds, including The Stranger, who still hasn't got a ring on his leg because I haven't tried to arrest him yet. I'll let him get used to the loft first.

Well, next week I am off out for the day. I think I've got some family members coming but I'm not sure who, not yet. I expect I'll  find out during the coming week. I have also got good old Amanda driving down to spend the day. We can all go for a meal at my favourite bistro in town - that is always a good idea.

I've lost The Wallace! Apparently she has been required to hand me on, like an ould pair of wellies, to a lesser mortal. Of course she is going to oversee matters, but from a distance as she sits in her ivory tower of management.

And I no longer have to worry about home leaves, that is all being done by others in THEIR ivory towers. So that's nice to know.  One day, when the wind is in the right direction, I will have an ivory tower of my own, but I don't imagine that anyone will be waiting for me to make any life-changing decisions for them - I wouldn't want to really.

Finally, my solicitor has requested a date for an oral hearing from tbe Parole Board, so I can only hope he gets one soon. Well, at least it won't creep up on me like a kestrel at dusk, sharp talons and equally sharp beak tearing at my back and skull. Mind, after all the years, I probably wouldn't notice until I felt the blood running down my neck. Make a nice change from the knives in my back I suppose.

Ha! That makes me sound quite bitter, but on reflection I realise that, actually, I'm really not!  What is the point of harping on about the past? Nobody and nothing can change that - not even God. Let it go. Put it down to experience and move on to better pastures.

The mill cannot grind with the water that is past.

The Voice In The Wilderness

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What's in a name?

That time has finally arrived - as we all knew it must. The Wallace, that eminently admirable personage formerly referred to as my probation officer, no longer is. Now, that's not as bad as it seems - not a bit. The Wallace should really have dumped me onto someone else some considerable time back. Being a manager, and therefore not mandated to deal with individual cases, she would normally be doing "overviews", whatever that entails. But The Wal1ace kept me as her project, probably to keep herself amused, and she was more than likely interested in how I managed to cope with everything. The point is, she has passed me on to another prob. off., but assures me that she will keep an eye on matters.

Now, all of this made me realise that I have a tendency to give little nicknames to just about everyone and everything. It's the mentality of dealing with the prison estate, I suppose. They are quite terrified that anyone should learn their names or what they do for a living - maybe they are ashamed of it, who knows. However, once a feller gets into that sort of mindset he soon finds himself giving names to everyone and everything. I have even gone so far as to give my pigeons names.

Now, let me see... There is Houdini - you can't keep him in the loft, he escapes out of everything. Then there is Big 'ead and Little 'ead, Gannet - who can't get enough to eat - and Oliver who, no matter how much he gets, always wants more. Titch and Tiny, Patches and  Big Blue and Little Blue - the list goes on. After all I've got twenty-nine of them counting the two squeakers I got yesterday.

There should only be twenty-eight but I've got an interloper who seems to have moved in - The Stranger. I know he is an interloper because I put brightly-coloured rings on all of the birds and this one, The Stranger, hasn't got one. As soon as I can get hold of him he WILL have a ring on his leg - a red one - I've got it all  ready for him. I was counting the birds the other evening as it was getting dark, just to make sure they were all in, and I had one too many. I thought I had miscounted so did it again. Three times I did it, and then I saw this blue checker sitting on a perch with no ring on. Not just sitting on a perch but full of feed and all fluffed up as he settled in for the night.

I had discovered a squatter!

Anyway he is in there now - goes for his daily fly with all of the others and comes back as though he had lived there all of his life. Let him stay, that's my attitude - it does no harm at all and, with winter creeping up on us stealthily, who can blame him for wanting to live somewhere where he is fed and warm, away from the elements.

So he's got a name as well now.

Which brings me neatly back to names and my new probation officer. I know her name, of course, but can't use it - I wouldn't want to upset the apple cart before I've even got the apples in it. But her initials automatically give me her nickname - The SS. I DO hope she's got a sense of humour. She'll need it because, as we all know, there are certain people in this world who take a fairly irreverent view of the rest of it - and I'm one of them.

And so the end of an era arrives and another begins. The SS will be handling my appearance before the Parole Board, whenever THAT may turn out to be - there is bugger-all news about it at the minute, beyond the fact that outside influences are attempting to get a date. Watch this space. Maybe The SS can get some sense out of the system, but, to be quite frank about it, I would be more inclined to put my money on The Stranger or Houdini - one can get in where least expected and the other seems to be able to get out of everything.

The Voice In The Wilderness

Saturday, October 13, 2012

It's a funny ould world

It was kind of misty when I went out for the day yesterday - it was a bit cold too. Not that I let that bother me much - in fact not very much bothers me much. It's all much of a muchness, as the bard would have said. (Too many "muches" there - too much in fact.)

So, seeing as nobody was collecting me at the gate I had to get the prison bus, which I don't mind really. I just sit there letting folk know that I am out via my mobile. Incidentally, there are now no facilities for recharging our mobiles, which we bought at great expense - thirty quid for a basic unit when better ones can be got for two quid at any boot sale (but leave that to one side for now). So, seeing as we can no longer recharge our phones they therefore must become useless and redundant. So I have asked for my money back - what good is a phone that can't be used?

So, in the prison bus and into town, where I had a little wander about whilst chatting to several friends on the phone and finally discovering that Big Anthony and his son Little Anthony would be late arriving to meet me. Apparently Big Anth bought a new car on Saturday - a Vauxhall Insignia, a very nice car - but when he went to put fuel in it on Sunday morning at the crack of dawn, he had put 94 quid's worth of petrol in it before he realised it was a diesel car!

Lunacy rules and will never die out at this rate. I've always thought the diesel pump fittings wouldn't go into a petrol car and vice versa, but what do I know eh?

So, they had to wait for the AA to come out and drain the tank and give it a rinse out - let's hope that they used liquid common sense.

Anth phones: "I'm sitting at the security gate."

"What security gate?"

"The one at the prison," says he.

Says I, "I'm sitting in the town centre! You can't miss it. There's a church - the only tall building in the town. You can see it for miles!"

We finally met up at a quarter to two. Only five hours late, and not a petrol tanker in sight - although that could be seen as rhyming slang.

Having said all that, I enjoyed my day with the boys - great - and had several chats to several people on the phone. I spoke to Susan May, or Suzie the Floozie as I used to call her years ago. Hey! I've known Sue for a long time now - donkey's years. Amanda clocked in and we had a performance with me trying to send her a phone number. I can't work the bleedin' phone at all.

I finally got back to the shovel and pick at about a quarter to seven and instantly got myself into hot water because I had more money when I came back than I had when I went out. I shouldn't have told them - it's as simple as that. We are asked to be honest but the instant we are we get into trouble. However, that's all water under the bridge, so to speak - and it had gone cold again after a lovely sunny day.

All in all, I enjoyed myself and went to bed a tired but replete fellow. I'll see them all again in three weeks, only this time I won't get into trouble for having too much money. See! I'm back to the "muches" again. It's too much, I tell you, and it don't suit me it don't.

If every day was as satisfying as yesterday, I couldn't complain - but I probably would, just on principle.

The Voice In The Wilderness

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Too old

I've got to admit it - I'm cream crackered!

Now, normally I would be writing this at about half-past eight in the morning - but not today. This morning I was up and out at the crack of dawn to feed and water my pigeons - as big a bunch of pests never seen before. They sit on my boots, scratch about my feet and, every now and then, one called Gannet decides that it will do me good if it craps on my head. Some folk will say, "I wish he wouldn't use words like 'crap'." Well, it took me a long time to actually use words like 'crap'.

What am I doing crawling out of my pit at the crack of daft o'clock? Even the bleedin' sparrows are still in bed!

I'm too old for this shit. I should be sitting in a nice, comfy chair with a blanket around my knees to keep me warm, in front of a roaring fire and a little nurse standing by with fresh incontinence pants in case of accidents. I should have a budgie for a pet and a little Yorkie barking all day to annoy the neighbours and shitting  on the carpet. I should be sitting waiting for my meals-on-wheels and pissing myself in the queue at Tescos so I can get to the front and pretending to be deaf.

What have I been doing today (and every day really)?

I have fed and watered twenty-four pigeons, half of them individually and by hand. Then I helped the chicken man (not Chicken George) to lug a dirty great big laying rack from the piggery up to the new chicken shed. Ha! New! The builder should be called Bob. I've seen derelict buildings that looked better.

Anyway, dragged the laying thing up there and then I went and had a look to see if there was any greenage for the chickens. After that I wandered down to the bottom field to see what mushrooms were free and unattended.

That was the morning taken care of and, as soon as I had finished my lunch, I went and picked the mushrooms, walked the perimeter of the prison farm fences looking for abandoned or injured birds, and then it was back to my rescue centre to feed the ones I've got now. By then it was tea time and, right after tea, which I didn't eat because I didn't have time (I'll have it later tonight), I was back to see to the pigeons - counted them all into the loft and settled them in for the night.

Was I finished? Not a bit. Then I was up to the realm of Chicken George to help him to settle HIS charges for the night. At least we saw a barn owl and a couple of bats.

I got back to my cell at a quarter-past seven this evening and, apart from meal times, I've been running around since five minutes past seven this morning - no wonder I lose a little weight. Mind, that seems to have stuck at twelve stones, so perhaps that's the weight I have to be, as nature decreees.

Was I finished then? No! I had to write this and then I have to write two letters AND have my shower. After that I've got my tea to eat - and if I can keep my eyes open after that it will be a miracle!

My solicitor tells me that he has requested from the Parole Board a date for an oral hearing. If they don't give such a date, then he is threatening a Judicial Review.  As I said somewhere else - I'm too old for this shit.

The Voice In The Wilderness