Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!
That is what we are all supposed to charge round doing, wishing each other a HNY, so I am doing it, Happy NY
Well, the season of festivity and generosity is over for another year, just the debauchery left to get through. That time when we get rid of the old and welcome the new, good-will to all men etcetera.
We look back at the year and ask ourselves, "Has it been a good one?"
My response to that is, "It hasn't been a bad one."
A lot of changes from this time last year, then I was stuck in the Home for Gay Sailors with slight prospects of advancement although I had great expectations.
Well, I am free of the shackles of confinement, living in the arms of my clan, got a dog, got a horse, got a car, got money in my pocket, petrol in my tank and I'm king of the road again!
Still got a long way to go of course. This coming year the plan is to get myself established as a writer and get a decent income from that. It aint going to be easy, but we have got plans.
So, let me wish all and sundry, A Happy New Year

Monday, December 23, 2013

A Christmas Message

Well, it's that time of year again. The time when everybody tries to get on with everyone else and when we all do our best to forgive real or imagined transgressions against us, not always successful may I add. We run to the various supermarkets, loading up trolleys with crap that nobody really wants to eat but it's traditional. We fork out an arm and a leg on booze, all that stuff that we wouldn't have given to us the rest of the year. Sherry, port, eggnog and all the rest of it. Of course we stock up on our favourite tipple, in my case it's scotch whisky, but we get the rum, the brandy, the vodka and all of the stuff for mixes too. No change from £150 quid, not in my case anyway.
But it's worth it!
Everybody who comes to the door during the week between Christmas and New Year gets asked the same question, "What'll you have?"
Well, this year has a special significance for me, it is my first Christmas in twenty eight years with my family and I intend to make a proper job of it. I will sit in my carver chair on Christmas morning with my glass and I will move only to go to bed. I will allow the younger members of the clan to keep on filling my glass and if I am still sober by lunchtime, I'll be disappointed.
Then it's Boxing Day of course, so more boozing, and two days later, my birthday. Hardly seems worth stopping! I may be partying for a while.
Having said all that, I want to say one more thing, Happy Christmas to all of my friends, wherever you are, and remember, it is friends who enrich our lives, I am indeed a rich man.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A good feed.

Our Ellen Jane likes to make sure everyone is fed properly, that's for certain. Take today for instance.
Sleeping in the house this morning there was me, Ellen Jane, her husband Joe and our Kevin who was too pissed last night to go home.
Me, snoozing away until I had to get up for a piddle, had no idea when I went back to sleep that young Joseph was dropping off Alyssa for the day. I only found out when she woke me up ranting and raving as only a child can do, squealing and enjoying her life.
Anyway, that's all beside the point, by about noon when Ellen Jane started the lunch there weas me, Ellen Jane, Big Joe and Alyssa, Kevin had sodded off.
So, EJ is making the lunch, Sunday lunch, she does a great Sunday lunch.
Then Wendy turned up followed by our Michael, his partner Kailey along with little Ben and the new baby. By the time it got to serving up the food there were ten of us!
It didn't even make a ripple in Ellen Jane's day, she fed the lot of us, big meals too!
The dining table is a six seater which can extend to an eight seater, but we all got fed. Oh yes, Ellen Jane keeps a good grub house.

That was easy

It was easy really.
There I was, trying to recover my own blog site which I had managed to lose through my unfailing ability to bugger things up, but I couldn't get it back. I even went so far as to revert to the oracle! Andrew. Him who always seems to have the answer to all of my computer errors. Of course he sent me a step by step method to recover my blog, the trouble was he forgot he was dealing with me, the congenital idiot that I am. I tried to follow his easy steps, but I failed gloriously as usual.
So, there I was, looking at my gmail page when for some reason I went up to 'searcg' at the top and pressed it.
Up came my blog!
Well, that was easy.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Good manners

I may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer but it doesn't require an Einstein to work out that somebody is taking the piss.
Yesterday I saw an advert on the telly for selection boxes for the kids for Christmas, buy one, get two free, two to a customer only. This is at Tesco or Asda, can't remember which one. So, in I went to get a couple of these good deals. Were there any to be found? Were there bollocks.
Ah! But they know what they are doing because I came out after buying a pile of other crap for the kids in the clan.
That's the trick you see, make some ridiculous promise that they will never have to keep, just to draw us mugs in and fleece us for our hard earned dosh.
Bandits, that's all they are. At least when I used to rob people I always had the common decency and good manners to point a shotgun at them first.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

It never rains in California

Ha! I wish the same could be said for this place.
All night we've had wheelie bins rolling around the back street, windows rattling and these old miner's cottages make a lot of noise in a strong wind, in fact, any sort of wind. Creaking and groaning, it's like a geriatric tart when the fleet is in town.
Anyway, it was a stormy night indeed and when I went out this morning to run a couple of errands and put 'GO' juice in my vehicule the wind was gusting enough to move the car. That's not to mention the driving rain!
Well, it might never rain in southern California, but it does here.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

She is only six.
Today she decided that she needed a playmate, guess who she selected!
We keep the dogs out on the decking during the day provided it's not raining. So there I am, sitting quietly waiting for Godot and suddenly I have got a dog trying to get on my lap to lick my face.
In she comes begod, socks hanging off her feet because she doesn't wear her shoes unless she has to.
"Who let the dogs in?" I ask, not unreasonably I thought. "Did you let them in?Pest!"
"Actually," said she, all prim and proper, not easy with your socks hanging off. "Actually it was Tara."
"No it wasn't," I countered. "She can't open doors. It must have been you. Get them out again."
"Can I have some paper?" says she, completely ignoring my instructions.
"What for?"
"I want to draw Santa," says she.
Oh yes, a perfectly sound activity in anyone's book, but the facts speak for themselves. She never actually draws anything apart from squiggly lines, I have to do the drawing.
"Santa?" says I. "You are going to draw Santa, are you?"
"Yes," she lied.
So, I got her paper and she pinched four pens out of my pen cup.
"Draw Santa for me," says she. "I don't know how to do it."
Mind, she is only six!

Monday, December 02, 2013


"Why haven't you been doing your blog?" asked she. Mind, it's not so much an ask as a demand.
"Er," said I wisely, "I was busy."
"Busy? Busy doing what?" asked she.
"Driving you around for a start!" I cried.
Speaking of driving around, I got a fixed penalty notice for Bonfire night, Kier Hardy Way, just outside the Stadium of Shite, 35 mph in what they say is a 40mph zone.
Not just me, hundreds of people got em including a few officials.
Now, at this point I need to point out that everyone thinks it is a 40 zone, it is not a built up area, no houses, nuffink. So the other day I went and checked the speed limit there and would you credit it, there is not one single solitary speed limit sign anywhere on that road, nowt, zero, zilch.
Supposed to guess the speed limit are we?
I wasn't even in Sunderland that day but never mind, I am challenging it.
Why stick a police camera van there on that particular day?
I took my letter to the Fixed Penalty Unit to the post office to post, denying everything. The postmaster took one look at the address and said, "Don't tell me, Kier Hardy Way, Bonfire Night. I've had loads in, all the same place, same day.
I have to ask myself, "Why?"

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Ellen Jane called me a bastard this morning, so I came back with;
"The best thing about being a bastard is that I don't have to buy anyone a present on Father's Day

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Any man who hates kids and dogs can't be all bad. When I came home last night I had the dog more or less trying my clothes on, she was shoving herself right into me, and she is a big, strong dog, it's not funny. Okay, so she missed me, I accept that, but there is no call for what practically amounts to assault. I told her, I can still hear her sniggering.
Still, at least somebody missed me, but as I say, any man who hates kids and dogs, etcetera.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Enough is enough

I don't think I am unreasonable, not in the grand scheme of things. In fact, by comparison with the poxy government I am positively benevolent! My dog Tara on the other hand is utterly unreasonable.
I took her out this morning, the sun was out, it was nice!
We went over to East Boldon to see the horses, just to make sure that they are okay after the dodgy weather we had yesterday. Got over there and saw the nags, they are fine, gave them half a bag of carrots between them, everybody happy. Then we went for a walk around the tracks of what used to be Boldon Colliery. Of course I told Tara, "Keep out of the water! I don't want my car ruined again."
Did she listen? Did she bollocks.
She must have went through every puddle she could find, she is long-haired, she was filthy.
Well, got her back in the car after a great deal of barking and antisocial behaviour and I was less than delighted at the mess she was making of my back seats.
Back home and it started to rain.
What did my very own grizzly bear do?
She went outside onto the decking and decided to lie down in the rain. She only came in again after being bullied into it. She's got the dining room like a tip!
I'm not kidding, if she's not careful I will get rid of her and get a gerbil. I mean to say, it's not as if I am an unreasonable man, but enough is enough.

Sleeping with myself.

This morning it was Yvonne who woke me up. Well, you know how their minds work, I'm awake, everybody has to be awake. So, went back to snoozing again and the door crashed open, Ellen Jane.
"You awake?"
"I am now," I replied, not unreasonably, I thought.
"Are we going to see the horses this morning then?" she asked. Well, not asked exactly, more a demand really.
"Yes. Now bugger off," said I, as politely as I could under the circumstances.
"Get yourself up then," was her parting shot.
I like my bedroom, it's full of horsey things, computer, stuff like that.
It's my little place.
Actually it's quite a big place but it's still full of stuff.
I retire here at night and sleep the sleep of the hard-done-by, quite comfortable in my own bed. Leave me alone and I'll sleep the day away quite happily, but this morning it was Yvonne who woke me up.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

So there I was, sitting in the weak sunshine in Roker Park, gracing a bench with my illustrious presence. Tara, the miniature Grizzly Bear was sitting next to me, giving me the eye and sort of saying under her teeth, "Go, I dare you. Try to grab my stick!"
She had a stick between her paws, mind, when I say stick, branch would have been a better description.
So I am sitting there, nice and comfy, polluting the air with my fag, and Tara decides to start growling.
"What's wrong with you? Moron," I asked, diplomatically.
Then along came some sort of mongrel dog followed by it's (I presume) owner. A nice enough female, grey in her hair but not too old and shapeless under a nice thick winter coat and of course jeans and those eskimo boot things everyone is wearing these days.
"Shut up," I told Tara and the woman got her dog on a leash and sauntered up.
"What a lovely dog!" says she.
At this point a gentleman would have repaid the compliment by being nice about her dog, unfortunately I am no gentleman.
"Oh," says I. "She's alright when she is quiet.
"Big, innit?" says she and I wondered if my fly was open.
"Not really," says I. "She's just got a lot of fur. Seven stone weakling under all that hair, daft as a brush, nothing to worry about. Of course Tara called me a liar by roaring at the other dog.
"Geddown!" I told her but the damage had been done, my new-found friend was already leaving the vicinity.
I watched her go.
"Oh well," said I to the mutt. "That's her convinced you should have a muzzle on then."
Oh yes, nothing quite like a quiet sunday morning, sitting on a park bench.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

We are family

Funny things, families, and let's face it, they come no funnier than mine. Put it this way, if I was to say that my family is dysfunction I could be accused of making the understatement of the year. It's like saying a hurricane is a bit of a wind.
The main trouble with my little lot is that they all have to know everyone else's business. The plain truth is, they can't keep their noses to themselves.
I've got a girlfriend. Now most folk would say, "Fair play, hope it all goes well for you both, we'd like to meet her when you feel the time is right."
Not my mob.
"Right, what's her name?"
"Mind your own business."
"Where is she from?"
"Mind your own business."
"What are you hiding her for?"
"Mind your own business."
At first I did it for privacy and diplomacy, but it has now become entertaining, so I am telling them nothing, it's great fun. Of course this attitude is simply making them worse.
"He is up to no good!"
"I bet she's young enough to be his daughter."
"I bet she's one of them foreigners!"
And so on.
I have spoken to her about them and she is quite right, she will meet them naturally in the normal course of events, no need to rush anything. But you know what families are like, they will go on asking silly questions and I'll go on enjoying refusing to tell anyone anything, it's funny! Mind, families are funny things anyway.

Friday, November 15, 2013

There are two things which should never be given any sort of freedom or influence in a car, a sat-nav and a woman. Both will lead you to the same place, lost. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't be without either, but they can cause problems.
Type in, "Sheffield" say and before you know where you are you are driving down a busy motorway and the sat-nav is saying, "You have reached your destination."
Imagine getting out of the car there and then, setting up the picnic gear and settling down for a watercress sandwich with juggernauts zooming by just feet away. How long before a denizen of the law turns up and says, "Hello, hello, hello. What's going on 'ere then? You can't stop here!."
Try saying, "The sat-nav said I could."
In no time at all you'll find yourself explaining things to a magistrate's court.
So take the advice of a feller who has been mislead by both, sat-nav and a female, gag both, you'll get where you are going much quicker.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

My Little Sister

My little sister thinks that my only purpose on this god forsaken rock we call our home planet is to do things for her. The latest, unreasonable request is, "Can you fix my boots for me?"
She then opened a disreputable carrier bag and produced a pair of knee-high brown boots that looked as though they hadn't been cleaned since Chairman Mao had them on when he led his people on the Long March.
"They just need cleaning!" I pointed out.
"Will you sort them out for me then?" said she, not listening as usual.
I gave up. "Put them down then, I'll see what I can do."
I did them for her last nighty with Cherry Blossom, took all of five minutes, an idiot in a hurry could have done it as a side-task.
She came back this morning.
"Oooo," says she, stamping her nasty little pasties and pulling the zippers up, "They look brand new."
"That," said I. "Is because they are brand new, try cleaning them in future, it's not difficult."
"You do it better than me," said she and sashayed off.
I watched her go, hoping the dog would bite her but as usual even the dog let me down. I don't know why I keep that dog, it never bites the people I recommend, rat-bag. I don't know which is the biggest waste of oxygen, the dog or my little sister.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A happy dog

At least the dog was pleased to see me. Well, I went out for the day yesterday, Monday, just to see a couple of people, the way you do. The trouble with that is visits seem to go on a lot longer than expected. What with cups of tea, sandwiches, somebody unexpected arriving and so dragging out the visit, before we know where we are it's late and time to go home. However, by late at night it's too late if you know what I mean and besides, why go home when there is a warmer fire where we are?
So, I put my feet up and stayed the night, and a very pleasant night it was too. People we haven't seen for a long time have an enormous attraction, a lot of water under the bridge, it all needs talking about, especially when a little drink is involved too. Not a lot, just a taster really.
Then, before we know we are it is the early hours of the morning and it's not worth disturbing the comfortable equilibrium we find ourselves in, so we just stay the night.
Of course the people at home are a bit worried, texts come asking where you are but we are so comfortable we don't even bother to answer them. This in turn just annoys those who care about us and who are wondering where we are.
Well, when we finally get home, in this case about lunch time today we get, "Where have you been? Why didn't you answer your bloody phone?"
We are very off-hand about it all and our reception turns frosty. :)
Still, at least the dog was pleased to see me.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

I Aint Got a Danny

I've got to be honest, especially with this internet stuff, half the time I don't know what I am doing and the rest of the time I haven't got a clue! It's not as though I am particularly dense or something, although Ellen Jane might argue that one, but I simply don't know!
Look, it's okay for those who sort of grew with the internet, blogging, facebook and all the rest of it, but you did it over a lot of years, right from the inception in fact. As each new thing came out you naturally added it to your computer and skills, you grew with it.
Me! Well, I came to it all at once. Until a few short months ago I had never seen the internet. All of the things people take for granted were all brand new to me. So much to learn.
I'll make mistakes, I will press buttons I shouldn't press and say or do things that quite simply, I shouldn't.

Well, if that should be the case, try to remember that I am new to this internet stuff and most of the time I haven't got a clue what I am doing, or as the man said, "I aint got a Danny La Rue!"

Saturday, November 09, 2013

The Black Hole of Manchester

Everybody needs a little time away, I heard her say, from each other. That's probably true too.
This morning my little Blonde went off to Manchester with her friend from work, another nurse. Apparently they go down there from time to time for some sort of convention or other to do with being members of the caring profession, and a great job they do too, for insufficient pay in my opinion. Still, nobody is asking my opinion so forget I mentioned it.
Where was I?
Oh yes, they went to Manchester.
The plan was to stay at a hotel overnight and travel back tomorrow.
Round about tea time she phoned and told me that the hotel was a shit-hole, damp, only one shower between four rooms, black mould in the shower so she was coming back tonight. I shall have to listen to the story of the black hole of Manchester tomorrow I expect. I feel quite sorry for her really, all that way on a coach, not a small sum of dosh expended on a hotel room that turned out to be unfit for rabid dogs and a four hour journey back again. I hope she gets her money back okay.
Still, it will give her something to tell everyone at work all about, and as for me, well, everybody needs a little time away.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Idle moments.

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day, you fritter and waste the hours in an off-hand way. It's a strange thing but when we are waiting for something and looking forward to it, we seem to spend a lot of time doing very little. That's the position I find myself in at the minute, waiting for something.
Actually, I am waiting for several things, some more important than others but probably only to me. Nobody else knows I am waiting really, well, not what I am waiting for.
I suppose it's a bit like Becket's play, "Waiting for Godot," and as we all know, Godot never actually arrives. However, that isn't the case in this instance because I know that Godot will arrive, at least my Godot will.
There is someone I haven't seen for a long time and the only memories I carry of that person are good ones. I wasn't particularly good to them, I admit it, but I am older now, wiser and appreciate the finer things in life more. Well, not so much finer but better. I was going to say simple but that wouldn't earn me any brownie points so I ain't saying that!
Oh yes, I am looking forward to it, just passing away my time as best I can. Tomorrow I better clean my car if the weather is fine, between dogs and horsey people with muddy boots, my car is a disgrace both inside and out. So that will have to be cleaned.
When that is done, I shall continue to idle away my time, ticking away the moments that make up a dull day.


No matter how new, the safest thing in your car, is you.
This morning, just after I had sent a couple of texts to my little blonde, I also sent several rude ones to my little brother, but that's another story. Well, who can blame me, he is an idiot! Having said that, he didn't get run over by an electric milk float when he was a kid, not like an even younger brother did, and it was in reverse! Nitwit. Anyway, I sent him, our Jimmy, a couple of rude texts.
Where was I? Oh yes, this morning.
So, I got the car out and I was at the end of the street ready to turn left. Some idiot comes along with his indicator on to turn left away from me, that makes it safe for me to go and I was just going to do that when the clown turned right, straight across me!
I would have thought that when he was examined for his licence the least they could have done was to check that he knew left from right.  No wonder that people have accidents with Fraggles like him driving cars. Still, he missed me so no harm done, but it's true, the safest device in your car, is you, as Broderick Crawford would have said.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Here's me, sitting minding my own business, bothering nobody but that's not good enough for Tara. She is barking and generally being antisocial. Personally I think she needs some sort of canine counselling, preferably by a vet with vallium on the menu. I mean to say, there is no need for it!
I told her, "Shut up, stupid dog." So she lay down and started to bite my foot.
That was it, I'd had enough of her so I took her out the back and locked her out. Now she is growling at my brother-in-law's car. She better not start biting the tyres because I'm not paying for new ones.
I've got a couple of films to watch, three in fact. I've got the new Wolverine film and two Clint Eastwood cowboy films, seen them both before but a good film is a good film, right?
My brother-in-law is going to a Billy Fury tribute concert tonight at the Sunderland Empire but Ellen Jane can't go with him, she is working.
As for me, I'm going to continue sitting here minding my own business, I wish Tara would do the same.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Days Like These

I've had one of those days today. I am sure everyone has them from time to time. Come to think on it there are probably some people who have them every day. I woke up late, completely rested, relaxed and comfortable, so comfortable in fact that I didn't want to move a muscle, so I didn't!
What happened next was I fell asleep again and didn't wake up until a few minutes to four this afternoon and I still felt comfy, relaxed and rested. So I had a conversation with myself, well, it's the only way to get an interesting chat around here.
Well, I told myself, I am retired, I can have a lazy day if I want one. Nobody is chasing me up for anything, nowhere to go with any urgency, nobody to please or satisfy apart from myself, in fact the only thing I need to do I suppose is take the dog out before bedtime!
She is barking at the back gate at the minute, somebody is messing about with fireworks nearby, she doesn't like them. Last night she was a bit loud as well, bonfire night.
Bonfire Night, November the 5th, Guido Fookes or Guy Fawkes, depends which school you went to.
It's a bit strange to have a national celebration of burning someone to death, it's a bit goulish really.
So, I suppose I better stir my comfortable self, put my clothing on, have a wash and take the dog out before it gets too late. I better have something to eat as well but I can't be bothered. Let's face it, I won't die of the starvation and besides, I've had one of those days today.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

It's Funny the way things turn out.

It's funny the way things turn out. I don't mean funny Ha Ha Ha, just a bit strange. The oddest part is that most things turn out for the better too. The other day I was sitting sorting out my address book, Sunday it was, Sunday evening. Anyway, I came across an address of an old girlfriend of mine, I won't use her name, she may not want me to. Anyway, all I had was the address so on the off-chance I decided to write her a little note including my phone number and see what happened.
I wrote a quick note and posted it on Monday morning, yesterday.
Well, slap my vitals with a rag-man's trumpet if she didn't give me a ring this morning.
I remember her well. She's isn't very tall and slim built, pretty and wears glasses. Now, I expect she has changed a little bit in the twenty seven years since I last saw her but she will still be wearing her glasses, I would gamble on her still being slim and still not very tall, and I bet she is still attractive, she will just be older, that's all. Let's face it, we are all a bit older now.
I expect to see her again soon and I am quite looking forward to it.
Isn't it funny the way things turn out?

Monday, November 04, 2013


All I was trying to do was to compose a decent introductory letter/email to several literary agents hoping that I could find one who will take me on.I admit it, it's doing my head in! So I wrote a decent enough piece and then got my sister's laptop so that I could search out agencies and then type in their address above the letter/email and send it off to them. I mean to say, sending the same letter made sense, I wouldn't have to keep on writing it in full, would I?
However, no matter what I tried it just kept coming up that the addresses were not properly formatted. Yes, of course, I know I am doing something wrong, that's axiomatic where I am concerned, I don't get much right when it comes to these infernal computer machines, but I try.
Well, I finally gave up out of pure frustration and did what I always do when technology defeats me, I asked Andrew. Well, it's doing my head in.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

That's Blackmail!

Well, here's me, sitting here, bothering nobody, tapping away when the door opened and in came Ellen Jane.
"I've got a plan," says she.
"So have I," Said I. "Bugger off."
"No, listen," said she. "I am going shopping but I am only getting the stuff for today's dinner, I'll do a big shop tomorrow."
I said, "What you telling me for?"
She replied, "Because I want you to take me and Alyssa (grand daughter) down to the field later to see the horses."
I said, "Walk, it will do you good."
Her unreasonable response was, "You'll make your own bloody dinner, any more shite out of you!"
I've got to be honest, she does make a great Sunday lunch.
Oh well, there's nothing else for it, I'll have to give her and the Pest a lift, cheap at the price I suppose. It's either give her a lift or starve. I'm sure that I read somewhere once that that is called blackmail.

This Place Is Coming Up A Ghost Town

It was 8.30 this morning when I went down The Green, (Southwick Green, the piss-head's paradise) to post a letter. Oh yes, make no mistake about it, I am still old-fashioned enough to write letters. So off I toddled and when I got there I was struck by the fact that there was no traffic, no shops open and the only movement to be seen was one feller walking away from me and a dog sniffing something. Oh!, and several pigeons scratching about. There is more action on a police station blanket.
Having said all that, it is Sunday and as stated earlier, the shops were not open. Well, the corner shop was, I won't call it 'The Paki's' because that might cause offence.
So, as I wandered unmolested across the normally busy road, the wind letting me know it was there, blowing strongly, it occurred to me that it may liven up after ten when Iceland and B&M's opens along with the rest of the shops.
I perambulated along The Green to the post box at the far end, deposited my missive and wandered back. A woman came round the corner from Shakespeare street and smiled at me. It was a good job she didn't get a good look, she'd have pissed herself laughing.
The only cars parked in our street, usually lined both sides, were a couple of the neighbour's cars and mine. It's like the old song by The Specials, Ghost Town. Well, this place is coming up a ghost town.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Ellen Jane says that she will go to the chinkies at half nine and get some supper for us. That'll be nice, I've had nothing all day apart from a sandwich when I got up just after two this afternoon. Mind, some unkind people will say, "You don't deserve anything, lying in your pit until that time of day!" However, what I didn't tell you was that the supper is going to cost me yet another tenner. I don't even have to give her my account number anymore, she knows it! She will go down my bank on the Green, get the money and bring supper in, THEN she will say that she got the supper for us. The dog will get half of mine, she always does! I eat a chip, she gets one. No the wonder I look anorexic, the dog gets half of my feed and then has the front to be depressed!
I'm depressed!
I've got a good right to be!
Here's me, sitting here, tapping away like a demented woodpecker and it's costing me money!
Still, look on the bright side, Ellen Jane says she will get some supper for me.
It's Saturday the 2nd of November and for some reason I simply haven't been able to get started today. Didn't wake up until after two this afternoon and even then I didn't want to get out of bed, so I didn't. Watched a bit of telly while I was waiting for the football, I like to see how Sunderland, Newcastle United, Hartlepool and the Boro get on. I want Sunderland to win, I want Newcastle to win, I want the Pool to win and I want the Boro to get shagged very severely, it's traditional, not to mention tribal.
Tara is alright today, she's back to her normal self so she must have been tired. In fact, she is asleep now, oh it's a dog's life alright. All she has to do is bark now and then and that's it. My sister Ellen Jane has just mugged me for a tenner to buy herself a night sitting watching the telly, having a drink. Good luck to her, wait till I tell her I want it back.
Years ago in about 1984 her little son Joseph wanted an ice cream. We were all sitting in my mother's home at the time. I gave Ellen Jane a quid to buy him an ice cream and I am still waiting for my change. I asked her about it the other day, she is still sniggering. One of these days I'll stop her taking the piss, if I can be bothered.
Sunderland lost and had two men sent off, Newcastle beat Chelsea 2-0, Hartlepool won and the Boro got stuffed again, not bad really, just another normal Saturday, this one is Saturday the 2nd of November.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Still Depressed Part II

I even went so far as to let her destroy the newspaper, that always cheers her up. Mind, nobody reads the Sunderland Echo unless they are in dire need of Psychiatric Counselling and the sanctuary of a secure institution. Didn't help at all. Having said all that, she may just be tired. Maybe I will find a way to treat her, I'll kidnap the local tea-leaf and let her chew his arse for ten minutes, that should cheer her up a good deal.
I would get her a boyfriend, but she's had the snip. I wonder if that's the problem? It would certainly depress me.
I asked her. "What's wrong with you? Mutt!"
She didn't answer, just shoved her head harder into me while I tried to rip her ears off. She's a strange one indeed.
"I'll take her to the beach tomorrow, the Mackem Riviera, she likes going in the water. The only trouble with that is she wants to get back in the car, soaking wet. I've tried giving her the bus fare and telling her to get the bus but she just gives me a dirty look and gets in the car.
Oh well, the fact remains, my dog is STILL depressed, or maybe she's just tired.

Still Depressed

This is Tara, the baldy one is me.
Here she is, still depressed. I gave her a nice cuddle, told her that she was being silly and even took her out so she could bark and terrorise the local population. I let her sit in the front seat and even went so far as to put the stereo on for her, but she is still depressed. Either that or she might just be tired, you never know.
Tara, my German Shepherd, is depressed. I think she thinks nobody loves her anymore because the other day I went out without her, in fact I have been leaving her in quite a lot lately. I usually take her everywhere with me, she likes to jump in the back of the car, in fact she will get in the boot if you don't keep an eye on her. Anyway, she is depressed. She has taken to shoving herself into me and she is a big strong dog, she pushes me about.
So, later on today, when I go over to Boldon to see my horse, I will take Tara with me. She doesn't get out of the car, the horse, also called Tara, doesn't like her. Incidentally, don't blame me for horse and dog having the same name, blame my sister Ellen Jane, her of zero imagination and lousy navigational skills, she named them.
I shall take Tara with me and she will sleep in the back of the car while I am messing about with the horse and then I shall take her for a nice long walk, as long as it doesn't piss down. If it rains, and so far it doesn't seem likely, she can stay in the car and terrorise passers by. Can you get anti-depressants for dogs? My dog Tara is depressed.

Susan May Died

This morning as I was standing on Southwick Green waiting to cross the road, I had a text from Andrew to tell me that Susan May had died. Susan, for those who do not know was sent to prison for a crime she clearly didn't commit, and after her release she continued to protest her innocence and tried to get her original conviction overturned, but failed. The system does not like to admit when they have got something wrong, and they got it wrong in Susan's case. She was from Oldham and over the years, because of our cases and our similar circumstances we became great friends. The only reason Susan was ever convicted was because it was easy to convict her, the truth had nothing to do with it. In fact, the truth has little to do with any criminal case, all that matters is who tells the best and most convincing story in front of the jury. The police know this, the career criminals like myself know this, the legal profession knows this, the judiciary know this, even the fucking court house cat knows this. Will it ever change? No, is the simple answer, not while we have the current adversarial system. We need to lean more toward the inquisitorial system, much like that of the French where courts actively seek the truth and not just accept any old bollocks being put forward provided it is slightly believable. It was easy to convict Sue, she was an easy target. Come to that, it was easy to convict me because of the fact that I was a career criminal. I shall continue to protest my innocence as Sue did, bless her. But the sad fact is, Susan May died.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Is there anybody out there?
This is a question I often ask myself for no other reason other than the fact that I am curious.
As I sit here in my room at my computer desk with Creedence Clearwater Revival playing away and the telly firmly off, I have these thoughts. I can't see anyone, can't hear anyone and don't particularly want to. Much like when I was in jail really apart from I am in much nicer surroundings, can go anywhere I want with no return time, car sitting outside, glass near at hand, but...and as everyone knows, there is always a but with me; But, but how do I know? Someone once said, "It is the same for everyone when you are alone at night in an empty room," and it's true. Even if I was in jail right now it would make no real difference I don't think.
All around me in the houses and cottages there are a thousand stories, every one worth hearing probably, exactly the same as in jail. There will be happy folk, miserable folk, worried, careless, drunk, dreamers, depressed, you name it. Who knows what is going through the heads around me, all in private too.
So I ask myself yet again, is there anybody out there?

Just like John Steinbeck

So, there I was, doing my impressions of John Steinbeck, minding my own business, typing away industriously like a proper little scribe. Everything was cosy, just the bedside light on apart from my screen. I had music playing softly in the background and my dog was asleep on my feet under the desk.
Let me tell you about my dog, Tara. She is a German Shepherd and is only about two sizes down from a grizzly bear with teeth to match. She's no bother apart from being very strong with a penchant to shove her head into me and push me around when she wants me to scratch her ears. She thinks the car is her own personal transport and likes to sit in the driver seat with her head out of the window, terrorising any passing trade.
So, there I was, sitting typing as stated earlier, a glass of whiskey sitting at my elbow for inspiration when required. I am busy re-writing Pretty Boy Three. (PB One won Gold at the Koestlers, PB Two won Platinum) and it is coming along very well. As usual I have taken a true situation and twisted it to suit myself and make a decent story out of it. Anyway, I reached a sort of natural pause and sat back to look at what I had done, the sitting back included easing my feet. WHAM! I must have scared Tara temporarily because she bit my foot. It's true, let sleeping dogs lie, they bite your feet otherwise. She didn't break the skin so she wasn't trying too hard, nearly ripped my thumb off a couple of weeks back but that's another story.
"Hey!" said I, less than delighted, but her ears were down so she knew she had done wrong. I gave her a good scratching and she settled down again. I'll have to be a bit more careful when I am doing my John Steinbeck impressions, that's all.

Yet another movie

In the last three days I have been asked variations on the same question by five different people. It's getting like an old movie being eternally repeated on the telly.
The question I have been asked is this, "Freddie," (or "Frankie," - it depends on which part of my past the questioner comes from) "why have you stopped doing your blog thing? I liked reading it, it sometimes made me laugh."
Fair enough, good question.
The answer is quite simple - I don't have the ability to put it onto the internet on my own. I can't even work that Facebook thing! It's too complicated for a fountain pen person like me - I'm an old codger now you know! And I can't expect Andrew or anyone else to do it for me. Anyway, I am trying to do everything by myself these days and I am not doing too badly at it. I just can't get to proper grips with this computer thing, not really - but I am trying. Oh I can do my desktop publisher stuff and emails, (or in my case, Gmails) but that's more or less where my abilities come up against a road block.
Besides, I don't seem to have anything interesting to say these days - heard it all before. In fact things are getting just like that old movie mentioned earlier, seen it that many times we not only know the story line backwards, we are even beginning to learn the words too.
However, let me impart a bit of utterly uninteresting news - Kindle Direct Publishing are going to take me off their list on December 31st because I am required to fill in a tax form for the American IRS and I don't know how to do it.
Bugger it! I will just make myself another cup of tea, sit back and watch yet another movie on the telly.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


Well, would you believe it? Once again Young Lochinvar has come out of the west to give valuable assistance. I better explain that.
As regular readers of my periodical drivel will be well aware, I haven't written much on this site of recent times. There is a reason for that, mainly because I didn't know how to do it. Well, I'm not as computer literate as some people may think I am. What I used to do in the past was write whatever I had to say and send it off to Andrew and HE put it into the ether, if that's the way to put it. However, recently I have been trying my best to do things myself and not rely or depend on other people. Some things had to fall by the wayside and this blogger thing was one of them.
Then, as usual with me, Fate took a hand.
In the last three days five different people have asked me why I am no longer writing my weekly trash column, they said they liked reading it because sometimes it was almost amusing. I felt the urge to inform Andrew of this in my usual long-winded way and he sent me an Email with 8 easy steps, an idiots guide to blogging, so to speak. I've been trying all day and finally I think I have got it right!
Hooray! Three cheers for personal incompetent perserverance!
In fact, if you are reading this then clearly I have managed to beat my personal dragon, I have cracked it, as they say.
So, here we go. If this works then expect to read a lot more drivel from yours truly.
I wonder if I can persuade Andrew to post the thing I sent him this morning, or was it yesterday?

Monday, August 05, 2013

Nothing is simple

Why is it that nothing ever works the way we expect it or want it to? Perhaps I should explain that.
Andrew had a great idea which he passed on to me - put your books onto Kindle, get readers that way, there is gold in them thar pages.

Great plan, how do I do that? I ask.

Andrew told me and I went straight to Joe, my brother-in-law.

"Does this make sense to you?" I asked.

"Nee bother," says he in a Mackem accent as he duly did what was needed to be done.

Don't ask, I have no idea, but he had to convert text into something or other - Mandarin Chinese for all I know. The point is, he did it and now the first book is there, ready for anyone to download at a peppercorn price - and a lot of folk have done just that. In fact, I am given to understand that it's actually being discussed or mentioned on Facebook. I don't go on there myself so I got that second-hand.

"Right then," said Joseph. "Time to get the next one ready so we can put it on Kindle in a couple of months' time."

Well, I have a total of thirty-two novels, or similar, ready to convert into cash. Five of them (I think it is five) are award winners so that's okay - promising - and the more I put on there, the more folk will read them if they like my style of writing.

Joe had the next offering, a Pretty Boy Floyd story all converted from hard copy onto a memory stick.

"Right," said he, "all you have to do now is edit it all and that will be that."

Can't do it of course. Apparently the thing we have got is simply a document file and the computer will not let me edit it at all. Joe has tried to download several programmes to allow editing - none of them have worked.

So, the big question today is, "How do I edit a file that is (according to Joe) in PDF (whatever that is) into something I can edit on the computer?

We all went to York on Saturday gone. About forty-five of us piled onto a bus at a tenner a head, many carrying booze to sustain them on the road to a pub-crawl around York. Well, it WAS after nine in the morning - people need a drink by then. I was sitting next to my sister Ellen Jane, Skippy, or, as she is known to the FBI, "Pwhoaarrr, keep her away from us!"

We all duly arrived at York and everyone scattered, seeking pubs. When we got back on the bus at half nine that night there were many cheerful characters and the drive back was spent with those at the front singing Beatles songs while those at the back sang football songs and everybody poured beer down their throats. Not me of course, I'm training to be a saint.

Got back home at about half eleven and went straight into the pub for a drink. I went home at about two in the morning - my sister had gone hours earlier. And that was the tale of the trip to York.

So, all I need now is some idea of how to convert the text from PDF to something I can edit - and find out how to stop my sister from sitting next to me on our next booze run.

The Voice In The Wilderness

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Travelling light

So there I was, yesterday, and my little sister Ellen Jane, she of the horses and dogs, wanted to travel to Burnley to see our family who live there - Kenny, Jean and various neices, nephews etcetera.

"But you are working Sunday night!" said I.

"We can drive down on Friday night," said she, "have a good night out on Saturday and you can drive back Sunday morning while I have a kip in the back!"

"Oh," said our hero, "so no drinking for me because I'm driving, is that the plan?"

"Spot on," says she.

"Well," said I, "you can cough up half of the petrol money then."

"Tight bastard," said she unkindly.

So, last night at about ten-thirty or so we set off, her doing my head in and me resisting the urge to chuck her out of the car.

All went well, very light traffic, until we got to Scotch Corner where I pulled in for the loo.

"Go to the loo," said I.

"Sod off!" was her response. "These places cost a fortune."

"It's free!" I cried, but she wouldn't have it.

"No," says she. "We will wait until we are on a country road and you can pull over while I go behind a bush."

So, following the directions of the sat-nav faithfully, I duly turned into a layby on the A59 just outside of Ripon......and got stuck. We were well and truly kaput.

"Idiot!" she cried.

I phoned our Ken. "Come and get us."

"Can't until the morning," said he.

All night, stuck there in the dark with her, Ellen Jane, all wrapped up and sleeping like a baby while wearing MY socks for her poor cold-arse feet. I sat there, freezing and slowly changing my mind about euthanasia - not for me, for her. All sodding night, shivering like a dog crapping a bone - no fun at all.

Kenny turned up at half-seven and duly dragged us out of the field we were stuck in, sniggering all the way - and he has been telling the family about it ever since. I may never live it down.

So, two things you should know for peace of mind:

  1. Take no notice of sat-nav instruments, they were configured by idiots.
  2. Don't take Ellen Jane with you.
The Voice In The Wilderness

Monday, July 22, 2013

Stranger than fiction

Strange things are happening these days.

When I say "strange" things, I don't mean anything bad or problematic, just that I seem to be moving into a strange world recently - the world of computer literature, Amazon and Kindle accounts, all of which is a bit strange to me.

It would appear that all of the years I spent writing, a lot of it drivel I must admit, but with a grand total of thirty-two novels, it wasn't wasted effort. Once written, and, in the writing, winning five awards with the five entries I made into competitions, the next step would logically be to start on the publishing trail. So that is the current plan with a little help from family and friends.

Incidentally the awards won were all Koestler Awards and they were The David Astor Award, The Galberg Award, two Gold Awards and a Platinum Award. So, it is fair and honest to describe myself as an award-winning author, is it not?

Then, through the kind patronage of a great friend of mine, I discover that I can actually put my stuff onto Kindle and folk will pay to download it to read - so that is the plan.

First, I need to have stuff in a format that lends itself to on-line publishing and we have no idea (yet) what that format may be. However, I know someone who does and when he turns up later this evening that is what we will be doing, putting something onto Kindle.

The novel I intend to begin with is "FREDDIE", the story of a young fellow and his upbringing in the roughest area of Sunderland - The Barbary Coast.

Let me tell you how it all started.

Originally I just wanted to write a sort of dedication to an area long since changed out of all recognition, so I wrote a letter to the Sunderland Echo asking that anyone who lived in the Barbary Coast and who had a story to tell should write to me. I got lots of response and the story more or less wrote itself. The oddest part is that the story, pure fiction I might add, has been named as the best account of life on the Barbary that has ever been produced. One fellow from Monkwearmouth has read it and swears he remembers some of the action in the book. He can't have - I made it all up. But the description of the area is so perfect that it seems to be true. And that, my friends, is the way to do it. The line between fact and fiction is so blurred that it cannot be seen.

As I said, things have been a bit strange lately.

The Voice In  The Wilderness

Monday, July 15, 2013

Gremlins and suicidal mackerel

Anyone who would normally expect to read drivel from me at least once a week may well be wondering where I have been - or there again, probably not. I mean to say, I would have to think an awful lot of myself to think anyone gave a fiddler's fart whether I wrote or not...or, as the Irish would say, "I'd have to be up myself." Well, I hope I am not.

Having said that, there is a good reason why I have been incommunicado for several weeks - it's computer problems again. There are, I am sure, some folk who will remember how self-satisfied I was when I finally managed to get somewhere with one of these things without Andrew breathing advice into my shell-like. My brother had all the equipment needed to ensure my success with the infernal thing and I was quite complacent. Three desktops, three laptops, printers, scanners - the works. Everything should have gone swimmingly, but once again that fickle ould whore Lady Luck decided to take a hand. My brother also has a teenage son who is about as responsible as a snowflake for an avalanche. The lad, bless him, had been on every computer downloading all manner of rubbish until the computers weren't just running slowly, they were barely functioning. So, everything had to be completely cleaned off and all rebooted. (Incidentally, I have no real idea what I just wrote, I merely repeat what I am told.) Anyhoo, that all took a week or so and when they all came back it was only to discover that there was a massive problem with internet connections because of my brother's Wi-Fi connection, incompatible with that of whoever had rebooted our computers. So, it all had to be done again, so I asked him to reboot mine with Windows Seven, which he has - Windows XP has been consigned to perdition now.

What does it all mean?

It means that I am back online again at last, hooray for technology - give me a fountain pen anytime. While all that was going on I have not been idle, I have been slowly rejoining the world of family.

Last week we went fishing a couple of miles outside of the piers here on the Mackem Riviera and I caught five mackerel, not bad for a learner. The fact that mackerel practically commit suicide by catching themselves is neither here nor there. We only came back in because my brother-in-law got sick!

On Friday, after I had seen the probation, we went horse riding - brilliant!

I shall be doing both at regular intervals.

Hopefully the gremlins have now gone from our system.

The Voice In The Wilderness

Monday, June 10, 2013

My first kids' party!

Yesterday I did something I have never done before - I went to a kids' party. You know the sort of thing - a dozen or more five year old girls, yelling and running everywhere, jumping on bouncy castles and eating rubbish. I had expected tears somewhere along the line but the only appearance that Miss Tantrum made was at the end when they all had to leave - one didn't want to go!

I don't know what anyone else thought, but in my humble opinion these shindigs should employ at least a couple of bouncers - keep the little monsters under control. And that's just the mothers.

I particularly liked the part where they all sang "Happy birthday" because they all started yelling for three cheers. On and on they went - and they even continued the cheering when they all went back to jumping, running and yelling.

As I said, I have never done it before but there is a first time for everything, so I am told.

The Voice In  The Wilderness

Monday, May 27, 2013

Bleak House is history

Well, Bleak House is history. On Thursday 23rd May I had a meeting with the probation folk there and the only thing I really wanted to know was, "Can I go home for good?"

"Well," said my prob-off, "we have had word from Northumbria probation and they have no objections to you going up there for good, and your brother's residence has been approved. Officers have visited and they have no objections whatever..."

Or words to that effect. They also said that officer plod had been too and they had neither objections nor issues, which is nice to know - it's the first time a flatfoot ever said that about me. Come to think about it, I don't recall a rozzer ever saying anything about me that wasn't negative, so it just goes to show. I'm not sure what it goes to show - I'll have to ask a policeman.

Anyway, when they told me I could go home I asked, "When?"

"Tomorrow," said they.

"Tomorrow!" cried our hero. "What's wrong with today?"

"Well," was the reply, "it will give you twenty-four hours to organise things."

"Do you want to see me organise things?" I asked and, taking out my mobile, I phoned Paul - he who shaves his legs and bum. (We worry about him.) "Paul," said I, "Come and get me as soon as you can."

"Right," said he.

That was about nine-thirty in the morning. I was home in no time.

So here I am, back home and, as far as I am concerned, Bleak House is history.

The Voice In The Wilderness

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The waiting game - again

Well once again I am waiting. This time it is the last wait because I am waiting for them to tell me that I can go home at last and live independently, just seeing the probation once a week up in Sunderland. I am going to live with my brother and his family because they want me to. Well, there are several who want me to do that but I think Robert is the best bet. There are two seafront flats I could take over if I so decided and a couple of bungalows - well, one bungalow and one cottage. Incidentally, what's the difference?

The Sunderland probation are going to visit our Robert on Tuesday afternoon. The fact that officer plod has already been to check the place seems to bear no weight, the probation has to do it too. Don't ask me why.

So, the prob will call on Tuesday and then phone down here to their partners in crime and tell them I can go, or words to that effect. Once that happens I expect I will be told to phone for a car to come and get me, no problem. It will take them three hours to get here and three hours back, that will be that, this place gone out of my ken forever. Can't come soon enough for me. The next Voice I write will be written in the colder climate of the distant North East, where men are men and sheep are nervous.

Oh well, just the final steps to take, that's all - so watch this space. Until then I shall continue to do what I've been doing for over twenty-seven years - waiting.

The Voice In The Wilderness

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A family weekend

It is the females who cause all the trouble you know! I went up to Sunderland again on Friday and no sooner had I got myself settled at Robert's when my sister Ellen arrived.

"Hello, Big Head," says she, punching me in the chest.

"What do you want?" I asked in my best academic manner.

She sniggered.

Anyway, wandered round to my brother Jimmy's for a little chat with him and of course he produces cans of liquid.

"I don't want a drink," said I.

"I'll have one," says Ellen, grabbing a pack of four.

Within an hour I've got several brothers present, a couple of nephews with their wives or girlfriends, a niece or two arrived with their fellows and of course the two women who should never be allowed in the same town together - my sisters. Well it didn't take long before the bottles were being purchased at the off-licence and people were quaffing brandy or whisky - sometimes both.

Have you noticed that when families have these little parties there seems to be a lot of laughing and buggering about, a lot of cars get left in odd places and the music gets louder until somebody (me) turns it off altogether. Then the women decide it's time to have a bit of a sing while all the men want is a bit of a bite to eat. Still going at four in the morning but at least there were no neighbours to upset.

On Saturday we went to an Italian place on the sea-front, ten of us, and I asked who was paying. Our Ellen sniggered and Tanya said, "Guess." We had a couple of the kids with us too. It was great fun especially when little Blake and Abby discovered that there were jars of lollipops on the counter for kids. I don't think they are there now.

Sunday was spent relaxing and upsetting people by refusing to go for my Sunday lunch. Let's face it, you only need one and I was having mine at Jo's, with Kevin - a lovely Sunday lunch.

Coming back we had four of us in the car - Paul driving, Robert in the passenger seat with me and Kevin in the back.
The Voice In The Wilderness

Monday, May 06, 2013

This internet thing...

Last night I was playing with my computer.

See the casual way I just throw that one in? Well, until a couple of weeks ago, this internet thing was a complete mystery to me. It's not much better now, but at least I can manage a couple of things and THAT'S progress.

Where was I? Oh yes.

So I was playing with the computer and somehow I got this thing, page, about people on their own on a Saturday night - so I had a look at it. It's full of, shall we call them, mature folk? Right - full of them - and I was on there for ages checking out the talent. Maybe it is just me, but a lot of those older ladies have got a lot to offer the world.

However, this got me to thinking about the concept of loneliness and, while my own company is generally preferable to that of others, even a rock needs a river bed to rest in from time to time. No man is an island, no matter what Simon and Garfunkle said. So, I am going to...shall we say, expand my social life? That's the polite way to say it, but what it really means is that I am thinking about putting it about a bit.

Ha! I know what my friend Blondie will say when she reads this, she will be straight on the emails giving me sniggers and stuff. Some people take the mick a bit... not me, of course, I wouldn't dream of it - I'm training to be a saint. The next vacancy that comes up at the Vatican I am applying for the job. I would have applied this time but I was bust trying to work out how to use this computer.

The Voice In The Wilderness

Friday, May 03, 2013

With a little help from my friends

Well it's been a funny ould day to say the least. It started at half-past nine this morning when I had to see my "key-worker" - which is their euphemism for the "in-house" probation officer. Well, there wasn't much to be said by either of us, to be quite frank. (Ha! Ha! That's a cracker. I'll have to remember that one - to be quite Frank. I just come out with them you know. Where was I? I've been wandering again. Oh yes - the meeting with the key-worker here at Bleak House.)

So...not much to be said by either side really. Let's face it, I don't want to be here and the sooner I can leave, the better. They don't want me here (I shouldn't wonder) because quite frankly I don't fit in really. I am not the usual sort of punter they get here and, compared to the rest, I am a bit of a misfit I suppose. Well, I don't take drugs, nor do I drink or argue and whinge about my medication or somebody drinking more milk than me.

So, we had our little chat and as far as I could see the only thing to come out of it was that I owed over a hundred quid in rent and could I cough up before they sent the bailiffs around. So I did. I went down town and got the cash from the hole in the wall gang and brought it back and paid up like a good boy.

So, that was my first meeting of the day over and I left it a poorer but very little wiser man. The story of my life really. However, when I was down town I did have the foresight to purchase myself a cheese'n'onion pie for my lunch at the princely sum of two quid - money well spent if you were to ask me. Went down a treat that did, once I had microwaved it.

After that I set off for a walk to assist the digestive processes and wandered down to the probation offices in a street which must remain secret in case the Russians or somebody finds out where it is. However, anyone who wants to know can go to www.kissmyarse.com and it's all there. (See! This computer business is distorting my mind. I may need counselling by the time I am finished.) Well, I met the Prob-Off mentioned earlier - the "out-house" one as opposed to the "in-house" one who took my dosh. I can't remember the conversation verbatim, only policemen can do that, but ,to paraphrase, it went along the lines of:

"Where do you want to live?" 
"Sunderland," said I. "It's far enough from my old haunts and friends really." 
"Jolly good," said she, clearly another one who would like to get rid of me. "Let's have the details of where you will be residing and all that kind of thing."

Gave her them - address, postcode, colour of door and where to find it on Google Maps, who the place belonged to - all that sort of thing. Apparently she will check with Officer Plod and the Sunderland probation service as to background or something. Provided nothing goes wrong I could well be transferred up to the North East in a relatively short period of time. I am off up there next Friday anyway for another weekend - staying with my brother again so that's okay. I shall come back to this nameless city and Bleak House on the following Monday, clutching in my little hot mitt a selection of photographs of the interior of the cottage I intend to live in until I find a place of my own that I like. Well, they need to see it to assure themselves that I am moving to an acceptable dwelling and not to some garret where I will be living on bread and cheese. Any more rent bills like today's and I won't be able to AFFORD bread and cheese - I'll only get that on my birthdays, and only then if somebody gives it to me.

I can't speak for anybody else here, but what I need is a holiday. I don't mean a few days in the bosom of my family, as pleasant as that may be.... No, I mean a decent break away somewhere exotic, like Scarborough. Speaking of Scarborough, a friend is travelling down with his family shortly for a few days in Skegness, so I expect he will show up to take me out for some of that bread and cheese mentioned earlier. Can't use his name - he has a wife and twelve pigeons to think about.

So, here I am, sitting in my singular abode, battering the keyboard mercilessly. In fact, looking at it, I'm not - I have finished. Watch this space, I may be moving on pretty soon - with a little help from my friends.

The Voice In The Wilderness

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A mini holiday

On Friday last I caught a train to go back up to the North East for the first time in over twenty-seven years. (That's not quite true because I've been up there several times, if we count the number of times I was transfered to Frankland jail only to be thrown out again. Mind, to be fair, I earned the evictions usually and I've been thrown out of better places than that several times.) I'll say this for the trains these days - they are easy to travel on. It's all spelled out on the arrivals and departures boards on the stations AND they give out information ON the trains.

Caught the train from Lincoln and changed once for Newcastle. Bit strange crossing the bridge over the Tyne. I thought I would feel a certain amount of fascination or nostalgia seeing it all again, but I can't say I was over excited about it. It was interesting, that's all. When we arrived at Newcastle Central I went down into the Metro, lugging my bags behind me, and caught the said Metro into Sunderland but got off just prior to the town centre at a place called The Stadium of Light. It's a new station built where the old Newcastle Road Baths used to be, more or less. My brother Robert was waiting for me with Little Abby, his daughter. She is six and had refused to go to school - she wanted to meet me coming off the train instead.

Shortly after we arrived at Robert's home, a reporter called Ruth arrived with her photographer, Ian. We had a chat, had a few pictures taken, then we all went to Roker Park where we had a few more pictures taken - and one was a cracker of me walking along with Little Abby. That was that - press dealt with, nobody upset, everyone happy.

That evening, it being my brother's birthday, we all retired to a watering hole for a quiet birthday meal for Robert - but of course it didn't stay that way because several family members turned up. I had a couple of jars of Guinness - I should get paid for advertising Guinness, I always seem to be doing it these days - and of course one of my sisters had a dozen too many (the least said the better really, but it was funny).

Saturday was spent getting round a few of the family and a bit of shopping in the town. Now THAT'S changed. None of the roads are where I remember them being. I think the council has deliberately gone out of its way just to confuse me - rat bags! They have completely flattened the centre and rebuilt it. Put it this way - the Germans needn't have bothered bombing the place during the war, the council has done the job for them.

At tea time I made a nice curry. That's right, me, I did it. Nearly all by myself too, apart from I can't do rice, that was done by the boss. No more drink for me of course, I don't care for it much and I only had what I had the night before because it was Robert's birthday. Made a fantastic discovery on Saturday evening - Little Abby's dog, Ruby, is a magnet for females. Say no more squire!

Sunday I did as much as I could, getting round as many people as I could before I got the train back. But, as much as the train was comfortable and easy, I won't be using it again. It seems that from now on all I have to do when I want to go anywhere is ring home and a vehicle will be despatched immediately, driven by the boy racer himself.

Well, I got back to Lincoln and Bleak House in good time and of course it was raining when I did. Typical! All weekend with nice, sunny weather - come back to Lincoln to get pissed on. Lying in bed on Sunday night, reflecting on my mini holiday, I realised that I want to do it again soon. I quite enjoyed it - seeing the family. Well, there are a lot of them - and like any other family, we have our problems. We are as dysfunctional as the best of them, but they are my family and it's great to see them. Remember that old saying, "You can pick your friends but you get family thrust on you." Well, I don't mind my family - because they are mine.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A weekend away

Here is the news. I was informed this morning, Thursday 25th April, that it has been cleared for me to go up to Sunderland for the weekend. Travel up tomorrow morning and back on Sunday afternoon. It means that I will either have to do without my Sunday lunch or have it early. It would have made more sense, of course, to let me have another night and travel back on Monday - it's not as though I have anything to hurry back for, me being bone idle and retired to boot.

So, it's me for the train in the morning. I shall take a book to see me through the three-and-a-half-hour journey, but coming back I shall be in possession of my new laptop so I will be able to play on t'internet.

I was looking at my emails this morning, not that there were any, and left the machine on while I made a cup of tea. Imagine my surprise when I came back to find the screen full of messages from dating sites for the more mature punters. Of course, it's nothing more than a scam to get us to cough up our shekels on the off-chance we are silly enough to, but some were almost interesting. I don't beleive any of it, really, and the pictures will be phony.

Anyway, the clan is gathering tomorrow and we will be in a function room or somewhere like that - eating, drinking and being merry, I shouldn't wonder. My brother Jimmy tells me he has bottles of Scotch tucked away. Ha! He likes a jar, so I don't actually see there being much left by the time I get my grubby little mitts on the bottles. Not that I care - I'm going up to see the clan, not to get legless, although there is a danger that getting legless could be a side-effect. I'm not a drinker really - a couple of jars of Guinness and I've had enough - but I DO like my feed. So, while they are keeping the distilleries in work, I'll just be filling my face I expect.

Jimmy and Robert say they are meeting me from the train so that will save me having to carry my own bag. Told you - I'm bone idle really.

Monday, April 22, 2013

A letter from Bleak House

Once again I astonish myself with my ignorance. Does that need explaining? Not to those who know me. In fact, according to my little sister, I am as thick as a “bull's lug” - which also needs explaining (being Sunderland folk, or Mackems, we have our own language and accent):
Lug: An appendage found on the side of the head, normally called an ear.
So, to get back to what I was saying. My ignorance is boundless - ask anyone. I've got this desktop computer along with the bits that go with it, including a printer and a web-cam. All clear so far? Excellent.

My guru was here on Saturday and got the printer to work with alchemy, leaving me completely ignorant as to how it all works. We've got a dongle....now here's something I have to comment on, dongle. What's a sodding dongle? Why couldn't they use a word with a bit more gravitas? Dongle! It sounds almost suggestive.

“Pssst, pssst...want to see my dongle?”
I know exactly what the creator of dongles was thinking...”Let's use a word that nobody will want to go into W.H.Smith's and say above a whisper.”

Anyway, I've got this dongle which connects me to the internet, albeit not very quickly. Well, we got it all working and I was left to my own devices with the words, “You can mess about with Skype and work it out.”

Skype! Another dodgy word. Apparently it is a system which allows people to use a web-cam and speak face to face (on screen) with whoever it is they are talking to on the telefunken. Of course everyone knows or knew this apart from me, the fountain of all ignorance. Anyhoo, I did just that and yesterday I managed to get my sister and brother-in-law on the screen. Unfortunately they couldn't see me - and some unkind folk might say that's a blessing in disguise but let's not go into that. It seems that there must be something lacking about my web-cam but I am assured that when I get (and use) my new laptop later this week, that matter will be corrected because the laptop has a built-in cam - problem solved so I am informed. Time will tell of course. I can only live in hope.

This morning I had what "they" call a 3-way meeting between probation people and yours truly. I brought up the subject of lifting my curfew because I have to be indoors by seven in the evening. I have no idea why. It makes no sense to me, considering those they allow to run about until eleven at night. It means I can't go for a bit of supper or anything else. So they are looking into it and will get back to me, so they say.

I then brought up the matter of allowing me to go up to Sunderland on the weekend because it is my brother's fiftieth and a lot of the family will be coming from far and wide. I am the head of the family and there are a lot I haven't seen for about thirty years. There are youngsters in our family and those who even have their own little families who weren't born when I went to jail in 1986. I want to meet all of them if I can. Once again the response was, we will look into it and get back to you.

In prison that is something which causes despair - “I'll get back to you.” It is part of governor-grade training apparently. Their final training session includes practicing the following sentence;

“Leave it with me...I'll look into it and get back to you.”
When they can say that with complete sincerity then they are qualified to be promoted to governor-grade. All I can say is that I hope it hasn't spread to the outside probation service here in the secret city where Bleak House is located.
The Voice In The Wilderness

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A dog's life

Where shall we begin?

One evening there were two fleas leaving the cinema and the first flea said to the other, “Should we walk home or should we catch a dog?”

The other day I was walking along the waterfront here in this nameless cathedral city (which has a loose-ish connection to Robin Hood in that he apparently wore clothing of a certain green hue, if legend is to be believed - hope I haven't given anything away there), perambulating along in a northerly direction and, just as I passed the Royal William - a hostelry where I have been known to quench my thirst and fortify the inner man with good pub grub - I had cause to walk under the bridge there. Sitting on the ground and surrounded by what I presume were his goods and chattels (including a little dog) sat a fellow who was clearly one of society's forgotten heroes. He was a paraffin - a tramp, homeless. I'm not knocking him - let's face it, I am only one step up from becoming a "Gentleman of the Road" myself.

He was clearly tall, grizzled and probably as old as me, if not older. Skin the colour of a stained teapot with long grey hair and straggly beard, both tied up in a ponytail. It's a bit strange to see a fellow with a beard in a ponytail, but there we have it. Maybe he had found a couple of elastic bands somewhere and felt it would be a shame not to use them, who knows? The point is, he had a beard in a pony tail.

He watched me pass and, as I did so, carrying three chicken slices which I had bought for a quid in the market, I dropped them into his lap but said nothing. Neither did he come to that. As I walked on, it occurred to me that the dog would get one of them. Oh well, even mutts need to live. The odd part is that despite the fact that I have a warm place to live and sleep, clean bedding, regular feed and washing facilities - all that manner of thing - it occurred to me that the nomad had something I don't have, several things in fact. He can come and go as he pleases, something I can't do, and he had a dog.

I like dogs, always have. A fellow isn't complete without a companion. Most fellows have a wife at my age but I don't want one of those. I tried marriage once - didn't like it and it won't happen again. Thankfully I am too old for that now anyway. I much prefer my own company these days, although a person to chat to from time to time always helps. I would prefer a dog.

Well, dogs are loyal and affectionate and demand nothing from us. We can talk to them, if the urge takes us, but the dog is just as happy sitting at our side silently for hours. Try getting a wife to keep quiet for hours - it's never going to happen. They don't listen either. In fact, the only time a woman listens is when it is her doing the talking.

My little sister Wendy tells me that a friend of hers has a dog which has just had pups, a German shepherd, and Wendy (in her insanity) has decided that she will get two of these pups for me as a present. The fact that, under current circumstances, I am not allowed so much as one of the fleas mentioned earlier as a pet, cuts no ice with Wendy. She has decided that I am having two dogs and that's that. See! They only listen when it's them doing the talking. Still, her heart's in the right place even if her thought processes are a little haywire.

Finally, for this one anyway, if you are reading this it is safe to presume that I have finally got the printer working - either that or I have acquired another one. So, now that I am on the internet or, as they call it in Lancashire, tinternet, I am now in a position to respond to any comments anyone wants to make or even to open up a dialogue with anyone who wants to do so. Try not to be rude, but at the same time say what you like - I'm a big lad and I find rudeness amusing most of the time. It comes with age you know. Things we once took personally in our callow youth now are merely funny. However, if anyone does feel the uncontrollable urge, at least have the courage to add your name - I do.

Well, it could be worse - I could be sitting under a bridge, surrounded by my goods and chattels and feeding chicken slices to little mutts.

The Voice In The Wilderness

Wrestling with the twenty-first century

I got a desktop computer and printer. Anybody would be forgiven for thinking that I would be glad to be able to write things on the keyboard rather than using the old-fashioned method of a fountain pen. It's not quite as easy as that.

A pen - you fill it up and simply write until it's empty, then you fill it up again and get back to it. Computers are a little bit more complicated. Just plugging it in was a trial in stress management.

That wasn't the end of it, that was just the start because then I had to turn it on. Why do computer manufacturers hide the power-on button?

Well, I got the tower turned on, the screen and the little speakers.

"Magic!" said I to myself. "Now to try to get something out of it."

Easier said than done, let me tell you. There's too much stuff on the screen, all manner of little pictures and icons, and the only way to find what you want is to try them all. It only takes half of your life - no problem.

Finally got a screen that resembled that of a word processor and tried to organise the margins. Try that without an instruction booklet. In fact, try that with an instruction booklet. They could have made it difficult by printing it in Chinese Mandarin - in fact it might have been easier if they had.

Well, I finally got it all set up and proceeded to get on with a bit of letter-writing. Were my problems over? Were they hell! When I had the letter done, I turned on the printer, pressed the button on the mouse and sat back to watch the product of hours of labour coming out of the front of the machine. Nothing happened - it just buzzed then went back into a state of inertia.

More messing about, more resetting and all the inertia I could have asked for. I finally discovered that the problem was that the printer is different from the computer and I need special software to make them work together. By this time in the proceedings I am starting to think that euthenasia is a good idea - not for me, for the wanker who designed computers!

Well, I got in touch with my brother and he is sending the required software by urgent mail. If it's anything like the computer that will arrive quite quickly - about six weeks is my best guess. Still, look on the bright side - I got a desktop computer and printer.
A later date:

Well, I got the disks from my brother but they don't work. The installation wizard just tells me more or less to "sod off" for some reason or another. After a great deal of teeth-grinding and use of the vernacular, with a few words of Latin thrown in, I was on the verge of purchasing a new printer, but my guru told me not to until he has had the opportunity to grind his teeth, use the vernacular and a bit of Latin.

Fair enough!

So here I am, still sitting here patiently in my secret little location - or, as I like to call it, Bleak House or Dotheboys Hall - waiting for those who know about these things to put it right. However, if you are reading this then clearly it's all been done and is working, so don't read it, it's redundant - just like half of the country really.

What I really need is a weekend away, a bit of a break from everything, see the clan, stuff like that. We will see what happens and where things stand by this time next week.
The Voice In The Wilderness

A rich man indeed

So, here I am again, still living at the secret address in an undisclosed city that everyone knows about but nobody is allowed to mention. It's a secret. It's all for the protection of others, of course. I'm not sure whose protection, certainly not mine, I don't give a rat's fart who knows where I am, I have no enemies you see. Oh, like all the rest of the human race, I am perfectly certain that there are a few misguided punters around who don't care for me much, for several reasons, but that's a far cry from wanting to do me any harm, and wanting to and having the nerve to attempt it is a horse of a different colour.

But! All of that to one side, the point is that I'm still living where I am and making more than satisfactory progress almost daily. Well, I am according to my mentor, and maybe I should keep his name secret too. Why is authority obsessed with secrets that there is absolutely no call to keep? Now, if you want secrets, I've got secrets and they are mostly the secrets of others - I may have mentioned this before - but I shall take them to the grave with me. I have no choice. Of course this clearly evidences a criminal mind, ask any psychologist. I'll always have a criminal mind, no doubt about that. But having a criminal mind and actually acting on it is, yet again, a different kettle of fish.

So, yours truly is making satisfactory progress on several fronts. The biggest problem I found on release from the tender loving arms of Lizzie Windsor's jackbooted minions was establishing my identity. “Look at me!” I cried silently. “Who would say they are me when they are not! That's bordering on insanity!” However, I had to establish who I was and I started with the hardest task of all - getting a bank account.

Off I jolly-well-went to the Co-operative bank and let me state quite clearly here and now, they were a lot more helpful and accommodating than they needed to be - first class. I started with a marvellous young woman - a credit to her mother, she really is. I told her right at the very outset that I was a retired career criminal and I required a bank account to pay in a bit of dosh. She not only didn't flinch, not an eyebrow twitched or was raised and she went out of her way to push it through - the application that is.

“Leave it to me,” said she more or less. “I'll get on it right away.”

“How long will it take?” asked our retired career crook.

“Normally about three weeks, but we will see. First you will get a letter from Head Office asking for proof of identity but you have already given me that, just ignore it.” (Obviously one of those computer-generated things.) “Then,” said she. “a few days later you should get your card, pin number and all that kind of stuff.” (I'm paraphrasing here of course.)

“Oooo!” said I. “Will you accept money from me then?”

“We will.”

“Wonderful. I shall buy you a bunch of flowers.”

Today, little more than a week later, I was wandering past the bank with about seventeen quid in my pocket so I went in. One of the girls behind the bullet-proof glass recognised me and called me over. My account has been accepted and she gave me my paying-in number and account number. I am now a valued customer of the Co-operative Bank - marvellous. I saw this girl as I was leaving.

“Got my account,” said I. “I've not forgotten the flowers.”

“There is no need.” she protested.

I gave her my best grin. “I don't say things I don't mean,” said I as I left and went to get the flowers.

I took 'em back and she was behind the counter with two other young girls. I went toward the counter.

“She's just coming,” said one, big smiles everywhere.

“Oooo!” said she as I handed her the bunch of flowers. “They are lovely. Nobody ever gave me flowers before.”

“Thank you for all of your help,” said I - and that was basically it really.

I now have a bank account and so the process of becoming a real person again, a citizen rather than just a number, is under way. I thought it would have been harder, but it's not. It just takes a little time, patience and a bunch of flowers.

Finally my brother Robert supplied me with a desktop computer - it will save me a fortune in ink if I ever get the printer to work. I'm a total, complete and utter novice at this high-tec stuff, but I am hoping that I have enough friends to give me advice.

Speaking of friends, now that I am out of jail I am asking people to contact me, those who have read about me for a long time on this website. A man in my position needs all the friends he can get and there is an old adage on the subject which goes like this:

If a man has just one true friend, then he is a rich man indeed.
The Voice In The Wilderness

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Out in the world again

Well here I am, out in the world again
Back in the cold, cold weather.
How much work must a poor man do
To rub two coins together.
It's true - they finally signed the bit of paper, handed it to me at the gate at 8 a.m. on Tuesday 2nd April and said, "You are free. You can go."

So I went.

I've been asked the question - "What's it like to be free at last?"

Well, I'm not exactly free, but never mind. What I said was that it was interesting.

Wouldn't you think that after 27 years I would have something deeply meaningful and erudite to say about the whole experience? For some strange reason I don't - not yet anyway. No doubt but I will have soon, when I've settled a bit, but not yet. However, I've said loads of that kind of thing in my book, "An Abuse of Justice", currently being edited. My editor has been to see me a couple of days this week - a very interesting fellow indeed; as wise as an owl studying lexicography. Ha! I wonder how many are reaching for a dictionary now - I am.

I've also had Herman to spend a day with me along with my new agent, who doesn't want to be mentioned at all so I'll just have to call her Blondie - that's a clue. Actually, she is as good as gold and turning into a great mate. She thinks that I am weird - mind, I think I'm weird.

I had to go to the bank to get an account sorted out and I want to give a plug to a lady at the Co-operative Bank. What a nice and extremely helpful girl - or woman. Mind, she looked young to me - but having said that, Lady Godiva would look young to me. It made a change for me to be trying to force the bank to take money from me rather than taking money from them. I suppose I've come full circle.

What strikes me about this city is the fact that it seems to be a friendly place - people seem to be more cheerful and inclined to help. Even the police seem to stand looking benignly upon buskers, and there are a fair few of them - buskers, I mean. I saw one today, a one-man-band with the cymbals on the knees and the drum and the banjo. He was rubbish, but that's not the point really - at least he is trying to earn an honest living. Don't knock it - I might have to come out of retirement myself. Has anyone got a banjo they don't want? Is it hard to play the banjo?

Finally, some people may remember the swan which last year knocked my camera into the marina here. Well, I was there again yesterday and I swear that I saw this swan just swimming casually nearby, but watching me out of one eye. It looked smug - I bet that's the one which did it!

The Voice In The Wilderness

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

I shall not pass this way again

I didn't do this blog yesterday, as would be normal for a Sunday morning - no, I left it for today, Easter Bank Holiday Monday.


You may well ask.

Well, the thing is that today is my last full day in this particular jail. Tomorrow I go to reside in a secret place in an undisclosed city. It's just another jail really with a few more restrictions (in some respects) than this one, and a few less (in some respects) than Alcatraz - but let's not be churlish, eh?

I've done all I need to do here - got everything signed, sealed and to be finally delivered at the crack of dawn tomorrow. Then I shall simply fade away - not with a bang but with a whimper.

It's been a long ould journey - and it's not finished yet, not by a long chalk. Oh no, not a bit of it. In fact I probably have one of the most difficult periods that I have ever had before me. The thing is that I am ostensibly released - the Parole Board said so!

But I'm not.

However, I shall manage. I always have and always will.

Out of the night tbat covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever Gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance,
I have not winced nor cried aloud:
Under the bludgeonings of chance,
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

(W E Henley - "Echoes" 1888)
I admit it, I'm tired - fatigued, knackered - but even the weariest river winds somewhere safe to sea.

So, this is my swan-song as far as this place is concerned. Next week I will be writing from the secret location mentioned earlier. I will be expecting (and hoping) that I can finally begin some form of correspondence with people, make new friends (it's too late  to make new enemies) and do my best to enjoy a little peace in what years I may have left. I have a lot of stuff I want to write, even more stuff I want to read - neither activity very strenuous, and I can do them on my own (an idea I like the sound of). Well, life is the same for everyone when you are alone at night in an empty room.

I have little desire or intention of joining the Rat-Race. Well, the trouble with the Rat-Race is that even if you win, you are still a rat, and I've never been that. Been a lot of other things - some were even legal.

So, from now on I intend to do my best to adhere to both the spirit and the letter of Stephen Grellet's philosophical thought:

I expect to pass through this world but once; any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow-creature, let me do it now; let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.
The Voice In The Wilderness

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ticking away the moments

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an off-hand way.
(Pink Floyd 1973)
That's it!

That sums up my past week perfectly - frittering and wasting with the best of them, and simply passing time like the rest of them. Needless to say there is no news, no progress, not a word said by anyone at all on any subject whatsoever. I'm not saying that I have become invisible again, but I might just as well be so. During the course of the last week I have been expecting daily to be given the decision of the Parole Board - after all, they did say that they would make their decision on the 5th of the month. And one thing is for absolutely certain - if it was a refusal, someone would have broken their necks to tell me; I would have known long since.

That hasn't happened.

I think that they will be working out my licence conditions, and that will include restrictions on my movements. No need for them, of course, but I suppose they have to be seen to be doing something to protect Joe Public from a sixty-six year old who wants nothing more than a quiet life away from all vexatious folk and nit-wits.

On top of that, there were also the concerns , misguided concerns,  about what they termed "Your website".

I haven't got a website. It's not mine, it simply bears my name here and there. Just because it bears my name doesn't make it mine. I bet there is a website devoted to Adolf Hitler but it isn't HIS!

The board were informed "This matter has been taken up with NOMS and the Home Office and he [me] isn't doing anything wrong."

They don't quite get the fact that I'm not actually doing anything at all. Whatever I write is duly vetted to ensure that it causes no distress to anyone and yet it still seems to cause concern to some. What can I say?

I've had a lot of mail this last week from various friends and a couple of family members, all asking the same thing - "Have you got parole or not?"

I can't answer the question (story of my life really), so I haven't replied to any of the letters. What is the point of answering a letter to say one thing and then a few days later having to rewrite them all because I have an answer?

That's one of the things about the Prison Service which particularly irritates me - their complete lack of concern for anyone's family, almost bordering on hubris really. It's all well enough to treat us cons like second class citizens - after all, most of us are not even that far up the ladder - but thought should be given to families and others who are just as eager for an answer.

I expect I shall hear in the next few days of course, but there again, I've been saying that for almost two weeks now. So, until I DO hear I shall continue ticking away the moments that make up a dull day, frittering and wasting my time like a man who has a lot to spare - which actually I haven't, but the Prison Service doesn't care in their hubris and ivory towers.

Someone asked me the other day, "What will you do if you get a refusal?"

I grinned, of course, and said, "After twenty-seven years of bad news and disappointments, that would simply be one more in a long catalogue of disappointments. All it would mean is that I would have to gird the loins, strengthen the weakened knees, take a deep breath and start working again for the next time."

Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town,
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.
Tired of lying in the sunshine,
Staying home to watch the rain.
The Voice In The Wilderness