Saturday, February 23, 2013

Here we are then

So, here we are then.

Tomorrow is my last day out from Lizzie Windsor's emporium for social disasters - and, in my humble  opinion, (well, maybe not so humble) the cons are no better.

I shall get myself washed and dressed in the morning and wander off over to the gate lodge, book myself out, collect my phone and climb aboard the bus to take me to that metropolis of sin and inertia which is the local town. It won't be my last time in town of course, not by a long chalk. I'll be there next week too, for a brief while I expect.

Anyway, when I get there I shall wander off to have a look in a couple of shops to see if I can get myself a couple of shirts and a red tie. Well, being a devout Capitalistic Socialist I need SOME sort of badge! (My politics are a hit confused.)  At lunch time my intention is to toddle along to my regular little trattoria on the river front where I have munched my way through many tasty little meals in a convivial surround - very nice too. If anyone wants a decent meal in nice surroundings at a price that isn't involving armed robbery on a bank, try it - you can't miss it, it's near the church!

After my lunch I shall have a little wander and then toddle off to the railway station car park where I'll catch the shuttle bus back to jail. I'm coming back early because I have my packing to do for the next day when I am off to the city for five days for my last (hopefully) home leave, shacked up with various types of naughty boys including junkies. This is to help me to assimilate into our society again. Are they suggesting that society is saturated with junkies, or am I being a little unkind?

Anyway, five days and four nights - you can't get that on a Saga holiday with meals thrown in, not to mention free telly box.

On return to durance vile I will have eleven days to go to my parole hearing. As I have said before somewhere, there would appear not to be any flies in the ointment and things should go smoothly enough. It's all going to be about managing my risk  in the free world, which puzzles me because they seem to be setting me up somewhat by forcing me to live with people who are basically social problems. But I'll survive - I always do.

A few weeks after the hearing I should be on my way to the hostel for the last time and everything will be hunky dory.


Wait a minute there bald eagle. Could there be a dark figure lurking somewhere in the shadows? Is that fickle ould whore Lady Luck giving her DMs one last polishing to deliver me my final boot in the testacularities? I wouldn't put it past her, not a bit of it. However, if she is, it will need to be a good one because I am determined that nothing should go wrong, not at this late stage in the game, and let's face it, that's all prison is - a game. We come in, and those who learn the rules and how to play sail through with no trouble. Those, like me, who try to create their own rules end in enormous difficulties. I stand here as testimony to that simple fact. I tell you sincerely, it's not easy being me.

Oh well, we will see how things turn out I suppose. Until then all I can say is - well, here we are then.

The Voice in the Wilderness

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Sometimes, as I lie in my bed of fine-grade straw at night, quietly waiting for the gentle arms of Morpheus to enfold me in their comforting embrace, I find ·myself thinking about things that have happened through the day, things that may happen in the days  to come and, now and then, musing on the days past. Oddly enough, I don't do much of the latter - that road leads to brooding, a lot of resentment and insanity: not a place anyone quite wants to visit.

These brief periods of pensive thought never last very long - a few minutes. I seem to drift off quite quickly these days, probably a  combination of age and the fact that not much bothers me these days. Years ago, when I first started on this particular nightmare, I spent many nights completely sleepless - rage ruled supreme. These days, I seem to be much calmer, not so volatile and, who knows, even a little forgiving, who can tell?

I said forgiving, not forgetful. We may forgive a lot of things, but we never forget. We never forget a good deed, or a bad one - it's human nature. At least, it is my nature, I can't speak for everyone - I leave that to politicians and policemen.

What was I talking about?

Oh yes - soul-searching.

I often sort of review my day - people I have spoken to, things I have done, that sort of thing. Sometimes I realise that something I have said or done may well have caused unwitting offence, and, if  I come to the conclusion that that is or may be the case, then the following day I will go to the person, whoever they may be, and give them an apology - it's the right thing to do.

Well, it's like the ould IRA man lying on his death bed and the priest kneels by the bed to give absolution.

"Are you ready to renounce the devil and all of his works my son?"

"Aahh," says the ould IRA man. "It's too late to be making enemies now, Father."

So, sometimes I put matters right the following day - as I say, it is the right thing to do.

Having said all that, there are times when we may well have been rude or upset someone and it is fully justified. In fact not only justified but compulsory! They deserved it, shall we say.

I had such an instance the other day. Someone said something utterly ourageous to someone else and, to be quite frank about it, it was offensive. Not only that, but the fellow who said it thought it was clever - being offensive without the fear of retaliation.

He didn't realise that I was in the offing, standing astern of him. So, being quite capable of holding my own in any verbal contest, I put him straight on matters and it won't happen again. Life is hard in jail without some idiot making it harder unnecessarily. Any-hoo, that night in my pensive pit it crossed my mind fleetingly that I may well have caused offence, so I decided to have a word the next morning. Unfortunately, when I approached the fellow concerned I found him being offensive to someone ELSE!

So, being an erudite sort of cove, with what some call a caustic wit, I went up and said, "Excuse me, but I would like a word."

Himself and the two or three cronies he had with him looked at me.

"Yesterday," said I, "I may have been rude. I would just like to take this opportunity to say that if I did or said anything which may have caused offence, I would like to say, with the greatest of sincerity, that I couldn't give a shit."

Even his own friends laughed at him - the clown.

And so, as the day draws gently to a close and I begin to prepare myself for yet another night's sleep in the tender embrace of Lizzie Windsor's minions, it occurs to me that it's only a week to my final home leave - and eleven days after I come back, it's my Parole Board hearing.

I will have to remember to keep a civil tongue in my head and not allow my caustic wit any sort of freedom - it may well be taken in the wrong spirit, and that will never do.

The Voice In The Wilderness

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Coming up ambergris

Isn't it funny the way things turn out?

It seems to me that no matter what we may have planned for or expect, there is always that element of unforeseen chance that either makes or breaks us - and usually when we least expect it. I normally put it down to that fickle ould whore - the bane of my life - Lady Luck; and I suppose that's as good a way as any to describe the phenomenon - the phenomenon of pure chance.

Take the other day, for instance - last week, actually. There was a fellow by the name of Ken Wilman, and he decided to take his dog for its daily perambulation along Morecambe beach, probably something he does every day.

"Oh well," says he, "let's get it over with. Get yer lead."

Off he went with his mutt, who is nameless as far as I know, off for another freezing meander along the sands while the chien did its bit to pollute the Irish Sea. I can see him now, wandering along, watching his dog trying to catch seagulls, when he came across a foul-smelling lump on the sands.

"What the devil is THAT?" he may have said to the dog. "It smells worse than a Liverpool docker's armpit!"

So, he had a good look at it from a distance, like a skunk - nice  to look at but you wouldn't want to be too close.

"Weird!" said he to nobody whatsoever. "I'll have a look on the internet when I get home, see what it might be."

Well, imagine his surprise when it turned out that its appearance suggested there was a possibility that the foul lump could well be a thing called ambergris! (Notice the diplomatic way that I have avoided comparing anyone to the foul-smelling thing? That's called diplomacy, that is.)

So, good old Ken (remember Ken?) read some more about the foul object and discovered that it was not only called ambergris - the name (apparently) for whale vomit - but it could be worth a small fortune in shekels if it was ambergris.

Ken the beachcomber promptly returned to the beach - hot foot, leaving  tread marks on the cat as he went through the front door - snatched up the foul object, no longer noticing the smell (because the very mention of dosh is enough to block anyone's sinuses - look at the tanning industry, and a few others) and carried it gently back to  his home and wrapped it carefully in his wife's best frock. More research revealed that ambergris is used in perfumes. I've always suspected perfumes - they mask other smells.

Anyway, the point is that you never know when that fickle ould tart is going to stop kicking you in the cobblers and do you a favour for a change. Ken certainly wasn't expecting a bit of a windfall when he took the mutt out. Turns out that the lump of nasty-smelling whale vomit is worth a bob or two and Ken is sniggering all the way to the bank, as he should be too. Good luck to him. I bet Morecambe sands have been full of vomit-seekers ever since - but bon chance never strikes twice in the same place.

Well, Lady Luck seems to be putting it about a bit lately, and not out of evilness, as her usual wont seems to be. She's been quite kind to me too. My parole hearing is to be at 10:30 a.m. on the morning of March 5th, just four days short of twenty-seven years. The only thing that seems to be on the agenda is my risk management when I am released to the hostel, which I will be because my case has now been officially accepted by the local Probation Service. Of course, The SS - and possibly The Wallace - will be present for the hearing from Northumbria, so that's fine. They know me and my case better than anyone - sometimes I think they know more about me than I know myself.

Two years ago I was stuck in high security, tearing out my teeth trying to get sense out of the system. Now here we are, on the verge of release. I haven't got one foot out of the door, I've got both feet out - now I'm just trying to drag my arse out. The thing is, I could be released in about six weeks! Isn't it funny the way things turn out?

The Voice In The Wilderness