Saturday, March 02, 2013

In the bewilderness

Well, it looks as though, once again, I am expected to keep secrets that are not mine but those of others with something to hide.

I think I need to explain that, as near as I can, without giving away any of the aforementioned secrets.

To begin with, I went on the home leave - well, let's not call it a "home" leave because I wasn't allowed anywhere near home for a start - I went to a hostel, an approved premises. (Or there again, I may not be allowed to say that much - so forget I said that.) It certainly wasn't a leave either, but never mind, these things are designed to be character-building - I must be a character.

I went to a conurbation which is a sort of cross between a market town, a university town and a place of historic interest. There is a fairly interesting cathedral, a castle, which multi-tasks as a Crown Court, and a prison which was built in Victorian times, like so many were. Oh yes, those Victorians knew how to build all right. Can't mention the name of the place of course, it's a secret. I certainly can't mention the name of the hostel because that's an even bigger secret. It's amazing I ever found my way to the place at all and it's a wonder they even told me about the location - it's a secret you see!

I managed to get there finally with a blindfolded taxi driver. (Well, we can't tell him anything - taxi drivers gossip, they are famous for it.)  When I finally got myself in there, I was politely informed that I could forget my licence conditions - they were being changed on the grounds, to paraphrase, that I wasn't telling anyone where I was going all day, who I was going with and/or what I was doing. They could have tried asking, but that would be far too simple and therefore very complicated for the Prison Service - they don't do simple. Instead, they prefer to dictate - always justified of course.

Well, the upshot was that I couldn't leave the place until seven in the morning at the earliest, had to be back for one in the afternoon until two, and had to be in for the night by seven in the evening. On top of that I had to fill in a form to tell them precisely where I intended to be every minute of my time, and what I did. Saying  just "Down town shopping" wasn't good enough, I had to write which street the shops were on.

Oh well, it's all for the collective good I suppose. Didn't leave me much scope for anything, of course, but there we have it.

So, I went for a couple of meals during my five days "home leave", did a little bit of shopping, went to the Citizens' Advice offices and to the Council offices about accommodation. That wasn't much use because they needed me to supply dates, which I can't do - not yet anyway. Can't even organise my pension because of the same sort of reason.

But I'll get there, I'll get there - I always do in the end.

Oh yes, and the rest of the time I spent sitting in my "room" just answering phone calls from family and friends or reading. Worked my way through three books - very entertaining - and two newspapers each day - I am available for questions.

Finally left to return to the shovel and pick on Friday and, with a bit of luck, I didn't ruffle too many feathers. I don't think I did but you can never be sure about these things.

So, that's me done until the Parole Hearing next week. Once I have had the hearing I should imagine it will be a week or two until I hear the decision and, should it be favourable, I will be off out to the secret location for my discharge. I have no real idea what the Parole Board decision will be, of course, but it should be of a reasonable nature. So I may be off to live, however temporarily, in the secret location. Grand - the family WILL be pleased.

It's not certain, of course, not by a long chalk, so until then, I shall continue keeping secrets which are not mine. I've got nothing to hide in·that respect. Come to think about it, I seem to be carrying a lot of secrets, most of which will have to go to the grave with me, because none of them are mine - they all belong to other folk, and I seem to have spent most of my life just protecting others, often at my own expense.

Oh well, I shall continue to keep secrets I suppose, for others - and that includes the secret hostel being run by nameless folk in the secret location... Sorry about that.

The Voice In The Bewilderness

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