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 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