Day 29 – HMP Ford

4 Apr

I start a carpentry course today. It’s a level 1 City and Guilds, as one inmate politely refers to this standard training, its:

“Not fit to clean your arse with”

It is true, a level 1 qualification is little above the basic of human existence.

1. This is a saw

2. Don’t cut yourself with it

3. Please form an orderly queue to collect your certificate

This may all be so, however as I trundle over to the worksheds I walk past others potting soil in rabbit holes. An endless, futile task, that I am glad to have avoided. It is a laidback course run by a decent chap and skilled craftsman, ‘Mick’. His hobby is building boats, I only imagine he has crafted himself a fine wooden ark. Courses are run at a slow pace in prison to ensure that they are inclusive. Admirable but  tiresome for those with an active mind. I am beginning to get used to the slow pace of life here, so much so that it may be necessary to pop to a cemetary just to re-energise myself on release.

While they keep courses at a slow pace for their inclusivity; it is equally likely that those here, with the ability to learn quickly, could rapidly decimate the education department’s budget. I stand back and admire my new surroundings, the lads present and wonder if this is what everyone had in mind when I got sentenced to prison.

At 10am I meet with a prison career’s advisor then a little after, it is lunch. I send out letters to R, her mother and my family; I return with a haul of 5 emails sent in to me.

The afternoon is as lazy as the day began and in between being interrogated (In a friendly manner) by my course mates, I learn about carpentry hand tools, champfers and rebate edges. I know my Dad will be keen to know what I’ve learnt, so I make sure I note such minute detail in my diary! After tea and a power walk with a book in hand, I promise myself to call home. It does ache your shoulders after a while, but without an Ipod, I’ve taken to doing walking laps reading a book. A cursory glance up every so often to ensure I don’t walk out past the perimeter signage. I’m likely to be shot by a stormtrooper in a guard tower otherwise.

After dinner, I jog for 6 laps and do a brief circuit each km, in front of the setting sun. It’s 8pm, I call home and speak to mum. She gives me an update on the items she is bringing at the weekend  for me to take into my personal property; and I hear my boxing coach James from Essex’s Premier Boxing/Fighting Gym – The Locker Room : has given her a skipping rope for me to use inside. In the years surrounding my humbling I took up a sport I’ve always loved to watch. I needed to lose weight and found boxing gave me a sense of purpose where otherwise I wandered bereft of a clue. I lost two and a half stone and satisfied a boyhood dream. I walked into a boxing ring to my own music, gloves donned ready to face an equal contender. Of the character statements I submitted to court, James’ meant a lot to me. Over the years I’ve seen the work he has done with rehabilitation and young offender groups and here’s me, yet another cause helped by this top fella.

My mum reports back that she has spoken with my solicitor in recent days who is pleased yet surprised that I had reached an open prison so soon. He didn’t count on my tenacity to see it done, not has he spent the last two years researching the specifics of such details. I think I have become a minor expert in some of the most trivial prison law matters. Trivial to others, but not to me.

When prison is on the cards and you have access to Google (Other search engines are available), there is very little else within your search history. 🙂






One Response to “Day 29 – HMP Ford”

  1. joe love April 4, 2012 at 10:46 pm #

    Glad ur alright dude keep these coming I will make sure I will keep reading em make sure u keep that witt of ur u big beautiful barstad xxx

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