Tag Archives: poem

Part 2 – His and Her’s Tale. His Tale

1 Jun

His Tale:

51/2 months down, more than 6 since I’ve seen her last. I wake up nervous, my stomach filled with butterflies, today is the day I’ve dreamed of.

I keep myself occupied with a visit to the gym, setting  a new 30 minute distance row PB, 7631m. I see myself making improvements in personal fitness, it means my time here is not entirely a waste.

I have little appetite as my mind is focused on a date with destiny. I wonder where she will be sat, will she find it okay? What will she be wearing? What will we talk about? Will she cry? Will I cry?

So many thoughts drift, well, race across my mind as the minutes tick by.

I kill the hour before the visit deciding what to wear, showering and making sure I look as good as a man can whilst being in prison. I fear she will see something less than she has in me, in visiting me today. For the first time, a sense of shame crosses me as I think about my whereabouts. She is this travelled, articulate, intelligent and unique creature. Special in so many ways. I am a prisoner, stripped of liberty and often times dignity.

She tasted foods until recently from the magical east and the Orient; I queue up for mine with a plastic bowl. I know my worries are likely ill-founded, R would love me still even if I wore orange overalls today. It’s her best quality of all. She makes Mase feel young and wanted; she get’s my humour and inspires creativity within me, when other’s have only stifled it. My feet are shuffling and my knees are bouncing. I can;t take my mind off my anxieties: “Why am I so nervous?” I tell a friend who knows about my visit.

“MASON” is called out by a screw on duty, I scamper off to the visit’s hall so I am as near to the front as possible. I don’t want to lose a minute with this girl who waits for me.

As I walk through the door to the side of the hall, I am patted down by a guard and then look ahead of me.

Slightly to my side, my eyes lock on to the most beautiful sight, I can’t believe what I can see. It has been so long and yet I see nothing but the very best of that person I said goodbye to at the airport all those months ago. More beautiful than ever, tanned, lithe and running toward me at a concerning pace. She flies into my arms and wraps herself around me. It is all I can do to keep myself on my feet. In that moment of power blessed with her affection, she crashed into me and holds me close; as I hold her the same.

I feel like I’ve been set free.

I could be acquitted.

I could have been found not guilty.

I feel every emotion that equates to happiness. Today is marked down as one of the happiest days of my life.

When you have nothing but emotion, no material obstructions and no insincerity, you can find  a piece of true beauty, true euphoria that even drugs cannot deliver. In losing my freedom, I have tasted what it is to truly feel liberty. You may never envy my location, my whereabouts, my happenings and my failings but I will never envy your lives if I could go a lifetime without an experience that I shared with her today.

I spend the next two hours, nervous, giggling and an inch from the prettiest nose on earth. Tomorrow she comes again, I’ll sleep like a child waiting for Santa.

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Country Tracks

23 Mar

A long tiresome journey, memorable for new vistas and a desire to vomit. Travel sickness has never been far away in my life.

As a kid my mother used to give us these travel sickness tablets, ‘Joy-Rides’ they were called. Sounds like ecstacy, the taste was anything but. In fact, I remember my anxiety forming on those mornings before travel, because of these tablets. The taste was awful, bitter, it set a pretty poor tone for the next few hours. God forbid you were in my way.

As we pull into my new home, it requires a sharp left turn into what looks like an old military base, being thrown into the cupboard door wakes others from their slumber. The reason why Ford struck me as a military base, is because it was. (Ex RAF and former Naval School)

That’s where the connection begins and ends. This place lacks order from the top down, riots only months before and the Governor has been named as a catalyst in a suicide inquest at a former nick. Inmates walk by, on what I assume is the start of their afternoon working day. They cross a public road to a second compound the other side. We are unloaded outside a reception hut and led into a back room before the drawn out reception process is put into (in)action once more.

6 1/2 Hours Later

Still sat in the waiting area trying to work out whether I’ll go for the Smoker’s Induction Pack or the Non-Smoker’s pack. You’re charged for the receipt of the item and in it contains a handful of items that you may want while you wait for Canteen delivery. With little but squash, polos and chewy bars, I’m not impressed by non-smoker’s pack. I request tobacco in the hope I’ll be able to use it as currency in the meantime.

Our bags in our possession we plonk them on trailer and wheel the items up to portakabin 200 yards away. Sheltered from the rain, we are given our ID cards and sign some paperwork. It’s here I have my first real conversation with a screw since coming to prison. One by one we head into an office and are asked a few questions by a man in a uniform different to mine. It dawned on me at this point, quite how little interaction there is between the Prison Service and inmates. Do they have a clue what really goes on in their workplaces?

New Pad

The cells are double rooms, or should I say; twin – in an old army style billet accomodation. Spartan, dirty and bunked with a smoker, I’ve no idea where the mail box, phone or showers are. I sit on my new bed and think about the guys I said goodbye to today. I wish I was back at Wandsworth. I know this feelings will subside but for now i’m not happy. I’ve heard this happens a lot to those moved to open conditions. There is a sense of protection one feels in a closed establishment. Taken down to dinner in the Dining Hall, I am very well aware how few prison guards are on duty and quite how many prisoners are walking about unhindered. Ford holds 510 on average, at the evening meal time, I see at least 300 of them.

I’m still in prison and anxiety builds. Suffocating with having to process this crowded new environment. The last time I was in such a busy environment inside, I had witnessed some severe gang violence. D Cats are not known for this type of event, but new in such a place, the heart rules the head.

Irrational, chips and a burger placate me.

 

 

Security, it’s everyone’s concern

17 Mar

Top Quote coming:

Sign seen on way to dropping laundry off this morning:

“SECURITY – It’s everyones concern”

Quote from George, cell mate:

“It’s not mine, I don’t give a shit.”

Priceless.

I step out of the secure confines of my chamber to grab my laundry and post a letter to my pals back home. Shah grabs me to say goodbye, he is heading back to Ryehill now he has finished his confiscation hearing. I bid him farewell and although he will be back here in 4 weeks, I hope I won’t be here to see him. He’s a top bloke but friendships aside, Wanno is not a place to stay for too long. It’s a bad situation waiting to happen.

I overhear some screws talking about the resettlement board, we slip out of the cell and tag along, George and I, to see if we can shake the tree as best as we can, D-Cat wise.

At the doors of the categorisation office, 3 screws stand firm and refuse us entry. We don’t have an ‘App’! If you’ve read my diary from the beginning of my stay in prison, you will appreciate the irony in that statement. Our renegade off wing fact-finding mission, was saved from failure as the Forces liaison officer’s ears prick up on overhearing our desire to speak to him. Clearly there is little call for him here and he is happy to be seen to working his own niche area of prisoners. At this point a female screw relents and allows us entry, we decline, we only wanted to nudge the categorisation officers, job done.

Being ex Royal Artillery, I am eligible for support from SSAFA. Be it TA or Regular, if you have served at least one day in the British Armed Forces, you can seek assistance on a range of areas while inside and on exit. I recommend taking them up on their offer, if at least to open a few avenues.

SSAFA stands for Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association. 

On my return to E-Wing, I sit down to a cup of tea. A couple of traveller lads I put forward for some vacant jobs, stop by and thank me for helping them out. The two brothers seem a little lost but polite and in the spirit of ‘paying it forward’ I’m only too happy to help them as Darren did for me.

I whack on ‘Homes under the Hammer’ a favourite, when a screw storms into the cell and rips the tv out of the socket. Tucking it under his arm, he says:

“Your moving cells and your buddy is being put on Basic Regime. You can stay here but I doubt he will be on the wing much longer”.

The previous evening, Twat arrived at the cell and asked George to sign his IEP Warning. The warning he had been threatened with but not incurred. Maybe Twat is bored but he’s issued him with the IEP notice regardless. It needs to be signed by the prisoner, no guesses for what George did.

For not signing, he has been given another IEP Warning. Not the type to back down, it looks like he’s heading for the block.

A decorated Naval Officer, former director of a Government Department, ex professional Athlete, now in prison, faces a spell in Segregation. Talk about humbling. I pack up my belongings again, in the threadbare plastic bags I’ve used more than they should be and head for a new cell and a new cell mate. With no sign of George at the moment, I can only imagine how his week has taken a massive wrong turn just out the traps.

At the moment though, I’m keen to know how my own week is going to pan out now. Cell E3-11 awaits.

“My Tuna Brine Milkshake brings all the boys to the yard” – Kelis (I think)

16 Mar

My little lady keeps the lorry load of letters coming. That’s a lot of ‘L’ there.

I’ve got more pictures in this weeks post and have requisitioned a roll of tape from an empty landing officer. I came here a first time offender and in 3 weeks I’m an opportunist thief 🙂

Tomorrow I’m working with the evening food cart. This means I get to go on the food delivery rounds. Sunday’s evening meal is a cold option from a selection of 4, varying for dietary and religious requirements. Going door to door to inmate’s festering pits is likely to offer some eye-opening sights.

Sunday – Day 21

3 weeks in Wandsworth done tonight – its enough for most people but I’m getting a month of Sundays.

By now, days slip by and life has no real dramas. My biggest worry is that I don’t curb my appetite now I work in the Kitchen. But I’m safe, I have friends and have a good run of the Wing. Well as good a run as any prisoner can have. Compared to my peers, I’m a leisure suit larry. While they’re banged up, I’m making sandwiches in the servery or doing my laundry in the worker’s cleaning room. It’s not exactly Center Parcs but it’s normality and exactly what you need to keep yourself sane.

It’s funny what you can get used to in life, how you can adjust to new scenarios – the mind is an amazing bit of kit. Just a month ago I was driving around Essex, cycling to work, jogging on the beach, getting ready for my Sister’s wedding. My time was devoted to family, work and friends, now my topics of mirth are a shade darker. I jog around an exercise yard, teeming with hundreds of Britain’s hardest criminals. I witness bullying daily from authority, cook dinner with men who won’t taste anything other than a prison meal this side of the next 20 years; and I can hack it.

In the few weeks I’ve been inside, I’ve seen so much new to me, I’m actually pleased for the experience. It’s something that many people will only ever wonder about and with good reason too. Who needs to be here? But if life gives you lemons, then I’ll start pouring my glass of lemonade.

That said, I still feel isolated more than I’d like, from those I love. Then it dawns on you again, what the punishment really is – loss of the freedom to be around your loved ones. Missing your child’s birth, your friend’s wedding, a funeral, so many thing’s that can’t be re-made, re-enacted, making your time less boring inside is one thing, but not being there for those that matter; that hurts.

Exercise is called at 8.30 today, so fortunately I have had a fair bit of free time outside. The guy’s make a curry again around lunch time, while two of my pals discuss shipping rules and territorial waters on recent drug seizures. I focus my mind on penning letters but can’t help but smirk at both their clear indepth knowledge of this niche area of discussion and how frequently such topics are brought up. Not exactly something that someone on the outside talks about over a Sunday lunch.

This afternoon inmates are served cold dinners which are delivered to their cell doors. As a servery worker, I await warmly, what sights I can expect from going door-to-door, the local’s digs. I may yet avoid this pleasure but I shan’t count my chickens.

George at a loose end and without having received our prison shop(Canteen) forms, has pre-empted his weekly order and written it while I was out of the cell. I have a load of letters to reply to, so I’ll save the shopping list until I get some down-time.

……………………….

Some time passes…………….

I didn’t avoid the food delivery, but I did have a chuckle. The highlight being pale fat bellies, one particular gem had developed the skill of using his paunch to clasp a packet of tobacco. This man was known until this point as ‘Milk Nipple’, for wearing a t-shirt with a dribble stain across his left chest. It gives the appearance of a lactating mammary. I don’t know what I’ll refer to him now, hopefully I’ll never need to again, soon enough.

Saturday night fever

15 Mar

“For talking back to me, I warn you now, I’ll issue you an IEP.”

George is advised in no uncertain terms that any more transgressions will result in an Incentive and Privilege downgrade. The phrase: ‘You can’t reason with ignorance’ is applied here and my cellmate takes this as his cue to leave but not before asking for:

A bar of soap.

Some shower gel sachets

A new razor

A Visit Order form

A toilet roll, and any other items that Twat is obliged to hand him.

He joins me down stairs still trying to find a screw to come to location of my block. We grab one and when asked if he could open our cell door, he replied:

“It’s not my job to open and close your cell door.”

Think about that statement, from a screw, a prison guard.

It is actually the fundamental responsibility of a prison guard to:

a.) Open a door

b.) Close a door

Perhaps I asked the cultural liaison executive or mistook him for an inmate, but I doubt it.

If ever you want proof of Prison staff’s mental capacity, consider a prison guard telling an inmate that it isn’t his job to open and close cell doors.

The screw who finally relents and opens our cell door is an optimistically named, Mr Friend. I’ve never met a person with an aspiration as a surname. It shows its hardly worth being a model prisoner here, courtesy is not extended to even those who muck in and make a difference. Hand me my Methadone and ten packets of butter.

Across the wing, rumours spread of a Governor’s inspection. Search mobs in combat fatigues, loving the sense of thrill of doing a cell by cell sweep. It’s the nearest these overweight pretenders will get to feeling like SAS.

We have never been sat down and informed, what is and what isn’t contraband. My omission of any introductory prison briefing from management, is not sheer written idleness, it’s because there isn’t one. Everything you will ever learn in prison, will be from a fellow inmate. Prison rules and regulations change so frequently and often for little rhyme or reason, I realise over time, screws have just given up ever learning them.

I am a little worried that through no fault of my own, I have items deemed unacceptable. I found a two pence piece yesterday, money is banned inside, so i panicked and chucked it in the servery bins. Ridiculous isn’t it? I didn’t want  to put it in my own bins in case they rooted through my litter. George has pieced together what he can and we go through the cell assessing if it is or isn’t legal within our possession here.

First up is a towel pinned across a shelf to afford me some privacy from prying eyes skulking around the landing. Perfectly reasonable, completely forbidden. In place on my arrival, its clear there is no system of cell inventory keeping by the staff. Which begs the question, can any punishments for excess or misused kit hold up if the cell hadn’t been inspected on entry?

The answer….. YES, of course they can.

I’m not really sure how a disciplinary system can be implemented, when no one, including the enforcers know the correct procedures.

I have a little time before lock down to call home and speak to my dad; I wish him a belated birthday.

Tony grabs me as I walk back to my cell, braced for religion I’m disarmed with a working radio. He knows my desire to listen to the boxing fight tonight and has foregone his ability to listen to religious audio tapes for me. Good bloke, now all I need is David Haye to come good.

It doesn’t happen. Still, it was nice about the radio though yeah? 🙂

 

Remains of the Day – 19

14 Mar

George has a 2pm appointment with a Captain Jacobsen of SSAFA; the prison’s Veteran’s assistance charity.

2pm comes by.

2pm goes.

Its 3 pm when a female screw with no knowledge of my cell-mate’s itinerary or even of the well established organisation SSAFA, swings by. Disinclined to add to her clearly rigorous work load of plodding about, she goes no further than tolerating (And that is a lavish overstatement) a grunt fueled conversation through the closed cell door. Her attitude, was sadly not reflective of only a minority of screws here. She is amongst friends in her communications approach.

Recently a deluge of complaints by the Wing Orderlies, was met with them being taken to an empty room and then lectured at by the Wing Governor. The ringleader of the complaints, was shipped out to prison far removed from his family and one of a higher category. The prisoner’s had used the system of redress they are offered and were then punished, with an abuse of it. This Sh!t goes on today!

Is this the ‘Mightier than thou’ virtue that stands apart from hypocrisy that the law-abiding tax payers of the UK think their prison managers should be setting. Highly paid and poorly skilled, the results speak for themselves. A good workman shouldn’t blame his tools, isn’t that what they say. So what’s not working here then:

Prison.

Or the Staff that run it.

Cuts are here to stay, maybe silver lining may appear from the midst of strike action.

Whatever you think, bored, poorly educated people, denied daily washing access, forced to eat in a shared toilet, vindicatively treated by those we pay to manage them, for using their few remaining rights: not exactly all the elements for successful rehabilitation. I wonder if these words will flick a light switch on in someone’s mind some day. Moaning about prisoner’s having old second hand playstations they paid for themselves is missing the point. Maybe a politician should spend a week inside to be better informed and more socially aware. Oh right, we’ve done that, now we don’t deem them to have rational thought anymore and slung them out of the Commons. Still, if society denies ex-cons a real second chance, at least they do it for the former ruling elite too. Its equality over here in the black sheep pen, a proper Utopia! Envious? 🙂

Fear Factor

Inmates don’t like sticking complaint forms (COMP 1) into the little yellow boxes made available on the wings. It’s the general consensus though not necessarily truth; that inmates feel forms are binned and actively ‘Lost’. It’s a poor state of affairs, this climate of cynicism needs to be neutralised before the seperatism grows greater. Riots were born in environments like this.

3.45 comes by and a knock comes. A long-awaited knock for George, on a day defined only by sitting down looking at walls and an arched grey ceiling. He heads off to his meeting, excited by this interruption in his day and armed with a list of questions he can deluge this friendly face with. The most pertinent question of all being his lack of Categorisation.

In the meantime, I introduce a new worker Ibby (Counterfeit Clothing) to the perks of the job, before taking him in the direction of kitman and long time repeat lag, Mark. Mark had only moments before been the subject of an intensive cell search. It is unsurprising then we meet him while he is frantically offloading everything from washing tablets to spring water. In fact the spring water was one of those water fountain refills, it’s massive. He’s been getting people to bring by any plastic bottles they have. Blue beakers, the lot – I was there when he half inched it; I swear he does it for the thrill. He’s a tight as anything too, maybe that’s why they gave him the job as kitman, but being a wing trader, his wheeling and dealing leaves many of us without items we should be in receipt of. I enjoy seeing his self constructed pandemonium.

He will likely be searched again later. He’s nuts and he brings this upon himself, he lets screws smoke in his cell and then they spot the presence of half the Wing’s missing list. The screws are not allowed to smoke in the public areas and have to go to designated spots outside on breaks. Instead they get round the restriction on their nicotine intake by courting favour with lags who ARE allowed to smoke in their cells. On other occasions you’ll find a Screw sneakily puffing a roll up in the top floor shower room. Nice smell to take in, while you’re having a steaming hot shower!

I get back to the cell an hour or two later. George is there, feet up smiling, looking into the middle distance. It turns out, the ex-serviceman charity is in the same office as Categorisation……

Searched

23 Feb

Dinner done and I’m needing my medication, I’ve got to be on the weakest form of treatment within these walls, I’m on the Paracetamol, with a cocktail of Nurofen, I’m playing with dice and my life’s on the line 🙂 I queue up with those seeking something for far worse ailments.

I’m handed my tablets, four in total, I don’t fancy taking them now but you don’t have much option when you collect them standing at a barred door in front of a medical officer. Metres away from the apothecary (I’ve run out of descriptive terms for a converted prison cell), I’m called to a halt. Stood against the wall and cornered by two screws, one standing off the shoulder of the other.

“Hold your hands – now open your mouth” I’m asked. Nothing. Obviously, I think, I’ve just taken them. I’m fast beginning to think they must reckon I’m on methadone, when nothings found, I’m walked back to my cell under suspicion and subjected to a ‘Routine’ search. There’s nothing routine about it. Dropping your trousers, then squatting down and doing a bizarre 360 in front of the gaze of mistrust.

“He’s clear” One says to the other.

“No shit sherlock” I cop back. “You think I’d go to all this effort to stash a paracetamol I want for myself?”

“Are you a service user?” I’m asked.

This question means as much to me then as it does to you reading this now. Clueless, I ask:

“Whats a service user?”

…………………………………………………….

A service user is a term given to someone receiving treatment. In prison, a service user is someone addicted to any of the wide-range of medicinal products found amongst our society.

…………………………………………………….

Anthony comes back into the cell after being asked to step outside for my own privacy! My privacy could have been really helped if two men didn’t just ask me to get naked in a confined space on their command. No apology for a false accusation, no thanks either for a striptease.

You have to laugh – character building.

Some papers slide under my cell door. It’s the apps I put in for a job on the wing and another requesting information on my lack of a categorisation. Failing to categorise, keeps me and others like me, in a prison space that costs upwards of £50,000 per annum. D Cat prison spaces cost a mere £10-16,000 in comparison. Multiply this tens of thousands of times over each year and you quickly add up millions of wasted funding for the Prison service. This backlog in assigning prisoner’s category, need only a minimum wage worker acting as overspill, sifting through paperwork that otherwise sits in an intray to be palmed off to the next screw on duty. The “Let someone else do it” attitude I witness frequently in prison is both odorous and cancerous to the aims of an effective system. Wandsworth is notorious for slow processing, it can take months here, while Lewes can do it in a day or two. There are inmates here who could be considered maximum security but are as yet unrecorded. I’m sure the local residents would be pleased to find out there are Cat A prisoners being housed in the Cat B prison next door. Usually they won’t find out, at least not until they escape armed and dangerous.

Both forms are returned blank, with no sign of a response. Of course.

Indian Summer

More mail arrives as it follows the arduous route of first heading to a censors office to check for hidden contraband, money or escape plans. I enjoy knowing that the 10 side letters I’m sending out each day add to their workload. The reality is, it’s unlikely my letters out are censored or even looked at. “Cutbacks” and all.

Amongst the mail are 3 letters from my girlfriend, the first 3 letters written from the moment she hears of my sentencing.

I’ve long waited to read these but fear my softer side will give out on me. I love her harmless thoughts and innate kindness, there for me from the start of this, every fear I have about her and these events will be encapsulated within these first letters.

I’m nervous…

What if she can’t deal with it?

There’s butterflies in my stomach…

Will she wait for me?

Anxiety emerges…

How will others treat her?

Acid burns my throat…

Vomit touches my gullet…

I rip the envelope and pull the papers…

My worst fears: She’s devastated…

“2 years!”

The letter starts with negative intent, I pray that I never receive a ‘Dear John’ letter. Her distress is understandable and I read on gripped by a heart-crushing worry, that it may end in a manner our previous stiff upper lip had never envisaged.

Page after page I read, but it reads better with every sentence she’s penned. Reading a letter through misty windows written by a lady with the same. There’s nothing I need to worry about, she’s still there, waiting for me.

My fears evaporate and a euphoria fills the vacuum, the room awakens, grey walls become windows upon future meadows, hard steel becomes a metaphor for the rigidity of our relationship, I lay my head upon my pillow of clothes and exhale with satisfaction.  RESULT!

Saying Goodbye

22 Feb

Gym finished and we get a little association time in the late morning, Ian comes and knocks on my cell door, relieved to see his face and not another Ponce on the hunt for rizla, tobacco or milk; I welcome him into my humble, if a little cramped abode.

“I’ve come to say bye mate, I’m off to Highpoint”

Wow, that happened fast, I thought; sad to lose another pal, but I’m pleased to know he is moving on to somewhere a little better. Highpoint used to be known as Knifepoint, I definitely don’t pass on that information, but I reckon every jail has a nickname, it’s got to be better than here for him. It’s close to his family and I’ll think of him always as the man who I began my sentence with. Slightly insecure, friendly and not an axe collecting insomniac, everything you need in a first night cell mate. Good luck Ian in whichever path life takes you know. I make a note of his prison number and tuck it away in a book for safe keeping.

Tel is off to Wayland, so I pass him the title of my sales book: A Wideboy’s Handbook (ahem, cheap plug) as well as my email address. Surprise some on the outside as it may, I did try to encourage him to deviate from shoddy investment sales; you’re only as good as the product you sell. It took me quite a while to learn that in life; he’s met a man doing bird for the same career he hungers, it’s a shame I’ve not discouraged him.

Half an hour later, he’s back to see me, the screw couldn’t find him so he’s missed the bus out. Thats another week or two here then, less than ideal. He even gets a dressing down for it, this despite he was taken away for an unrelated appointment. It seems a bit off getting the hairdryer treatment for the fault of your handlers. There’s a couple of officers here with a decidedly nasty streak. One’s Nigerian, the cell-shifter I call him – he’s the go-to guy if you want an inmate dragged out of his cell and shoved into another unwelcoming space. He brought Anthony to my door unsurprisingly. Anthony, doesn’t share any kindred love, a Nigerian himself, he hates the man. The second little Hitler that walks the landings of E-Wing, is a senior officer, quick to swing the baton and cursed by a personality bi-polarity. The man has time for no-one and respect for even fewer. Not your obvious looking hardman, still rumours persist that he’s responsible for many an unreported assault.

Tel’s run in for missing the bus is with the former first, then the latter minutes after. A civilian nurse comes between the screws and the budding spiv; the confrontation’s cracked, a brittle peace, its clear that this was a disproportionate use of authority.He’s asked if he wants to follow-up a formal complaint but for your average con, that’s not the done thing, besides all he wants to do is get out of here. Getting an express seat probably won’t be helped if he’s rattling cages.

I’ve heard nothing yet about my radio plug, the landing officer on duty today tells me:

“Put an App in”

I do, I hear that shredder once again.

This time I’m told it can take 3 to 4 working days to find out,  despite my plug being in a box not more than 30 metres away.

Back in the boudoir and I’ve got a bit more mail neatly laid out on the desk. There’s one from my solicitor Richard at THBLegal; he passes on the news that my Corporate Advisor David Sinclair, has been extensively fined and banned from working in the City.

This is the man who claimed I’d duped him, the man who sits on the fraud advisory panel, the qualified lawyer and the man with his extensive finance experience. Why is he being banned and fined if the FSA truly thought he’d been had over? His firm Axiom Capital still operate but not without him at the helm. I find out later that my case is not the first he is involved with and I later question whether I should have appealed sentence. This won’t be the last incident of an unsafe witness as my sentence ticks on. A former boss ‘perverts the course of justice’ with a false and significant statement in a police interview, I’ll publish the evidence to substantiate my assertion, but the truth is, how much should I care? The hard part’s done, I’ve dealt with the upside down life for 3 years, the protracted sentencing, the goodbyes, do I really care about the opinions of some people I’ll never meet. The sad fact is, we all want to right the wrongs about us in life. I’m not an angel, I never have been, hell, who is? I flew amongst a flock and I wasn’t the leader.

Turkey Korma is dinner and it’s pretty palatable.

 

 

THE GYM

22 Feb

The cell door swings open at 8.20 to what would be on any other day, a siren sound, a chorus if you will, a Gym Induction. Today though, my body’s sore, swollen and lethargic, as the illness that has engulfed me in recent days takes shape. I embrace germs my DNA string hasn’t seen since the 1890s. I feel ill still but nothing would stop me from hitting the gym.

I bimble to the end of the landing and converge with the other random assortment of lags. A bit of waiting around is required so I take a look at those standing with me. Anything from young and old, excited to disinterested, it seems the gym screws drag everyone out for this event. There’s alcoholics, drug addicts, the morbidly obese and the athletically insane, all present eager for some out of cell time. Quite what level of fitness a tramp may or may not have is a prospect I am eager to explore.

I chuck last night’s writings into the yellow post box in time for the 8.30 collection and I have the chance to catch up with Ian and our new chat pal, Tel. A number of the wing orderlies tag along too for a gym session and I get the chance to properly make the acquaintance of Darren. He’s a wing cleaner on remand, suspecting the terms of his release license after  a 9 stretch. That’s a full 9, an 18 year tariff; makes mine look like chump change.

The gym we head to is one of five in Wandsworth and is a mixture of old and new equipment but better than some I’ve seen. It’s still a little spartan but perfect right now. It beats push ups and shadow boxing in your cell, sweating with your head inches from the toilet. Don’t let the Daily Mail have you thinking we have a David Lloyd centre here. The showers are cramped, cheek to cheek and I can’t see a hot tub anywhere.

We sit on a wooden bench in two rows while we are given a 5 minute safety demonstration and talk on gym etiquette. It’s another box ticking exercise and I’d bet a good half don’t understand a word thats just been said, i’m champing at the bit and fly out of the blocks when we get the green light.

I spend a bit of time getting accustomed to the gym and try to put together some kind of circuit in the hope I’ll sweat my disease out. Twenty minutes in and Darren invites me into his session. Cue the hardest hour of training I have done in a long-long time. He’s as fit as a fiddle, systematically wearing me down muscle by muscle. If he’s testing me, I don’t know how much longer I can keep the brave face on. No rest for the wicked seems to be his mantra – I feel it’s futile to protest that at heart, I’m not.

I enjoy getting to the gym, if not for anything else but being able to have a shower without it being a drama. As I dry off I take the time to chat to Darren about what brought him back here. In keeping with similar remand cases, I won’t comment more. But he has a family outside and is desperate to make up for lost time. I can see he’s a good sort and I here from others he has been pushing to get me that job on E-Wing I hanker for. Tel, told me today he’s off to Wayland nick, I’m conscious that cell movement is happening again and while other wings maybe quieter I’ve started to get bedded in on E and sticking on here will be just fine.

 

 

This time last week…

21 Feb

Letters through the crack in my door. That slither of air which offers the prospect of some wider space beyond the four walls that entomb me daily, today hands me the first post from my girlfriend.

She’s suffered my disjointed life since 2009, she’s never known me with a full freedom many relationships need to survive. Curfews and endless goodbyes have framed our merry little time together. In spite of this all, we’ve thrived, I’VE thrived, every bit of us was integral in me attaining my new sense of contentment in life. Picnics in London Fields, tramping around the East End in the wee hours, dizzied on Cider and Smiles and in every nook, a new passion we share  a common love for.

The letters are in a disjointed order, it seems I have numbers 4 to 6, so where’s 1 and 3? Do I wait, will it spoil it? I don’t wait, I can’t wait, I rip open the envelopes, carefully forwarded on by her little sis-come-secretary; a proper gem for doing this.

A broad smile rips across my face, for the first time, my emotions soften, is this an artistic way to say I had a tear in my eye? Behave!

I grab my notebook and pen and begin to make annotations and notes, this is the nearest we get to a conversation, so I make sure I miss no question or query and keep the letters fluid. I have a feeling the letters are going to get a little longer now, my 4 pads of paper look like they will struggle to see out a couple of months, let alone a sentence. (No pun intended) -> (No seriously, NO PUN intended)

The letters indicate a sense of shock and worry in the earlier ones, I begin to wonder what kind of heartpouring went into those I don’t have.

I lay on my bed and re-read the notes again, I rest my head on a pillow case filled to a firmness not dissimilar to concrete, using only pants, socks and a prison jumper. Still no pillows here, my necks been aching for days now. It strikes me how a government facility can’t deal with such an elementary issue of pillow procurement. All pain is eased though, right now, medicated by the handfuls of paper filled with the thoughts of my sweetheart.

I pen a poem to pop in my reply as my mind wanders over my sentencing:

“2 Years said/

Incandescent/

Judge Hails/

Sat resplendent/

Sharp Practice/

Ethic Less/

Be nice – he’s not/

They’re tactless/

Take him down!/

What?/

Take me where now?/

Pint sized Jim/

I’m cuffed to him/

Leads me off/

Head bowed in sin”

I head to bed with that smile still there. Time happy is time well spent. I make a point of laughing every day, the initial shock is waning and replaced with a plan of action. A plan to make the time go by as best as possible. I tell my family the same in another letter I put to sleep. I tell them:

“Don’t be sad, as I am not,

Be happy and know that I spend each day smiling,

I love you all and soon you’ll have your son back”