9 July 2009 (Thursday) - Go Directly (Back) to Jail

The start of my second long weekend of the summer. Where has the year gone?

There is nothing more uncomfortable than wandering around all day when the elastic in your pants has gone. It costs less than a quid to get new pants, so why don’t I chuck these things away?

And then back to Mario World – I’ve found an 80s games web site and am now hopelessly addicted to Super-Mario 3. It’s a rather lame game that over twenty years ago I wasted many an hour on, and it looks like I shall be wasting time on it again

I popped into the pet shop up the road this morning. The prices of snakes have really escalated. Something which only a few years ago was thirty or forty quid is now over two hundred. But they had some Kenyan Sand Boas for forty quid. They are so sweet, and don’t get much more than a foot long. I must admit to being tempted. Perhaps once the camping season is over I might think about a small boa. Or perhaps I won’t.

A quick train trip to get a plate of egg & chips in Wetherspoons, and then up to the chokey. “Norman Stanley” is in relatively good spirits, considering where he is. He’s looking somewhat gaunt, though and so we fed him up a tad. Between us we scoffed about a dozen bags of crisps, as many tins of pop, half a dozen crunchies, several cakes, and more Opal Fruits (not Starburst!!) than we’ve got sense. It would seem the recent storms have stuffed up the TV reception in the chokey, and aerials are being enhanced by hanging kettle leads out of the window. Something which is quite easy to do, as the windows don’t have glass, perspex or anything other than bars. I suppose that is good in hot weather, but I could imagine it being a nuisance in the winter, or what it rains. I’m told that floods from rain water are commonplace. I can’t help but wonder if such open-plan architecture isn’t in breach of human rights legislation. I wonder if I should be rattling cages about this one. I might write to my MP, or better still, “Norman Stanley”s MP.

It would seem that inmates are now required to eat any fruit immediately on being given the thing, and are not to take it back to their cells. One enterprising convict apparently managed to open a panel on the top of his cell door and stuff it full of fruit and sugar. A week later he loosened a screw at the bottom of the cell, and got drunk on what had been fermenting inside. You would have thought that the smell would have been a giveaway.

And again (at the risk of a ten year stretch inside myself) I was amazed at the security arrangements. I was I.D. checked three times on the way in, and body searched too. But on the way out I just upped sticks and together with a swarm of twenty or thirty other visitors just walked out. No one checked me on any lists, or I.D.-ed me. I just walked out of the prison.

I really can’t see anything preventing one of the inmates from doing the same. So I asked one of the guards what was stopping them. The arrogant fellow told me that he was. He pointed out that all the convicts wore a purple sash to identify them. I asked what would happen in the unlikely event that one was clever enough to drop the sash. After all, those criminal types are crafty (!) The guard told me that he knows the faces of all the inmates. All 600+ of them. And presumably he keeps track of all the new ones, and those that leave or move on to other nicks too.

I had no idea that prisons had guards of that calibre. We can all sleep soundly in our beds tonight….

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