Sunday, March 22, 2020

Banged up

Many years ago, when I had a 32 inch waist and 12 inch hair, I went to prison.  Only one day a week you understand, giving careers lessons to young offenders (mostly about 17 or 18 years old).  I enjoyed it immensely and they taught me a good deal.  Most of the lads were pretty harmless and our sessions were a lot of fun once I learned to use the same teaching materials I used for kids 4 or 5 years younger in local schools. (Anyone reading my Jobs for the Boys book will get a flavour of it all.)  One of the more entertaining things I learned was the terminology used by these lads and the phrase "banged up in the chokey" is one I still recall, meaning of course locked up in solitary confinement.  "Aah," you say, "I see where this post is going in these Covid times".  I thought I might first digress and tell the story of how one of the lads came to be banged up in the chokey. 

Chris was a cheery lad, but not all that bright.  If he and his mates were breaking into a shop and the police came round the corner, the others scarpered and he was the one left holding the brick in front of the broken shop window.  I imagine he had been up before the beak on a number of occasions, mostly for "taking and driving away a motor vehicle" before he was finally given a custodial sentence.  I was told that on hearing he was to be banged up, he made a dash from the dock, tripped over an usher's foot and fell into a policeman's arms.  Anyhow once in the nick he still thought it was a good idea to escape and during a metalwork class he stole a short piece of broken hacksaw blade with the idea of sawing through the bars of his cell window.  The flaw in his plan was that his cell was on the third floor of the Victorian cell block, some 30 feet above the yard which itself was surrounded by a twenty foot high wall.  Bless!  His hacksaw blade was soon discovered and that's how he got seven days in the chokey much to derision of his compatriots.

So here we are banged up at home without even the visiting days the lads in prison got.  So far it's fine.  We are in fair health and have food (thanks to kind family and neighbours) ,drink, toys and telly and we're keeping in touch with the family by the wonders of video conferencing.  What's not to like? 

Well yesterday I thought I would have a go at the garden, general tidying up and cutting the grass, and that's why today I'm in slightly not so good health.  We have a split level garden with a three foot high retaining wall between the high bit and the low bit.  I was walking along the top of the wall as a short cut to the compost bin to dump grass cuttings, when I tripped over a bit of rusty iron left there by Kath (she uses it in a fabric dying process.)  Carrying the grass hopper I was all out of balance and over I went falling onto the patio and on the way down bashing my back hard on the top of the wall.  Suffice it to say it hurts.  Maybe I have cracked a rib, I don't know and for obvious reasons I'm not going to hospital to find out.  It only hurts when I laugh or get up and down from a chair, so I'm sure it'll be OK.  Worse things happen at sea.

 Sorry this isn't about boating but I thought it would be good to have an isolation diary as a record of these strange times.

I still haven't written about our impressions of Wigrams Turn Marina - it's not like others we've used.  next time I'll write a bit about it.

I hope you're all keeping well and enjoying your isolation.  Toodle pip.


Vallypee said...

Oh Neil, poor you! I'm glad to hear it doesn't seem to be worse than a cracked rib. If so, there's nothing a doctor could do anyway, so I shall hope for the best on your behalf. We're all in the same figurative boat, aren't we? Koos and I have eschewed my barge in Rotterdam for the quiet of our crumbly cottage just by the Belgian border. We are also self isolating is so far as that's possible as one of us (mostly me, as I'm a bit younger) has to do the shopping now and then, but luckily we have a local Spar, which is never very busy and is well stocked. Look after yourselves. I fear none of us will be writing much about boating these days. But staying alive is more important, and will see us boating another day, we hope!

Herbie Neil said...

Thanks Val - ever reliable. I hope you and Koos keep safe in your crumbly cottage. I feel lucky that we are solvent, warm and comfortable and able to stay in touch with the kids. Better still, we have a food delivery tomorrow. So far, so good.

Carol said...

Take it easy Neil and let that rib/back heal in its own time. Stay safe, love to you both x

Herbie Neil said...

Thanks Carol. You and George stay safe too.