It’s been quite a week, one way or another. How best can I describe the whirligig of activity which has raged around me since my release? OK. Let’s start at the beginning, with me standing in front of the discharge principal officer back at Littlehey prison. (Am I allowed to name it now?) There he was with a large bundle of my money, counting it out-not once, not twice, but three times-before he reluctantly handed over the brown envelope and my release licence (“to be carried with you at all times if you don’t want lifting off the street, Wayne”).
They very kindly arranged for a taxi to take me to the railway station. Before boarding the train I purchased a black Samsonite suitcase because all my property had been placed in industrial polythene bags bearing the legend “HM Prison Service.” Feeling somewhat less conspicuous after transferring my possessions to the smart new case, I got on the train for King’s Cross.
My excitement mounted as the express pulled in because dear George (who, some readers will remember, left me in the dock in that bittersweet moment at Worcester crown court late last year) was waiting at the end of the platform, bouncing from one foot to the other. He looked fit, tanned; blue eyes sparkling, snaggle-toothed smile flashing. He always promised he’d be there on the Great Day of Release. Here he was, as good as his word and twice as handsome. We embraced, and I nearly broke down with happiness.
“I’ve booked us into an ‘otel across ver road,” he said, with a mischievous grin. “It aint nuffink special but we can be alone vair an’ it must be better van ver nick you’ve just come from.”
For two days, as bona fide residents of the Hotel California, King’s Cross, London, we sat on our beds and talked and ate and drank and smoked and generally made merry by spending far too much money on highly combustible substances.
This is my first summer out of prison for the past 15 years. The heat this summer is unbearable. Most of my clothes are winter garments, and most of them have been wet through with sweat from morning until night. Travelling on the London underground is one of the least tolerable of my daily experiences.
I’ve got my own office now on the Gray’s Inn road, with a computer…