To err is human; to forgive, divine

Here’s some more prison inside info for you.  When an offender is sentenced, s/he only serves a proportion of their time inside.  In Mike’s case, he was sentenced to three years, will serve one year, one and a half months (who’s counting – me!) inside before being eligible for parole.  He will then (finger’s crossed, he hasn’t had his Parole Board Hearing yet, be allowed to be released back into society “on a tag”, which means he will have to wear a “tag” a monitoring device which will ensure he abides by his curfew times.

I met my friend at the cinema the other day and she was talking about films we could go and see when Mike gets out and I had to stop her.  “You do realise he’ll be tagged don’t you?”  My lovely friend thought he could still go to the cinema, hadn’t he attended when on weekend release?  I had to explain that when Mike comes out for town visits and home leaves, he is trusted.  He can stay out all night (albeit avoiding licensed premises) and generally come and go as he likes.  We can go to the cinema and not get home until 10.30pm.  But once tagged, that trust is gone.  He will have to adhere to a curfew.

I spoke to his probation officer the other day to find out if it was ok for him to return to a local church whilst on a tag so he could play in the band there.  That was fine, I was actually told he’s of no risk to the public, so him meeting with fellow inmates to play in a brass band is ok.  But to stay out late to go, occasionally, to the cinema – no.  To embark upon an Alpha Course (religion alert) – no.  To attend any evening networking events in order to promote his business – no.  For us to go for a walk around the block after I get home from work – no.  He has to be in and to stay in by 7pm.  No going into the garden, I mean right inside the house.  His study, where he will work, is at the back of our house, to access it you have to step outside for about 10 steps – that’ll be out of bounds too probably.  And this will go on until February 2013.

I admit, this did upset me.  I had to sit down and give it some thought.  And then I remembered, I have to be grateful for small mercies.  The mere fact that he is coming home is supposed to be enough.  The trouble is, we think Mike’s paid for his crime already – the fact that all the money was repaid, he’s jobless with a criminal record to boot, everything else chucked at him/us just seems pointless.

We’re desperately trying to move on – but society does not move at our pace, it does not forgive so quickly.

August – Wettest and Longest, It’s Official

Well, the wettest, yes, we have met office statistics, but as I lay in bed last night and listened to the throb of the burners heating up the oast house just up the road, I realised at last, September was here.

We desperately wanted to move into our house in September 2010 (well August 2010, but there were complications) so that we could watch the comings and goings of the hop harvest.  We are surrounded by hop fields here in Kent, indeed from where I sit,  I can see a row of dilapidated hoppers sheds used to accommodate the pickers as they thronged in from London.  It wasn’t to be, we missed the 2010 harvest so stupidly imagined we’d be here for the 2011 one.  I saw that one on my own.  And although we’ve had enough rain to make beer flow down the street, the 2012 harvest is about to start and Mike will again just miss it.  Actually there’s not really much to it apart from discarded hops all over the lanes and a rusty old tractor buzzing 24hrs a day from field to oast.  But it smells nice.

Old Hopper’s Huts

I don’t put hop bines in my kitchen.  Mainly because there’s no room and also because it reminds me of the time when I lived with my sister. Mum, so exasperated by our attempts at housekeeping, decided to become our cleaner and  Julie arrived home one evening from work to find mum dusting the dried old hop bine that had been hanging in the kitchen.  They make a mess when they collapse, a bigger mess that the one she’d come to sort out.  I also made a hop pillow earlier in the year, from last year’s crop and  almost sneezed my head off.  They are now confined in a plastic bag amongst the “craft things I’m going to sell one day”.

Hop picking, bucolic, but this is an interesting article that I came across on The Orwell Society web site, that removes the rose tinted specs http://www.orwellsociety.com/2012/02/05/orwell-and-other-writers-on-hop-picking-by-ron-bateman/

Countdown begins now….. 26 days until the 27th, at last September has arrived.