We’ll recap, I guess we have to, just to keep the chronology straight:
It’s all here…
There’s no good news. Just sound and fury and noises from afar.
Had promised to get back to Arthur’s Cousin Vera to let her know that whether her letter had been received. They promised to do it soon, maybe that day.
Well that was August 1st, Joseph is now on a well deserved holiday and Vera hasn’t heard anything at all, but she’ll keep pushing him, because….. well, we have to push or we get ignored.
There’s something fundamentally wrong with this system, it’s been over three months for this part of the case alone and I get the definite impression that everybody would be happy if they just upped and left and took their problems and their adult diapers and their shouting and screaming and their foul smells and their rats somewhere else.
Just far enough to be in a different county.
and be somebody else’s problem
But maybe I’m not being fair, the problem is that none of us know anything.
Thank God for the persistence of Postladies.
So I wrote a letter to my Uncle.
I’ll reproduce most of it below and I sent it ‘Signed For, Addressee Only’ – this just means that somebody has to go to the door and sign for it.
It took me three attempts to get it delivered as they just don’t answer the door.
Anyway, here it is..
‘Dear Uncle Arthur,
I hope that you and Shirley are well.
Despite your assurances to the social worker, I remain worried
about your wellbeing, as do your old neighbours in Frinton, who I
met with a month ago; my Dad (your brother) and the wider
family, including your cousin Vera and your nephew Michael.
I have given them all your address and they will be writing to you
individually, as will I on a regular basis.
I know that you said that you have lost your address book, so
everybody will ensure that they give you their address.
I met with your current neighbours last week, they seem like
lovely people and I had tea and a few drinks on Saturday evening
with both the uphill and downhill neighbours, you may have seen
my car on Sunday morning as I parked opposite to walk the dog
to the river.
I wasn’t sure that it would ever get to him or whether he would respond and in the meantime I had a disturbing alert to say that he had been seen pushing a shopping trolley to the shops in Middleham. This sounds innocuous but it’s half a mile up a vicious hill that I’m not that keen on walking myself, let alone pushing or pulling a trolley.
Susan’s brother had been in the house an hour previously.
I sent a mail to Social Services, etc. and the mail and the reply are below.
‘Dear Mr Hodge
Thank you for your e-mail. I can assure you that this information will be considered as part of our on-going safeguarding enquiries.’
Which, to be fair, I didn’t really expect to receive. So it was slightly heartening to get this acknowledgement (if nothing else).
And things idled on.
Until last Monday.
And I got a phone call from a number that I’ve never had a call from before.
The call lasted over twenty minutes and I have a recording (luckily) of the last 18 minutes, but I’ll paraphrase the call as best as I can.
The Phone Call
It rang as I was trying to do something else and I was a bit surprised to hear my Uncle’s voice on the line.
‘Is that Thunderdog?’
‘This is Arthur, have you been saying things to my neighbours? They’ve said that you’ve told them I’m nutty.’
‘No, which neighbours do you mean, what are their names?’
‘I don’t know their names, I don’t talk to them’
‘So how could they tell you what I supposedly said?’
*sound of paper and pen in the background*
‘Are you alone Arthur?’
‘Are you alone? Is Susan with you?’
‘No, I’m all on my own’
‘Really, I doubt that, I thought that you were inseparable, I’m not sure that I believe you, but I’m not sure it matters either, which neighbours was it? Uphill or downhill? And if you don’t talk to them why would they tell you a lie?
‘Er, it was downhill’
‘Ah, yes, lovely people, I’ve been in theirs a few times for a cup of tea, so why would they tell you something like that? It doesn’t sound very true to me’
‘Well, what about the other neighbours in Frinton?’
‘What about them? I spoke to a few of them and they were very concerned about you’
‘Who was it?’
‘It was Jackie from the corner and I had a very long chat and a cup of tea with her, she was worried after you left’?
‘She was a troublemaker, she came in my house and was going through all my letters and when I asked her what she was doing, she said that she didn’t think I could read’
‘Are you sure that you remember this properly Uncle Arthur? She had a very different story and said that she came over to pay you the money she owed you for letting her park on your drive’
*sound of mobile phone in the background*
‘Are you sure you’re alone Arthur?’
‘Are you alone in the room? Is Susan with you?’
‘No, there’s just old Shirley’
‘Whose phone rang then?’
*pause, paper sounds*
‘Anyway, what about Nobby?’
‘What about Nobby? I haven’t spoken to him in over a month’
‘He’s our cab driver’
‘I know exactly who he is, but I haven’t spoken to him’
‘And the bank have frozen my money, I went there last Saturday, I had a right row and I called the bleeding police’
‘You called the police? You do know that the police already know about your bank and so do social services and social services are talking to the bank’
We then spent a few minutes while I told him that despite the fact that I thought Susan was probably in the background that I’d tell him everything I knew.
I began though with telling him that I believed Susan to be a danger to him and Shirley, that I believed that she has mental problems and that I had reported this to Social Services and the Police.
This involved a fair amount of me unloading on him and telling him that I had copies of statements given to the police, including on the day of the funeral when he sat in a cafe and talked to a stranger about not being able to go.
At that point I heard a female voice start to say something and then stop.
Conversation went a bit faster after this point, the point of the conversation had changed and this was now me pushing him – hard.
I continued to tell him all I knew about Essex, the Police kicking his door in while Shirley was alone, everything.
I told him ‘for the record and for the benefit of others listening in’ that I wasn’t going to back off no matter what, but that he wouldn’t see me, I had no plans to go to the house and that I would be keeping the pressure up on social services.
We then talked a bit more and he started talking about his money being frozen again.
‘I’ve worked all my life as you know and I can’t get my own bleeding money out’
‘Have you asked why they won’t give it to you?’
‘Have I asked?’
‘Yes, have you asked the bank why your accounts have restriction on them, because this was something that they did because their safeguarding team had concerns about the way your bank account is being run and it’s interesting that you don’t seem to know anything about it or haven’t asked in seven months’.
‘I went to the bank last week, in Harrogate, they told me I could only get two hundred out and it cost me near two hundred to fucking get there’.
‘But did you ask them why you have restrictions?’
‘Well I called the Police and they made me sit in a room – on me own- and erm, yap, yap yap, I told them it doesn’t make any difference, it’s my money and I’m entitled to it. ‘
‘Did they think it was a crime?’
‘No they didn’t say that’
‘So what exactly did they say?’
He rambled a bit at this point and I made the repeated point that he needed to talk to the safeguarding team in his bank to find out what the issue was from their point of view.
Somebody was shouting at him from the background and he eventually hung up.
It was a strange call, but it had felt good to let him (and the listener) know just how much effort I’d put in and to turn the conversation round into something more useful (from my point at least)
To let those involved – even on the periphery know what’s going on.
I texted both sets of neighbours and advised them to keep an eye out as it may get interesting…
Which was just as well I suppose.
At 14:45, my Uncle rang me again to threaten himself with my solicitor – or something. It took him about five attempts to tell me that I’d get a letter from his solicitor if I didn’t back off – or something. It was all a bit bizarre. I laughed, blew Susan a kiss and hung up.
Only to get a phone call from the first set of neighbours demanding to know what I’d said as Susan had been round to abuse them, citing me as the source for her information that they were talking about her.
I calmed them down and sent a copy of the audio file from my phone call with Arthur.
Which they then shared with the other neighbours who had received a similar visit.
It was all very heated and both sets of neighbours called the Police – as did Susan.
And that’s where it ended for the day.
Apart from one more letter..
The Letter (2)
Dear Uncle Arthur
Thank you for your two phone calls earlier this week, I confess that they have left me more worried than ever about your situation and I have forwarded my concerns on to Leyburn Police and Social Services.
Your first call was slightly incoherent and seemed to involve things that you alleged that I said about you to your neighbours – I didn’t say those things of course; and your statement that you didn’t really talk to the neighbours or know their name left me feeling as if you had been prompted to call me.
I could hear paper and scratching in the background during the call, which (to me anyway) showed coercion and control by a 3rd party and the fact that Susan then felt compelled to then see fit to abuse both sets of neighbours giving my name and therefore slandering me has left me annoyed and considering my next steps.
She was clearly listening to the call and chose to deliberately change my words to you when she spoke to the neighbours to suit whatever purpose she hopes to achieve.
However; I hope that my advice to you to call the safeguarding team in your bank will prove useful in your attempt to find out why your accounts are restricted.
The NatWest Safeguarding Manager is a gentleman named Neil ….., if you call NatWest, they will get him to call you on a number of your choice – he may be able to explain why your accounts set off alarms in the system.
He has been in communication with Social Services – I suggest that you ask them for details.
A large number of people are concerned about you, including your cousin Vera who has written to you twice – the first letter was signed for by S Auckland and the second letter which contained an Order of Service for your only Sister’s funeral (remember her?) hasn’t yet been able to be delivered.
Did you get it I wonder? Or did it go the way of the letter and card that I posted through your door the Saturday before the funeral. I sat and watched as Susan threw it into the skip outside (I have photos to back this up by the way – and witnesses).
Your second call in which it took you five attempts to threaten me with a solicitor if I didn’t stop contacting you (an interesting idea given that this is only my second letter to you since your sister’s funeral) would have been funny if it wasn’t both sad and sinister.
This has caused me to redouble my efforts with Social Services as I believe that you are being coerced by a 3rd party, namely Susan Auckland and I have named her in a safeguarding concern report to North Yorkshire Council which has triggered the current case that you are involved in.
However, should you wish to pay the fees and your solicitor wishes to communicate with me, my address is:
If your solicitor is still John Smith, he and I have met and corresponded in the past and I would look forward to hearing from him again and would relish the opportunity to discuss this situation in court.
You may be surprised at the depth of my knowledge regarding your situation, the people involved and the efforts I’ve undertaken on your behalf.
That’s all folks
Apart from one more letter that I wrote to Police and Social.
Which has had an unexpected result.
I’ve had a phone call this afternoon that is genuinely positive and I really can’t say much more than that right now except that finally I’m hearing words that aren’t just platitudes.
I guess we’ll see