Netflix One-Off Special

Background:

It’s early June 1994, life as we know it was much different, the weather was massively variable, a rail strike was hurting the country and Fred West was blissfully unaware that he’d soon be huge news.

Mobile phones were in their infancy and in many ways; life was simpler.

Not for a section of the Norfolk Broads though.

Characters:

The Groom – (TG)

The Best Man, an architect and otherwise intelligent man in his late 30s – referred to here as That Fucking Idiot (TFI)

The Biochemist (Bio)

The Accountant (TA)

The IT Specialist (IS)

The Builder (the wealthy one, also the drunk – TD)

The Place

The Norfolk Broads, particularly Wroxham and the surrounding area

The Venue

A fifty foot long Broads Boat hired by TFI from Blake’s Boatyard, at the time a smallish independent operator. they’ve long since disappeared but the boat looked a bit like this.

Scene – Day One: Early Morning

A group of six men in their 30s meet at roadside for a minibus to take them to Norfolk, they’re all fairly well dressed, all have a small bag for extra clothes and are standing around a stack of beer that’s nearly six feet tall. There’s also a portable stereo that is already playing a mix of music that seems designed to annoy others.

TFI – ‘are we all ready for this, got all your stuff?’ He leers at The Groom

TG – ‘just remember the rules, try to tie me to anything or shave anything and I’ll murder you and dump your body overboard’

Everybody looks at their feet.

Four hours later – The Boat.

Boatyard Guide – “Right, are we all listening, you need to be really careful, this is a big boat and some of the sidings are covered in iron. You need to make sure that you undo the awning if you’re taking the roof back. This is how you go forward – and backwards, keep the speed low and steady, don’t do any sudden turns. Make sure you take the key out if you leave the boat.

Everybody – nods and ‘yeah, OK’

Boatyard Guide – ‘OK – let’s go’

He executes a flawless and very fast 180 degree turn and jumps off the boat.

TFI takes the wheel, beers are opened and everybody dumps their bags in the cabins while ‘Right Next Door To Hell’ blares from the CD Player.

Ten Minutes Later

TFI to The Groom – ‘Let’s take the roof back!”

TG- ‘Don’t forget to….’

CRACKKK

TFI – ‘What was that?’

TG – ‘That was the awning ripping out and flying into the river, you stupid cunt’

TFI – ‘What?’

TG- ‘That’s our deposit gone and you’d better hope that it doesn’t fucking rain now’ – he takes a long drink of beer while the others inspect the broken woodwork.

One Hour Later

The boat is moored at a pub, our heroic band are spending money as fast as possible while bemoaning the fact that the pub is too quiet.

Another Hour Later

Everybody is back on board and TFI takes the wheel. He guns the throttle into reverse and slams the boat into a siding. Ignoring the crash, he spins the wheel and embeds the iron siding into he boat a few feet above the waterline – there’s now an eight foot gash in the skin of the boat.

Everybody – ‘whatthefuckyoustupidcuntwhatthefuckinghellTWATCUNTyoufuckingidiot’

TFI -‘Well that was how he did it in the boatyard’

TG ‘Why don’t you go and ask him to do some draughtsmanship for you for fucks sake. You know that we now owe THEM money don’t you?’ Another long drink is taken and a quiet sob can be heard.

Two Hours Later

Two of the cases of beer are now empty and the boat has now taken on the air of a group of Death Row Prisoners trying to enjoy their last day.

IS -‘Hang on there’s a boat full of women there, they’re waving at us… OI, TFI, get us closer’

The two boats draw alongside and IS, TA and TG jump across with two cases of beer. The music on our boat gets louder and people frequently jump between boats. It’s agreed to moor up in Wroxham and find a pub.

4PM Day one.

Both boats are moored up, there are no other boats nearby and everybody is well on the way to being ever so slightly drunk.

11PM Day One. Wroxham

Everybody goes back to the boats for a party having offended a large number of innocent tourists trying to have a nice time in the pub. The circle around the group becoming wider and wider as the level of offensiveness rises.

1AM Day TwoOur Boat

The girls have returned back to their boat along with IS who’s on a promise, TD is asleep on the jetty, Bio is wandering around aimlessly and TA is ranting at The Groom about the lack of reliability of TFI. ‘He’s a fucking menace and I’d like to drag him behind the boat tomorrow, it’ll be safer for all of us and… I CAN’T GET IN THE FUCKING CABINS…. WHERE IS HE?WHERE’STHE FUCKING KEY………’

They jump onto the Jetty and TA is still shouting -‘THERE’S A LIGHT ON IN THAT FUCKING CABIN I’M GOING TO…….

There’s a muffled splash and TA appears coughing and struggling as he’s walked off the jetty into the river in the dark.

TG is doubled over laughing hysterically – TA has to be rescued by BIO and TG is still laughing as he coughs his way aboard, drenched and filthy. Luckily TG had a huge sweater on board and TA is able to strip down to boxers and have a warm top as they trudge to the girls’ boat.

1:15 AM Day Two – The Girls’ Boat

Girl One – ‘Oh thank god you’re here, can you take him back with you? We’ll make you a bacon sandwich each..’

TFI -‘Hello’

Everybody – ‘YoulockedusCUNTofheboatdCUNTyoufuckingidiotCUNTwherearethekeys?’

1:45 AM Day Two

Everybody but IS is back on the boat and soon asleep.

7AM Day Two

The group gather on the deck and look at their sad little boat, something hideous has been spilled on the deck and has left a deep stain, there’s bottles and cans everywhere and the quiet little berth that was empty at 4PM the day before is absolutely surrounded by families on boats .

They’re also outside a Police Station.

Bio makes a cup of tea for everybody while TFI decides that he’s going to play his new AC/DC album again – or more to the point, he plays ‘Heatseeker’ Again and again. Bellowing out the word Heatseeker occasionally. By this point, it’s not clear if he just enjoys it, is having a mental breakdown, is still drunk or is just winding up. TG thinks it’s a combination of the last two.

IS boards the boat to thunderous applause and the group are now becoming aware of the crowd of boats around them. They’re also surprised at the goodwill they’re being extended, one boat is offering more bacon sandwiches which are gratefully accepted and there seems to be nobody upset at last night’s noise. One older couple said it made a nice change and that they were listening to the music while having a bottle of wine on deck..

9AM Day Two The group decide to brave Wroxham to find a proper breakfast and are soon fascinated by this unusual little backwater.

And that nearly everything is called Roys.

There’s a general store and a toy store amongst others.

And rather bewilderingly, Miss Roy.

It’s all a bit too much for Bio, who wants to ask random people in the street if they’re called Roy. The group drag him into a cafe and over breakfast, they discuss the day.

The Groom will call his dad (from a phone box) and arrange for him and a few other people who couldn’t make the whole trip and tell them to meet at…

A discussion is held.

Nobody can be bothered to move, so as long as the group aren’t barred, they’ll take residence in the pub again for the day.

TA and Bio spot a huge mannequin of a butcher and pose for photos with it, annoying the actual butcher in the shop as they take pose after pose. They giggle to each other as they walk away.

10AM Day Two

The group enter the pub sheepishly, not entirely sure if they’re welcome and are greeted by the landlady.

‘Morning lads, we’ve restocked with bottled beer after last night, want a drink on the house?’

TG – ‘Yes please, six Becks please.. Listen, we were a bit, we loud last night, sorry if there were any issues.’

Landlady – ‘You spent more last night than every other person in the pub combined – even if you double their spend. Stay as long as you like, just don’t start a fight or burn the place down and we’re good’

Grinning, she walks away.

TA – ‘She’s right, we need to top the whip up, we spent nearly £500 yesterday’

Everybody tops the fund up and the drinking begins again.

12PM Day Two – The girls pop in for a drink and to say goodbye and good luck and they leave the pub in a cloud of giggles into the sunlight.

The Jukebox is topped up with enough money to ensure that nobody else will get a choice in music until evening and the group settle in for a gentle afternoon of drinking, talking and playing word-based drinking games.

One goes like this.

A word is said …..

‘The’ perhaps.

The next person has to add a word “Giraffe”and the next person has to add a word as well as saying the previous words.

The Giraffe went out into Soho to buy the monkey from the bar one of those rare orchids that can not be seen unless you watch a film with dark clothes and a cup of cold piss from a zebra – fuck what was the next word?’

2PM Day Two -The game comes to a shuddering halt when TFI unwittingly brings the group close to hysteria.

‘Outer. Space. Outer Space is. Outer Space is Dodgy’

The group set to drinking in earnest and at:

3:30 PM Day Two –

The Groom’s dad and a few others, including a designated driver walk in. Ironic cheers and shouts of ‘hello you old cunt’ can be heard. He sits with the group as beers are ordered and looks around nervously at the people already giving dirty looks to the group.

Dad – ‘christ, keep it down a bit, you’ll get us all barred’

Everybody – loud laughter, cries of ‘fuck off’

Dad – ‘I mean it, some of these people look really pissed off’

TG – in a kind and gentle voice – ‘Don’t worry Dad, we’ve been given a green light to do anything we like by the landlady as long as nobody gets hurt. We’ve already spent more today than Wiggy over there will spend in a fortnight’

Dad – looks round nervously and sees a man in a bad wig glaring back at them. – “fucksake keep it down..”

TG – ‘What for Wiggy, Wiggy can fuck off if he doesn’t like it’

The group – ‘Fuck off Wiggy’

Six grown men collapse into giggles at the horror and outrage, they’re beyond reason by this point and the newcomers realise that the only thing to do is to drink hard and fast.

Dad – ‘How’s the boat?’

TG – ‘It’s fucked, we probably own the boatyard a couple of grand and it’s still only Saturday, that’s one of the reasons that we haven’t moved – so that mad cunt’ he shrugs at TFI ‘ can’t cause any more damage’.

The afternoon progresses and at one point TA and Bio go to get more cash.

5PM Day Two

A loud commotion can be heard outside and a butcher is shouting at the sky, his mannequin seems to have decided to leave home and take up a spot on a jetty across the bridge.

TA and Bio are giggling.

7PM Day Two –

A vote is taken and it’s agreed that the now extended group will go and find some actual food. IS runs out and checks that a table at the local Indian Restaurant is available and the group walk over. Cries of ‘Heatseeker’ and ‘Wiggy’ can be heard throughout the town.

730PM Day Two – Indian Restaurant Wroxham

The group are ordering and ‘Dad’ confesses that he’s never had an Indian meal. The Manager comes over to help him choose food, while all around huge amounts of Naan Bread, Tikka, Rice, Jalfrezi, Vindaloo and Phaal are ordered, along with thirty bottles of beer to get started.

Dad – ‘What should I have?’

Manager – he has a pleasing West Country accent – “whatever you like, but I’d go for something gentle or even something with chips if you like.’

Dad – OK, I’ll probably go with something with chips, but I keep hearing them order Phaal and laughing – what is that?

Manager – leans in and whispers – ‘don’t even try it, it’ll burn your fucking arse off’ – he walks away grinning

10PM Day Two – The Groom’s Dad and others now have a two hour drive back to Essex and beery and loud farewells are said. The car drives away to cries of “Wiggy and Heatseeker’

The group go back to the pub and actually behave themselves.

1AM Day Three The Boat

Nobody has thrown up, lost any keys, fallen in the river, stolen anything or even shouted, the group go to bed and agree that tomorrow they’ll head upriver before their welcome runs out.

9AM Day Three The Pub

The Group go into the pub to say goodbye. They’re given a fond farewell and leave the bar, stealing a few souvenirs along the way, including the signs from the toilet doors.

9:30 AM Day Three The Boat

The boat is now back on the broads without incident, it’s a blisteringly hot morning and The Drunk, Keeper of the Beer makes a sad admission.

TD – ‘We’re out of beer’

TA – ‘What, how?’

TD – ‘Well, we fucking drank it all I suppose’

Bio – ‘No, what he means is, that you were supposed to fucking tell us so that we could buy more yesterday’

TD – ‘Sorry’

Bio and TA in unison – ‘Cunt’

TG – you do realise that it’s a fucking Sunday and we’ve got hours to go before we can buy some more?’

TFI -‘Let’s put some music….’

IS – leans across the CD Player, ejects the AC/DC album and skims it at a passing boat. ‘Fuck off we’re never playing that fucking track again’

11AM Day Three – Maps have been consulted and the boat is heading for a small pub with a berth and there’s a shop within half a mile.

Bio – ‘I can’t take any more of this’

He climbs onto the roof of the boat and waves at other boats on the river, having caught their attention, he strips off completely and dances completely naked for at least fifteen minutes, cupping his genitals and shouting general abuse at boats passing by.

The madness passes and he climbs back down.

Bio – ‘Where’s my clothes’

TG – ‘About a mile back I think, they were sinking when I last saw them’

Bio storms off to his cabin while the boat veers dangerously as IS is laughing too hard to steer.

The owner of a small cabin cruiser takes it upon himself to lecture the group on river safety and retreats quickly in a hail of abuse and empty bottles.

12PM Day Three Riverside Pub

TA and TG decide to be the grown ups and walk to the village shop while the rest of the group get the beers in.

TA -‘Why the fuck is TFI your best man?’

TG – ‘Well, I proposed at a black tie do for Trafalgar Day in his solicitor’s garden and he caught me unawares – and drunk too I suppose. Still his heart is in the right place, even if he is a fucking nightmare. He booked this because his girlfriend told him that it would be safer than us all flying abroad, I don’t think that it occurred to her just how badly we can fuck things up.’

TA – it was funny but why did you throw Bio’s clothes in the river?’

TG- ‘Did you see those scars on his legs?’

TA – Yeah, they look newish

TG – ‘They are, the mad cunt tried to hit me out of the blue on a night out with IS and TFI and he wouldn’t stop, so I accidentally put him through a shop window. He was lucky for a couple of reasons, I thought it was a wall behind me and a piece of glass as big as your arm missed his neck by an inch. ‘

TA – ‘Fuck me, but….’

TG – ‘I dusted the silly cunt down and we went to the pub, the landlord called the police and I told him to go and get a cab, He wandered off and by the time that the old bill turned up, IS and TFI were there and we just fronted them down as they couldn’t prove anything. Then they were all grinning and there Bio is standing behind me, covered in blood and looking stupid. When I asked him what he thought he was doing, he just told me to Fuck Off. We were lucky that we only had to pay for the window.’

12:15 PM Day Three The Broads

TG and TA walk into a tiny village store.

They gather up a mass of sausages, burgers, steak and bread. They pick up two portable BBQ units and as much beer as there is on the shelves.

TA – to Shop Owner – ‘Do you have any more beer?’

The shopkeeper goes to the store and leaves the assistant, a young lad, to start the till.

TA – ‘We’ll take all your porn too please’

The assistant blushes furiously and the shopkeeper returns with two more cases of beer.

TA and TG stagger to the nearby pub to get a beer and call a taxi, there’s no way that they can carry all they’ve bought back to the boat.

12:30 PM Day Three Village Pub

TA and TG stagger in with their load and order a couple of beers from the splendidly bewhiskered landlord who’s naturally curious as to what’s going on.

TG- ‘I’m getting married in a few weeks and we ran out of beer on the boat, so we’re moored at the pub on the river and we’ll have a BBQ later today.’

Landlord – ‘Lovely, well, if you want a drink later. I’ll be having a lock-in’

TG and TA ‘YES PLEASE’

They leave the pub after a short while and take a taxi back to the pub on the river.

1:15 PM Day Three – TG and TA are walking through the pub garden, four well dressed, obviously wealthy and local women are sitting at a table and one of them calls out.

‘Where are you going with all that?’

TG- ‘It’s my stag do, we’re having a BBQ on the boat later, you’re welcome to join us. ‘

The women exchange glances and have a quick chat, they scribble something on a piece of paper.

‘No, you’re OK. BUT. If you want, we’re having a garden party at my house, here’s the directions by water. I’m Jane by the way. Maybe see you there later.’

TA and TG smile broadly and after dumping the food and booze onto the boat walk into the pub, the remainder of the group are at a corner table. Cries of ‘Heatseeker’ and ‘Wankers can be heard.

1:45 PM Day Three Riverside Pub

IS – ‘Are you joking, we’ve all been invited to a party?’

TA and TG – ‘Yes’

IS- ‘could it be a joke?’

TG – Yeah, or a Deliverance type thing, we should have a go though.’

2:45 PM Day Three – The Boat

The group have been following the river for a while now and the prospect of this being a joke or worse seems to be becoming more real, the river has narrowed and is covered over by trees, somebody is humming ‘Duelling Banjos’ as the boat moves slowly into:

2:55 PM Day Three – The House

A private mooring outside a large house, the group walk through the gate into:

2:56 PM Day Three – The Garden

A huge garden, there are over a hundred people there, a marquee and a band is playing soft live music. The group immediately tone themselves down, separate and join the party, champagne is free-flowing and everybody relaxes. It’s a wonderful, unexpected surprise and the hosts are incredibly warm and welcoming.

4PM Day Three – The Garden

Jane to TG – ‘I hear from my dad that you’ve had a few dramas on your boat, it sounds awful, he said that you’re really upset?’

TG – ‘Oh that was your dad, he seems really nice, yes, the boat is pretty fucked if you look at it and the worst of it is that it’s all stupidity. I’d be less upset if we’d had genuine accidents, we’d still have to pay, but the boatyard has a ton of work to do, so they can’t even turn it around when we go back tomorrow. It’s all a bit depressing. ‘

Jane – ‘Sounds it’ She cocks her head and gives a little smile. ‘You don’t know who we are do you?’

TG – ‘Er…. No…. erm.’

Jane – ‘Well you know that you hired your boat from Blakes….’

TG – ‘Fuck me – no..’

Jane – ‘Yep, my dad is Mr Blake, you’ve just told him everything, I’d have a drink if I were you. Also if you want company tonight, me and the girls will join you at the other pub – see you there at seven?’

TG wanders off, legs slightly buckled at what’s happened.

5PM Day Three – The Boat

Is now moored back at the pub and the group are drinking bottled beer as fast as they can, tomorrow is when the boat goes back and they’re fucked. There’s very little conversation.

6PM Day Three – Village Pub

The group enter the bar and shake hands with the landlord, they order drinks and wait for Jane and the others. There’s a small group of young locals giving them dirty looks, but nobody can be bothered to even look at them by this stage.

6:55 PM Day Three – Village Pub

Jane and her friends join the table, one of the locals calls out but they totally ignore him and an animated conversation ensues.

10PM Day Three – Village Pub

The pub will close in a few minutes, TG and TD have to visit the toilet to make room for the lock-in drinks. There’s a tap of TG’s shoulder and he turns to take a punch in the face from one of the locals. It’s not a good one and he licks a tiny drop of blood from his lip before grinning at the local.

TD – ‘We don’t want any trouble, don’t hit him back’

TG – continues to grin at the local

Local – ‘you were asking for it, flashing your money around and hanging out with those rich slag…’

TD has punched him through the door and he’s lying dazed and beaten on the bar floor.

The group have taken up scattered positions around the bar – ready for a fight, the locals that were being hostile seem stunned. TG waves the group to get them to stand down.

TG – to Landlord – ‘We’re so sorry, this little wanker just sucker- punched me, but it’s best if we leave I suppose, but just to be clear, he can’t punch his way out of a wet paper bag and I was going to let it go – He called Jane and the girls slags, we’re not taking that…

Landlord – eying the locals carefully – ‘It would have been nice to drink with you tonight, you seem like good men, I’ll make sure these little shits don’t follow you, although it might be nice to see them try, good luck lads, hope the wedding goes OK.’

10:10 PM Outside the Pub

TG to Jane – ‘Sorry the evening ended like this, it’s been a genuine pleasure to meet you all and we’ll all ‘- he nods at the group ‘remember your generosity and niceness for a long time. Please tell your dad that we’re sorry and that we’ll pay for any damages without argument, just give us the bill. ‘

They hug and all parties go their separate ways

8AM Day Four – The Boat

TG is steering and the boat is now heading back to the boatyard and the reckoning of the bill.

Bio -Anybody want breakfast, we’ve still got all that food, I’ll cook.’

Everybody nods

8:30 AM Day Four – The Boat

Bio has appeared with cups of tea for everybody and there’s been a sound of clattering and sizzling of frying pans for a few minutes, the smell of bacon and cooking meats permeates the air and the group begin to smile.

8:32 AM Day Four – The Boat

The smell of cooking has been replaced by the smell of burning plastic and smoke and flames billow from the galley bellow, TG stops the boat and runs below to see:

8:33 AM Day Four The BoatThe Galley

The Galley roof on fire, there are two portable BBQ units on top of the stove and they have spilled burning charcoal everywhere and creating small fires on the floor. Bio is having a minor meltdown and is panicking.

TG throws the fire extinguisher at Bio and grabs the BBQ units with the oven gloves and throws them overboard. A haze of extinguisher gases comes from the galley.

IS – ‘I don’t suppose you saved any sausages?’

8:36 AM Day Four – The Boat

Bio – arising from the galley, scorched and sooty – ‘Behold’

A plate of sausage sandwiches

10:35 AM Day Four – Blakes Boatyard

TG to the group – ‘There’s no point us all being here, take the stuff to the bus and me and TFI will see how bad it is.’

The Group trudge off and TFI and TG watch the same boatyard hand that gave them the boat walk towards them. he doesn’t look happy, there’s still an occasional whisp of smoke and the boat looks as if it’s come from Dunkirk.

TG – ‘Hi, there’s a bit of damage…’

Blakes Man – ‘WE KNOW. WE KNOW…. I have a message for you from Mr Blake’ He sneers and squints at TG and TFI. ‘Have a great wedding, please never come back.’

TG – ‘Is that it?’

Blakes Man – Yes, go on piss off’

TFI – ‘About our depos…. TG- ‘Shut the fuck up and let’s get out of here’

They walk to the minibus, the sun is shining and TG is grinning like an idiot.

END

This is all fiction right*, Hey Netflix, I’m available for discussion if you want to film this.

  • Every single word is true and I’ve forgotten some of it

We were lucky enough to meet some extraordinarily generous people who turned a trip into an experience that’s lasted in my memory for over half a lifetime and I thank them all.

A note from our Chairman

‘Right then Human, write all this down.

Just under three years ago, you came to see me for the first time, you brought that black dog and another human who’s since vanished – bit of a pattern with you by the way, how many came and went in 18 months or so? What? Move on? Yeah OK.

Anyway……

I was in that place in Warrington and I confess that it wasn’t going that well, I’d been in for a while and had already been through two other human homes with erm…. bad results. I bit one of the bastards as they were holding me down while bringing that bloody hoover thing near. What?

Yes. I know. I bit you a couple of times too. But it was all scary. You took me in a car, another strange house, new smells and new rules.

But, bit by bit, we got used to each other and I wasn’t as scared anymore. I know you like photos and if you look at the ones that Warrington took, it’s obvious that I was scared and upset all the time.

Since then, we’ve done so much.

We’ve gone all over the country and I’ve been able to play on beaches on different coastlines, run in forests, climb mountains with you and have the space to go off by myself and make new friends.

Yeah I know he nearly killed me, but it wasn’t his fault, he was a bit panicked and I don’t remember much apart from flying through the air and waking up at the Vet with you telling them that they couldn’t stop you coming in to the room with me, (something about a disease, blah blah), but it was only a cracked rib and I made sure that they wanted you to come and get me as soon as you could.

The fact that I couldn’t walk for a while was an issue and although I’m glad that you got me fixed, TWO OPERATIONS… TWO.. That wasn’t fun. Thank you I suppose. It was nice of you to sleep on the floor with me rather than caging me up. I suppose..

But, all in all. It’s not been too bad, I have days when I’m not overly happy that you brought HER in, she’s a bit big, a bit young and a bit pushy. I’m glad that you finally worked out that the last operation gave me arthritis and give me something every day so that I can actually run around.

And now we have the new house, more space than ever before and you don’t disappear as much as you used to.

So. To sum this up, you’ve done OK in the first three years, lots of work to do, but I guess that I’ll stay.

Well done Human…….’

Hopeful Hound

I’m in Adelaide as I write this, I was in Sydney yesterday, fly back there tomorrow evening and will be back there for a day or so before I finally fly home.

The timezones are messing with my head, it’s half an hour earlier in Adelaide than Sydney and nine hours ahead of London in Sydney. I went to bed at 10 last night and got up at 4am today…

Or… I went to bed at lunchtime yesterday and got up before dark. It’s all a bit strange.

It’s a work trip, it’s not been horrible, but for large parts of the day – or sometimes, the whole day, I’m a stranger in a strange land. I don’t mind that too much, I’m happy to stay in the shadows when it suits and I don’t feel any burning need to meet or talk to people.

But.

Occasionally I’ve felt like a ghost, flitting my way through the living, walking quietly, unheard and sometimes unseen.

It doesn’t help that I miss these two monkeys and worry about them and all the people back home, but needs must and I’m doing everything I can to make this trip a success, doing hands-on IT work and playing geographic politics so that we can actually make some real changes.

I could easily be negative about the whole thing, but, in truth, this is a great opportunity to fix some things that would otherwise be very difficult and to do some long overdue catching up. I’m very fortunate that I have a few friends in the Sydney area and have done beers and dinner with them, along with a very special Sunday lunch where I caught up with a couple that I haven’t seen for over 10 years.

We drank, we reminisced, we discussed the dead and the living, we drank, we discussed ageing and the issues with ageing parents, we drank, we discussed careers and the trivial minutiae of living in Sydney / rural Shropshire, we drank, we discussed my stag do and the unique way that our Norfolk Broads boat was returned to the boat yard – holed above the waterline, missing some of the roof and scorched by a fire, we drank, we looked at old photos, we drank, we discussed their wedding and the beautiful location above a river where the ceremony was held – just opposite their house – and we laughed.

I left their house feeling as if the previous ten years somehow hadn’t happened, it was a great moment and I’m still smiling now.

We all need a personal connection sometimes, what’s struck me while I’ve been here is how friendly people are when you do talk to them and how much they seem to want to help, to be supportive, to make a connection, it’s probably due to the lockdowns and extended restrictions, but it’s evident in every shop and bar.

And it’s nice.

I’ll go for dinner (beer) with some Australian colleagues tonight, fly back to Sydney tomorrow night and go for drinks and dinner with my friends on Thursday before I fly back.

We’ll make a few more memories, laugh some more and hopefully they’ll be over to the UK this year.

I can introduce them to these two then – that’ll be interesting *

* possibly terrifying – but it’ll definitely be memorable. (I Hope)

Deities and Dogs. A Reprise

Once upon a time, a while ago, my life was travelling.

I spent months at a time in India for work, coming back to catch up for a week or two before going off again. It was interesting but not really fun.

Apart from the things that were off the wall, unplanned and more random than I could ever imagine.

I met the god Shiva a number of times and he made sure that I knew he was around – see.. https://smallthunderdog.blog/2015/03/28/of-gods-and-thunderdogs/

Eventually that all calmed down and I haven’t been out of the UK for over two years.

And I didn’t want to.

I still don’t really. These two little monkeys have filled my heart in a way that I didn’t think possible, but needs must.

So I’m off to Australia.

And like everything in my life – it’s not simple. I’m unvaccinated and the Australians have been very, very rigid about travel. It was all very fraught. https://smallthunderdog.blog/2022/07/03/schrodingers-dog/

But at the last minute, they’ve opened up travel and mine is pretty much the first flight out.

Blind luck?

Synchronicity ?

Or is it, as one of my colleagues commented without irony, a deity giggling at me?

The bastard.

We’ll see.

I already miss the doglets.

But life is still out there. And it has to be lived.

Schrodinger’s Dog

A while ago, I wrote this….

Tears in Rain

A lot’s happened since then. I had a garden office built, went solar and invested in a Tesla Powerwall so that I could de-disk electricity supply issues.

I also adopted Cairo as a friend for Milo, had a couple of breaks and have effectively given up my day job to help steer a huge programme across a number of companies that fall under the group umbrella.

Coincidentally, the company that employs me has an issue that needs somebody from the UK to go to Sydney to untangle some issues.

I was asked.

I said that I could. But. Oh damn. I’m unvaccinated. Shame really. This wasn’t disingenuous, I’ve been twice and don’t need 48 hours on a plane or long days abroad at all.

And I don’t fancy leaving the dogs for ten days either… Cairo in particular frets when I’m gone for even a day.

Except. New South Wales entry requirements on their website says this.

So it seemed that I could go. The thing is that this trip ties in nicely with the new role and i can get a lot accomplished much more quickly than if I don’t.

Remember, I’m unvaccinated, at first I was hesitant, but that position has hardened over the past year and there’s no chance at all of me taking it now.

So I applied for a visa that allowed me to work for a while and was pleasantly surprised to find no vaccination questions and it was granted within a minute – very impressive.

Flights were booked via Etihad and I found a nice hotel near the office.

I then contacted business people and friends in country to sort out meetings and beers.

So far, so good.

and then…..

Australia requires you to fill in a Digital Passenger Declaration, but you can’t do that until seven days before you fly, So I filled mine in while on holiday with the doglets in Wales, it’s a simple document and it clearly gives an outcome.

Except it doesn’t. I fully expected to be told to fuck off – as I don’t meet the current standards for the federal government according to the DPD.

Except I wasn’t. But there’s no way I’m taking a risk at check-in as to whether I can fly, but luckily, the airline has a service that can do this for you.

BUT.

Only 72 hours before the flight.

So I tried to call. I got an automated service that told me nothing. So I tried live chat. Frustrating and quite sad in a way

So I tried a few other numbers and eventually talked to a human. Probably in India. They told me to check their website. The call didn’t go well.

I have a good friend in Sydney and he spent three hours on the phone with the authorities. He sent me a mail.

This basically stopped me cold, I did try to ring the consulate, but they pointed me at the same number as my friend.

So I had to wait until this morning to fill out the online form for the airline.

That was seven hours ago, I doubt I’ll get an answer today.

I genuinely don’t care if I have to cancel or not (part of me would like that). But the Australians seem even more fucked up than I ever thought possible.

I’ll wait for the outcome as to whether I can fly, but until then, I’m neither flying or cancelling.

Schrodinger’s Passenger.

And then. And then.

Within an hour of my self imposed deadline to cancel the flight on Monday 4th July at 14:30 – the Australians dropped all restrictions and tests. For the day of my flight.

Tomorrow 6th July.

So off I go.

You couldn’t make this shit up.

Welcome to 2022.

Put Your Lights On

I was just finishing walking the dogs on what felt like the first real day of spring, we’d walked for miles, taken in a pub lunch and Cairo – the new dog, a rescue from Shrewsbury had been off-lead for the first time. It was glorious- then the phone rang.

It was Shirley’s care home and those calls always give me a sinking feeling and today was one of those days where things weren’t great.

The care home itself is lovely, it has views over Richmond and Shirley can see the castle from her window. The staff are amazing and there’s never been a moment when Shirley hasn’t been looked after. She broke her hip a while ago, but the team helped to get her back to normal amazingly quickly.

This call wasn’t about care though. It was about the lingering psychological damage Susan and her little crew have left Shirley with. See True Detective and all the subsequent posts for some grim reading.

This call was about the subject that I always dread. Shirley’s address book. It comes up every few months and – every few months, I have to tell Shirley that all her contacts and therefore relatives – are lost forever because some psycho cut her and Arthur off by design.

And so, I spent ten minutes or so going through the story with the lovely lady from the care home and giving her the script to play back to Shirley.

The address book is gone. It was probably gone as long ago as 2017. I searched the house after it went on the market and none of Arthur and Shirley’s possessions were there. Susan had effectively removed their existence.

We closed the call and I promised to get up there soon- not easy these days, a seven hour round trip, but..but.. there’s nobody else really.

And, by that time, I was home and did the automatic checking the phone for notifications thing.

There was a WordPress notification

Somebody claiming to be a relative of Shirley had reached out, they gave details that only somebody who knew Shirley could possibly know. And they gave an email address.

I mailed it and asked for a phone number.

And received one within minutes.

I called the number and it was a nephew – the son of Shirley’s sister.

He told me details that I’d never heard of and gave me information that will open the roadblock to getting Arthur’s pension to Shirley. He has two siblings and one lives an hour away from Shirley.

They’ve been looking for Shirley too and my blog was the first information that showed them that she was still alive. His wife has done some amazing detective work on this and so, within thirty minutes of an awful phone call, the best news that I’ve heard for years came along

The home now know their details and they’re on the official list to visit etc. (I have to agree visitors because…….)

Oh and that photo.

It’s Arthur and Shirley’s wedding day. I’ve never seen it before. It’s being sent along with others to Shirley.

A minor one to be sure. But a miracle nonetheless.

Keep fighting. Keep hoping. Sometimes it’s worth it.

Well, Here we go…

Prologue, December 20th 2021.

I’m sitting in a portacabin in the car park of a care home in Richmond, North Yorkshire and telling my aunt about the contents of a bag of Christmas presents that I have for her.

She’s very frail now, incredibly arthritic and worryingly, seems to drift off for minutes at a time.

One of her presents is a pair of image-stabilising binoculars to replace some that were stolen or disposed of.

She listens intently and then asks me the same question that she asks every time that I talk to her.

‘Have you found my address book? It’s got all my phone numbers and addresses in it and I don’t know how to contact anybody’

I want to scream, I want to punch the walls, I want blood and I want vengeance and I swallow all that hatred back inside before answering.

‘No, we’ll never find it, Susan must have disposed of it long ago. None of your stuff was left in the house at all’

I sound calm, because I have to be, for her; and it breaks my heart to watch her face drop and her eyes begin to tear.

Again.

And the rage begins the fight with sadness inside me.

Again.

And I keep my face blank, because I must.

Again.

How did it come to this?

Could it happen again to you or somebody you know?

It’s impossible to say, but people don’t know what to watch for, we didn’t.

Let’s go back to the beginning and maybe this little book will help a few people.

Summer 1972

I’m nine years old and on an adventure with my uncle, we’re going to some place called Norfolk in his lorry, the radio is on and he’s bought me a coke to drink while I marvel at the open countryside, it’s the first time I’ve ever seen so much of it.

Tears in Rain

I’ve seen things that (some of) you people wouldn’t believe. I’ve seen the sun rise in Sydney and set on the mountains of British Columbia.

I’ve watched dolphins play and baby turtles make their first steps into the Indian Ocean.

I’ve swum in an offshoot of the Amazon and willingly jumped out of planes.

I’ve watched eagles fly overhead in the middle of a city and watched bears from the safety of horseback.

I’ve had trials for a national sporting team, fought in bouts in three fighting disciplines and written a book and graphic novel.

I’ve been to mountain tops and deep caverns, rooftop champagne bars and cellar dives.

And it’s still not enough.

I’ve swum in the sea during a monsoon and dared the gods to kill me while the lightning flashed across the sky.

I’ve visited ancient temples, gone drinking with a god and seen the modern embodiment of Blade Runner in the stormy skies of Kuala Lumpur.

I’ve been on more flights than I can remember and told an Indian Army sergeant to fuck off at the very door of a plane back to London.

I’ve debauched my way across the world and had times and experiences that I couldn’t imagine as a working class kid growing up in Hackney.

And it’s still not enough.

I’ve had my heart restarted five times, watched on a monitor as a surgeon burned a tiny scar into it from within to cure a problem and had my bicep tendon reattached ( all within a year)

I’ve seen the Taj Mahal at first hand, along with Sydney Opera House, the Golden Gate Bridge, The Brandenburg Gate and walked amongst pushy tiny people in Kowloon.

I’m massively content with things at the moment, I have a lovely house, more land than I could ever have imagined, a dog that adores me and a great work/life balance.

Autumn and winter this year will be spent outside as much as possible getting my land into shape and I’ll also be working 5 days a week as normal.

And I’ve started looking for another dog so that Milo the Mountain Lion can have a friend.

And it’s still not enough.

Other people that I know of my age have started downsizing and begun their early retirement. I can’t. I won’t.

There’s so much to see and do, so many places still to visit, so many experiences to have.

This is it. It’s the only life we have. And it scares me to watch so many people allow their lives to be more and more regulated to keep us ‘safe’

It’ll all be over before you know it. Get up. Get off your knees. Enjoy life while you can. We. Are. All. Going. To. Die.

The result is predetermined. The journey is what matters.

The Big Sleep

Featured

the last good photo of Arthur before he died

And just like that it’s all over.

Probably

For the whole story, start with https://smallthunderdog.blog/2020/12/12/true-detective/

Three years ago and a whole lifetime away in some ways, thousands of miles driven, hundreds of hours spent on trying to resolve each issue as it came and it’s going to end with a small victory, which is all we could hope for.

This all started 16 months before I even got to see Milo for the first time and he’ll have been with me for two years next month.

So much time, so many changes, jobs, relationships, houses, cars, the fucking lockdowns. all of it.

and not a happy ending as such, but it is at least a proper ending. Which, at some stages; I never thought we’d see.

So:

a few reminders of who’s who in this mess.

The Main Players

Arthur Hodge – was my uncle, a kind and gentle man who never took a drink, had any real vices and never hurt anybody in his whole life.

Susan Auckland – the luckiest thief I’ve ever heard of. I have open fraud cases with North Yorkshire Police, Cambridge Police and Action Fraud (there’s a name that belies their true ineptitude) – I have proven fraud against her when she stole £900 from Arthur via a ‘refund’ from a hotel and where she used Arthur’s cheques to pay a private doctor in Cambridge. For those concerned about libel, I can prove everything I’ve written and have supporting evidence.

She ‘befriended’ Arthur while he lived in the Frinton area and convinced him that he should move to Yorkshire and buy a house with her mother and:

Shirley Hodge, Arthur’s wife, another simple soul, massively arthritic and mostly housebound.

Supporting Players

Lionel Bowden of Linton in Cambridgeshire – Lionel trades as LB cabs and was instrumental in the bank (see blog posts) putting restrictions on Arthur’s account in 2018 with some cheques made out to him that were not written by Arthur. Lionel also drove the car in July 2018 when they all disappeared for a while.

Arthur died convinced that Lionel owed him money from loans and independent witnesses in Cambridge saw evidence of this.

Lionel runs through this whole story from start to finish and was instrumental in helping Susan transport Arthur and Shirley around and in finding accommodation for Susan in Cambridgeshire (which Arthur paid for) until the money finally ran out.

‘Nobby’ the local cab driver in Yorkshire. or Andrew Philip Wise. He’s just driven Susan to Scotland, so she’ll need another helper up there as she can’t drive.

North Yorkshire Social Services – screwed this whole thing up from the start and then to cap it all, gave Arthur Capacity. Not a doctor or health professional. A Social Worker. Within two weeks of that, Arthur’s bank accounts were raided time and again until nothing was left.

Nick Timmings – solicitor in Cambridge representing “Arthur”, Nick was very supportive of Arthur and lobbied both NatWest bank (to get Arthur access to his money) and Social Services to get them to leave Arthur alone after yet another case was opened after they moved there at the end of 2018.

North Yorkshire Police. just simply fantastic – thank you

‘Our’ solicitors – wrote wills for Arthur and Shirley (money to each other and the remainder to Battersea Dog’s Home) and did a great job on a very complicated conveyancing task to ensure that fair play was done.

NatWest Bank Safeguarding Team – amazing people doing a great service, sadly hamstrung by the Capacity issue.

Friends who supported us through all stages and kind people who helped when they could from the sidelines, neighbours and people who had fleeting contact.

And So:

The Good News

The house is finally sold, to people who genuinely want to live there, who have met the neighbours already and who will bring the closure that the neighbours need so badly.

I now have enough money to pay for Shirley’s care for two and a half years before we need to talk to social services again and Shirley is in a place where they actually care for her. Where there’s no:

  • mental coercion
  • no physical coercion such as being sat on or thrown across the room
  • no strictly enforced toilet rota where she was 4th out of 4 with no thought or care as to whether she’d actually make it in time
  • sudden disappearance of her personal belongings
  • leaving her alone all day for days on end

More Good News.

Shirley’s share of the house is her money, she can spend it on what she likes for all I care and more importantly.

NOBODY ELSE GETS THE MONEY.

Nobody, I still don’t know if others were involved, but Susan doesn’t get penny one from our side of the sale.

And Susan has gone to Scotland, presumably for ever now, she can’t drive and will soon eat through her share of the money while she turns somewhere else into an uninhabitable shithole.

The Bad News

Everybody gets away with it, Arthur had close to £50k stolen overall and apart from North Yorkshire Police, all we ever got were platitudes and excuses. Arthur and Shirley were dragged all over the country by Susan and driven by people who should have known better. Arthur never did see much of his family again and never saw his brother face-to-face.

That’s it though, a small victory as I said.

Never before revealed details P1

I now know pretty much all of the story, who they lived with while in Cambridge, how they got there and what they did while away from Yorkshire, some of the details came from an unexpected source, the solicitor that I mentioned earlier. This is the final part of my correspondence with him, I’m not accusing him of anything at all by the way. The pack mentioned is a pack that we obtained under GDPR when Arthur realised that he didn’t really know why Nick was his solicitor – or what for, so we jointly wrote a letter.

Nick, 
thank you for the pack – it was most enlightening and in some cases darkly amusing. 
Despite the redactions I can put names to most individuals including Social Services, etc. 
I note your repeated assertions about Arthur’s obvious capacity and his lovely anecdote of 29.08 when he talked about his father and Kimberley Clark and the missing toilet rolls. My Grandfather was a Blacksmith his whole working life. 
The 29.08 also states that Arthur had been tested by a Doctor for capacity – this did not occur and as you are aware, the final assessment was carried out by a social worker. 
The notation of the 27.09 states that there were no issues in Frinton. There was a social services case that lasted 10 months that was raised by a concerned member of the public while the property sales went on and Shirley (redacted) was in hospital. 
in your notation of the 20.12 – it is asserted by a redacted name that Arthur couldn’t pay your whole fee in one payment – on that date, he had £16,476 in the Natwest account  – down by £21,000 from 3rd September 2018. £5,000 was withdrawn in cash in September and £4,000 in 4 minutes on October 8th. 
Special Branch never attended the house. Nor did police investigate any withdrawal of £10,000 as this never happened. 
You have repeated notations that Arthur couldn’t remember spending the money – did you ever consider that another party may have access to his debit card?
In the week of 19.12 ‘he’ spent £316 in Aldi, £630 in a garden centre and £208 in John Lewis. 
Arthur paid his landlady (redacted) by cheque – every payment to her was via him. £750 a month. 
‘They’ left the place uninhabitable as was the case with a previous landlord (redacted) (who evicted them and also contacted Social Services and Arthur’s Leyburn Solicitor with his concerns) I have since paid for a professional clean of the house. 
Lionel Bowden (redacted) is the cab driver who introduced both X (redacted) and Y (redacted) to Susan (redacted) as somebody in need of help. He is also the friend in Linton that they stayed with but Arthur despite having’ full capacity’ couldn’t remember the address.  Lionel trades as LB Cabs and uses the name Lionel G Brown, he is a multiple bankrupt and an independent witness says that Arthur gave him a loan of ‘ a thousand or two thousand pounds’ via cheque to pay for an operation. Arthur states repeatedly that Lionel (whose surname he can’t remember) owes him money. A cheque to Lionel that was clearly not written or signed by Arthur in January 2018 (three months before my Aunt died and my involvement) triggered the bank actions by their safeguarding team (redacted) 
Marvin Zulu (redacted) from Cambridgeshire contacted me via North Yorkshire early this year due to new concerns about Arthur. He was told by Susan (redacted) that the landlady had a fierce dog and wouldn’t allow anybody access – this is untrue, as are the statements about electric gates and controlling the heating ( I have been to the property as part of tracking where Arthur’s money had gone) 
In total, there were / are, four social services cases, three police investigations at various points and safeguarding concerns raised at every level. The North Yorkshire case being raised by me and a policeman separately after I visited the property in April last year to talk to Arthur about my Aunt’s funeral and Susan calling the police and saying that I was trying to break in…. 
I’m not quite sure where I’m going next with this, Arthur and Shirley are safe, I have got his Kimberley Clark pension reinstated (they like everybody else were not given a change of address notification and couldn’t contact him).  I want to sell the property to get Arthur’s share safely away (a reminder that his will does not now pay out to anybody but Shirley and Battersea Dog’s home) and ensure that their final years are spent away from emotional and physical abuse.
But
I’m keeping my options open, a number of institutions have failed Arthur here and allowed his physical and financial wellbeing to suffer. 
Thanks again for the comprehensive pack 

I got a pretty much ‘yeah. your mum’ reply from this where it was noted rather snidely that Arthur had enough capacity to appoint me as his financial Power of Attorney .

Never before revealed details P2

so I took another step and complained to the SRA – the text is below and I sent over thirty pages of backing data. The investigation stalled and was closed as I had no time to respond to the same questions time and time again.

In December 2017, my uncle Arthur Hodge and his wife disappeared from their Frinton
(Essex) home and left no forwarding address. They bought a house in Middleham, North
Yorkshire with Susan Auckland.
In April 2018, Arthur’s sister died and we tracked him down via the conveyancer and I went
to visit him (after being refused the address via Susan who had the only phone) . I was
denied entrance and in fact, Susan called the police saying that I was trying to break in.
As a result of the visit, I raised a social services safeguarding concern – as did an attending
policeman.
My aunt’s funeral was in May 2018 and Arthur didn’t attend, a sworn statement was sent to
Police and Social Services by an ex-policeman who had engaged Arthur in conversation on
the day of the funeral in which he said that Susan Auckland had told him not to attend.
Over time, I found that there were existing cases in Essex and Cambridgeshire and that
NatWest bank were concerned enough about activity on the account that they put my uncle
on special measures.
On 12th July last year,
Susan Auckland took my uncle to Petersfields LLP (after leaving
Yorkshire without notifying social services the week before)
They told Mr Timmings a tale of evil family members and draconian banks and Mr Timmings
then set about working to get my uncle’s accounts unfrozen. Discussions were also held
regarding giving Susan Power of Attorney, putting her in a will and potentially giving her the
house. It was noted at this point that my uncle had @£36,000 in his NatWest account.
Mr Timmings decided on the evidence of a couple of meetings that capacity wasn’t an issue
and that this situation was an unconventional living arrangement.
Over the next few weeks Mr Timmings liaised with social services as he was of the mistaken
belief that they had advised the bank to freeze my uncle’s accounts. On the 26 th July social
services explained the position and once again, Mr Timmings decided that my uncle was of
sound mind and that he needn’t c
ooperate with SS if he didn’t want to.
On 29th August, Mr Timmings and my uncle visited the Fitzroy Street branch of NatWest and
found that the safeguarding team of the bank had put my uncle on special measures.
This is of particular interest to me as the file that I obtained on behalf of my uncle under
GDPR from Petersfields includes a copy of a letter that I sent to my uncle on the 15 th August
after a series of strange phone calls in which I reference the safeguarding case and the
name of the person in the NatWest Safeguarding Team along with explicit statements
regarding coercion and control.

On the 30th August, Mr Timmings had a phone conversation with Susan Auckland in which it
appears that she has stated once again that I wanted my uncle’s money. Mr Timmings
seems to have accepted this at face value.
Another phone conversation occurred on the 6 th September with Susan Auckland in which it
is noted that the Yorkshire Building Society had put my uncle on special measures – this is
blamed on a social worker and is again taken at face value. Discussions were held
regarding legal action against the bank.
On the 10th September it is noted in another call with Susan that my uncle had withdrawn
£3,000, since ‘Friday’. (At that point, there was just over £37,000 in my uncle’s main
account)

It is noted that YBS were still not allowing withdrawals.
Mr Timmings mentioned to Susan that the legal costs were now due
On the 19th September, Susan states that cheques written to a 3 rd party were bounced by the
bank – Nick states that nothing can be done until the bill is paid.
A slew of activity on the 26 th and 27 th September includes a mention of a complaint to the
banking ombudsman and another call with Susan and Arthur in which ‘the nephew’ is quoted
as saying that he would get all of Arthur’s money and that ‘they didn’t have any trouble in
Frinton’
A Note here, the sale of my Uncle’s house in Frinton was delayed by 10 months at the
instigation of the Estate Agent handling the sale who reported the situation to Social
Services
On the 3rd October, a call fro
m Susan notes that Social Services gave my uncle ‘capacity’
and that Mr Timmings would assist with letting the bank know.
It is again stated by Susan that a will and power of attorney document needs to be arranged
On the 6th November it is noted that my uncle has full access to his NatWest account and
that he agrees to making a complaint to the Ombudsman.
On the 20th December, in another call, it is noted that Cambridgeshire social services wanted
to see my uncle and that he couldn’t afford to pay his whole bill in one payment.

On the 8th January 2019, Mr Timmings notes his concerns that the money had gone down so
quickly from over £30,000 in September to an unspecified amount.

On the 6th February, a call from Susan notes that social services are trying to get into the
property in Cambridge that my uncle was paying for. It’s alleged that the ‘nephew’ is
harassing them as he is trying to get ‘their’ money.
On the 21st February it is noted that my uncle was admitted to Addenbrookes for diabetes
issues.

On the 6th March, it is noted that social services have again tried to gain access to the
Cambridge rented property. It is also noted that there is an intent to transfer the ownership
of the jointly owned house in Middleham to Susan with a life interest being held by my uncle.
It is also noted on the 6th March that Social Services are contacted by Petersfields with talk
of harassment and Social Services being told to ‘behave themselves’
On the 9th April, Mr Timmings meets my uncle on his own, it is discussed that there is now
around £2,000 in the bank account, my uncle could not account for the spend. A will is again
discussed with Susan as a beneficiary – Mr Timmings notes once again that my uncle is not
the sort of person who can be unduly influenced.
On the 25th April it is noted that my uncle and aunt were taken into care. Mr Timmings makes
the assumption that the family may have got involved again.
On the 4th May, a conversation with North Yorkshire Police notes that Police and Social
Services were called to the Middleham property and that he was in ‘ a terrible state with
soiled clothing’
On the 26th July it is note
d that Mr Timmings had a call from Yorkshire Social Services
informing him that I would be granted a financial Lasting Power of Attorney. He states that
he is concerned and needed to speak with my uncle.

On the 31 st July and 27 th August 2019, Mr Timmings consults with SRA ethics regarding his
concerns
On the 27 th August a notation is made that Mr Timmings now has concerns as my uncle
couldn’t remember meeting him and the LPA to myself.
On 16 th September this year, I contacted Mr Timmings as part of tracking where my uncle’s
money had gone. (£37k in September, overdrawn by Easter) and have since had a pack
sent to me under GDPR in my uncle’s name (with a letter signed by my uncle and me).
My uncle now has a will (as does my aunt) that leaves their property to each other and
Battersea Dog and Cat’s home.

I have open fraud cases lodged in both Cambridgeshire and North Yorkshire where I have
been able to prove fraudulent use of my uncle’s debit card and chequebook.

In summary – Mr Timmings has appeared to chase the money and the fees and only
contacted North Yorkshire Police after my uncle was taken into care despite my letter to my
Uncle of August 2018.
He has chosen to believe a story of evil relatives and greedy nephews and has wilfully
ignored the facts at the time or any possible alternative theory – in this case, a long-term
coercion of a vulnerable pensioner that has resulted in my uncle losing all of his money
(over £58,000 in total from his NatWest accounts alone) to an unscrupulous 3 rd party.

I don’t want any compensation or even an apology, but this sort of thing CANNOT be
allowed to continue.

AND THAT’S ALL THERE IS REALLY

To be honest, I have so much backing information, so many contacts and little stories around all this that I could write another hundred pages, but.. Life Is Short.

I know that Susan has seen some of the previous blogs and I took them down while it looked like something may happen legally, but it never did. She (Hi Susan) knows who I am, she has a few solicitors that she’s used in the past, if they’re still talking to her… I have copies of cheques, sworn statements and actual evidence of when she actually did take money in her own name.

Bring it on if you like, you motherfuckers. I’m more than happy

Small Dogs

Many years ago, for two different employers, I spent a lot of time offshore (I’ve blogged about the second major stint in India a fair amount and they’re on here somewhere) .

Wherever I went – Europe, the Far East, Australia, I was always proud that I came from England. The country that gave the languages and social structures to many of these places.

I was even gladder to come home as they were never quite ‘right’ by the standards that we lived to.

Apologies for what will now be two longish recollections of India, but I’m reminded very much of them today.

India 2007, I was running an offshore finance centre and had to visit at least once a quarter. It may sound good but it isn’t. Club flights and nice hotels don’t make up for the crashing boredom and the fact that ALL the bars including hotel bars shut at 10pm in Bangalore. – and if they didn’t. Well, the cops would come in with nightsticks.

There had been a run of well reported rapes of local females working for outsourcers – in a number of incidents, they were pulled from their work-supplied bus late at night.

I visited the team to be asked what WE were going to do as a female was the last person to leave the bus that we supplied. (Yes, I know, there’s an obvious answer, but…)

So, I went to see our head of security, the gloriously named Captain Shamsheer. He was a good guy and very professional. We chatted for a while and I asked if we could supply security guards on the buses.

He stared at me for a few minutes, had a brainwave and called somebody through the door.

One of our security guards. 8 stone soaking wet. Shamsheer asked him a few questions and I watched the guard as he struggled to find answers. After a few minutes, he was dismissed.

Shamsheer looked at me again.

‘The thing is, that security guards are mostly like that. illiterate, badly trained and not fit for much else than guarding a door’.

He paused for dramatic effect.

‘If we put guards on the buses, I GUARANTEE that somebody will be raped. By a guard. I suggest that we talk to your team and tell one of them to grow up and be the last person off.’

We did this – nothing ever happened but the team were happy that we’d taken it seriously

India 2008

The worst trip I ever did. I went out there to sack somebody who was on the equivalent of £250,000 a year – IN 2007. This meant that I had to stay for an extended period and cover part of his job while we recruited. (He left of his own accord when I presented evidence if his massive stupidity and gross misconduct on my PC screen to him)

It’s fair to say that it wasn’t a great trip and I had to fly back via Mumbai. So an internal flight then all the drama at the airport that came with flying out of India. It went like this, not a word is a lie.

Airport – outside the doors. Security Guard.

‘Ticket plis’

This was a new one on me and I scrabbled around for my ticket, accidentally giving him the outbound one. He scrutinised it carefully, looking at it from all angles, including upside down. Then he smiled and gave it back to me. Happy with my valid (outbound from the UK ticket).

Once inside, it was time to put the luggage through an x-ray and have it sealed. Only a few questions and the complete emptying of one bag. Not bad at all.

Then to passport control, just me and my backpack.

Passport control was fine, professional and with the requisite tech to validate your passport. Lovely

Two steps beyond that, an apparent teenager in a leather jacket on a chair, demanding to see my passport and ticket again. Hey ho.

Ten yards later. The gates to check for metal etc. They didn’t work, so you had to stand on a box and have a wand waved around at you. Ho Hum.

Ten yards later, a ticket and baggage check. Sigh

Thirty yards later, stand on a box and have a wand waved. Ticket check.

Ten yards later. Ticket AND Passport check. Thank Fuck the bar is next.

BA Club Lounge. Too full for entry – delayed flights. Fine

BA First Lounge – the same, people had the same idea as me.

Never mind. I knew of a third lounge open to all airlines. A casual saunter down to keep the rage at bay, wander in, show my ticket and sit down – you can’t get your own beer obviously,

And then.

‘Sorry sir, you have to go to the BA lounge.’

‘Can’t’

‘But you have a BA Ticket’

‘Yes. The lounges are too full, they’re not allowing anybody in’

‘You can’t come in here’

“Why?’

‘Er this isn’t for BA Passengers.’

At this point, I should probably mention that a lounge that could take sixty people was empty.

‘Who IS it for then? It says ALL airlines on the door?’

‘Er’

At this point I walked to the fridge and got a beer and just ignored him.

Ten minutes later, a splendid Indian Moustache.

‘Sir I am the manager, you aren’t allowed in here’

Sigh

‘Right, here’s my club BA ticket, I suggest that you call them and make space for me or I’m not leaving. I also refuse to talk to you or any of your team any further, if you’re that bothered, call the General Manager and HE can call security’

‘OK sir, you can stay on this occasion’

*drinks beer*

The time came to leave the lounge and I gave the lad a large tip, it wasn’t his fault that his whole structure was ridiculous.

To the Gate. YAY

Passport check, ticket check, baggage check, all is right with teh world.

Time to board

Walk through the door.

Luggage check again. They’re taking the piss now/

Wand Check again. On the ramp to the plane.

Another luggage and ticket check. Never mind there’s the plane and booze. I can see the stewardess.

And then.

And then.

A soldier appears, couple of stripes on his arm, sidearm, baton.

‘Passport. Ticket.’

He holds his hand out.

I have my foot inside the plane.

I smile sweetly, lean in and say. ‘FUCK OFF’ and then very quickly to the smiling stewardess ‘ I am in international airspace now right?’

‘Yes sir, champagne or juice?’

It was booze obviously and I ended a very grim trip by getting drunk for thirteen hours.

That’s it. Anecdotes over.

What has this got to do with today?

Sadly, it’s a lot. One of the things that I was always proudest of when abroad was our openness and freedom. We could go where we liked, pretty much say and do what we liked and our pubs and bars were open when we wanted with no curfews or dubious ‘rules’ applied.

I went shopping this morning at 7am, the (huge) supermarket was empty, it has wide aisles and loads of space. And yet, a jumped up man-baby in a mask and hi-viz took delight in telling an octogenarian couple that one of them had to go back to the car. ‘It’s the RULES’.

He actually enjoyed it. I could see it from where I was, that tiny bit of power to a man who may not have had it before had turned him into a third-world box-ticker.

It’s the rules, it’s the job, we’re keeping people safe by sending them to a dark, wet and cold car park.

I was ashamed of what I saw and made sure that he heard me call him a pathetic cunt as I walked past, knowing that he somehow would ignore THAT breach of rules and etiquette, possibly because I’m not over 80 yet and I was wearing my most friendly mask.

We need to start looking carefully at ourselves and how we let the rules be enforced around us. I’ve never been a tinfoil hat wearer or an alarmist. But another year of this and we may as well be India, because we won’t be England anymore.