Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Home Thoughts from Abroad

I just went down to the windy beach and phoned my friend Stephen in England, and he told me that, although he himself had not seen my blog, another mutual acquaintance of ours had read it and found it funny. This has encouraged me to write a new post. I only have one follower who actually leaves comments, and she hasn't been in touch recently, but I now realise that perhaps a reasonable number of people are reading my blog and for one reason or another do not leave a comment. So this is for them.

I hear that the weather in England is marvellous. It is strange how these sudden intensely warm spells seem to hit England in April, or sometimes even in March, again and again. The poet Browning was on to something when he wrote. "Oh, to be in England/ Now that April's there." Do I long to be in my native land now?

In the place where I am we, as it happens, are in an uncharacteristically wet and windy spell. This is a seaside resort, and in this weather it unpleasantly resembles a small place south of the Humber. I pass whole days here when I talk to no one except those engaged in the formal business of serving me with coffee or meals, newspapers or telephone cards.

In Central Sports Cafe they are too busy with the endless passing of drugs to say thank you, but if you can pay for it, human contact is always available in this unfriendly place, and the interchange with a witty newsagent is often as satisfying and certainly more trouble-free than if  a random person had offered conversation without charge.

Life in the Algarve reminds me of when I was in prison. There too all contact was behind a pay-wall. The discipline and rehabilitation workers viewed you functionally, and  they spoke to you for only so long as they judged it necessary to attain their ends. And the prisoners only communicated because they wanted to get a laugh or a sachet of Horlicks, or hoped you might pass sugar under their doors.

Whether your interlocutor hopes to make as much as possible from you, whether he or she earnestly seeks your reform, or is desperate for sugar, the effect is more or less the same. I think of my fellow prisoners these days with more affection than the beady-eyed social workers or the  Algarvian newspaper-sellers. But that may be only because those butch men in prison were often quite sexy.

And now I am in Central Sports again, and the piratical guy with the greasy ringlets who runs the place is approaching in a threatening manner, and my credit is approaching its end, so I will post my blog now and hope that Max reads this one and finds it amusing.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Biding My Time

I had a bit of bad news late last week. It seems the television programme about me, which I was expecting to happen soon, has been postponed until the autumn, with no date for it to be shown. Sky apparently needs more time to think about publicising the Battle of Wills series, so I suppose that means the programme might have a bigger impact when it finally comes. But this is the third time they have postponed, and I am beginning to get tired of always living in anticipation.

Meanwhile, as if fate were offering me a small consolation prize - I always remember that saying of Maria von Trapp, "When God closes a door, he opens a window" - I have been journalised by a gentleman called Len Port, who stood me a nice alcoholic lunch. He is about to publish an article about me on his blog, and from there hopes to sell the story to various papers, for one of which, at least, The Daily Mail, he is a stringer.

Anyway, he is apparently a senior and respected journalist. I suppose it is unconventional for a criminal on the run to be giving his story to all and sundry, but my chief interest is in becoming known as a writer, and for that publicity, nowadays, is essential. I take myself less seriously as a criminal, and only hope the police share the same attitude. They are very short of money now, I am told, so they can only afford to go after the Mr Bigs. I am a Mr Small.

So I sit here in the internet cafe of this dull but noisy corner of southern Europe, blogging into the blue, checking to see if anyone has ordered "The Olinda Angel" (no one yet has), checking the blog itself for any comments (there are none).

My feet are hurting terribly, and I am told I may have gout. Well, I can try anti-inflammatory tablets. They may do good, and cannot cause harm. One must not complain, or repine, and one is safe in the arms of God. Whether I write a blog or no blog, he is leading us thankfully to the land where no blogs are. Or might there be a Great Blogger in the Sky?