I got a letter yesterday from an old chum, who, sadly, due entirely to a fault of his own, is now spending a little time 'At Her Majesty's Pleasure'. As you can imagine, there's more to the story than meets the eye, but he is a 'Good bloke', if a bit of a fool. He has a lovely wife who is just recovering from cancer, and they have 4 cracking kids. I reproduce a precis his letter for your information. It shocked and dismayed me when I first read it. Dear Queensman, So 2005 produced a multitude of different things for different people; for me a spell at Her Majesty's Pleasure and for you sprog number 3!...... Anyway, here I sit broken hearted and all that; Prison, now, isn't as bad as it has been, so here is a brief resume so far. Lincoln was everything that you imagine prison to be. When my solicitor asked me if I was preparing for the 'worst case scenario' (1yr -18 months, not 2.5 yrs as he predicted), I replied that I had seen the Shawshank Redemption with a wry grin on my face and we had a laugh, little did I know we were both grinning for different reasons; me being ironic, him because he knew how much worse it was going to be! 23 hrs a day in a cell 'a la loo'. Hard A class drugs for sale openly for sale when you were allowed out for your 1 hour every 2-3 days for association and showers. Like a zoo, but every animal is a vicious one on drugs, great fun! My next residence was North Sea Camp ...where 30-40% of the population are sexual offenders of one sort or another, from downloaders of the wrong sort of material to rapists to fully fledged paedofiles. When I arrived and I had shown my court papers to an inmate to prove what I was in for, .... he advised me not to put pictures of my kids up and leave my cell door open, because pictures of children often went missing! I was put in with an armed robber who was an insomniac and then with a really nice guy, seriously, who was serving 13 yrs for kidnapping and who was a 'proper professional crim'. Oh happy days! NSC was a proper sh*thole, although not locked in, if your surroundings are green with algae and there's vomit permanently down the loo because when people sniff herion the first reaction is to be sick, it wears you down. Sudbury is more than double the size of NSC but is definitely a better jail. Better grounds, better facilities and, if feasible, a better calibre of prisoner. I am working in the kitchen on potwash again for the heady sum of Â£12.50 per week, 6 days/week. It's quite serious washing up for over 1000 people a day. My best quote so far comes from my guntoting cell mate at NSC "nobody argues with you when you are holding a 9mm". I an now sharing my new pad with a guy serving 3.5yrs for 'causing death by dangerous driving'. 42 yrs old, 4 kids, and ex-South African army and a nice guy. I wont be drink-driving again. I gave up smoking after 3 days and am still off them after 3 months; my liver is so overjoyed with my abstinence that it has added 5 years extra to my life. Everytime you get a parcel your name goes up on a board. You then have to collect it at a certain time. Not long ago a couple of wags, and so called friends, sent a jumbo sized tub of KY Jelly with a message that read 'we hope this helps the time go by a little easier' - prison gossip is way ahead of that of our womenfolk at home!! T**** and J*** got a little grief from a couple of 'nice' children at (prepschool), but that seems to have dried up. We are having to sell the house in preparation for the 'Confiscation order'. I do think it unfair that even though my co-defendant admits to buggering off with over 90% of all the goods we got the same sentence, and because he hasn't got a pot to pish in on paper, I am potentially going to have to fork out Â£300,000. It's a bloody stealth tax! I miss H**** and the children so much it hurts.......well my friend I must go now to wash some pots and pans before going to the gym........ Yours, ***** Food for thought.