I’m lying on my bed at St Ann’s hospital, Poole waiting to make a confession about what I did with my previous client’s car.
In a panic I come up with quite a few cover up versions – I was on my way to say goodbye to my client in hospital and see a royal mail box. Park his car in the university car park opposite. Post my daughter’s birthday card and accidentally drop the keys and bank card into the box too. Which could have been valid except I realise I couldn’t explain my rucksack away.
When Jesus interrupts my panic and tells me, ‘My darling you are more valuable than the entire earth’.
I burst into tears and realise for the first time – I’m so flipping worthy.
The truth is I woke up at my live-in job in panic mode – after a few nights interrupted sleep due to emotional days spent with an abusive old man in hospital and – menopause (peri).
I have the flight effect which gives me enough time to pack my camera rucksack with two swimming costumes – a towel – slops – basic toiletries – a scented candle – my makeup bag with a K on it – speaker – PicoPix projector – bible and Becoming the Beloved book. I write out my invoice and a note to say that I am taking a break and will be back to collect my case and leave the house just after 08h00.
I drive to an open field with a stream and horses grazing on the other side. I park to plan. I walk over to the stream and see a beautiful beetle on a reed – shiny green and gold. I step onto the muddy bank and lean over to grab him and place him in my cigar tin. I go across the road to buy a bottle of coke from the pub and come back to sit on the bench table and smoke a cigar.
I decide to drop the car at Winchester hospital and say goodbye to my client who was in there after a stroke. I would give him the car keys and invoice with my note for his daughter and leave. But instead just before the hospital I can’t cope with seeing him again and park at the university just before and drop the keys with my rolled up invoice and note attached, into the royal mail box across the road.
I have just blown Plan A but at least the car is safe with free parking and the keys would go to the Royal Mail to be collected once I contact the daughter. I felt empowered. I catch a bus into Winchester and realise I left my iPhone in the car which hugely effects what should have been a simple recovery process.
Plan B is to go on a break. I was planning Israel and in the process of getting my visa but I could go to Mauritius instead. I catch a taxi to Bournemouth Airport and realise I still have my client’s bank card in my purse as I had put fuel in the car before I left. I’m in so much trouble already I quickly open the window and slip it out onto the busy intersection in the hope that it would get destroyed and he could just get a new one – it’s just a piece of plastic.
Bournemouth Airport is small with not much happening and I’m lost. I sit on a grassy bank to catch a breath and study my beetle. I’m so annoyed – I’ve paid £90 for my taxi – my rucksack is too heavy – I don’t have my phone and I have just lost my new pair of sunglasses. I stop a guy in a van and ask if he could call a taxi to take me to Heathrow Airport which costs £160. I arrive late and exhausted and just want a bed.
I hop in a taxi van and before he closes the door – he asks me if I have money for the taxi. I huff and stomp off – lately I have zero tolerance for silly questions. And there are so many. I catch a bus to the Premier Hotel and spend £90 to regroup. I get to bed too late and sleep too little and wake to re pack my rucksack and discover my new pink travel plan book is missing and my beetle is lost. I take out my bible and Becoming the Beloved book and leave them on the couch.
By this time I am determined that if Jesus doesn’t pick me as His bride for the Wedding Feast – I’m gate crashing. I tie my Converse onto my bag – hang my towel over my shoulders and leave.
Too cut a long story short – I’m confronted at the airport under suspicion for booking a flight at the airport. I tell them I’m trying to get to Mauritius – I’ve lost my phone – I have my passport – US$433 travel money – I just need a ticket to fly away – flip.
There’s a joke – what’s the difference between a terrorist and a woman with PMS – you can negotiate with a terrorist.
I think a woman with menopause is – respect her. And just maybe she has a story.
The handcuffs are as tight as the Premier Hotel in Bournemouth (Psst article) and I scream across Terminal 3. And wait for the ambulance.
I spend the day at the Riverside Centre near Heathrow in a room with nothing but two plastic seats which fit together to make a couch. I can see through the glass in the door to the office and my katunda is on the floor. I entertain myself with singing songs like Because we’re all Rhodesians and we’ll fight through thick and thin – And my new song – I just love you. And do the chassé across the floor for exercise.
It’s late evening and I’m taken by ambulance to St Ann’s Hospital. I’m locked in the back for the drive and sing childhood songs we used to sing in the back of a land rover on the way to YP – Well, be-bop-a-lula, she’s my baby.
The doors open after a two-hour plus journey and I’m met by nine staff and led into the ward where I’m jabbed and before I fall asleep – I notice my US$433 has been stolen out my purse.
I’m so irritated – Plan B has clearly failed too. And I have nothing to entertain myself – my camera and laptop are in Stockbridge plus no iPhone. And one pair of clothes. But I do have the sea and spend my leave at the beach. I later discover that £170 has been deducted off my account for a hotel booking I made two months earlier in Tel Aviv.
The doctors have confirmed that this is hormonal and my haematologist has requested them to send me for a CT scan to check my brain. I’m let out after 17 days on a Tuesday to stay in the Brooklands Hotel, Bournemouth for a week where the Crisis Team will come and visit me once a day. I can get another job and make a fresh start. I watch movies – go to the beach – eat out.
I made plans with my client’s daughter to collect my case on Saturday. She has asked me to bring the bank card and car keys. I tell her I dropped them in the Royal mailbox – and she says come anyway. I catch the train to Grateley Station and an Alpha taxi to the house and ask him to wait – this will be quick. I dash from the gate to the house and don’t see the little red car.
I’m met at the door by a tall police officer. My client’s son and daughter are standing in the kitchen. My collection of memorabilia (my story) and personal documents are on the table. He tells me I’m under arrest for car theft and other. I ask if they found my phone and dash out to let the taxi go. My case is in the dining room – open. There is a kitchen knife sharpener which came from Cardiff (that’s another story) which the daughter accuses me of stealing from her father’s house. Until she searches in the draws and finds the one.
I can understand being accused of car theft – if the car has been stolen. But petty thief – give me a break – I leave and tell them I dropped the bank card out the taxi window and give her my invoice.
I’m taken to the Basingstoke police station – no handcuffs. I’m calm after watching Oceans 8 the night before. In the waiting room – I re pack my case. Meet the charge officer – photographed – fingerprinted and DNA’d. Have my property listed and sealed in plastic bags. I’ve told them to contact the Crisis Team as they will be looking for me. And led to my cell. I have to give him my converse – not allowed laces. I’m given coffee and sammies through the hatch.
And the September 2017 issue of woman&home magazine with an article on pg 123 Your feel good guide to the menopause by Maryon Stewart which I earmark when reading it to my solicitor from Taylor-Street. Mental/emotional symptoms – Anxiety and panic attacks. Ironically the first time I had this experience was in September 2017.
I’m interviewed by two police officers and told the car was spotted on camera a few days earlier in Wales. I’m fascinated and want to be on the outside solving the case. My story is recorded for the court. And again I wait for hours in the cell singing on my back or lying on my tummy on the hard bench making African drum rhythms with my feet. Drinking coffee. Or trying to sleep using my magazine as a pillow. Until a doctor plus two come and assess me around midnight. He tells me the car was found that night in Poole and isn’t that where I was in hospital.
I’m so intrigued with this Kirby car that now follows me. To be honest – I was embarrassed driving the car – it’s small and red – and slow. Why anyone would want to steal it? Why not expensive cars parked on the road at night? And what do people do with stolen cars in the UK – don’t you have to – register the car – get insurance – MOT’s? How can you with a stolen car? And how did they steal it without the keys? Hotwire with CCTV?
Around 01h00 I’m sent back to the hotel by taxi and a Notice of No Further Action Decision paper in my hand. I land on the steps of my hotel at 03h00 stuck outside as the code of the door has been changed. The taxi driver from Romania sends me off with – have a nice life. I’m shy about my big plastic bag with yellow sealed police tape. And let in.
I’m so excited to get my clothes back from Stockbridge but my paper + stitch jeans which I love and my black jacket are missing. Who’s robbing who? I lie in bed wandering about the case and what if the person who ‘stole’ the car – wore my clothes as well. And what if I’ve been framed?
I decide to go a step further with my new-found freedom of strutting my stuff (On the hunt article) and buy a bikini. The beach is packed and I’m so annoyed I just plonk down and whip everything off and tan. And swim. And yes I do have tattoos across my tummy tuck scar because I wanted to look like a princess warrior but feel more like a gangster. And have been trying to hide from the world ever since.
I also have a brandy and coke on the terrace of the Real Greek Restaurant in Bournemouth. It’s strong but soon becomes delicious and I order another – which never arrives. I’m slightly annoyed because it was fun until then. And ask for my bill. The cheek of it is that I’ve been charged for the very thing I’m annoyed about. And just say that’s not my bill. I argue it with the manager with black rimmed glasses perched in the middle of his nose. And he furiously writes it off without even asking my argument.
I don’t sleep that night – covered in chickenpox and itching all night. But I go out anyway and just happen to pop into the Real Greek to do the correct thing – argue my case. But before I can open my mouth – the manager has ordered me to leave. And he chooses which exit to take. So I sit – and ask for the owner. He calls the police who handcuff me – and don’t ask me my story. I kick off my slops (which I loved) and stomp barefoot to the police car.
I really do need a bracelet – Do not arrest – respect her and ask her intelligent – direct questions. Like what’s your story?
I’m taken to Haven Ward – the dungeon of St Ann’s Hospital. Where I sit with my hands cuffed behind my back for hours – the only part of my body I can itch is my forehead on my knees. Singing comfort songs. The handcuffs are removed and I sit on the plastic couch with two support workers at a time – who sit and stare. I kid you not – that’s their job.
I have a fever – I’m covered in chickenpox and itching like mad. And they sit and stare – Like what is this moody – emotional creature? If I were in a general hospital – I would be given medical attention – have my temperature taken – given medication and a bed.
By this time I’m ready to start swearing but I sing. And don’t sleep the entire night again. The next day in the evening I’m allowed out into the communal area. I’m so feverish and ill and physically exhausted from being without sleep for two days. I want to breakdown and cry. But I sing again.
At around 01h00 the following morning I’m transported by ambulance to a private hospital in Manchester. That’s three days – no sleep.
I have a flat laptop and no charger. A camera but nothing to photograph. My old iPhone. One pair of clothes and I’m barefoot. I’m broke too. The daughter from my previous job has refused to pay me my outstanding invoice. I’m rationing my cigars. My suitcase is at the Brooklands Hotel. The only entertainment is sitting on the edge of the next door golf course wishing I could play. Continue reading