As a Freelance Writer/Creative with extensive and varied experience I am able to offer a range of professional creative services to corporate clients, which include:-
Copywriting for Web content, adverts, press releases, articles for magazines, journals, periodicals etc: Speech writing: Ghost writing service: Book writing: Script writing for Stage, TV, Radio: Publishing: Editing: Proof reading: Presentation writing (Powerpoint): Video Production: Audio Production: Event management: Character design: Costume design: Consulting service in varied areas: And any combinations or variations of the above...
Fees:- As a guide I work on a rate of £25 per 100 words for writing, with a minimum fee of £100, plus expenses. Contracts, however, vary in their requirements, so I am happy to quote individually.
Please email me at email@example.com with any enquiries.
Please see examples of corporate writings below.
This web site itself should clearly demonstrate my creative capabilities.
This is a Pilot for a childrens program, it demonstrates my production abilities, I wrote, produced, directed and edited this production, oh and I made the puppet and props...
Press Releases commissioned by Linda Sears PR.
A Monster spud with a sensitive side
A BIG FUTURE IN THE OVEN
Naturally Best have a monster on their hands but with a heart that melts butter! It may look like just another spud but this is a big boy and one with a taste for the high life!
The potato design house have truly excelled themselves with the British Almera, which proves that size does matter! Yet this MONSTER spud also has a sensitive side and produces a beautiful, buttery mash that is full of flavour and he’s a real charmer when roasted or as wedges and chips – but he really holds the spotlight when sporting his macho jacket.
Never to be seen in a salad, this variety constantly produces larger than average tubers that are almost a meal in themselves with a wealth of culinary accessories to bring out his tasteful inner self giving a depth of flavour so tenderly embodied within his raunchy jacket! With a variety of fillings his potential is endless!
He has many chips on his shoulder and this MONSTER is splendid company to get hot and bothered in the vegetable oil with. A MONSTER spud with attitude…a tasteful sensitive side…and a big future in the oven!!!
Almera is available from Asda stores nationwide and Netto. For further information please visit www.nbest.co.uk
Almera = Almera!
THE BIG BOY WITH MORE THAN A CHIP ON HIS SHOULDER!
Yes the Almera potato is a big one, almost too big for his jacket and yes he makes great chips but he is much bigger than that!
Naturally Best have developed a reputation for bringing to the cookery catwalk a potato with taste, a reputation that is hard to top, but they have…BY MAKING IT BIGGER!
The Almera has all the fine qualities that we have grown accustomed to from the potato design house, it produces a beautifully creamy, buttery mash, full of flavour and even when oven cooked as wedges and roasts the taste is just as joyful to the pallet.
Almera also retains all the health benefits of its smaller counterparts with fewer calories than the average potato, however this is not a salad spud, this boy wears an extra large designer jacket and that is where he comes into his own – as a jacket potato he is supreme. The Almera is a meal in himself, it is almost an indignity to make him wear more than his jacket.
He has many chips on his shoulder too, an excellent boy for getting all hot and bothered in the vegetable oil…. A spud with attitude… and a big future in the oven!
The Almera:- Too big for the salad!
Do you believe in time travel? HG Wells did! His Time Machine could take you back centuries. But none of us really want to go that far...Do we?
Maybe just a few years will do, just enough to turn back your body clock, which is exactly what’s on offer from the Institute of Physical Management- No time machine required!
Principles, Jim Bean and Anne Laing are the UKs leading experts in physical time travel. Winding your body clock back to its peak era. They know it sounds like science fiction and undoubtedly a fantasy for most of us, but they consistently bring fantasy into reality, proudly boasting a 100% success rate with many celebrities in their very physical 4th dimension. But they can’t do it on their own; they need your dedication...
Keeping their time lines in synch with Channel 4’s ‘Turn Back Your Body Clock’ Tim and Anne have brought their expertise to the page with their book ‘Turn Back Your Age Clock’ and an online program for a ‘Self Body Management System’ all available through their website.
If you are interested in this unique yet achievable physical ‘time travel’ then more information is available from...
Opening page of an article commissioned by a local newspaper:
The Conservatory Jungle
When I first became a homeowner in 1977, I was undoubtedly green and inexperienced in the art of parrying the tidal wave of sales pitches that flooded my newly acquired doorstep. Initially I was overcome with a feeling of euphoria at the sudden barrage of attention bestowed by the world, but that feeling quickly subsided when I realised how vulnerable my bank account and sanity had become. In those days the format of the approaches was quite limited, by phone, post or doorbell, not forgetting television and press advertising; in our enlightened modern times the whole world is a multimedia advertising tool, with almost unlimited television and radio channels, mobile phones, computers, internet web pages and even our e-mails are all targeted by the unscrupulous salesman, to the point where every orifice of life carries advertising displays in some form. I soon became competent in automatically saying NO to every approach tendered, learning quickly that if I wanted the latest MP3 jigglybot, I would go out, research, seek and find the best deal and product for myself.
I, like most, have fallen prey to the dodgy salesman who will promise anything to secure your sale and back in 1977 one of the commonest offenders was the double-glazing salesman. I was hooked by the detailed analysis on how the new windows would pay for themselves from the savings made on my heating bill and convinced, I signed the contract. I was proud that I had the power to instigate such an improvement in my new property but having slept on it and experiencing the inevitable nightmare when the arithmetic added up in my subconscious, I phoned my father in panic, knowing that I could not really afford my new commitment. Fortunately my worldly-wise father advised me on how to escape from the contract and I was saved.
The industry has developed and is much more responsible and self-regulating than it used to be but that does not mean it is a safe zone, it is not. The sales pitches have become more elaborate and refined, the product range more complex and extensive, now encompassing UPVC soffit boards, gutters, drainpipes and conservatories as well as windows. There are a variety of specifications in each of these areas, and a variety of prices. Some years ago I needed replacement windows in an old house I had purchased and I was amazed at the drastic difference in the level of quotes. A famous national company quoted in the region of £25,000 to replace the windows in my standard late fifties, three bedroom, semi-detached, this included the back windows for free, in line with their ‘special offer’ at the time. I recall laughing at the salesman and suggesting he took up a career in comedy. The job was completed with extreme efficiency and to an excellent standard by a local company for just £5,000; I could not see how the ‘famous’ windows could have possibly been £20,000 superior, without platinum plating.
I was, therefore, ready and prepared for the sales pitch jungle when I recently decided to have a conservatory built on the back of my house to utilise as an office. My partner and I performed the necessary pre-expedition research and drafted comprehensive specifications of our requirements and then advanced into the rain forest. Even though we were armed with well-prepared knowledge and specifications I was amazed at the total nonsense that was verbally bestowed upon us. It is relevant I reveal I originally trained as a Civil Engineer, and although I am not familiar with all the intricacies of current building regulations, I am competently aware of what is involved and found it insulting the way some companies salesmen attempted to confound and overcomplicate our project, which by professional standards was simple.
The specifications we put before them all were to excavate and lay the foundations then to build an Edwardian style conservatory (for the uninitiated that is a square conservatory with a roof that slopes on three sides), approximately three metres square, with mirrored doubled glazed glass panels fitted on the fence line side and French doors on the opposite side. This was to be built on the back of a new house where there are no hidden complications. There were only two small problems, one was a rainwater drain that needed to be moved half a metre and the second was that the back wall of the house stepped out a quarter of a metre making one side of the conservatory that much shorter than the other.
When certain companies were approached one could be forgiven for thinking that it must have been extra terrestrial intelligences that engineered the likes of the Great Pyramid and the Panama Canal. Our project was by all conservatory standards a simple one, in fact a standard DIY conservatory of this size and style can be purchased from the DIY superstores for around £2500, and it is useful to make this comparison because although it does not include the base, the superstores are making their profit within that price, and so it gives a fair guideline for what can be reasonably expected for your money. I would recommend that anyone considering a conservatory visit the DIY superstores first to give them an indication of the cost of the conservatory itself, remembering that, apart from small aesthetic differences, all that you will be paying the conservatory companies extra for is the base and assembly.
Having visited or met with the salesmen of at least ten varying companies I can quite confidently make the judgement that there is little real difference between one conservatory or another, apart from the obvious aesthetic ones such as colour or profile (the profile being the cross sectional shape of the UPVC sections), most conservatory sections are manufactured to a high standard today. The sales bull tells us different but it is essential not to become blinded by too much science, there are a few genuine specifications that are important if you want your new room to have a lasting purpose. ...
Article commissioned by local newspaper.
FOR QUEEN, COUNTRY AND...FREEDOM?
Every day brings the news of yet another young soldier losing his life in our name. The UK alone has now lost over 200 of our young in incidents out in far off places like the Helmand province. I can’t help wondering just how many of the late night city revellers in the UK know where the Helmand province is, let alone appreciates their sacrifice, or even understand it? Last year I heard the moving story of Mark Ormrod, a young soldier who lost both his legs and an arm after stepping on a landmine. Just eleven months later he walked down the aisle and danced at his own wedding and goes for daily runs! An incredible example of sheer determination and strength of character! And he is still a marine! All this following the extensive coverage of Harry Patch, the last Tommy, who died at the miraculous age of 111! Fully justified coverage for he was the last survivor from the hell that was the trenches of the First World War; justified not only in honour of the man himself but for what he represented.
And what is it that Harry Patch, all his brave colleagues and these young soldiers of today represent? Many of us, including myself, debate and abhor the whole concept of war and it’s abominations of pointless suffering, yet it has been and still appears to be necessary. Or is that just an arrogant assumption of us, the guardians of the free world? Is that how we see ourselves? Is that our folly of presumption? Yet there we have the clue of their representation, the free world. Their sacrifice was and is for freedom, our freedom, my freedom to write, yours to read. But what is freedom?
We make such a gargantuan myth of the word FREEDOM and place such importance upon its shoulders- the freedom of the city, free society, free speech- yet as soon as freedom is attained, we cage it like a wild animal, and justly for freedom is too dangerous a creature for us to allow to roam unguarded.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines freedom as- 1.The condition of being free or unrestricted. 2. Personal or civic liberty. 3. The power of self-determination. 4. The state of being free to act. 5. Frankness, outspokenness. 6. The condition of being exempt from or not subject to. It is indeed all of these and more but there are problems with our concepts, expectations and general perceptions of freedom that have been propagated from the origins of the ideal itself. The ideals of freedom have obviously grown from the lack of it, from the shackles that bound the slaves of the Roman empire, the ships of desolation that bore Africa’s heart, ripped from its body, to the four corners of the globe and caged them in foreign tongues and cotton plantations. Women bound to the kitchen sink with no voice to liberate their thoughts, gays imprisoned in the heterosexual clothes of a blinkered society, every suppressed thought, soul, breed, faith, view point and lifestyle has run from the cage as soon as the door has been unlocked by the key of freedom! And now they stand in the open, facing one another, unsure of what to say, who to blame for what and how to proceed, and not really understanding freedom.
Daily it is abused and misinterpreted; take for example ‘free speech’, a right that has been strongly fought for and protected, yet racism and the need for political correctness has forced a leash to be attached to the neck of ‘free speech’. For true freedom to exist a person would expect to say anything they want, to be able to do as they wish, take whatever they want. The rapist could take any woman he wished, the murderer take any life, the capitalist exploit any deal and the oppressor or enslaver would have the right of freedom to enforce their will upon their captives . These extremes, however, highlight quite clearly the limitations of freedom and the transparent flaw in the ideal, being that one man’s freedom is another man’s jail! It is the less obvious abuses of freedom, however, that we need to address and there where the moral structure of society is becoming derelict and crumbling before our eyes.
Take for example the relatively recent controversy over the limitations of smoking in public. Most smokers saw this as an infringement upon their right of freedom, but in fact they still have the right to smoke, what they have lost is the right to inflict their habit, their will, on others; they have, up until now, been the oppressors. The non-smokers have been liberated! Then there is the young hot hatch king, with bass speakers twice the size of his attitude, pounding his music mercilessly upon the ears of all in his path. The debate is not about his taste in music, it is about his bullying tactic of forcibly inflicting his choice upon everyone else, he is defiantly removing their right to the freedom of silence, with no due consideration. The motive principle of his act is the same as Hitler’s, imposing his will, his control! He is the minor dictator! There are so many similar scenarios in today’s society, just last night some keen road-bug was testing his motorbike at full throttle, with no apparent silencer, up and down a three mile stretch of road that leads in and out of our village. Even during daylight hours, most of us would find that annoying to say the least, but between midnight and 2.30 in the morning!
The list of disregard is endless and I could also list numerous other minor infringements, which we all encounter daily, that are no more than bad manners. The examples, however, are not what would be deemed as serious offenses to our freedom, there is no violence involved, or material theft but they are undoubtedly symbolic of the lack of respect for others, the first steps on the ladder of many minor oppressors! We should ask ourselves why and how we can address the issue? It is, without doubt, a complex issue, because with each new law to preserve freedom, a new restriction is enforced, limiting freedom. There are those who would say that we are already racing towards an Orwellian state scenario, the ultimate form of subservience that we should avoid rigorously. The key word, as always, is balance, to maintain an even and fair balance between law and freedom. Some are incensed by the mere sound of the word ‘law’ and rebel immediately in the name of freedom, until something of their freedom is breeched, then they would call for the ‘law’ to protect their rights, with a hint of hypocrisy. So where does the solution lie? Maybe it is in our approach to the law of the land. There is the first hurdle, ‘the law of the land’ it should really be known as ‘the law of the people’, as each law is ultimately contrived to protect the freedom of the people in some way or form (or should be), either directly or indirectly. Take as an example tax evasion. Most people see this as ‘fair game’, but in theory, someone who is guilty of tax evasion is depriving the community as a whole of income, income that is used to provide health care, education, social services, armed forces and many other resources that are essential to our society; so it can easily be argued that a tax evader is indirectly guilty of causing a death, the ultimate loss of freedom, through the lack of funds for the necessary resources. It is possible to levy a similar argument linked to the loss of freedom for all offenses, thus each law is designed to protect our freedom.
Would it not be more open then to cut through the fattened up complexity of our current law system and bring it right back to the bone? Let us have one offence, ‘Infringement of Freedom’ and all crimes be judged on a scale against the concept of how they affect the freedom of others. Genocide would be the ultimate crime, then mass murder, murder, acts of violence and so on down the scale until we reach the likes of our hot hatch king! It would then be clear to all that the result of any offence committed was the violation of the freedom of their fellow man in some way, rather than being an offence against that nonentity of ‘fair game’, the state.
This new approach would require a new moral education. The moral role played by religion has been diluted significantly in modern society and whereas it gave us our concepts of right and wrong, religious ‘membership’ is on the decline and has been for some decades. It is also responsible for a number of conflicts in modern society due to the differing viewpoints of the various religious groups. In most cases today, religion, instead of reinforcing the concept of selfless freedom, seems to enforce selfish freedom, causing defiant acts ‘in the name of....’ albeit not necessarily or knowingly instigated by the hierarchy of the varying religious groups. We therefore need to invent a moral education outside of religion, an education that teaches the concept of selfless freedom. It is no longer enough to simply say “it is wrong”, we need to start educating our populous as to the reason why it is wrong, we need to almost indoctrinate our children with the ideals of the rights of freedom of others and making it transparent that all crimes are not against the State, but against the freedom of their fellow man!
Harry Patch did not fight in the trenches, Mark Ormrod did not lose his limbs so that the biker could ride full throttle in the early hours, waking every sleeping soul in his wake; they and many more fought for our freedom as a whole, we owe them the honour and the distinction to keep that freedom alive, well focused and understood. Freedom for us and our children to sleep safely in our beds, without the roar of oppression in our dreams! We should not be asking “What are my rights of freedom?” but “How do I respect your freedom?”!
Radio Script commissioned by Persuaders for National Prison Radio
Please note: All characters are totally fictional.
INSIDE - OUT
KEEPING IN TOUCH
F/X: Opening jingle/music
note: All the stories and questions in this script are based on true stories and scenarios, based on interviews with real prisoners, ex prisoners and their families. Although all names and identifying references have been changed for obvious reasons.
Presenter: Hi this is Les welcoming you to ‘Inside Out’…a show aimed at helping those of you inside to be aware of the problems faced by those you care about on the outside and enable you to keep in touch with and relate to the ones who care about you the most …Also to highlight the problems they may face as a result of you being inside we will feature true stories from prisoners and families…all anonymous I hasten to add…which will undoubtedly raise a variety of questions…and we will try our best to respond to them… Issues covered in this show are…what happens when you are first sent down…and how the separation from your family affects you…and them…your partner, your children and your parents… To help enlighten us and answer those questions I am joined in the studio by ______________
Guest: Hello Les…
Presenter: So tell us…it must be a ‘testing’ field to work in…so what attracted you to this area of work?
Presenter: Interesting…there must be so many issues facing families on the outside, and a lot of mixed up feelings…I guess a lot will be very angry and confused…What, in your experience, are the main problems that arise…?
Presenter: Let’s listen to our first story from Colin, who’s a first time offender serving 18 months…he had problems with his parents I believe…
Prisoner Colin: You know it was such a shock, we just wasn’t expecting that I’d go down, so no one was prepared…in any way. It was such a stupid thing, a misunderstanding that’s all, and next thing I know I’m arrested and in court, but I didn’t expect to end up here! I’ll never forget my mum’s face, it was like I’d broke her heart…and my dad…well we don’t get on any how, but he just looked…ashamed. And I felt really scared, I’d never been in trouble like this before, the worst I’d ever had was being suspended from school, it doesn’t really compare, and nothing can prepare you for what it’s like, when you’re locked up and can’t get in touch with anyone. I felt really alone and didn’t know what was going on. No one got in touch or came to see me for weeks, I thought my mum and dad had disowned me, didn’t want to know me anymore, and I missed my kids…that’s what started it in the first place…the B**** wouldn’t let me see the kids, well she’s not going to let me see them in ‘ere is she…not in ‘ere! Mind you, I don’t want them to see me in ‘ere, I don’t want them to think of their dad in this place, they’re only young and won’t understand…I’d only been inside a week and as I said no one had come, and I was moved all the way to Leeds, which is miles away from my mum and dad and that crowned it, I thought ‘they’ll never come now’…but eventually they did and….well…I was so angry with them, the first thing I said to mum was ‘where the bloody hell have you been’…your mind gets twisted in ‘ere see…you stew on things…and I didn’t know did I…she just cried, and then dad let rip, add a go at me told me what he thought…mum looked really ill, drained. Dad soon told me how difficult it had been for them just to find out where I’d been sent, and that by the time they had, I’d been moved…I felt really bad and kinda clamed up, what with dad ranting…I forgot to ask how my kids were…and then they were gone, and I didn’t know when I’d see anyone again…I just felt empty then…and really alone, like no one cared about me…selfish I know.
Presenter: Well Colin certainly highlighted a number of points there, especially if it’s your first time in prison, the sudden separation/isolation and not knowing or understanding the system must be major issues…and of course his parents are one of his best sources of support and help, so it must be really important to maintain that relationship when you’re in prison? Not destroy it!…?
PRESENTER: Being aware of what they are going through too (parents), the various difficulties of visiting etc…just to help you understand it from their point of view must be a vital consideration to take on board?
PRESENTER: Let’s hear another story now from Mary, the mother of a prisoner, this may help us see it from the outside, as it where…
Prisoner’s Mother: I don’t think he even considered the affect on us/me. For the first time in his life I sat in that court and had no control or influence in any way…I could do nothing but watch…do you know how that feels, I couldn’t give him any help or advice, he was on his own. When he was sent down I just wept, it was the first time I’d ever been in court and it’s a different world…you know? You don’t know what’s going to happen next, and no one tells you! He was just taken away! He used to work with me in the shop…I run a hardware, and he worked with me, did all the heavy stuff, ‘cause I’m getting on now, not as fit and healthy as I used to be, and his dad is just too old to help, I was going to hand it over to my son in a few years when I retire, don’t know what I’ll do now, everything has changed so much… It was so difficult to find out where he’d been taken…took us weeks. And then of course I had to get someone to look after the shop so we could go, and I had to do that every time we went…it’s a five hour round trip! And then there’s all the security and search stuff when you get there, it’s so degrading, a whole day by the time you’ve finished and it’s really emotionally draining to see your son in there… the first time we got to see him he just bawled at us, as if it was our fault! His dad went mad, saw red I guess, really laid into him, and I just cried, I tried not to, I really wanted to be strong, you know? But I couldn’t hold it back…he clamed up then, my son, didn’t say much at all. I don’t think he even gave it a thought how difficult it was for us just to get there…a whole day just to see him for an hour…ridiculous, you’d think he’d have the decency to be nice to us when we did get there especially after us making all that effort! I don’t know how I’m going to keep it up every week; it’s like a black cloud hanging over you all the time. It’s so awkward in the shop too, everyone keeps asking where he is and I don’t know what to tell them, I fill up every time someone asks…I can feel myself getting weaker and weaker with the strain of it all, both emotionally and physically…it’ll finish me off this, I know it will…
Presenter: Well that certainly gives us the other perspective; it must have been really difficult for the parents to come to terms with what is happening? And of course their whole life has changed too…what advice can you give to prisoners to help them understand and ‘help’ their parents cope with the situation…
PRESENTER: It’s wise to remember that you need your family, and quite naturally they’re not going to be very happy about their son or daughter being in prison, it puts an extra burden on them too, in a lot of varied ways…would it be easier to not bother and not be in touch with your parents?
Presenter: OK lets change it around again and see it all from another viewpoint…here’s Dianne, the partner of a prisoner…
prisoner’s partner: He’s such a pratt! He only thinks of his self, and he’s alright really, gets to play table tennis most days, and has plenty of time to sit down and write letters…and think…too much time if you ask me! He gets to brood about things, blows things up in his mind, and then I have to explain myself when I see him…like it’s my fault he’s in there, I ask you! We had a bit of a fall out before he was sent down…I could see the way it was going and I knew this would happen…didn’t want the father of my kids to be banged up! But would he listen…No! He thinks I’m going to run out on him, leave him, thinks I’m out partying every night…he hasn’t got a b***** clue! By the time I’ve got the kids to school, we’ve got two tots, got to work at the hospital and done my shift, picked the kids up, cooked, washed, ironed and cleaned, not to mention shopping and sorting out their homework…all for his b***** kids don’t forget…what time have I got to party, I’ve barely got time to sleep, then he wants to phone me all the time…just to see where I am and who with, I know you know! And he expects me to visit him every week too, it’s just all too much, I mean it costs a fortune on the train and takes a whole day by the time you’ve finished, I can’t get the time off work every week anyhow, and I need the money, how can I do both I ask you! I haven’t got time to sit down writing letters…I have to do night shifts sometimes too…he knows that…and I have to get someone to look after the kids, ‘cause he’s banged up! He gives me all this mouth about being there for him, what a hard time he’s having, will I forgive him, will I be there when he gets out…yeah yeah yeah…well not if he caries on like this I wont, what does he expect I can only do so much…I can only take so much! He needs to chill and realise what he has put everyone else through and that it has stuffed my life up too, and the kids, I have to deal with them crying, wanting their daddy…I have to try and explain to them why he’s not coming home anymore, and I have to cope with dragging them up to see him, god that’s a nightmare, can you imagine what it’s like spending nearly five hours on a train with two hyper tots, and busses… and then coping with them at the prison, putting them through being searched…he just hasn’t got a clue…I tell you when he gets out, I’m going to get myself sent down, see how he copes!
Presenter: Well…Dianne is not happy is she? And I suppose I can see why, she’s getting all sorts thrown at her, which is bad enough in normal circumstances but with her partner in prison for something she didn’t do…he shouldn’t be giving her all that ‘mouth’ as she put it, should he…
PRESENTER: How can prisoners deal with all the feelings they have that seem to get all out of proportion and affect their relationships? And…How can they help those people on the outside cope…?
PRESENTER: Well we know prisoners have kids, lets hear how they feel about their parents being inside…
Prisoners Child: I don’t know why daddy doesn’t come home, why do we have to go and see him in that grotty place, I don’t like it, I get tired going all that far. Mum and dad argue all the time on the phone, and when we go to see him, I don’t know why mum takes us, he never plays with us, just argues with mum. I sent him a picture I did at school, mum said I had to; I wanted to keep it really, but mum said. She said he’d like it, but he never said he did. Why is he there? When will daddy come home and take us to the park like he used to? …Some kids at school say it’s a prison, is it? Is my daddy in prison? That means he must have been naughty doesn’t it, you only get sent to prison if you’re naughty…wonder what he did. I saw him cry one time we were there. There’s some scary people there, and dogs I hate the dogs, they’re smelly and got big teeth, and they sniff me, mum says I have to let them but I don’t like it, my brother cries, they really frighten him, I cried once, but I don’t now, mum says I have to be big. We argue all the way on the train, we don’t like that, the train, it’s boring…My brother was sick once on the train, I laughed at him and mum told me off, she always tells us off now, lots on the train too. Dad used to tickle me before we went to bed, he doesn’t anymore…don’t know why. I don’t think he likes us now, or he’d come home wouldn’t he…he doesn’t. Mums angry all the time too, she never plays with us. We’re always staying at Nan’s or auntie Ann’s don’t see mum much, just on the way to school…and on the train but she shouts at us on the train…Don’t think mum likes us really…will she go to prison, we won’t have to go on the train if she does will we…?
Presenter: I don’t care how tough you are that must get to you, I know it gets to me…Children see things so differently, they have their own special world and need their parents don’t they. It must have a real affect on them when a Mum or Dad is sent down, you’ve got to try and understand from their point, but how? How do you keep things ‘normal for them?
PRESENTER: The thing is, with relationships, and especially those with children, the nature and needs of those relationships are always changing and whether your inside or out it is a difficult thing to manage and keep abreast of, so if your inside you have to work harder at keeping those relationships healthy don’t you?
PRESENTER: What makes it so important to keep those relationships healthy?
Note: The following questions from prisoners should be read by the presenter or another voice as if they are letters or emails or gathered by questioning prisoners and inserted at convenient points in the show, depending on the way it runs and the responses from the guest…or left at the end of the show in one block…producers discretion.
PRESENTER: We have some questions that have been sent in by prisoners now so lets hear the first from….
Prisoner Paul: Hi there Les…my lad, he’s been playing up something terrible, won’t do a thing his mum says, he’s 16, and just says things like... ‘Well dad’s inside, he can’t do nothing about it’. She can’t seem to keep him under control, and he won’t speak to me any more…
Presenter: That’s one of those impossible situations to deal with, what can he do?
PRESENTER: Another question now from Mark I believe…
Prisoner Mark: Hi…yes Les…It’s my mum, she’s really poorly and hasn’t been able to come and see me, I don’t think she’s going to make it till I come out…I feel really bad you know, I should be there for her, I let her down so much, I ain’t good at writing, how can I let her know how I feel…you know…?
Presenter: These are all really difficult problems…what can you tell him…?
Presenter: A final question now from Sam…
Prisoner Sam: Hi there…It’s so hard you know, no one realises, I know I did wrong but…it’s my sister, we used to be so close, but since I got into trouble, she just won’t see me or speak to me…I write but she won’t write back. I need her, just to talk to, but I don’t know how to put it right between us, to get her to see, I made a mistake and I’m so sorry, I’d just like to be able to tell her that…
Presenter: It sounds like Sam has been cut off by his/her sister, how can he/she get through to her and make things up, from inside…?
PRESENTER: Well that’s it for this time I hope we have helped, we have certainly touched on some very moving topics and concerns that affect prisoners and their families, from the lack of knowing what’s going on, which can cause misunderstandings with family on the outside, to practical worries, jealousy, and the affects on your kids…from all viewpoints...Inside and Out…A special thank you to our guest…………………..and I hope you tune in next time but for now this is goodbye from me Les and Inside-Out….
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Extra presenter questions
Presenter: A lot of prisoners must go through those sort of mixed up feelings mustn’t they, both men and women I guess…it’s difficult to trust someone when you know you have let them down…because you almost expect them to leave you high and dry?
PRESENTER: It has to be difficult for a partner on the outside, left with all the responsibility of looking after the family in your absence…easy to overlook that I suppose…?
Presenter: A prisoner can have a really hard time dealing with what they has done and how it will affect their children, I can sense a real feeling of guilt and worry for the prisoner as they get older, as they won’t be there for them, on the outside…how do you keep your parental relationship going with your children when you are in prison, it must be difficult to tell them right from wrong when your locked up! And indeed to keep any form of control or influence on their lives from inside…?
PRESENTER: Does it helps if your partner appears to be managing things well, although it has to be difficult for them to do that…?
Presenter: Is it best to be honest with your children?
Extra prisoner testimonials
Prisoner Harry: I don’t know why she bothers to come…my wife that is, the first thing she does is have a go at me when she gets here…says I’ve got the life of Riley and then goes on moaning about the kids playin’ up all the time, and how knackered she is from rushing round, she should be in here I tell her, but that just sparks her off again…then I look at her all dolled up as if she’s going out partying and I can’t help but wonder…I mean she comes to see me, but there’s the two weeks between visits, she could be doing anything with anyone, how would I know, I get to feel that she is building up to tell me to get lost, not that I can in here…and what can I do about it…when I call her she’s always ‘busy’…the kids screaming in the background, and she just moans about that then and says she’s got to go sort them out, but I think it’s just an excuse to get off the phone…She used to tell me I’d end up in here one day and now she rubs that in all the time, it really gets to me that! I mean I know I’ve done wrong, but I keep telling her it’ll be ok when I get out…I’ll put it right…but she just looks so disgusted at me, she don’t believe me anymore…I don’t know what to do, I’ve got another two years to do and I don’t think she’ll wait…probably hasn’t…I just wish I’d done it different, been more of a real bloke for her…you know, got a proper job, I mean that’s what I’m supposed to do isn’t it, to look after her properly, if you want to keep someone, you got to look after them…it’s important for her to know that she can rely on me, isn’t it? Trouble is can I trust her now, I don’t think I can, I imagine all sorts of things, and just get so wound up…I mean I’m not there to keep her in check am I, and why shouldn’t she go off, I’m no use to her or anyone in here am I! If I get through this I am going to put things right! I really miss what we had and it’s so difficult to keep that going when you’re inside…I write to her you know, at least twice a week, tell her how I feel…I try…but she never writes back, says she hasn’t the time, and what’s the point she says, she speaks to me on the phone and comes to see me, what more do I want she says…I guess she thinks I don’t deserve it…she’s probably right…I tell her she only moans at me when she comes though, and on the phone…told her not to bother coming once, I was so angry, I regretted it after though, I had to call her as soon as I could because I thought she might not come again…she did thank God…it hasn’t been right since I was sent down, I don’t think it will ever be the same…that scares me…
Presenter: One more story now from Malcolm, who’s serving eight years for arson…He’s upset about the affect on his children…
Prisoner Malcom: I knew inside I was going to go down, I’d been stupid, thought I could solve everything, we were struggling see, and the real irony is that I did it for them, that’s what I told myself anyway, but I realise now, it was the worse thing I could have done…I knew when the police came to the door, no one else did, but I knew that was it…the kids thought it was a mistake at first…I didn’t get a chance to see them to explain, so I hope my wife did…she’s been good, I think she understood the pressure I was under, not that that makes it right, it doesn’t, and the worst of all is knowing that I am not there now for my kids…I don’t get to see them each morning coming down with their hair all sticking up, can’t play games with them, football and stuff…I really miss them…the little things you know…things you take for granted, picking them up from school and chatting with them about what they’ve been up to…I mean I still chat to them, on the phone and that, and when they come to visit…I asked my wife to just bring them once a month…she comes every week, but I thought it would be too much for them every week…I mean I do still talk to them, it’s not the same though, there’s always an atmosphere hanging over us, bound to be I suppose…and try as you might to be an ‘adult’ and to be a responsible dad, it’s hard in here…because you see, on the outside you just pop in to kiss them goodnight, or read to them, or something you know…but you can’t...I really worry about what affect it’s had on them, and how to keep our relationship going…they’re only young at the moment but as they get older, and they’ll be quite a bit older by the time I get out, it’ll get harder, I know... The youngest has cried a few times when she’s come to see me, and that really gets to me, because you can’t do any thing see, and my wife has to deal with it as she’s leaving, which isn’t fair on her either…I’ve made such a mess of things, I just pray that my wife holds it all together till I get out, and that I can make it up to them all, but it seems such a long way off right now…sometimes I think about ending it all, you know? But that would only make it worse for them. I know I need to be strong for them, the kids…and my wife, and show them I can get through this and pay for the mistake and trouble I’ve caused…I’m so glad no one was hurt as a result of what I did…I mean, I know my kids and family have been hurt, I mean in the fire you know, that would have been even harder to deal with, for them as well, I guess I was lucky there. I write to them, I know they like that, it’s difficult though to keep finding different things to write about, nothing happens really you see, well nothing I can write to my young kids about, that makes it hard, what to talk to them about when you’re in here, I try to ask them questions about what they’ve been doing and talk about their stuff…it’s so hard you know…
I've also been the Editor of local community magazines...
All the above written by Tony Stringfellow©