As some know over the last 2 years I have attempted to write a book, 23,000 words later it is not even a pamphlet and I have exhausted what little is left of my grey cells to get to the finish, some of it you have already read apart from my mob life which is er interesting.
I will post daily chunks till it is finished.


Chapter 1

Stirling Clones : At this time after all the years of heavy drinking my puddled brain was convinced that an army of clones were at my beck and call and the time was ripe for me to start my own private security company to rid the streets of my beautiful city of all the smack heads, winos, beggars and other detritus.

I am bloody pig sick of one particular work shy bastard at the University of York, my work place. who only lifted a finger if the work would make him look good to the management, in short a brown nosing glory hunter .

February/ March at Uni was boiler cleaning season, bloody hard graft but by third week of March myself and JH had broken the back of it, helped on occasion by DE, loads of overtime which meant more drinking vouchers. My luck was also in money wise as my bank had offered me a credit card back end of February with a limit of £ 2,500 to which I had already made inroads.


Monday of the last week of March I handed in my notice on a scrap of paper to my supervisor, nice man but one of the worst communicators I have ever come across, he laughs and hands it back ‘’ Don’t be silly Stirl, is this a joke ?’’….’’I’m bloody serious boss I have work to do else where’’. I go to the central boiler house and have a cuppa and a tab and get stuck in to some work, pretty soon ML the charge hand arrives and ask’s what’s going on, ‘’I am leaving mate I have had enough and I’m needed elsewhere’’ ‘’But wot yer gonna do’’ ‘’That is fer me at know and you to ponder’’ MW is gob smacked, I don’t want to leave him in the lurch but needs must, I tell him of some gear we need and off he trotts. When you work hard time flys and it is soon tea break time, I go to the nearby college for a ‘’poorly hand’’, massive bap filled with scrambled egg. Enter mess room GC a lecy spots the poorly hand , ‘’ Ah, another heart valve goes bang’’, cheeky twat. Much banter about the weekend just gone, ‘’Ow much did yer plough through this w/end Stirl ?’’….’’Who are you, a fcukin detective’’ cackle cackle. T break over it is in to the workshops to see if any urgent work sheets have come in for my zone, there are none.
Back to the boiler house, Smelly work shy comes up in his car, running joke is if he strays more than 50 ft from his car an alarm goes off, he stands about while we get stuck into work, jungle telegraph is working overtime and I can sense he is dying to ask about my notice but dare not, he knows I will tear his arm off and hit him with the soggy end, he pisses off.

Dinner time soon arrives and it is down to the bakers in the village to get a jacket spud with hot filling of today’s special, in the mess room my mind is full of thoughts of strategy to kick off the clean up of York, after dinner no urgents for my area so back to boiler house, Smelly arrives and goes upstairs to sit on his arse in the office playing on the computer monitor…..RAGE….. I keep it tight and concentrate on work.

1630 I crash my nicks and socks out, hang them in the CHP CAT house where it is red hot, by the time I have finished my shower they are dry.
Back to workshops to fill in worksheets and don fresh work shirt for trip home, 1700 and I’m out the door, supervisor ‘’Stirl can I have a word’’ ‘’Tomorrow’’, I am into ramming speed for the walk home, RW pulls up in Dolly and gives me a lift to traffic lights cutting my time to get to my local.

First pint of the day, yum. People talk but my mind is elsewhere, have had enough of this and walk up to TheNorthern Wall to have a banter with A S the barman I have known for donkeys, back to the local for last orders then pizza, home, sleep.

Next day avoid GT the supervisor, up to CBH, cuppa, tab ,work. ML arrives to lend a hand and we have a laff as work progresses but I can see in his eyes there are many questions he needs to ask but being the sound man he is, schtum.
Tea break, another poorly hand and over to w/shops where GT is waiting,
‘’Stirl, about your notice, I …….’’I am leaving GT, get used to it’’ ‘’ Bbut……
‘’FFS leave it GT…..I have work to do’’ ‘’Stirl ‘’…..too late I am up to ramming speed and away.
Dinner time, by now every man and his dog knows about my notice but good on them for not being nosy bastards. After dinner GT comes up to CBH and I decide to use language that he will understand, ‘’Stirl…..’’Fcuk off I’ve nowt to say’’…..’’I have to talk to you’’…..’’Asked and answered’’….’’Stirl please’’…
‘’Asked and answered’’, he pisses off but comes back minutes later with some notepaper, ‘’Will you listen to me?’’….’’Possibly maybe, probably no’’….‘’What…..’’…..’’Asked and answered’’ ‘’We cannot accept your notice on the scrap of paper you gave me, if you are serious which I doubt then make it official on this note paper’’…..RAGE, I snatch the note paper and go to office to pen my notice AGAIN, ML arrives and stands at office door making idle chit chat, ‘’Give this to GT mate’’….’’ Er, okay, see ya in a bit’’.
End of day, into the Spread Eagle my local, couple of drinking buddies in and we chat about one of our passions, Rugby League. I can sense the landlady, a redhead , is about to enter into one of her many ‘’interviews’’, I leave, bloody armchair psychologists. Up to Wall, it is AS’s night off, bugger, down to Rose and Crown and have a laff with buddies I have known since the 70’s. Pizza, home, sleep.

Wednesday GT seems to have got the message and is using ML as a conduit, ML informs me I have a meeting after T break with the head of our department to confirm my notice , I enter big cheese office and GT is present, I am a reasonable photographer and have already done a couple of promo shoots for pubs in York and flannel big cheese with lies about jobs in the pipeline, he wishes me well and thanks me for my 20 years service at Uni, GT has sat there with mouth open all through this, confused GT ?, you will be. Exit office, ‘’Stirl…..I give him a look and at last he is receiving and not transmitting.

Thursday, tomorrow I will be rid of this place and can put my very detailed plans into action, joe public starts his w/end on Friday nights, we start a day early, sides are aching with the banter this night, chips and curry sauce, home, sleep.

Friday, dress in black Doc’s, black vest and black Lycra cycling bottoms, Walkman playing Techno version of Das Boot by U96 and I’m good to go, first tab of the day and increase ramming speed pace….peeps give me plenty of room and I am thankful.
Work, go into lecy w/shop and hold my Royal Navy zippo up to GC’s face……‘’Mirror image’’ ( Clone )….’’Er….yea’’ GT is waiting in the our w/shop….‘’Stirl there is still time to withdraw your notice…RAGE……

‘’ But…..DE recognises what could happen and steps in, result.Up to CBH for a cuppa and tab, sort what needs doing that day, sign off some stuff on the computer. DE ‘’ I’m gagging Stirl, fancy a cuppa ‘’….’’Aye’’.
Cuppa, tab, DE ‘’You off ‘ome then?’’…’’May as well’’ 0930, bye bye suckers.
Shower and change into some of my best gear and wait for opening time. Listen to soundtrack of Taxi Driver. Suddenly there is change
Out, adrenalin is pumping and I am high as a Button Boy, Northern Wall, landlord behind the bar, ‘’Pint Stirlin’’…’’Aye’’ pint proffered…’’Stirlin will pay for this later today when he flies in from LA’’….landlord exit stage left, tab….
Second pint, same response, tab. Spot some detritus giving tourists hassle from Wall window, pint off and approach them, slow, quiet info as to what they should do, they move on.
Walked the mile or so to city plod shop, stand outside and glare at them for a bit and back into town, spot Spread landlady but she manages to avoid me.
Into the Wall, by this time AS is behind the bar…..‘’Stirl wot the fcuk are you on ?, are ya gonna pay for these drinks’’……
hand him my credit card wallet and as he goes to the till I leave, bump into MM and bum a tab, walk the city walls and go home, get some shut eye.
1700..out, down to Rose and Crown, couple of mates in but I do not buy a drink, pick an argument with a total stranger and offer him out, landlord tells my mates to get me out of his pub…they drag me out and we make for the Spread, them complaining that I have ruined their evening.
Spread, unknown to me one of the two Rose lads tells landlady that I am about to explode and she calls plod, making a nuisance of myself and go for a lag, out the rear door of Spread, round the back of motor cycling clothing shop and back on the street.
Meat wagon screeches to a halt outside Spread so I quicken my step assuming there is trouble inside, landlady and assistant come out and scream at plod ‘’ He’s gone’’….
and there am I walking towards them, 2 plod grab me but I do not struggle as I know my rescue squad will spring me within the hour.
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Plod have the bells and whistles on and are going like bars of shit, I am thrown about like a rag doll, either they have another shout to go to or they want me locked up before the rescue squad can react.
Give my details to custody Sgt and hand over my belt, all I have is the clothes I am stood up in,ONE plod leads me to cell, shoes outside the door and clang I am banged up..Think Mossy think, if my troop are planning strategy I may have to wait till they take down the cell block, decide I need a nato standard and a tab so press the buzzer, no reaction, again, no reaction, lean with head against the buzzer for some time but still nothing, getting dark, what to do ?, kick the door, lay on my back and kick door repeatedly which antagonises the other inmates and they shout STFU, bollox to them I need a tab.
Door opens, at last someone is awake, mivvy stood outside the cell says he is a doctor and needs to ask me some questions, takes him about 5 minutes of scribbling down my responses and he leaves. What seems like about an hour cell door opens and 2 mivvys enter, one doing all the talking is another doctor, short fat ugly one does not say a word, just stands and looks at me like something he has trod in, I hope our paths cross again in the future, Chat over, they leave… buzzer, no reaction, I start to sing at the top of my voice anything and everything. Strip off and do some phys, hand stand push ups and press ups….have a birdy bath from the drink fountain above the bog and stick my gear back on. I get some shut eye and soon it is dawn, press buzzer, nowt, pace the cell as I am getting a tad pissed off with being ignored.

What must be mid morning cell door opens and 2 male mivvys dressed in nurse outfits enter, keep my guard up, they could be plain clothes plod doing a sneaky ops.They seem OK but the answers I give are well thought out and it passes the time, they leave. The adrenalin is starting to pump as I am really pissed off with plod, Being a resourceful ex Royal Navy Stoker I strip and bung up the bog with my clothes and repeatedly flush until the cell floor is swimming and water is seeping under cell door into passage, still no reaction, floor is really slippy now so fold plastic covered mattress into a third and knell on it propelling myself round cell like a bumper car banging on the door as I go. This does not last as underfloor heating is drying floor out, bugger. Go to get a drink from fountain and they have shut the water off…..
BASTARDS. Getting dark, I arrived here when it was light so have been banged up for over 24 hours.
Cell opens and I stand up, in steps Sgt and stands alongside me, a plod enters and stands by the door, another plod stands outside, I must be a real site in my speedos and all the horrible ink on my upper arms….enter what must be the youngest, vertically challenged plod they have on their books, he carries cuffs and a high viz boiler suit…’’Put this on’’…I smile at him and obey, poor thing is shaking like a shiting dog ‘’Put your arms behind your back’’…’’Fcuk off am not gonna do owt’’…Sgt…’’Put the cuffs on the front’’. I am led out and in the custody area is a mivvy carrying a brief case, he clocks me..’’Wot the fcuk are you lookin at’’
Into meat wagon and away, plod stops at filling station to gas up, they also buy scran and troff it before setting off again…RAGE. I check the traffic and a dark Range Rover overtakes us, then another.YES… the troop are here, now you are gonna get some plod, few more miles, where the fcuk are they ?.

On the road what seems like an hour..’’Where the fcuk are we goin’’ response.
We eventually pull up outside this building and I am led into a basement lift by plod and one of the blokes from earlier in nurse outfit, could be an interrogation suite.

Up one floor and led into what looks like a hotel, into room with bed and not much else, cuffs removed and I strip off the high viz boiler suit and hand it to shortarse plod ‘’Thanks fer not feeding me fer last 24 hours’’
Lady mivvy comes into room carrying jim jams…’’Can you put these on please’’
JIM JAMS ?, I fcukin hate jim jams, the ones I was issued when I joined the Royal Navy training base and HAD to wear were float tested when I joined my first ship.
Lady mivvy says she has to give me a medical check up, WTF ?…I am fit as a butchers dog on speed, definition on all muscles from hard graft, a fine physical specimen. I lay on the bed to let her do her stuff, another lady mivvy pops her head in the door and asks if I would like some tea & toast…does a bear shit in the woods FFS.
Have observed that these 2 mivvys have I.D. tags, I am wary of this place. Demolish tea and toast, dare I ask for a tab?, it can wait. Lady mivvy finishes her examination and sits on bed to ask some questions, she is shaking slightly and seems nervous, you want to fcuk me don’t you lady, I snigger inwardly, Q&A over door is shut and locked but lights stay on, strip off jim jams and speedos and turn in, out like a light.
’Morning Richard’’….shit, they are using my real christian name which I hate, bloody good nights sleep though, ‘’Can you pop in the toilet and give me a specimen of urine before you eat breakfast’’… what would they want with a specimen of my piss ? probably to see what shit they can pump into me.
Bloody hell this is a posh place, looks like it has just been done out, wander down to where some other blokes are hanging about, geezer dressed in designer sports wear clocks me and says hello ‘’ Hiya, owz yer bum fer spots ?’’…1-0, I check the others, one in manky gear and the rest…..shit the fcukin bed….all in jim jams and spaced out to fcuk, I strip the top to show the ink, what do you think of that sporty twat…2-0.
‘’Richard put your top back on and sit down to breakfast’’…brekkie…ace.
Sporty shithead…’’ Richard eh ?’’….’’ No shit Sherlock’’…. 3-0.
Cornflakes and full English, scran is top. Every one wanders off and I follow, into this plush lounge and everyone is tabbin, sporty shithead offers me one ..3-1, uniform lights it for me as I have not had a tab for some 34 hours it is akin to 70’s era wacky baccy AAAACCCEEE.
Why is sporty shit head in all this designer wear?, and why can’t he afford his own lighter, if he is a plant as I suspect he is a damn fine actor. Everyone thins out after their tabs leaving me, manky gear who is getting some zeds in and sporty shithead.
Uniform at door lights a tab, has 4 pulls on it and hands it to me, ‘’ Finish this for me Richard’’…..Brahma,…. sporty shithead ‘’ amp yer gor owt wi yer?’’
‘’ Na mate, kem wi nowt’, am still wary of this bugger so will have to choose my answers carefully, he is jawing with the uniform about fcuk all and I take a stroll to recce the place, heavy steel door which must be the entrance, French doors out to a court yard, again heavyweight doors, long corridor leading to back entrance, steel again, rooms off this corridor, check one which has bed and posh furnishings but no one home, mahoosive TV lounge with big comfy sofas, ALL windows have bars, peer through as many windows trying to get an angle on this place, plod drove me here in the dark…..they could have gone round in a big arch and I am somewhere near York.
Uniform….’’Coffee Richard’’….’’Aye’’….I follow her back to smoke lounge and the place is heaving with uniform and a mivvy in civves rolling some tickler, cheapskate.
All the uniform are having a brew and tabbing, including the 2 from my cell visit in York, bugger, if I had known I would have bummed a smoke off them.
I give sporty shithead a nick name of SS which he is made up with, 3-2, ‘’Tab ?’’ 3-3.
PING god this took some time getting through, a lighter is a weapon that’s why there is only one. Uniform….’’Can I show you your room Richard’’….oh shit, now come the hyperdermics, room off corridor which I checked out earlier, this place is 3* but why ?, what are they prepping me for ?.
Lay on bed and concentrate, swing doors on my room which figures as you aint gonna get past the steel doors and all those bars, I’ve missed something, another recce, corridor leading to TV lounge has steel doors off with spy holes and all the doors are open, each one has a bloke in bed, all the spaced out ones I clocked at brekkie, shit, these poor bastards have already had the treatment, check spy hole in locked room and this geezer is staring at his door but his eyes are seeing nothing, I sense I am being clocked and go to TV lounge. Remote the 32 inch box, fcuk, chavs-r-us having a mank, switch, politician having a mank, switch, babe having a stroll in some nice countryside, this’ll do. Enter SS, ‘’ Wanna tab Dick’’..’’ Call me Dick once more and it’s end-ex for you pal’’ 4-3...’’Sorry mate’’…5-3 ‘’ Da yer wanna tab ?’’ 5-4..’’Aye’’
Smoke lounge, manky bastard has woke up, looks round and drops off again.
‘’Wots up wi that cnut?’’……’’Strong meds’’…6-4...SS has slipped up, win.
I am winning so far, turn away from watching eyes to give myself the regulation salute
Lick finger and touch head…..sizzle….Im hot….bugger, stubble, check pits, I stink, down to hotel reception area ‘’Can I ave a bath and scrape’’….’’Scrape ?’’ ‘’Yer kno, shave’’ I am handed a plaggy Bic and soap, ‘’Return the razor to me when you have finished please’’….Yeah I know it’s a weapon, bathroom has only baths, I fill 2 to the brim, shave the Loads of face to wash then submerge in first bath, out and soap up, feeling perky so I knock one out, rinse in first bath and pull the plug, rinse in second bath, pull plug and dry off. Dress commando and crash out speedos, hang them on the rad in my room, oops, fred the todge keeps having a look through the fly hole of jim jams so I wear them back to front.

Return razor to reception, uniform is having a brew and I raise my eye brows…’’I will make you one Richard’’ slight reassuring touch to arm, god these people are pros with all their attentiveness , I am not fooled, softening me up for what’s to come, but I feel I am ready, never hit a lady in my life but I will take down some of these slightly built males when the shit eventually hit’s the fan. Go to smoke lounge and it’s deserted, am followed by female uniform, sit down and she offers me a tab, lights mine with the weapon and has one herself, I sense an inquisition so check the CD collection, all shite, tune the midi to Classic fm,
Wagner, ace, enter SS….’’Wots this shit’’… makes towards midi…’’Fcukin leave it’’
1-0...uniform… ‘’ Richard’’, you are not fooling me with that longneck accent shithead, ..’’Tab’’…’’Just ad one’’ 2-0. Wants a convo, I piss off to my room to play music in my head, lay on bed and make like I am sleeping , start with the slow sax version of Taxi Driver theme, cheers Bernard, move onto Chicago’s debut album,
Intro…..just into Does anybody really know what time it is’’Wakey wakey Richard,
lunch time’’, make like I have just woken with a start, yawn and make for dining area.
Shit, forgot it was sky pilot day, DO NOT LOOSE TRACK OF DAYS AGAIN !.

Enter all the poor inmates in jim jams, these blokes have been through some hell at the hands of these pro’s…..Ooh, roast hen and all the trimmings,
ace.Scran over, uniform from cell visit calls me into reception office, takes a fresh pack of baccy from drawer of desk and puts some in an envelope
with some papers and hands it over, ‘’This should keep you going’’, I am way ahead of you on this one matey, If I roll a match tab they will know I have been banged up before, obviously been doing some research and have come up empty 3-0.
Enter smoke lounge and make a real hash of trying to roll up, SS..’’Gis it ere’’….
‘’ Fcuk off I can manage’’ 4-0, the abortion is lit by weapon, ash and shit all over, sling it after one pull, before SS can make a move 5-0 uniform hands me her tab which she has just lit, give her the baccy, ‘’Can’t deal with this shit’’……‘’Fine Richard’’.
Gazing out the French windows my mind turns to the crew, lift to this floor had steel door opposite to hotel so must be another unit, could be a harder regime than here and unit snatched before me, yes that’s it, one of them will crack before me and I am done. I sense SS at the door of smoke lounge, enter 2 uniform from entrance with guy in cuffs, he starts to kick off and he is wrestled to the ground, SS runs over and starts kicking the shit out of 1 uniform, I am propelled forward by a uniform towards smoke lounge door and 2 more uniforms exit smoke lounge and tackle SS, smoke lounge door slams behind me, I sit down and laugh, classic farce to extract reaction from me.
SS played his part well but no cigar, after what seems an hour smoke room door opens and uniform sits down on chair at entrance, passive look for one second and break off.
‘’Any tabs?’’……’’Just a moment Richard’’ she beckons someone, uniform I have never seen before, probably from other unit, says nothing but proffers tabs, ….
Park Drive !, a chest cutter at last,…’’Cheers bud’’..he exits and uniform at door strikes me up, PULL… yea this is what I needed…hit’s the spot in a nano.Nnnn.
Mystery uniform appears again and relieves seated uniform, she is back in a second
‘’We are having a coffee Richard, would you like one’’….’’Aye’’…coffee arrives and mystery uniform gets up and takes a seat in lounge, ‘’Richard ? you are from York I gather’’….’’Aye’’…’’Do you use that pub near the Station?’’…’’ Nope’’…..’’Where do you drink then ?’’…’’Spread’’….’’Sorry?’’ ‘’Spread Eagle on Walmgate’’…..
‘’Don’t know it’’……’’You should’’….reaches in his pocket and parks a Park in his gob, I raise my eyebrows and he smiles and hands me one….win.
More chat about ale, will keep this guy onside for more PD’s, I have won this round as the staged farce did not produce the goods they wanted, I need to plan, yawn and exit lounge, lady uniform….’’Going for a lie down Richard’’….’’Aye’’.
Crash on pit and face wall, pain threshold - check -moves - check -passive – check . Give it an hour on pit then do some phys. Back to smoke lounge, mystery uniform has gone…bugger, gaze out of window and rummage the memories..
Cackle cackle….lady uniform ‘’What have you seen Richard’’…’’ Bugger all, just browsing’’, other lady uniform pop’s her head in door…’’Supper’’, time flies when you win.
As expected SS is a no show at supper, finish and uniform counts cutlery, counts again then finds stray spoon under table. Smoke room deserted so I crank up the midi
‘’Richard !’’….’’Amp dun owt’’…’’Turn it down please’’…’’Sorted’’
Tunes for an hour…brew brought in…’’Cheers’’…’’Can I ave a tab befor bed’’
strike up and rummage memories, keep the laffs locked in.
Monday, SS reappears blah blah blah, no sign of mystery uniform, recce, a second steel door room is locked, geezer I don’t recognise. Day passes.
Tuesday, after brekkie, much buzzing about by all uniforms, in smoke lounge I pump SS….’’Wot gives?’’….’’Con rounds’’….’’Con ?’’…’’Consultant’’…………….

Consultant ?, consultant what, stick my head out of door, tall lady mivvy talking to uniform, shit she is taller than me, look at door uniform and raise eyebrows…….
‘’Consultant rounds today Richard, we will call you in in turn’’
Sooo grilling from tall mivvy Dr L,fourth one in and I am ready, stroll into TV lounge looking the bloke, ALL minions are seated one side, some with manila file jackets bulging with paper, these buggers are pro’s, tall Dr L sat opposite them with empty chair in front of her…..’’sit down please Richard’’…I clock Dr L………………..
Wowser, this is some lady, about 50 and bloody stunning, no make-up, she did not need any, wearing a real classy skirt suit, 3 inch heels and what I believe are hold ups, try to ignore the thoughts in my head and I am failing, she is into her first question and I battle hard, she crosses her legs at end of question, shit….THAT sound of nylon on nylon…
‘’G…clones ? wot clones ?’’…..’’The clones you alluded to in your cell when my staff interviewed you’’….you dumb dumb schmuk, they found a crack, more Q&A bat them back with some success, damn she is good, Q&A over, she is up 2-5.‘’Can we get some attire for Richard ?, I am sure he is not comfortable in bed clothes’’ 2-6.
PING, …..THEY brought up the clones, crew has been through the mill, ………have……..make…..good.
Smoke lounge and mystery uniform is in the chair, ‘’Hi Richard’’…eyebrows….
he chuckles and gives me a FULL pack of PD’s, shit the bed do I need this. PULL.yeah !. Babe interviewer from first night pops head in door…..’’Can you come to the office Richard’’….’’Aye…just finish me tab’’go to office, babe…’’We start your treatment today….nurse will deal with you’’ treatment ?, TREATment’’.. NURSE ?
WTF, uniform hands me a pill ‘’Pop this in Richard’’….’’Top or bopum?’’…she giggles and gives me a playfull dig on my arm ‘’Top !’’….
…bugger, pop the bastard and see the outcome .Scran, shit my neck is stiff, need some phys after tab, in lounge I ….shit there it goes again, I roll the head round and feel pain in skull, SS ..’’Ok Richard ?’’…….
‘’Yeah’’ drop my chin onto my chest and some relief, bugger it’s started, any minute I will be next door, SHIT I can’t raise my head, airways are
becoming restricted whole neck is tight, ‘’Richard?’’…’’RICHARD ?’’…’’ BLOODY ELL RICHARD’’…SS has picked me up out of the chair and dragging me out the door…’’E’s REACTIN
REACTIN’’…E’S REACTIN BLOODY ELP IM’’ my eyes are glazing over and someone is forcing my mouth open and stuffing something down my throat………
airways restricting even more…DON’T PASS OUT YOU BASTARD..THAT’S WHAT THEY WANT.
sharp pain in my arse, shit, hypo….blank.I eventually come to and I am on my back next to the French windows…THEY ARE OPEN…Babe is checking me over with steth I see her mouth moving but cannot hear her, 2 uniform stood over me..the cold fresh air hits me and I convulse…back arches and WHOOSH air floods into lungs..babe still checking me over and now her voice is coming through…’’His heart is stabilising and breathing is shallow but increasing’’-
TALK TO ME NOT TO THEM….urghhh.’’Richard are you back with us ?..can you sit up’’check check uhf check, I catch a whiff of something familiar, it is babe……
Oh yes, I am back…I sit up..aided by babe..uniform holds a cup to my lips……
‘’Drink this Richard, steady’’….puh..’’A don’t tek shugga’’…’’ drink Richard it will do you good’’ they help me to my feet..’’Let’s get you sat down’’ they help me along the passage CLANG, French doors shut, into lounge and SS is sat with his head in his hands..he jumps up..’’Is e awrite?’’…’’ yes, big strong boy, arnt you Richard’’…….
wouldn’t you like to know..SS ‘’ Bloody Yorkies, allus fallin ower’’..he grins, I glare. Mossy Mossy shit...what was that..someone in my head calling me Mossy...NO ONE CALLS ME MOSSY ...THAT IS MY ONLY TAG THAT NO ONE KNOWS
I still feel exhausted..I thin….shit transmissions again, It’s changed..what was that…Hello Mossy, Hello…..the pills, one was a capsule, bugger they have got me….
Need music…in a heart full of dust lives a creature called lust, it surprises and scares like me like me My name Iso…shit shit….more transmissions and I can’t stop them A…un..fckin..believable…I feel a tear on my cheek. Mossymossy……….
FCUK..PD time..SS ‘’Can a try won o them’’ I oblige, we strike up…he he ..coughin is lungs up…’’Mans smoke…you fckin longnecks r a showa a shit’’ SS laffs….. shit I forgot to keep score in all this haze, ah fcuk it..SS still coughing….cackle cackle
‘’Gis it ere…arl smoke it’’…sure yer not a split’’……banter, with this cnut.
I go to town on the 2 PD’s PULL PULL PULL PULL ……Nnnnnnnnnnnnice……….
SS is gob smacked..’’Awright yoo win’’…I won with you first day pal.. mossy mossy
Day passes. bloody shattered, hit my pit and I am out like a light……………………
Wake….pit is soaking wet, check, havn’t swamped thi…mossy……………………..
It must be……mossy Im here…………No No No No No No No……NO…………
Bang my head on wall as many times as I can stand, mossy…bang the head and get into a rhythm fcuk… blood, carry on with banging….lights come on MU and other uniform race in, grab me and hold me down ‘’RICHARD CALM DOWN’’…..
‘’RICHARD’’…I slump on the bed, ‘’For god sake tell me where I am…..
Another uniform comes in with a wheelchair, they take me down to smoke room, MU gives me a cup of juice and grabs my head gently, rocking it from side to side, MU
‘’Richard you need to know some things’’….Babe rushes in from nowhere bleary eyed, MU ‘’I think we have calmed him….okay if we handle this, there is another call in non secure‘’…. can’t believe what he is saying, hands are shaking, we have a smoke and he tells me about the unit,hospital, my illness, medication and reaction times depending on metabolism, my reactions and why, the staff, how long I could be here and why on and on I take it all in and sit for a while to ask…my..self. Other uniform comes in with coffee, milky and sweet, ‘’Richard, I am out of cigarettes, can I get yours from your room?’’ I look at him and he raises eyebrows…I laugh, he comes back with OUR tabs and we light up, he asks me again about York pubs and we chat for what seems like ages, we both raise eyebrows in unison ‘’One more’’To bed and I am shattered, I dream, how long since I dreamt, did I dream?



Light ?
Shit that was quick, it feels I have only been asleep for five minutes, wonder what time it is? door opens, unif…nurse standing in the door ‘’And what a pretty site we are this morning, you need a bath Richard’’..’’What time is it’’.’’Brekky in 15 mins’’
I go to bath room, bugger, she is right, plaster on my head, do not remember that being applied, I pull it off, dried blood on cut to head I bath quickly, STARVING, jump out of bath, WHOA , still on half speed.All the nurses I have come across have name tags and keys on chains, I shut all this out before so no clutter, I am still not sure and go over what nurse MU told me.
Shit the bed, no job,no house keys, no wallet,…where is that, bugger, no clothes, I look down at my feet, shoes, my shoes, only they are not like they should be, scuffs and marks all over them
I need to recce this place again, I had heard stories about mental hospitals before and it was not good, this place is different, jeez it’s posh, I had missed so much on my earlier recce’s, WHOA shit the bed this medication is strong. Still can’t see much of the hospital from the windows, enter TV lounge and sit down, wow this settee is comfy , never noticed that first time round, my eyes start to close, REM still there, not tired now as before and I take some time to think…credit card wallet, had it with me I think on Friday…FRIDAY…seems like weeks ago..what day is it today ?..what ever..PING credit card wallet is in Northern Wall..ah, AS will keep it safe I am sure. A nurse enters ‘’Tea ?..we are in the smoke lounge’’
I follow, she stops at a small kitchen….I don’t remember a kitchen, ‘’do you like it strong Richard’’..’’Yes please’’..inward cackle, when was the last time you said please Mossy ?..Mossy?…Mossy is back. I have to try and manage this ‘’new’’ speed my body now has, I shake my head…Mossy, you have a lot of catching up to do. Lounge, SS…that will have to change ‘’You r not SS any more, hello Long neck twat’’..he spurts tea all over his bezzy gear…LN..’’You cnut’’..’’Gis a tab’’.. ‘’ Bugger off’’..’’Goo on’’ he laffs and throws a B&H at me..’’A ope yer gonna send me some tabs wen ya get aht’’ ‘’Cors’’…nurse on strike duty ‘’My 10 year old is better behaved than you 2’’. Hang on, LN said when I get out ?, nurse MU said some thing about a month….
‘’Nurse, when do I leave here?’’…‘’You need another appraisal Richard from the Doctors first, one thing at a time’’..’’Thank you’’..politeness again,yes A LOT of catching up. LN..’’Wish a cud get aht’’.. LN tells me this is his ninth time in here, likes his ale, who doesn’t, always scrapping, another thing I missed, small scars on his shaved dome. Music, lets have some music, I skeg the six cd’s, LN ‘’In there mate’’ he is pointing to a drawer beneath the cabinet, open drawer, Oh yes there is tons of stuff in here, ‘’Elvis?’’..’’Aye, that’ll do’’.. low volume, LN has nodded off, Have another look around, I have been in dock before in York for a small op but this place beats the pants off it,thorough looksy NHS ?, where have they been hiding this place?. Another thing, all the staff smile at you whenever your paths cross and are really attentive, ..’’Lunch time’’
Oh no, no no, all the zombies, correction, patients are being led to the dining area, pooh, these people are in a worse, if that’s the word, state than LN, but Mossy, what a place to be in, this care is something else, er well think ********, how many hospitals have you been in that care for mentally ill patients?..good point.
‘’Wots this nurse’’, ‘’Steak pie Richard’’ I sit ,wodge of pie with veg and mash LOADS of gravy, mmm..mmm. I look across at the server, ‘’is the..’’…she reads my mind..’’Would you like some more Richard’’..’’Yes please’’, stonkin great wodge of pie plonked on my plate.
.Other patients are onto pud, I skeg my plate, will have to get a skate on, I might miss pud,.I look across again at server, she reads my mind again..’’don’t worry Richard I have saved you some sweet’’…this place continues to surprise.
Another slip up, I think I left my PD’s with nurse mystery, check my room drawer,Ah, 4 left…………………
New older nurse on strike, ‘’Want one a these Necky Twat’’..’’Yer fckin jestin’’…’’ Language’……………..
I give LN puzzled look, he mouths…vinega tits. Sorted, first PD of day…..PULLLL…YAA..skeg LN………
shaking his head…he mouths fckn Yorkies. Yes I will take that win.
LN is making signs at VT when she is not looking, he is a.bloody card this lad…..for a long neck……………
‘’Werd ya say yer wa from again’’.he puts his arms up in salute ‘’WIGAN’’..I mouth ..fkn pie eeta…middle finger.
Once everyone thins out we have the place to our selves and LN sits next to me and explains at length that when he gets out again he is going to septic land to join the Mafia, I shed an inward tear for this guy.
In between verbal jousts with LN in lounge I continue to look around, it really is a hotel for damaged, if that’s the word, people with attentive care, good scran AND good company, the guy I dubbed manky on arrival here uses the lounge for one tab after meals then goes to his room to sleep, this day I notice that while he is tabbing a wet patch appears on his leg and inform nurse, ‘’oh KH look at yourself’’, poor guy is somewhere else as he hasn’t even noticed, he is helped to his feet and led out,he has never uttered a word since I have been here.
Sunday,is it really Sunday?, I feel I have lost a day somewhere, after dinner, French doors are opened and 2 nurses go outside into the small square, as I pass…’’Fresh air Richard ?’’..’’Wow, I go out and look up, what a magnificent building, Victorian, with all the tall chimneys and other shit you would find in architecture of that era, LN tabs me’’Cheers mate’’, reckon I owe him about 100 tabs so far. A car pulls up in the small square opposite, 80’s era Merc SL350, out pops Dr L in her casual wear, ‘’Hello everyone’’she is back in a mo,
briefcase??, behave Mossy…anyhow perfect car for the perfect lady……I’m in love…cackle cackle.
Monday comes and goes without much incident, apart from a new guy has arrived and he is in the lounge after dinner, he nods..’’Yup’’..a new language…I respond…’’Aye yup’’..he nods so we already understand each other, LN..’EH up’’..’’Yup’’LN delivers a playfull punch to newbies arm..LN..’’Richard, this is Paul Lamb,e wer in last month before you kem’’ PL nods..LN..’’Richard kem last week, kem wi nowt’’ PL looks up and gives me eyebrows, I nod, yep we speak the same language, produces baccy from pocket and swiftly rolls a match and offers it to me, ‘’Ya shewer’’…nod…I am not a rollup fan but this is sweet and gives a good hit, I look up
‘’Yup?’’ I nod..he nods. I like this bloke…’’Where?’’..PL ..’’Gleadless’’..I nod, he uses long words aswell
He gives a smile and slowly rocks his head from side to side, I give a long slow nod, LN ‘’wot the fcuk a ews on’’ I translate..’’He sed its ok wer e livs’’….PL nods twice, LN ‘’e niva tawks at me like at’’ PL and I face each other and nod twice grinning, LN ‘’Stop tekin piss u 2’’…more nods from me and PL, we have tied LN up in knots, LN ‘’Ya fkn mad u 2’’ PL and I raise eyebrows as far as we can stretch them……….and nod
‘’Fck off u 2.…shake of heads.LN..’’Am goin fer a lag’..PL’’’’Keep it goin’’..he peeks out of door waiting for LN to exit bog, rushes back to seat, we continue the eyebrows and series of nods, shake of heads and begin using a series of small hand signals..LN..’’Sop tekin piss’’..PL..’’US ?..niver’’…’’Gis a tab’’…’’Fck off’..PL leaves lounge and comes back with envelope, looks at me and points to seat alongside him, I think he senses my dislike of rollups but shows a quick guide to rolling a match then puts a wad of fresh tickler in envelope with some papers and hands it to me I practice a roll match, he nods,PL and I continue our ‘’conversation’’ over the days till Tuesday, TUESDAY, all the patients have their appointments with Dr L…..apart from me, I ask nurse on strike why..’’Not today Richard’’ I turn and PL stands up to give me a high five, for once I speak..’’Ya cn fck off wi that septic shite’’..he nods.LN enters and immediately leaves, after a minute I check his room, he is on pit blubbing like a bairn, bad news I think.Days pass, at the end of my second week babe asks me to get my things together for transfer to non-secure, I ask why, she informs me that as I have responded well to medication the transfer is due. We exit front entrance into lift lobby and enter opposite steel door, this place has not yet had a re-furb as secure but hosts similar facilities. In here I am sharing a room with a young goth, he enters while I am sorting out what little gear I have, ‘’Hi,I am going to the smoke room, will you join us’’ he proffers tabs, I am introduced to other folk, they all have their own personal strike.
Nurse calls me into office and draws some petty cash, ‘I understand you have no money or any means of acquiring any so we will get you some smokes’
We enter lift and up 2 floors into a lounge with a small charity shop, they only have Mayfair full strength, no complaints from me, back down to NS ward. I make myself a coffee in the kitchen and go back to smoke room for a tab, nurse offers to take me for some fresh air when I have finished my smoke.
No bars on windows in NS ward and no locked doors apart from one leading to lift, out side I get my first glimpse of the whole hospital, wow, magnificent architecture, it being mid April nature is budding out all over, we tour the grounds that stretch to some 5 acres, nurse points out some outbuildings…’’ Private patients’’..private ?.
It transpires that I am the only one on the ward who has a section order, others are self harmers who need some care and voluntary patients, scran is on a par with secure ward but cutlery is still counted. In secure ward there were books and mags to read but I never bothered, here there are all the daily red tops, I pick one up for a skeg but can’t focus on the small print,move paper closer and eyes try to refocus, my eyes are behaving like the original auto focus camera lens…strong stuff this medication, I turn on the radio, Madonna’s latest, Frozen, never been a fan of hers apart from the videos but this one hits home, her voice seems different, lower tone and more passion, in the top ten and is played often and it really grows with each listen, I choose this song as a reminder for later.First night sleep is difficult with the constant REM, plus young goth snores, I lob a pillow and it hits home, he wakes….’’Wha..’’…’’Give it a rest wit snoring’’..’’Bu…sorry Richard’’, couple of days later a patient is discharged and he moves into single room.Nurse who took me out for fresh air brings in a lighter for me, not just any lighter but a solid brass USMC with birdy-on-the-ball inscription, turns out he is a collector and has Zippos and shit from across the globe, has 4 USMC and says he will not miss this particular one…….the care,attention….I well up almost every day.
I am allowed exercise in the grounds without escort and discover the boundary of the hospital opens out onto a major road, across the road is a large supermarket and I pop across for a skeg, pointless really as I have no funds but it is a bit of an escape. Every day the other patients mank about the only tabs on offer are Mayfair FS, I volunteer to do a shop for them at the supermarket ( I am the only one that ventures out without escort) each trip costs them 10 tabs for me, back on Marlboro Red, win.
One day nurse asks if I play snooker, nope but I will join him anyway, another patient tags along and we go to the private wing, inside it is very plush, 4* I would say but the place is deserted, nurse has a chat with guy in small reception room and offski to snooker room, 2 full size tables which look brand new, nurse and other patient rack up and have a game while I watch, loads of banter, we could be anywhere but a hospital.
I ask nurse when we leave where all the patients are..’’In their rooms watching daytime TV, they take all meals in their room aswell, never venture out’’……they are paying top dollar to stay in the place and never use its facilities, mind boggles, well as far as a mind can boggle under medication.
After my first week LN is transferred in and is made up, first time he has been in the place but strangely he never takes any exercise, I volunteer to take him for a stroll but he knocks me back, good to have him around though as he has become a real mucker.
My last week and I have my final appointment with Dr L, I ask if she will write to my former employer and request if I could be re-instated, she agrees, shame I will not be seeing her again. My last day and ambulance arrives to take me home, all staff and patients come out to see me off. I have to say I have never been treated with so much respect and care by such dedicated people…………….anywhere.
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Home, I visit Spread just to say hello and T gives me a big hug, next Northern Wall, luckily AS is behind the bar..’’STIRLIN’’ he pumps my hand for about 10 seconds…‘’I have something for you’’..he goes to drawer below till and hands me my credit card wallet, inside it is £150, I did not have any money on me the day I was sectioned, I order AND pay for a J20, putting a pint in for AS on his next break, we tab up and talk of the old days (his grand mother ran one of my former locals in Fulford, a suburb of York) not once does my month long absence crop up, they broke the mould when they made AS. Landlord appears, I apologise for the trouble I caused in his pub…’’You’ve never caused trouble in my pub Stirlin’’, another J20 and tab then home to sort out my new life as an unemployed layabout.
First thing on the agenda is to write to the Chief Constable of North Yorkshire to complain about my treatment at the hands of his officers, he replies saying there is no record of me ever having been in his custody suite……Oh really!, so the guy that was interviewed in his cells by consultant, GP and 2 psych nurses must have been a clone.
What little respect I still have for plod has now gone. Second, I go to UofY at T break time,all the lads are pleased to see me, again my month long absence never crops up, I show a small card to GC with address details of Cheadle Royal, raised eyebrows but no comment , I try to catch the eye of smelly work shy but he isn’t having any, GT comes in at end of T break and for once his communication is good, takes me over to see big cheese where I ask to be re-instated, no joy, maybe they will change their minds when they receive letter from Dr L
Chat with ML the charge hand then home

First chat with 2 CPN’s, older guy DW and young guy MK who I recognise from my Thursday nights up town, he is the brother of a mates girlfriend and at the time we had a convo about cycling, one of my former passions, MK will be my CPN, DW is there on this first visit as mentor. I busy myself with scrubbing off all the shit I had scrawled on the walls of my flat whilst ill, some funny ,the majority scary as fcuk, I laugh to myself, I am sure the 2 CPN’s wanted a read but were too polite. During the next few days before my first appointment with York consultant I visit all the pubs I have used in the past (quaffing pints of lime & soda) to apologise to peeps for my behaviour on the day I was sectioned and the fraught months before I was taken off the streets, 12 years on I have yet to catch up with the guy in the Rose & Crown who I tried to call out on the day of section order, probably a contract worker from another city.
Sleep is almost non existent, 30 mins here, an hour there, I am rising from my pit later and later, I quickly fall into a routine, staying up late and reading ceefax on the box, I have to read each page over and over to take it all in as concentration is difficult.
One good thing, for those who have never smoked ,if you have a long interval between each tab say 10 hours, the first pull of the day is a real hit, have decided to switch from Marlboro Red to Mayfair FS, they are much cheaper, rough on the throat but give a better hit and going to bed at 0200 and rising at 1400 does the trick.
First appointment with Dr S, I immediately burst into tears and every thing floods out, my drinking ,behaviour, family, early life, adult life, she gives me a script for Prozac and I rush to chemist to have it filled, even though Dr S has explained that Prozac can take up to 21 days before any effect this has not sunk in. A month passes and I feel no difference, another drug is tried and still nothing, finally Prozac and Lithium combined, I do not feel these are having any effect .
When the lithium finally kicked in I rose from my pit one day and my legs collapsed under me, it felt as if I had drunk about 5 pints and was mellow, it gives what some call the ‘letter box’ effect, you occupy this thin band where you never stray above the upper limit and become hyper and never drop below the lower limit and become depressed, it did not stop the tears almost every night as I go over and over all the abuse I gave my body resulting in the state I am in now. I will never recover fully and the problems could become a whole lot worse with age.
Lithium can be lethal if you get the dose wrong, knackers renal function among other things so regular blood checks at York District Hospital to ensure levels are safe.
On my first visit to YDH I sense the male nurse is reading my ink as he goes about his work, ‘’Spread Eagle eh, cracking pub’’.’’Was, went down rapidly when AW left, the incoming Landlord, MD, employed by Mansfield Brewery did his best but it now being a managed house he had to tow the line, after 2 years he had had enough and took up with Carlsberg-Tetley, after him, well the less said the better’’…’’Yes, I did hear that, have not been in since the departure of MD’’’’You are not missing anything’’ Lithium seemed ok to begin with as I was in this permanent ‘5 pint stupor’ which cost zilch of my incapacity benefit. Interesting side effects depending on your metabolism, with me it was pensioners bladder, you shake the thing after a lag, pop it back in your strides and it squirts pee after about ten seconds, try to remedy this by shaking twice, wait ten seconds and shake again, pop it back in and you think you have won, minute later SQUIRT, I was changing my nicks twice a day and the brass zips on my jeans had all turned green. Walking by these hog roast shops the smell of roast meats drives you into the shop, now I was baulking, fancied a sausage roll from Cooplands bakers one day and spat it out as it tasted fowl. Also chronic insomnia, chronic constipation remedied slightly by drinking a litre of orange juice per day, tastebuds all to cock as was sense of smell, Limb motors taking the piss by not stepping where your brain wants you to go, bit like when you are in a foreign place looking up at the architecture and walking off the end of an unseen pavement, It would normally hit only one leg and that was manageable, being mischievous it would hit both legs and you are in a snotty heap on the deck. First time I saw the funny side but after that it became embarrassing as folks thought you were pissed, if only. And you forget, under normal circumstances when you rise for a lag first thing in the morning you are a little unsteady on your feet for a few seconds, lithium influence takes one leg out and you end up head butting the wall, or not, some days everything is ok lulling you into a false sense of security , next day ok then wall says hello again, the frequency of lost limb syndrome alters from one day to the next, it lets you take a step or two before the limb is taken out, sometimes left sometimes right and so on. Worst of all weight gain, I had been a steady 12st 2lbs for years, all through the heavy drinking that figure never altered, now I was starting to balloon.
I hate being over weight, getting into bed one night I tuck my legs up and my knees are touching my belly, plus I have to buy new gear as nothing fits anymore, people I know give me a second glance as they cannot believe the transformation, one cracks that I must be visiting my brother in Wigan (pie eaters) too often.
Lithium does help me cope with daily life, I am no longer a threat to Joe Public any more, or am I. From around 1992 I had occasional ’flashes’ to the brain to do people serious physical harm, a nano second and it has gone, they occur about once or twice a year, usually when I am speaking to folks but I pass it off as something that occurs with middle age. Since the start of medication they now occur about every three months but now it is as I pass anyone in the street, be they folks I know, strangers, men, women, children, the urge is there and then immediately counteracted. Decent weather now so the CPN visits were done outside sat by the cut where my flat was, later in the year we moved inside which was a trial as I did not want anyone invading my space, still don’t to this day. Have lived in this council flat for 8 years and apart from the yearly check on my gas boiler and my CPN no one else has ever been allowed in, even the communicator to the outside security door is turned off, I turn it on 10 minutes before CPN arrives and off again when he has gone, good idea really as any visitors to the other 5 flats finding their pals not at home will buzz you to ask where they are. During my service in the Royal Navy my write ups often mentioned the fact that I was sullen and moody. The six year relationship I had with F failed because of my moods, and the drink. After my third appointment with York consultant she informs me that I have probably suffered from depression from an early age, stemming from the fact, among other things, that I never knew my father (he died when I was 2 years old) and my 9 elder brothers and sisters all had fond memories of him, she is probably right.

I have now gained 2 stone and it is doing my head in, lithium helps your mood but it fails sometimes when I am worrying about being 14st-2lb and my ideal weight should be 12st-2lb.The months drag on, only venturing out for essentials, even stopped buying the daily paper as it takes ages ploughing through it having to read everything at least 3 times. Yes ,concentration is severely limited, the mind wanders off at a tangent which is really frustrating when you have settled in front of the tele to watch a film and miss whole chunks of it cos your mind is elsewhere, you watch the screen but see nothing. Conversations with people I know quickly peter out as I lose interest in what they are saying, even my CPN. I have always had a passion for photography, buy a camera, use it a couple of times then it gathers dust, upgrade to newer model, same result, even writing this can be a pain so I take regular breaks.
About a year after my discharge from Cheadle (March 99) CPN asks if I would consider visiting Moorside training centre with a view to taking up a course in catering or IT to NVQ levels, I refuse as I consider I am not ready. 3 months later my consultant suggests a different form of treatment as my recovery has stalled, electric headphones, no thank you. October of that year I reluctantly agree to visit Moorside and sign up for an IT course, I hate the first session but thereafter take to it like a duck to water. Moorside started life in the founders front room, her son had learning difficulties and she would teach others with similar problems, each premises she used quickly became overcrowded and lottery grant applied for and granted gave the purpose built centre we see today. Not only catering and IT were taught, the severest cases had their own workshop where they made soft toys and such, sold on to boost the funding. A mentor at Moorside also taught at Target Training, the Learn Direct facility in the centre of town and he suggested I try a course there, as it was a stones throw from my flat I agreed. Target consisted of 2 rooms, largest of which with 20 PC’s taught the LD side and a smaller room which was an off-shoot of Selby College with 12 PC’s teaching ECDL syllabus. I was signed up for a massive 21 element LD course which I studied in the mornings and ECDL and CV workshops in the afternoons, life was starting to look up at last.I was enjoying life back in society, full time learning at Target, one afternoon a week at Moorside where I had begun to back up the busy tutors as well as my learning. ECDL was difficult to follow, the learning material was not good, frustrating for the 2 tutors S&R as apart from the tutor duties the facility was a recognised ECDL test centre and they had to split an already heavy tutor schedule with setting up the tests, marking and sending off completed course material to ECDL HQ for verification and awarding of pass certificates and ECDL ‘passports’.
I passed ECDL with some difficulty but achieved nothing less than 90% in the LD tests. Target courses now finished I was a tad lost as to what to do next, still attended Moorside once a week but that was not enough.
New year, was it really 2001, I was approached by tutor and mentor at Moorside asking if I would consider doing full time voluntary tutor duties in the ECDL suite to assist S&R, would I. I soon realised that this would not be an easy task as the complicated learning material was still in use. One day a student brought in a book ‘’How to learn and pass ECDL’’she had purchased ,this was the answer to our prayers, easy to follow with practise tests at every stage, funding from Selby College to purchase 12 books, one to accompany each PC was immediately available.
Now I was a spare part, very little tutoring needed as the students rarely raised their eyes from the new teaching material and S&R could concentrate on setting the official tests and marking same. Again I was to be rescued, Chairman of Target invited me to tutor LD students in the main facility, still voluntary as funding was tight, dead mans shoes for a paid post. June 2001, an appointment with DR S the York consultant, I asked if it would be possible to be taken off medication as the Lithium induced limb malfunctions were becoming embarrassing in my work environment , as I was showing signs of recovery she agreed to a trial period, that trial period is still in force today. I had witnessed others mixing alcohol with medication and it was not a pretty site so I waited a week to give the meds time to be flushed out of my system before going for my first pint in 3 years. GD from Target tagged along for support, GD had become a great friend and after work on Fridays we would go for a pint, accompanied on occasion by GD’s lady. One particular night a nosy, ear wigging armchair psychologist asked me how much I used to drink per night before I was sectioned, GD turned away giggling as he knew what was coming, ‘’I was in the pub to drink not to count’’…’’but in answer to your query I did find out what my daily consumption was quite by accident, I always have one tab per pint, leaving work one day I was out of tabs so bought some from the offy across the road, on returning home I opened my pack of tabs to have one before bed…6 left in the pack’’
‘’Now Foxtrot Oscar’’…’’Sorry ?’’….GD…’’FCUK OFF’
I had also begun a regular Thursday night session with GS my best mate and GA whom I had known since I first started work at UofY, only 6 pints as we did not meet until 2100, one night as I was walking home via the fast food outlet I had quickened my step to beat the rush for food at kicking out time. I passed by my CPN and quite honestly did not see him, next I was up before my consultant for a rollicking, she accepted my explanation but warned me not over indulge. CPN visits were now done at Target and I told MK that I refused to see him again as he had dropped me in the shit, a compromise, Dr S suggested I take up with DW as my CPN and I agreed, one of the best moves I ever made, DW never broached the subject of my illness unless I brought it up, just two geezers chatting about blerk stuff. October I met and started a relationship with S, she had a Masters degree in social psychology so girlfriend and mentor in one gorgeous little package. Also at this time I had started to apply for junior admin posts, all rejected, too honest for my own good. GD and his lady plus me and S were having some great laffs together in the Spread on Friday nights and life seemed good. Chairman of Target informed me that he was looking to open a smaller training centre in the suburbs and he would offer me the post as manager, paid employment at last

. The only blot on the landscape being my flat, the state paid the interest on my mortgage and a small allowance towards the maintenance charges, as these were now a crippling £1200 per year this could not continue, reluctantly I put the house on the market. Xmas with S and her 2 sons plus a party celebration in the Spread for my 50[SUP]th[/SUP] birthday, all arranged and paid for by S. Early March and arriving for work one day I am greeted by glum faces, Chairman takes me aside and informs me that GD had died over the w/end, autopsy revealed a heart defect that would not have been detected, even by scan. I had only ever attended one funeral before, that of my mother, I attended GD’s, place was packed, in the pub afterwards his father remarked that he had never known his son was so popular. The death of GD hit me hard, I no longer had the meds as a crutch but I did have drink, well as much as I could afford on benefits, I hate cider but it is and still is the cheapest alcohol you can buy. The sale of the flat went through and I stayed with S for a while as my CPN kicked council backsides to get me the flat I occupy now. It was a shithole but it was my shithole. The day I moved in Chairman of Target asked me to take the reigns of the new IT suite a stones throw from my new flat, I could not commit as I needed to get the flat into some sort of shape, another local guy got the nod. 3 weeks of slog and the flat was looking the way I wanted it, but it must have been my unlucky month as S and I split up. After taxes I came away with about £ 15,000 from the flat sale, my bank god bless them had given me a loan in 99 to pay off my credit card and other debts, paying off the loan, paint, new fitted carpets, new cooker, washer, fridge and Sony 32” TV I was left with about £ 8,000 and we know were that was going to end up. I changed my drinking location often as there were far too many nosy peeps around who would strike up a conversation just to know your business. Luckily the money ran out swiftly which was just as well as the flashes were becoming more frequent. I still had my B&O audio, the only thing I had not sold for beer money, some things are irreplaceable…music soothes and I was getting by, just. Mid 2002 the flashes were appearing more often so daily life was becoming difficult, I wanted to tell my CPN but after he reported back to Dr S the trial period of no meds would probably be looked at again. Meds did help as they keep you at a steady level but the thought of all the debilitating side effects was off putting . Not once did I consider that drink was playing a part, in fact I had started to eat more fresh fruit and veg, cheap compared to the packaged instant food I had been consuming, this left more cash for booze.

My intake at the time was only 10 pints per week, it is said that if you have intervals between drink the brain can re-coup any lost cells, fine if you have not already done a huge amount of irreparable damage. My metabolism must be quite unique as the harmful effects of drink seems to have all been shunted to my brain, blokes around my age who I drank with in the 70’s are still putting vast amounts away with no sign of mental damage, liver yes, brain no. To repeat it never occurred to me that drink could be the cause of the increase in flashes.
Walking home one night I had a flash as a young chav was passing me, he had done nothing wrong, just in the wrong place at the wrong time , one punch to the stomach and he was writhing in agony, being sick all over the grass verge, I feared recriminations from his associates (quite rightly) and made it home as quick as I could.
What to do, I stayed up all night searching for answers , should I mention it to my CPN ? , he would have to report it to Dr S, would she be duty bound to report it to plod ?, it was wrong but selfishly I decide to keep quiet, the incident haunts me even today. I think back to Cheadle and when the ’voice’ first appeared calling out Mossy, was this where delusions were at an ebb due to being starved of booze ? , or the meds taking over?. Would the ‘’voice’ reappear to give me guidance ?. I decide to spill the beans to my CPN on his next visit but concentration levels being what they are I cannot put in to words what I want to say, or am I just being chicken ?. I seek out a wise old owl and ask his opinion ,’’ keep schtum matey’’
I walk past where the incident took place some days later and the seagulls and other birds have cleared the pavement pizza, I cannot remember the young guys face and feel I have been lucky to get away with no recriminations. Now I am even more cautious when leaving the house, shop as soon as supermarket opens to avoid people and my only contact with the outside world being DW. Is this to be my whole life from hereon in ?, I cannot find an answer. Yes I am stupid for not seeking professional help but I fear that I will blurt out the truth about the flashes and what they are encouraging me to do and risk permanent section order. I ask CPN if such thoughts had shown in other patients, he immediately books me a visit with Dr S who advises that they are irrational thoughts and I should not worry, me worry ,I was asking about other patients Dr…’’No Mr Moss you were asking about yourself’’. I am just a working class oik who knows nothing of her expertise but being in arrogant mood I decide she is wrong.
The rest of 2002 pass without incident but I am starting to vegetate as I have nothing to occupy my mind . One day early in 2003 I win £ 500 on a one pound scratch card and decide to buy a PC. Do not bother with the net at first but spend time creating Power Point presentations on any and all subjects, playing cards on the PC is fun as well, you against 3 opponents , I never tire of this unlike other pursuits already covered .One such PP on diet and exercise has DW stumped as he never knew one could be so creative on the PC as he uses his only for e-mail and shuffling his photo collection. He suggests I should dump the dial up connection and have broad band installed which I do, the difference in speed allows me much faster searching, and I start to research my bi-polar condition but find few answers to my questions.
Early 2004 I bump into Chairman of Target and we go for a brew at city H.Q, within the hour he has phoned tutor at offshoot IT suite in my area informing him to expect a full time voluntary tutor the next day. Once again life was on the up.

JTR, the IT suite manager and I hit it off straight away, the Chairman of Target only paid monthly visits and was quite happy with the centres running, mostly pensioner students and a smattering of local learners studying ECDL. JTR encouraged me to sign up for a teaching qualification at York college which I duly did, course to start in September 04. We also had a regular Monday night trip into town for a few pints, a couple of months in and the flashes increase, is the cause of this because of my daily 8 hour contact with Joe Public ?, turns out the answer is yes. May, JTR is ill and I hold the fort for a week flashes increasing daily with this added responsibility, JTR returns to work but is struck down again with illness, Chairman informs me he is considering giving me the centre manager job while JTR recovers but thankfully for me he pulls through and returns to work. One day in early June whilst showing a pensioner how easy it was to send pics by e-mail to his granddaughter in Oz I had 2 flashes within a minute of each other, I make my excuses to JTR and leave going straight to city HQ where I inform The Chairman and centre manager that I am grateful for all the opportunities they have put my way but my time as a tutor is at an end, bloody shame as these people only see the person not the illness. Two weeks later JTR’s illness returns and a tutor from city HQ takes over running local centre. No longer in daily contact with peeps the flashes subside but thought it unsafe for me to study for the teaching qual . I start to save as much money as I can for a trip in summer of 05 to the Isle of Wight, I had visited the island with my then wife in 90 and decided I would go back for one last look, it has now become an annual break. Only having 5 pints a week helps and I assume that this small amount will do no harm. Just before my trip to IOW in 05 DW informs me that he is retiring and a guy called NS will be taking up the reigns as my CPN, they broke the mould when they made DW, I shall miss him.
NS turns out to be as bad a communicator as GT my former supervisor at UofY, luckily he earns promotion and I agree to link up again with MK , water under the bridge and all that. My diet now consists of porridge, fresh fruit, dried fruit and brazil nuts, about 8 nuts a day gives the same amount of protein as a lean turkey steak, tomato juice as this is about the only veg that actually benefits from processing releasing more of the healthy lycopene, and garlic tabs, good for circulation. Beginning of November 06 whilst doing a search for info on the sinking of HMS Sheffield during the Falklands war I come across a site called….Rum Ration, an off-shoot of the army ARSSE community, it is for serving and ex serving Royal Navy And Royal Marines, serious debate and loads of laffs, this is a real boost. Training, a Sustrans track was laid near my home on the former stretch of east coast rail line between Selby and York in 87/88, when first opened the track was fine shale and although Sustrans had put in plenty of new shrubs and young saplings the track was boring as you could see for miles, I travelled along it on my push rod when first opened but was not impressed. Now living so close to the start of the track I decided to give it a look see, the maturing of all the young trees and shrubbery has transformed the track and it is now tarmac, I spend almost every day walking the track as its proximity to where I was brought up bring all those happy childhood memories flooding back . I have an old injury which gives me jip if I run but walking at ramming speed the pain is less intense so my training routine is born. My weight quickly drops to the level it is now 10st-8lbs, happy days. The flashes are still here and I decide once and for all I have to quit the booze, so October 07 I stop.
The local branch of my bank has an outside ATM which is unsafe so I walk the mile or so into town to bank HQ.
Problem, no matter which route I take I have to pass 23 pubs, if I then go on to Sainsburys to check for any bargains it increases to 33, I do not carry any money on trips to town apart from when I need something specific from heath food shop, then only enough money to cover the goods I require. This works a treat as the urge to enter one or all of the pubs is a tempting in the first few months of being dry but soon diminishes. Not as many flashes now but I decide not to make eye contact with anyone or speak to anyone, if I see someone I know it is a quick hello and move on. CPN is chuffed that I have kicked the booze and gives me loads of encouragement, difficult for him as on his visits I speak to the wall and not him.
September 09 he observes that I am making occasional eye contact and next visit full eye contact, WIN.
I contact my youngest sister by phone and my life is almost back on track, I drink about 3 pints a day on my break to the IOW, this is a yearly treat. Also one off ‘special occasion’ trips out in good company, one of which is my one and only friend GS who has stood by me all these dark years, he was the only one who was convinced that I would recover from this illness, he was right. The flashes are still there but less frequent and I can manage about 4 to 5 hours contact with people before making my apologies and leaving.
Why did I not tap into the Royal Navy discipline sooner to sort my life out ? , too busy being a selfish idiot.
After my IOW holiday this year I made contact with my youngest sister, had Sunday dinner at her house and two weeks later I returned the favour, regular phone calls to her and she gives me the phone number of my brother John who lives in Wigan.
John and his wife Phyilis visit York and we spend a few hours talking about the old times, cannot believe how far I have come this year.
95% of the brain is good, 5% delusional, instructing me to do the wrong thing, since hooking up with my family again after all these years the delusional is diminishing and suggesting as opposed to telling me ‘Wrong’.
I have finally secured a bungalow in a part of town that was my old stomping ground in the late 70’s early 80’s, insomnia is a distant memory so life is good and it gets better every day.

Chapter 3

1995….earlier bout of illness.

The Spread Eagle, or Spread as we called it was taken over by AW in 89, he had served his apprenticeship well, collecting glasses and learning the art of good cellar keeping. Working as a clippy on the buses by day and serving behind the bar at 18. Relief landlord and then the Spread tenancy came up, checked it out and it was a shithole but took it on. Shut the place for a while to sort the cellar and shit then re-opened with a couple of wickets up, this quickly increased to 8 wickets. At the time I was still married to Mrs S the second and only used the place Sunday dinnertimes.
AW had visited the Smoke soon after opening Spread to steal some ideas, Sunday dinner times had a live group on and free Yorky puds in onion gravy were served before groups last set of the day. Place was heaving but with 6 behind the bar you were served PDQ, the bar was a rickety old thing propped up underneath by 2” square tube, even then the bar would move backwards and forwards at least 3” when more than one wicket was in use. Split with Mrs S in November 91 and moved to a flat a stones throw from Spread, the split cost me a fair wedge to get my freedom and I vowed not to enter into any long term relationships for 10 years, this was ME time. Loads of overtime at work, plus call out roster allowance and w/end rota duty in Central Boiler House meant loads of drinking vouchers. Good mix of punters in Spread, builders, plumbers, leccys, students, solicitors and the local press office was about 6 doors down so all the journos would pack in after work , this was the hub of York and the other pubs could not compete. Joke menu as well as the norm, no specials board but a separate A4 menu with signature dishes from chefs, one item from the joke menu may give you an idea of what was available, full French stick, slit and filled with wafer thin strips of sliced beef, grated cheese chips and smothered in gravy served on a massive platter….The Dead Cat, much loved by students and the like, enough to feed 4 students or 2 journos or one scaffolder. Excellent cellar man meant the ale was tip top and any money I had after mortgage and other expenses were paid went into AW’s coffers.
So from 91 to May 95 life was ace but it was about to get much better, I mentioned earlier that we would say on Thursday that the w/end starts here, May bank holiday w/end was no exception and we had drunk the place dry come mid evening of the Monday. I decided to have a tat to commemorate this fine achievement, had no ink done during my time in the Royal Navy (from hereon in called the mob), almost, my last night in Hong Kong before flying home for release I had toyed with the idea of having the standard stoker ink of a prop on each arse cheek but there was not enough money in my pockets at the end of the night for ink AND scran so scran won. Other gash ink soon followed, good weather now so I decided to start work at 0400 in the morning and work through to 1200 then piss off to the Spread, bad news, management would not put up with this behaviour so suspended me from work on full pay, did I say bad news?. Only now there was no overtime payable so every item in my flat was sold apart from settee, bed and the Beast to supplement the beer money. AW had spotted that other pubs were starting to pinch his ideas and compete so he decided to get out while the getting was good, that it coincided with my drinking competition for charity is neither here nor there, 10 pints in 15 minutes, I had done this in earlier mob life using a divers nose clip to ensure I was not taking any air into stomach whilst drinking, this attempt I was negative nose clip so failed miserably only drinking 6 and a half in the allotted time .
Around this time 3 lads started to use the pub, a couple of mivvys and… ex Royal Marine, needless to say we immediately got on like a house on fire. At this time one of my drinking mates had said ‘’Stirl, yer fcukin mad’’ but it was in one ear and out the other and this was a mild attack compared to what was to come in 98, still recognisable though after a couple of minutes of coming into contact with me. The ex-bootie, AR took advantage of my illness and was always trying to get me in bother with any strangers who entered the pub,,’’Did u ear wot that blerk just sed about u’’. He did not tab but was always fiddling with my RN zippo, one day, ‘’Stick yer arm out Stirl, want at check yer pain tolerance’’ glass was empty ‘’Get em in ya Geordy twat’’, much laffs, ‘’Stick yer tongue out’’… massive blood blister on tongue and no nose hair left, he also used me as a willing partner in unarmed combat exercise in pub, AW shaking his head. To wile away the hours till opening time I visited my sister at her workplace, puzzled looks from her as she suspected something was wrong, late night calls to her home and in my drunken haze I thought that there was summat wrong with her.
AW left, much sadness and the brewery who bought the tenancy, Mansfield ,put a bloke in from Wakefield with the stipulation that he was to liaise with AW for the first month to ensure standards were kept up, he lasted a week. Second bloke, AW phoned him on his look see around Spread and asked if he needed any input, negative. This geezer was top, ex Met close protection squad and we hit it off from the start as he was born in the next village to where I was brought up. The assistant manager was a ginger ex female student whose people skills were non existent, after new landlord MD had been in the place a week he took a much needed night off, barney with redhead and told her where to go, next dinnertime small lecture from MD and barred for a week. Started using pub near York railway station, after one day landlord of said pub entered Spread, dropped to his knees at the bar and pleaded with MD to take me back, negative.
After the week MD took me aside and said the place was not the same without me and if I had any further issues with under manager to see him first.
One day AR came in with his flange, potential model and to pass the time we threw her backwards and forwards to each other for some laffs, punter almost caught a flying limb and was about to complain when he suddenly realised who he was dealing with and scuttled off. The word had got round that there was a loon pisshead in the Spread and they would come in to observe our antics. Any punters I had no time for my stock answer was ’’Possibly maybe , probably no’’, if they persisted then, ’’Asked and answered’’ , if they still didn’t get the message I would repeat ’’A&A’’, if AR was present he would chip in with, ’’ it..good’’ Pub still busy under MD as he strove to keep up standards and all was good. My attire at the time was black Doc’s black cycling shorts and vest and on the occasional foray into town (went every where at ramming speed) I was pulled up by a septic tourist and his wife ( York was full of buskers and shit) he asked if I was a performing artist…’’No, piss artist’’.. he turned to his wife to ask if she knew what a PA was and I was already back into ramming speed before he could turn around, shouting after me ’’Where do you perform ?’’ Occasionally me and AR would put our best gear on and venture into town, he was a good looking bastard so there was much interest from the female fraternity even though he would always introduce me as his dad, accompanied on occasion by one of his mivvy work mates who. on our first meeting gave up after 2 minutes and sat and read his Motorcycling News as he could not keep up with the banter from me and AR.
During my suspension from work I had a lot of time on my hands and did a few challenges to raise some dosh for our local hospice. I took a couple of their A4 flyers and laminated them for my first trip down to the Smoke to try and drum up some support.
Dressed in black Docs,black lycra jogging bottoms and black vest I hopped on the train taking my leather jacket to store Walkman, wallet ect, fast black to Downing street and approached plod on the gates, showed them my flyers and explained what I was about. One plod was quite young and was OK with what I was there for, the other should have retired long ago and made it quite obvious that he did not like me....''Just stay out of the way''.
Fitted the Walkman and started listening to 'Das Boot' by U96 watching for any MP's coming in and out, took the leather off and slung it next to the gates which made old plods pilots start to kettle when he spotted my horrible ink on upper arms.
Official jag approached the gates so I moved a bit closer proffering the flyer, Ken Clarke in front seat, clocked me and immediately scanned his fresh underwear draw. Old plod was not amused, next car he bellowed to his mate ''WATCH HIM''.
Bit later I asked young plod if the PM was coming out, ''Left by the back gate mate'', bugger......'I might as well clear off''......old plod..''If you turn up here again you will be arrested''.
Train back to York and into Spread, AR at the bar....'' WTF av u bin''......''The smoke''....''Yeah right'' chucked the train ticket stub on the bar. First pint of XB today BAAAAHHHH.
Second visit the week after dressed in white vest, white shorts and red Doc shoes with off-white denim shirt for Walkman and shit, went straight to Palace of Westminster gates where all the official Jags enter and took up a position right at the gate edge, told plod what I was about and he just shrugged his shoulders. On the other side were all the photographers, one idiot came across and stood in front of me, ''Fcuk off back over there with yer mates, nobody can see me flyer with you in the way''....he obeyed. First Jag in was Doug Hurd, second was Ken Clarke, more kaked nappies. Major Major was next but all I got was a glare from his minder, bugger. Home, Spread.
Third visit AR said he would come with me but shot through,dressed in smart strides, shirt and tie, shoes like mirrors. Major train delay on way down and did not get into Kings X till 1500 so took the underground to Waterloo and got a train to Pompey, got a room in Home club and went out on the lash so the day was not wasted.
Entered Spread one day, MD behind the bar with AR wearing his bar code footy shirt on his first pint, I snigger at his attire, first pint off we go to the Wall to have a crack with AS, couple of pints and back to Spread .
Ex-perce sat on a stool pissed and I give AR the nod as to who he is, his eyes light up, perce bit straight away and MD sensed that this could get ugly,
AR has let me have the floor and is stood grinning from ear to ear, pint off I make to go for a lag, perce shouts ‘ It is a good job you are fcuking off Stirling’. Lag finished I re-enter bar MD close behind me, perce.. ‘Wot the fcuk wud it tek to stop u’, before I can answer, AR…’A FCUKIN SHOTGUN’
MD..’ENOUGH’……boo. AR’s pash arrives, one more pint and I go home for some quick shut eye, bath and back to Spread for evening festivities
MD gives me the SP as to what happened after I had left, perce had tapped up a locals pash and had been dropped, MD barred him for a week ‘Give us a wink next time Stirl’, ‘Will do boss, will stick you a pint in for your break’.
Still unaware that anything was wrong with me I was visited at my flat by the then Uni Maintenance Manager, a friend of my late father and warned me that if and when I returned to work that there were people loading bullets for me. 3 months into my suspension I visited Uni and told them if I were not re-instated I would contact a solicitor, immediate appointment with Uni GP and I was invited back to work, the letter stating that they hoped my illness had cleared up, illness?. End of 95 I approached MD and told him I would not be in the pub for 3 months in order to pay off my debts.
Debts cleared, I start to frequent the Spread again but unusual for me I do not go out every night, trying to keep my spending in check, I have my music to while away the hours in the evenings.
The rest of 96 and up to October 97 passed without much incident in my life…..bombshell, MD was leaving the Spread for a pub in Leeds, his relief ?.............................
former assistant manager redhead, we had crossed swords so many times during her last stint in the pub, to now have her as big cheese with her unwanted armchair psychologist bullshit,,,,,,AAAAHHHH.
My fears were unwarranted however as the redhead concentrated more on keeping the other locals happy and very rarely spoke to me. Saw less of my ex bootie mate AR as he had blagged his way into a new job, recruitment consultant ?, 3 year old Toyota thrown in……more jam than Hartleys, new gaff on the other side of town near his work so he was rarely seen in the Spread. Billy No Mates for me…….again.
A journalist friend got me a gig taking promo shots for a pub in York, the landlord then had them displayed on an A1 ad board outside one of the local theatres; this is probably the point when my delusions of starting my own company to promote my beautiful city were born.
New year, around the end of february I received a letter from my bank, as my finances were now in good order they offered me a credit card with a £2500 limit, I accepted. My intake of beer increased dramatically, as did the delusions and the worry of people around me that I was going off the rails.
Work was also beginning to suffer, I would strive to do anything and everything at an increased pace, peeps could not keep up, loads of unwanted advice which went in one ear and out the other never touching the sides .I was high as a kite on adrenalin during the day and booze at night, needing less sleep with the adrenalin pumping I took to the streets at night looking for any beggars or undesirables to bellow at. I was a complete ********, posting coded notes through the Spread letterbox late at night was the worst, landlady could not cope with me .After work one day she was waiting for me as I entered the pub, she laid a gentle hand on my shoulder and pleaded with me to go home and get some rest, I said nothing as I turned on my heel and ran up to the Wall. And so we reach this books beginning.
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Early years

Born new years eve 1951 at Rose Cottage, Deighton.
Deighton is on the main drag from York to Selby, at the time 22 houses, a chapel and pub. Youngest son, 6 brothers and 3 sisters, Terry, the 3rd eldest died of TB at the age of 18 months. Dad was a farm labourer, mam was in service till she wed and started a family. As dad was a farm labourer we lived in a tied cottage, small sitting room and kitchen with one bedroom upstairs. As the family grew my dad's boss craned in a former railway carriage at the back of the cottage as a bedroom, lads one end, lasses t'other, I was in a cot with mam and dad in the cottage bedroom.
Huge garden where dad would grow veg to sell on York market to earn a few extra coppers, farm where he worked did market garden stuff and would transport any of me dad's stuff for sale. We had a cat, which dad booted quite a lot for scratting his treasured seedlings, indoors cat gave dad a wide berth. Night before he died the cat was sat on his feet, 'look at this bloody cat mother'. It had been a wet spring in 1954 so dad had been in his wellies, this day the sun was shining so he donned his hob nailed boots. First job of the day was to remove the tarpaulin from the straw stack adjacent the farm to give it some air, this stack had been there yonks but 2 years previous the electric board had slung new 6000 volt cables immediately above, farmer objected at the time but EB gave him the finger.
Whilst my dad's workmates were finishing their first Woodbine of the day he struggled with the steel braced ladder to remove the taup from the stack and struck the overhead cables. He lived for about an hour after the accident, local doc gave him a shot of brandy but it was all in vain.
Two weeks after dad passed away farmer informed me mam she would have to move out of our tied cottage as he needed it for his new hand, cottage remained empty till land was sold for redevelopment 6 years later. Luckily for us 4 new council houses were nearing completion in the village and me mam was given first choice, she picked No 1. My earliest memory is riding on a horse drawn cart for the short trip to our new home with what few chattels we had, inside cludgy and a bathroom......posh. At this time the eldest was in the mob and second eldest had just started work, mam was advised that she could not possibly cope bringing up 8 children on her own and that some of us could be fostered out, she refused.
At the inquiry into dad's death the EB were found to be at fault and hit with a fine and ordered to pay me mam compensation, they appealed and mam's compo was halved, this she split ten ways to be collected when we reached coming of age.
Started at Escrick Primary school in '57 and it was not until the age of 7 when mam was sure I was settled in school that she sought employment, a cook in one of York's premier cafes. Back to cat’s , our cat had kittens, we kept one and drowned the rest. I took a liking to this kitten and would stuff it in a sock carrying it around slung on my shoulder, as it grew bigger the task of stuffing it into the sock grew more difficult until one day said cat bit me…’Serves you right’ said mam…’I told the cat it could bite me’…I sniffed.
All in all a very happy childhood, we lived next door to the village farm which had an ageing grey fergie and fordson tractor, backed up by 2 shire horses. One particular year we helped with the harvesting, placing the stookes of wheat upright to dry out, highlight of the day was ‘Drinkins’ or ‘Lowance’ in the afternoon, farmers wife would bring a large basket with great wodges of apple pie and a fanny of strong sweet tea for the workers. End of week we were paid 5 bob for our efforts. Rich !, the 5 bob would be our spending money on our annual trip to our aunties home in Seamer just outside Scarborough.
Uncle would set out each day snaring rabbits at the nearby Olivers Mount racetrack, yummy rabbit pie. Trips to Scarborough beach where you could buy large jugs of tea on the front to go with our sarnies, 5 bob did not last long in the penny arcade.
We had pestered mam to get a TV and we finally took delivery, the only one in the village, mam sent to Coventry apart from the owner of the blacksmiths shop who would come round to watch Sooty and Songs of Praise . Day of the FA cup final mam was very popular again as they came knocking to see this spectacle for the first time.
Mam was a keen gardener and our front flower garden was a treasure to behold, rear garden was all veg, after a few years at the cafe she landed a job at a plant nursery where she spent many happy years until retirement in 73.
63, I started at Fulford Secondary, brand new school and I was in the B form.
Half way through the 3rd year I was asked what GCE subjects I would be studying in the 5th form, 'Nowt, I am joining the Royal Navy at 15', a week before the end of 3rd year myself and 3 others were informed that as we were not staying on for GCE it was 4c for us in autumn term. Brilliant, double metalwork, double woodwork, double drama, double rural science, history, geography and RE all dumped, maths was shit like logs and binary numbers and in english we would write our own poetry and short stories. Sport day I did rrrrrrugby leeeegue, only Grammar schools in York played rugger.
One friday I took the trip to Hull forces career office, did the recruitment test and the following monday had the medical in Newcastle, 3 months later I was on the train down to HMS Raleigh.

Chapter 5
October 9th 1967

Me and a couple of blokes from Scarborough were the last to arrive at Raleigh from our intake, Naval Policeman waiting for us on Guzz station then into pussers Bedford for trip across the water, arrived at new entry block about 1900, greeted by PO and shown to our mess.
Quick swill then over to the dining hall where duty chef was waiting..'Sausage egg chips and beans ok for you lads ?'....MEGA...
I had traveled with only 10 bob in my pocket and had not spent any in case it was needed for owt else.
Back to the mess when all the rest of the intake returned, after supper they had all gone to see a fillum about navy life, tabs proffered....cheers.
PO popped his head in mess about 2255...'Lights out in 5 mins lads, big day tomorrow'. After lights out there was much chatter, mostly smutty jokes until one bloke bellowed 'Shaddup shaddup you dirty mouthed people', he left next morning.
Breakfast, never have I seen such a spread, cereals, full english, toast and big urns of T & coffee, and all the instructors are being so nice and helpfull. Interview after brekkie explaining what and how long I was about to sign up for, once all had signed that is when the shit hit the fan. The instructors were no longer nice people, shouting at us at every opportunity, go here, go there, go here again, medical, jabs then dinnertime. Breakfast was good, dinner was a revelation, so much choice.....stuff I had never tasted before, played safe and troffed one of each with mushy peas.....only they were not mushy peas but bullets, tasty all the same and finished off with jam roly poly and custard,scran this good and so plentyifull I am liking this place despite those nasty men shouting at me.
Afternoon we collected all our kit, great scran and loads of new clothes to wear, what's not to like. Teatime, bread and jam with T.
Tea over and a lecture from Raleighs Captain, end of day 1 we had an hour to loaf about then into supper, more bewildering choices, went for minced beef with a great wodge of suet on top and all the trimmings.
Informed by nasty shouty man that we would have to dress in our naval working rig ( No 8s ) the next day. Much time spent by all trying on the different outfits,one brummy geezer strapped on his braces to a pair of orange underkecks...'Oi loike dese'...much laffs.
0645 ' GET OUT OF BED YOU LAZY BASTARDS', After brekkie we had to clean our mess and the bathrooms and heads..tsk.
Haircut, I searched through my civvies for the 10 bob note, gone....'Nowt worse than a bloody tealeaf in this mans navy' shouty man sez as he gave me a sub so I could get my locks chopped. My Beatle haircut now gone I looked a right twat, but then so did everyone else.Kit marking, wood type with your initials and surname dipped into black or white paint depending on the colour of the gear, supervised by a chap who did not shout as he was a civvy, he, like most of the civvies employed at Raleigh were ex-forces.
Measured up for No1 suit then instruction on how to tie our cap ribbons, put the top half of our civvies on for passport photo, civvies then parceled up and sent home.Second days scran was as good as the first, I am enjoying far.
Next day the paint on our gear now dry we had to start sewing branch badges and name tapes on our No 8's & 9's ( overalls ), R.MOSS was easy, T.W. HIGGINBOTHAM was not, poor bugger. Instruction on how to care for our kit and our first 'look' at the parade ground.
Rest of week doing kit and a few lectures, friday morning we mustered for pay, back then the navy was payed fortnightly and we had arrived on the blank week so had to make one weeks pay last for 14 days. My first ever wage, £2-10 shillings, immediately bought some tabs and nutty ( sweets ). Saturday we had to clean the mess and bathrooms for inspection, that done we had our first free time.
Sunday we dressed in our blue serge No2 suits for church, sunday dinner, Yorkshire puds were crap compared to me mam's but the roast and all the trimmings were top.
Shouty man orders us to be ready to transfer to part 1 training block the next day.
After brekkie and cleaning stations we loaded our kit onto a Bedford 3 tonner and marched to Revenge block to start our part 1 training.
Our part 1 instructor was a young chap with a wicked sense of humour and was firm but fair, we were M (e)’s, mechanics but the term used, even today is Stoker. My official rate as a junior being JM( E ), instructor….’Regardless of your age you will ALL be addressed as men, and we expect you to act like men’. Outside and marched to parade ground for our first session of drill, drill instructor took over and demonstrated the first few moves we were to learn that day. Over to us, what a bloody shambles, peeps not knowing their left from right and tripping themselves and others up. ‘You WILL get better, right, stand easy’ Stand easy is a command and also the navy’s term for T-break, marched over to the NAFFI which was up the short hill from the parade ground. Seriously short of cash I only had a cuppa, the older blokes, M ( E )’s, were payed more than juniors so could afford sticky buns along with T. After stand easy it was back to our mess to learn how to wash and care for our kit and shown our cleaning stations.
Afternoon we boarded a 3 tonner for the trip to Plymouth ( Guzz in RN parlance ) for a looksee round a ship, not just any ship but HMS Decoy that one of my elder brothers was serving on. We are taken into the boiler room by our instructor, he is shouting above the din but most of it is lost in the ether.
When I get my chance I inform our POM ( E ) that my brother was aboard but there was no time left for us to meet up.
Ironing kit, I could not get the hang of this and the irons we used were none steam and had had a lot of abuse, different outfits were to be presented in different sizes at our first kit muster and everything had to be spotless. No matter how many times I scrubbed the orange coloured vests and pants they remained the same colour, older blokes with dosh had bought detergent from NAAFI shop making my efforts look very sorry indeed. Yep, I failed the first muster and had to do a re-scrub where I did not fare any better. POM( E ) had a word with one of my elder classmates and asked him to give me a hand which he very kindly did, we were starting to gel as a class and our drill had improved in leaps and bounds until rifles were introduced.
Surprisingly I was quite good at rifle drill, those that were not had to double ( run ) a full perimeter tour of the parade ground with rifle at high port, held up at chest height .One particular session three moves had to be made together at 2 second intervals, I was the only one who performed this correctly first time, second, third, drill instructor pointed me out, ‘If the youngest rating in the class can get this right so can the rest of you useless bastards’, again, the whole class bar me got it wrong, ‘Three paces forward Moss, now stand by me at ease…..class high port arms one tour of the parade ground DOUBLE’ instructor paces up and down bellowing at the class non stop. When we are formed up again as a full class I heard someone whisper ‘bastard’, I feared retribution for being a goody two shoes but luckily the comment was directed at the instructor.
Gym, large mattress mat with pairs of sparring gloves by the side of it, oh shit, I had just scraped in on the minimum height to join the navy and sure enough I was paired off with a bloke a good 8 inches taller than me. Milling as it known, step on the mat and try to beat the living shit out of your opponent for one minute, the large sparring gloves came up to my elbows. Second bout, my adversary charged forward and I stuck out a tentative glove which luckily he ran into, sparko, PTI, ‘Bloody good punch Moss, you have potential’, when my opponent comes to he walks over and shakes my hand, ‘Lucky punch mate’, he agrees.
Forces motto, never volunteer, after the last bout those that had shown some balls on the mat were volunteered by the PTI for boxing training, bugger, this meant rising at 0545 for training one day a week, I had failed the swimming test so 2 days a week I was rising early for extra beasting. Trevol range for weapons training, in the prone position I could not hit a barn door…instructor ‘Are you sure you are right handed Moss ?’, ‘Yes sir’, ‘then you must be left eyed, change hands’, first round left handed/eyed was bullseye. One evening after supper the duty messenger for Revenge block stuck his head in our mess door , ‘J(M)E Moss ? …your brother is at the main gate’, quick as I could I ran to the main gate where brother Frank was waiting, we went into the NAAFI and he stood me a couple of pints, he wrote to mam and reported that she should not worry. Final tests and kit muster in week 6 and I had just scraped through, M(E)’s did their part 2 training at Raleigh at the time so it was a short transfer to Resolution block and then to the armoury to exchange our white pt 1 gaitors for pt 2 which were the colour of baby kack but now we could sneer at anyone in white gaitors.
Part 2 training was ace, workshop training in basic hand tools and the plant we would be watchkeeping and maintaining. At end of first week we upped sticks to Pier Cellars for a weekend of adventure training. Visited on the second night by Faith, Hope and Charity, 3 local girls who were given a good rodgering by some of our class. My cleaning station in our block was the ironing room, one particular day I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the place out, spotted some dust on the outside of door frame and as I reached to clean it off my hand was caught by a passing polish bumper. These were an oblong short hair brush designed to spread the polish on the deck before the electric polisher followed on behind to give a final gloss, the bumper brush is topped by a steel box to give it some weight to spread the polish evenly. My small finger right hand was crushed against the door frame and when I took a butchers at the damage from the tip of the finger to the first knuckle resembled a small piece of cauliflower. Taken by ambulance to RNH Plymouth to be operated on, spent the w/end in dock but on return I could not continue with my class so was employed doing minor duties until my injury healed.

My class passed out of pt 2 without me and transferred to Valiant block to await their first seadraft, employed in the main gardening the Raleigh estate. Finger healed and joined Jellicoe 50 class to complete pt 2 training. When we transferred to Valiant block our former Jellicoe block chief had taken over and his former charges were given the best jobs whilst waiting for a ship. Mine was Revenge block messenger but as we were now Valiant blokes we no longer had to wear gaitors so we could sneer even more at any trainee’s.
At age 16 I drew my first issue of ‘Blue Liners’, RN tabs, 300 per month for 8 shillings, rough on the throat but who cares.
After about 6 weeks in Valiant myself and 4 others from Jellicoe 50 were called to the Chief’s office…’You have got the Forth’ us in unison ‘What is it ?’…’Submarine depot ship’ again in unison ‘Where is it’….’Singapore’.


After a spell of pre deployment leave we took the then 26 hour flight to Singers. Disembarking from plane it was as if someone had thrown a hot, damp blanket over your shoulders, bus to HMS Terror the shore base close to Sembawang village, launch across to HMS Forth’s berth out on the buoys. As we approached it appeared she had one boat (submarine) alongside her but as we drew closer it became evident that she had 3 boats on the port side and a frigate and a fourth boat on the starboard side.

We were in the juniors mess, all juniors were in the same mess regardless of branch, us starboard side and port were spare crew for the boats……scary. After drawing bedding and stowing our kit we reported to our branch regulating Chief, informed I would have the Afternoon, First and Morning watches on the boiler front the next day.
Afternoon, 1200 to 1600, First, 2000 to 2359 Morning, 0400 to 0800. Spent the rest of the day exploring the ship, had supper, scran on this old tub was pretty good.
Forth worked ‘Tropical Routine’, all except watch keepers were TR, start at 0700 and finish 1315, as I had the Afternoon watch I had w/keepers dinner at 1130. On returning to the mess I encountered one of the spare crew at the foot of the mess ladder, he was a Brian Blessed look-alike with beard and voice to match…..
’Ah, fresh meat, wot’s yor name ?’’ ‘’Richard’’ ‘’Surname’’ ‘’Moss’’ ‘’So Stirling then’’ ‘’ No it’s Richard’’
’From now on yor name is Stirling’’ ‘’Thank you’’.
I relieved Soapy as sprayer puncher on the boiler front, PO(M)E and L(M)E instructed me on my duties, bloody hot in the blr room, tropical heat combined with the heat from blr’s and other plant I was glad when TW took over at 1600, he had the
Dog’s, 1600 to 2000, Middle, 2359 to 0400 Forenoon. 0800 to 1200.
For this 12 hrs work I now had 56 hrs off but from 0900 to 1100 I had to clean the blr sprayers exchanged during First watch.
Had no dosh till pay day so I took the launch over to HMS Terror and spent the afternoon at the base swimming pool.
All pools should be designed like this one, split down it’s full length with shallow one side and deep end t’other, deeper diving section midway along the deep length, goffer (soft drinks) stall also selling ice cream and small paddling pool for families.
PAYDAY… rate at the time was $7 Singapore to the £ , I received $90, this included local overseas allowance, first purchase…200 duty free tabs and some local sandals, navy issue were solid leather so major blisters.
Still a virgin, my first run ashore to Sembawang the village just outside naval base my oppo’s tried to drag me into the brothel behind the bars…’Ok, you pay for it and I will go’, they backed down.
First opportunity I had ashore alone I visited said brothel, lasted all of 1 minute…..very disappointed.
6 weeks in to draft my brothers ship Decoy arrived in Singers, went for a drink with him and his messmates to the dockyard canteen. All his mates were buying me beer which I found difficult to drink, his next letter home to me mam ‘Our Richard is useless, he cannot drink’. The Armada Club in Terror Barracks was the junior rates bar on 2 floors, top floor was only used after footy and RU matches on the floodlit pitch opposite club, more often than not they had double headers between ships with footy first and quick change of posts for RU. You could buy crates of Tiger from the stall just by the main stand, after DH everyone crowded into upstairs bar and a drinking competition was the norm. The one we gobsmacked juniors witnessed was between 2 ships butchers, always big blokes and they were matching each other until one mustered his kit, caught some in his glass and saw it off, his opponent stuck fingers down his throat and did likewise, next they both pissed in the glass and downed it, wot to do ?, one finally laughed out loud and broke an empty glass, slashing an atery in his wrist before pumping some blood in glass and supped it, his opponent cried off. Winner was carried off shoulder high to nearby sick bay to get stitched up, all pissed they dropped him quite a few times on the way. Rum was issued to men aged 20 and over around lunchtime every day, powerfull stuff and Jack would do anything to supplement his daily allowance, witnessed many bets at the Armada Club between rum rats…..
‘Bet you sippers that you won’t eat that Bombay runner’(giant cockroach), Bombay runner dispatched, ‘Bet you sippers you won’t eat that Chit Chat’(small lizard) and so on. One day a spare crew wandered into our mess, ‘Anyone got any writing paper ?’, ‘I have’…paper proffered…’Envelopes ?’….envelope proffered…’Stamp ?’….stamp proffered, ‘Come round t’morra’….come round meant he would give me some of his tot of rum for favour, forgot about this until next day said bloke poked his head in our mess and gestured for me to follow him, rum offered and I took a small sip, ‘Av sum more’, this time I took quite a gulp, ‘And again’. Went to dinner and afterwards I drank a can of beer that I had stashed away, got my head down and was sparko till call the hands the next day. Some have died from excess rum, especially birthdays when mates offer a sip or gulp from their tot, birthday boy get’s his head down and never wakes up, one of the reasons tot issue was scrapped 31[SUP]st[/SUP] July 1970.
Sailed for Oz in company with other ships but one of our boilers sprung a tube leak and we limped into Darwin for repairs,
800 crew on Forth had drunk the town dry by the second night in, one of our Leading hands climbed up onto the canopy above the entrance to the one and only hotel pissing on anyone entering or leaving. At the next available Captains table (naval magistrates court) he was de-rated down to able seaman and fined. Darwin now dry Jack took great pleasure drinking his issue of 2 cans of beer a day on the upper deck to wind up the local dockyard maties.
By the time we reached Sydney all other ships had moved on, local ‘ladies’ did not hang around on street corners plying their wares but parade around in rust bucket Holdens, not that we, the Juniors could afford them. Back to Singers and docking and essential defects, this meant daywork 0800 to1600 which had the married accompanied blokes dripping buckets as they had lost their treasured tropical routine. Non accompanied moved into Terror Barracks which had the finest food in the fleet home and away, the usual choice of 2 meat, 1 fish and 1 miscellaneous plus curry and omelette bar at dinner and suppertime. After bottom scrape and paint Forth moved to the stores basin to continue repairs and maintenance, once complete, trials of boilers and all systems. POM(E) , LM(E) and myself would rise at 0600, LM(E) would pick me up from Terror and the 3 of us would warm up the boilers for the daywork crew arriving at 0800. Onto watchkeepers bus at 0805 for trip back to Terror, full English, shower and the rest of the day at Terror pool, money for old rope and then some.
After 2 months back on the buoys we sailed for Penang and Bangkok. The day we arrived at Penang a notice on ships Daily Orders warned not to visit a certain bar as it was raided often by the local plod, Jack made a beeline for it as the old salts knew the score, yes it was raided but only once a day as plod were on the take, waited in bar across the street and sure enough about 1400….. Neh Nah Neh Nah. After punters had been thrown out and plod gone we all rushed in, first up was a female taking it from an alsation, next a donkey was brought on but no amount of manipulation could make it’s huge dong hard, next a female with a bowl of hard boiled eggs which she swiftly shelled and then spat them out of her flange into the audience, blokes where scrapping over them to trough, ladies who use ping pong balls are amateurs.
Storm brewing as we neared the mouth of Bangkok river so we tied up at Sattahip, large Septic base close by and ships company invited to use base facilities. Convoy of trucks arrived to take our blokes to the base, usual routine of winding up the Elmers which resulted in mass brawl, trucks returned with septic shore patrol throwing our vomit and blood spattered crew out onto the dockside. Numerous stops on passage up the Bangkok river to clear main strainers of choking weed, dead animals and such. Bangkok in the late 60’s was not the tourism hotspot of today, only visiting ships and high rollers, very rare to see peeps with full beards or red hair which gave rise to Soapy, a gwar, having all night in with the massage girls for free.
Back to Singers, by this time I had reached the age of 17 and 6 months and received a pay rise, now on $140 per fortnight, not that I had time to enjoy my new wealth as I fractured my left neck of femur in a work accident and was whisked off to the British Military Hospital, 6 weeks in traction then 6 weeks on crutches, after 1 week on the crutches I and 3 others were sent to convalesce at BMH Cameron Highlands in Malaysia. A former rubber plantation with mock Tudor houses dotted about the place, step off the main drag and it was dense jungle, everything was a vibrant green, eye popping, possibly setting foot where no man had stepped before. We tested the theory that butterflies were attracted to urine, a few lags and sure enough we were surrounded by them, similar size thorax to Brit but huge wings of colours I had never seen before or since.
After coming off crutches I was no longer fit for sea so moved to Terror for the remaining 3 months of my draft.
It was here that I met TF, he had caught knob rot from a deb in Cape Town on passage to Singers on HMS Berryhead, his knob rot was quite severe and resisted all attempts to cure. When I flew back to UK I had quite a lot of leave to come then drafted to HMS Victory, barracks not Nelson’s flagship. Working in registry delivering internal mail, after a couple of weeks TF turned up, his knob rot still intact, ashore we would hit the Crystal Lounge in Southsea, full of local/matelot skins who would look to our crew to supply their wacky baccy and black bombers. Once a week we would go to the Tricorn Club, this was situated in a massive multi storey car park with lift entry, lift up to one of the floors of car park for wacky baccy before going into club. Around this time jazz rock was just beginning to take off in the UK and Tricorn would have local groups on so every visit to the place was memorable. TF was a good looking bastard and was always dressed as sharp as a pin in and out of uniform so our crew always had plenty of female admirers and my time at the crease improved from the minute when I had lost my cherry. July 70 drafted to HMS Sultan the engineering school for diesel course, Sultan was in Gosport across the river from Pompey so regular trips on the ferry to join up with the lads, around this time TF was medically discharged as his knob rot refused to go away, his leaving do was a corker.


HMS Fife

Nov 70 myself and 9 others flew to Malta to join HMS Fife a guided missile destroyer, culture shock !, Forth was an old tub with a pretty slack routine, Fife quite the opposite. She had a major fire in gas turbine room the day before we joined her, fire was extinguished with some struggle by foam and it is usual practice to leave the compartment to cool as there is a risk of re-ignition should you enter too early. Commander E the chief engineer insisted that he wanted to enter to inspect the damage, he was advised against this but he was the boss and ordered the hatch to be opened, WHUMPH….fire re-ignited. Chief Tiff in charge of fire crew turned to Commander E…’Sir, fcuk off’, fire eventually put out with steam drenching. Malta for xmas , Malta is an island of white rock so your eyes are screwed up most of the time when ashore in daylight, I have never been one for shades as they have yet to design a pair that would make me look any cooler than I already am.
Strait Street, or The Gut as it was known to Jack was the place to party though my capacity to drink still fell way short of my oppo’s, much to their delight. My brother Bill was stationed in Malta married accompanied so I had a good excuse to visit him a few times and not face the derision for being a plonker in the drinking stakes. January we sailed for Gibralter, now you either love Gib or hate it, I was the latter, as if someone had taken a slice of the UK and parked it at the mouth of the Mediterranean. English plod, phone boxes, post boxes and Watneys Red barrel. At this time the border with Spain was still shut and I am reliably informed that since it’s re-opening things have improved, regardless, IMO the only good thing about Gib in my time was the spit roasted chicken shack to visit at the end of a night ashore. Sailed for Pompey crossing the dreaded Bay of Biscay, we were lucky this time only encountering a heavy swell. Pompey, at last I was home in my favourite UK RN shore base.

6 months in dockyard hands for repairs to gas room and docking and other defects. Cushy number now, senior chiefs messman, although he had his own cabin the Jossman was victualled in the SCM which could have been a trip to DQ’s for me. 4 of us from 3Q mess were in the upstairs bar at Marthas one night when we were approached by a pusher I knew from the Tricorn Club, £5 for 100 ‘Yellow Perils’ so I coughed up and B had 5 straight off, mixed with the beer he was high within a few mins, we decided to keep the rest for a better day. Week later me and A took the 95 remaining ashore, couple of pints on Clarence pier and set off across the common having popped 5……nowt, into the Parade and another 5…..still nowt, Beer Kellar, similar out come. I have already spoke of my weird metabolism, A must have had a similar as we were experiencing nowt from the pills apart from an over itchy scalp. Timber Tavern, **** it let’s pop the lot, bit of a buzz from the tunes A put on the box but nothing else to speak of. After pubs shut we had big eats and started walking back to the dockyard but we were going round in circles and eventually ended up on the Hard at 0600 and had a cuppa. Back on board and luckily I had a make and mend that day, sure enough the Jossman comes into the SCM at noon for his G&T, I avoid his glare…’Wots up with you Moss you look half dead’…….’Heavy night Master, anyway I am M&M this avo’…exit stage left and got my head down. Woken by A at 1800 and he is dressed for shore and animated as ****, ‘C’mon I wanna go ashore ,come ashore I wanna go ashore’…..**** off I have both our hangovers’…. happy daze. After repairs, trials and the dreaded work up. Work up is 6 weeks of hell at the hands of Flag Officer Sea Training and his staff at Portland, any and every scenario the ship could encounter whilst operational. Visit to Wilhelmshaven, on passage we were shadowed by Russian trawler, gave them a wave when up on deck which the pigs were not happy with, we looked upon it as they were just ordinary Joe’s like us doing a job.
Norwegian fjords in company with one of our diesel electric boats (submarine), zig zag at 3 knots trying to detect her for 3 days, she had taken a photo of us through her periscope (Fife sunk) on day one then pissed off back to Pompey.
Aberporth area for Seaslug missile firings and the usual visit to IOM. After leave period it was back to Med patrol and our Russian escort. Killick from Aylesbury offered an address from one of his wifes workmates who wanted a penpal, when we got back to UK weekend spent at her place, dad was ex mob so we got on famously. 18 months in and I proposed.
During last Med patrol of my draft we visited Tunis, Nice, Villefranche and Civita Vecchia,(port of Rome). We all took the coaches to Rome apart from JD & PS who stayed in CV to get ratarsed, stole a car to travel on to Rome and hit an artic, PS was lucky as he was thrown out of the passenger door and only suffered a burst spleen and a couple of fractures, JD went through the windscreen and was decapitated and lost his left arm, only way duty killick could recognise him was by the ‘Makin Bacon’ ink on his remaining arm, sad. Nice was too expensive for us so we headed back to Villefranche where we were anchored, a right shithole with only local shit plonk to drink. Tunis, you can smell this place 2 miles out, smell was worse after we manouvered alongside and churned up all the dead animal carcass in the dock. We headed for the nearest bar and on the way this bloke dressed in white skin tight shorts and pink stripey shirt pulls up along side us astride a blinged up Harley, obviously the jungle telegraph was working overtime now the navy is ashore, JP jumps astride and off they sped.
Nice bar found and barman with glass/bottle juggling skills which would make Tom Cruise jealous, impressed by this we bought him a wet. Few wets later and his coordination is all to cock, smashed glass littering the floor, owner of bar turns up and goes ballistic and sacks barman on the spot, we tried to explain the situation but he was having none of it so informed him to reinstate barman or there would be more than just glass to clean up. Decency prevailed and owner sent barman home to sleep it off, running the bar and even organising big eats for us all from a stall across the way. Day after JP reports that Harley man lashed him up all day at his mahoosive pad, sucked his cock all night and gave him a bling watch as a prezzie.
All of a sudden JP is acting gay and getting on peoples wick with it. Turns out SWMBO had given him an ultimatum it was her or the mob and he was trying to work his ticket, skipper saw through this and drafted him off.
Out of the 3 ships I served on Fife was by far the best,60 men in 3Q and with draftees coming and going in the 27 months I was onboard call it 80 blokes in total and I do not have any bad words for any of them, 5 of the ones I joined her with were really close and have yet to be bettered.
Next draft to HMS Dryad for a full year, radar plotters training base where I was employed as Buffers Yeoman, making cheese baps, soup and tea…….and a hefty profit, money for old rope.
Wed D in June 73, TF attended his knob rot now cured by civvy consultant. Married life was fraught, some service wives can put up with separation but D could not and when I announced that my next draft was to be HMS Mermaid married accompanied in Singers her mothers look said it all, I was not to take their only daughter away from them. Joined Mermaid in Chatham, D and I separated. After a couple of weeks onboard we were visited by some actors led by Bernard Miles from the Mermaid Theatre to exchange ships bells, hers was hung in the lobby of theatre from an earlier HMS Mermaid, fast forward to Singers and Miles paid a visit to see the skipper. Skipper was half Scot half Kiwi and had a reputation for hard drinking, none of the wardroom would go ashore with him and Miles met his match, we were returning from shore and a taxi was waiting at the gangway with Miles staggering down gangway totally shitfaced, as he stumbled off gangway he pointed to fast black and burbled ‘Is this me’ ? …….’We give up’ was the reply. Work up before passage to Singers, I had blamed my job for the break up of my marriage and started to drink heavily, at last I had found the technology to booze, on the eve of sailing for the far east I as much as told the RN to fcuk off, as I had refused to wear uniform warrant was read by skipper indoors with only Jossman and Ch Stoker as witness. 5 days in close custody on board (drying room doubled as ship cell), one night in HMS Rooke cells(Gibralter) , awarded 28 days in detention quarters .My cell number was 69, any way up, at age 22 I was the oldest bloke in there, similar to basic training only more intense with assault course before brekkie then drill and PT. Rest of the time being the eldest I was volunteered for kitchen duties which was ace. 6 days in close custody, 4 days remission, I only served 18 days of my sentence in DQ’s. Re-joined the ship in Simonstown, on passage to Seychelles we hit the roughest oggin I had ever experienced, losing sight of accompanying ship on many occasion. 2 days in and large que outside sick bay for Cape Town knob rot, including peeps whose wives would be waiting dockside when we arrived in Singers. Called in at Diego Garcia for fuel but no run ashore, bugger. Had had enough of mob life so put in for premature voluntary release, the time waiting for this would at least give me one last look at the far east. Singers, one of the married blokes had not shaken off his knob rot so had a lot of explaining to do to SWMBO.
First jolly was to Manila, could not resist the local girls, mixture of Asian and Portuguese, all stunners. Subic Bay, Elmer base with Alongapo City over the bridge from dockyard. Virtually one street of bars each with a local tribute band, Beatles , Stones, etc in each peopled by nubiles, Elmer and us. Hit Manila another 4 times during that tour, on our way to Bangkok we are diverted to Mekong Delta to relieve brit frigate on station at 50 mile limit off coast of Vietnam. Close to the fall of Saigon, UK government had sent RAF VC10 to bring out our embassy staff/ex-pats. Vietcong quite legitimately fired on any plane entering their airspace so we were there as a last resort to enter a hostile port on evacuation mission.
Large Union Jack flags painted on ships superstructure for any recognition, night time you could see in the distance the pounding that Saigon was taking.
Sea like a mirror, the only relief was a trip 10 miles off station to ditch gash, any rubbish thrown into oggin on station was deemed to be us entering the 50 mile limit and the ‘cong had every right to blow us out of the water. Wiled away the time with fishing competitions, all the stuff we caught was troffed by the chogi laundry crew and sew sew. Kite flying comp’, no breeze so skipper took her for an impromptu gash run to launch the kites, won by the sky pilot who tethered his to the flagdeck guard rail and helped by the exhaust from forward funnel he won hands down. Ran out of tinned beer after a week so tub from Honky Fid was dispatched to resupply us, meantime we could visit the PO’s mess with a mug for some draught. Diplomacy prevailed and after 3 weeks one VC10 with all its seating ripped out was allowed to land and we could set sail for our haven of Singers. Sods Opera, navy revue, where anything goes on first night away from warzone. Skipper loved it, especialy at the end of festivities when the whole crew joined in the rendition of ‘Kiss me goodnight Jimmy Mc…’
Couple of days in stores basin for essential repairs then on to Hong Kong
PVR approved, the night before flight back to UK from Honky Fid I went ashore alone for one last look, entering China Fleet club there were a few Ozzies in and we got chatting. A few days before we had been exercising with them and the Yank sixth fleet, a few of the Yank ships pulled into HC for one night but the usual routine of their overwhelming odds ashore the Oz crew and some of our lads took a good shoeing. Next day Yanks all pissed off, at about 1100 one Yank ship creeps back in with engine trouble, that night some of the Oz crew faced off with a group of 8 yanks and the tables were turned, Yanks playing dead after being dropped but the Oz were having none of this and repeatedly picked the Yanks up off the deck and dropped them again…and again. Nicked their tabs and treasured Zippo’s with ships crest on as a final gesture, result. After a good session with Oz and a few bars in Wanchia I decided to have my first ever tattoo. Stokers favourite tat was a spinning propeller on each arse cheek which I planned to have, dropped my pants and the tattooist was about to start his work when I checked my dosh, not enough for tat AND big eats so I upped pants and headed for chicken shop, slowly spit roasted with spicy marinade I defy anyone to find better tasting chicken, anywhere.
One week in barracks then freedom, stayed with me mam till I found a job fabricating portable shit houses, took a mortgage out on a flat closer to work but I was beginning to regret leaving the mob till a job came up at York University, relief tending of campus heating boilers and maintenance of campus plant. Boiler house was staffed by WW2 ex servicemen, 2 of which were stokers so in my element . Life was good and lodging with couple a stone’s throw from Black Bull, a Berni Inn.
Round the back of pub was public bar, frequented by blokes from nearby council estate, no one spoke to me for the first few weeks till they realised I was there to get as shitfaced as them. Some wild times in this gaff, ladies darts team to keep the rust off till T started work there and we became an item, she had a 2 year old son and after a year we took a mortgage out on a terrace in Fulford. She put up with my moods and increasing alcohol consumption for 6 yrs then called a halt, took a mortgage on a bedsit next door to work. Barmaid in Fulford WMC caught me on rebound from T and we wed after whirlwind romance. Big mistake, yes she was a fantastic chef but that was it, I had ploughed quite a bit of dosh into this relationship and come up short when we split, every cloud has a silver lining as I was now on the doorstep of the Spread
I had vowed not to enter into any serious relationship for 10 yrs and so this proved, all my spare dosh was to be spent on me.
September 93 at age 80 mam passed away, at last she would get some rest, attended funeral but avoided family on exit from church and made for the Spread.



Message from CO's asking if my 2 requests to pull my account via my e-mail address that they hold were genuine, affirmative so I will stick around.