Sunday, December 5, 2010

Bloody Cold!

The Editor insists I look after my health and that includes porridge and vitamins for breakfast as well as fresh air. Neither of us calculated on the temperature hitting minus 6C.

Still, I parked myself in the yard for two hours, so numb that the cold became meaningless. The pond is layered in inches of ice, thick enough to hold Cancer Boy when he walked across it that evening.

And in those freezing moments in the still yard, I made a mental note to tell you that I am extremely fortunate. This little existence of mine is played out in a tiny prison in the sticks, low security and largely quiet and uneventful.
Most of the 90,000 prisoners don't get to sit in the yard in peace. At best, they get to tramp around in a big circle like a herd, overseen by screws who want them off the yard as fast as is legal so that they can return to their warm offices.

Most of these prisoners won't feel the snow underfoot, exercise yards being closed due to 'inclement weather' or on dubious health and safety grounds. Even fewer will be in prisons that allow them to wear woolly gloves or hats, or decent coats.

The broad strokes of my life are those shared by every prisoner. But try not to extrapolate from the fine detail; that would be unfair on those who are suffering in far worse circumstances.


  1. This is such a lovely post Ben, I am glad to hear that you are feeling good and looking after yourself despite the cold weather, in fact it sounds like you have managed to turn around the fact of the freezing temperatures to your advantage by practicing contemplation (in adversity). And it is so uplifting to hear the summary of your thoughts.

    I am just wondering about where you might be going to and what that prison might be like, it might be hard adjusting ... So once again I wish you well with everything and keep strong xx

  2. Yes thank you for sharing your thoughts with us Ben, it is uplifting and humbling too. An especially difficult time of the year coming up for those inside and their loved ones.