Readers' Submissions

Schizophrenia and Stereotypes

  • Written by Phet
  • October 22nd, 2012
  • 33 min read



Firehouse


The other day I had a call from my solicitor pal Kevin about a networking event he wanted me to attend with him. He told me to expect a phone call from a chap named Alan who would give me further details. He explained that Alan was the accountant at some organisation to do with mental health but the name escaped him. About an hour later I receive a phone call “Hello, this is Alan from the Paranoid society.” I replied “Wow, we were just talking about you”….he slammed the phone down on me.

I know one shouldn’t joke about mental illness. I have had my occasional brush with the black dog of depression in the past and I see signs of my impending senility on a regular basis. I sometimes think I may also be slightly schizophrenic (no, you’re not) yes I am… who said that? I do occasionally think I have multiple personalities. I can hear some of the readers already saying we hope the alternate persona is better than the sad old tosser I portray in my submissions to Stickman. They will of course be hearing from my solicitor on the morrow.

I do appreciate I am not really schizophrenic but am certainly a different person for example whilst I am in the Kingdom of Thailand than when I am back in the in the Soviet socialist republic of England. Or at least I seem to be. This may be due principally to the issue of female availability. In England when I go out on a Friday night I know with 99% certainty (even though I am wearing my best drinking shirt) I will go home alone. When I am in Thailand however if I wanted a partner for the evening I know with 99% certainty I could find one. This is an extremely liberating sensation and contributes greatly to a feeling of well-being.

An individual's personality is a collective accumulation of the decisions they have made throughout their life and the memory of the experiences to which these decisions led. There are many factors that contribute to the development of our personality. They also influence our values, beliefs, and expectations. We also develop a series of masks for different situations and portray different personas.

My elementary knowledge of sociology suggests this role playing is often necessary to interact in social groups. Each group we are involved in, whether in a work or social environment entails a cast of characters. Inevitably there is always a leader and also the Sage who thinks he is full of wisdom. There is always a taciturn bloke who keeps his own counsel and the unavoidable man of action. Invariably there is a joker in the pack and the poor patsy who is the butt of the jokes. If we join a new group we have to fit into a role that is vacant. If we try to fill a role that is already taken there is invariably conflict. This behaviour is inherited from our primate origins. Observation of chimpanzee communities demonstrates a definite pecking order and demarcation of various roles. I would be the chimpanzee sitting in an old rubber tyre having a wank.

Personality alters with time and experiences. I have seen my persona (or at least the perception of my persona) and image change over the years.

As a young man in my teens and 20s I was confident ambitious and considered a young man with great promise. I was extremely self-centred and successful with young women.

In my 30s and 40s I was director of a subsidiary of a large Engineering Plc with an executive lifestyle. I had technical articles published and was in demand from learned societies as a guest speaker. A devoted husband and father I was a pillar of the community and regularly attended church and got involved in charitable works.

Now in my 50s I have been divorced twice and my fortunes have seen more ups and downs than an adolescent’s foreskin. Every one knows I do not have two brass farthings to rub together nor even a proverbial pot to piss in. I am still seen as an experienced and capable Engineer if a little past my sell by date, but believe I am respected for my willingness to take on a challenge and endure a solitary and nomadic existence in search of employment.

I do consider myself resilient if somewhat unfocused. The last few years I have enjoyed a great freedom and answer to nobody but I am concerned what I am turning into. I am becoming very self-centred and possibly a little lazy. I have a rapidly diminishing respect for authority and have no tolerance or patience with the new generation of grasping egotistical and cliché spouting incompetents who seem to control business these days.

But I have always been willing to admit it is only being miserable that keeps me happy. At times I make Victor Meldrew look like a frivolous hedonist.


xxx


I attended the network event with my pal. The members of this club are all from the service sector and include accountants, solicitors, insurance brokers, and all manner of parasites (oops, did I say that out loud). Although I have picked up a couple of tentative enquiries for consultancy jobs the network is not of great interest to me and I only go because I have been friends with Kevin for 50 years and I enjoy his company.

The guest speaker that evening gave a talk about the art of selling. It was quite interesting; he confirmed the importance of the first 30 seconds to build a rapport with a client upon first meeting. He suggested a change in the paradigm instead of considering clients as an amorphous mass they could be segmented or categorised into groupings identified by behavioural traits. He proposed four categories:

1. Earth: These people are decisive and bold but can also be very blunt.
2. Water: They are calm and patient but can be easily upset.
3. Air: They are logical and orderly but can also be highly critical.
4. Fire: These are spontaneous and enthusiastic but easily distracted.


It was suggested each group should be treated differently and proposed various techniques based on the ubiquitous Neuro Linguistic Programming to develop strategies for dealing with them.

There was free beer and a buffet so I asked a few intelligent sounding questions to earn my supper. After the presentation I chatted with the speaker and the event organiser. I suggested that the technique could equally be applied to picking up women. I mischievously proposed I present a seminar at a future meeting on the subject. I described the Powerpoint presentation and the women I would bring to illustrate my methods. The speaker smiled weakly whilst the organiser looked as if a heart attack was imminent. It never fails to amuse me how many of these intense and earnest gentlemen have absolutely no sense of humour.

It struck me how easy it is to make sweeping generalisations and perpetuate stereotypes. I did it myself recently with comments about the Germans for which I was quite rightly admonished. Those who say the Germans have no sense of humour have not come across Henning Wehn who is currently the best comedian in Britain and Europe. When asked recently if having lived in London for a few years he now dreams in English, he replied “No I still dream in black and white newsreel movies”.

As Thailand aficionados we often make sweeping generalisations about Thai women. There appears to be two distinct viewpoints. The one outlook is that Thai women are wonderfully feminine and graceful paragons with a genuinely caring nature who inherently understand how to look after men. The other view is they are all greedy conniving creatures only interested in short term material acquisition and maintaining face by supporting their families in rural villages.

I suspect many of those who espouse the latter opinion are clouded by experiences in the P4P (play for pay) sector. There is no doubt Thai bar girls are unique. They are the only prostitutes in the world who can get thousands of western men to fall in love with them with such ease. I can not imagine there are prostitutes in any developed country in the world that have websites dedicated to them. Certainly none that could generate the thousands of articulate essays the Thai model have generated on this site alone.

For many visitors the only contact with Thai women is with bar girls but not all bar girls are the same. They are human beings and therefore subject to the variations of the human condition.

Back in Nov 2005, the Sainted Dana in his epistle (TTA 109) to his parishioners in Suhkumvit, made a commendable effort to categorise bar girls. He proposed 7 groups.


• Experimenter: they are doing something new but once tried won’t repeat.
• Part timer: they already have full time jobs and doing it for extra money.
• It's a job: they are not victims, its a job (difficult for feminists to understand).
• Waiting for something better: this means she still has hope.
• Money interested: she just wants the money and no other reason.
• Aimless drifter: largest category, they do it as it requires no thought or effort.
• Sex interested: nymphomaniacs who really enjoy sex (they are very rare).


I have engaged the services of a few young ladies in the P4P sector over the years. It is easy to define all girls you pick up from the go-go bars as prima donnas only after money. Although most were one night stands I found this knowledge quite useful in understanding the range of behaviour I often encountered. My technique for establishing the group they fall into is to ask “If you won 40 million baht on the lottery tonight what would you do with it?” Their answer can be quite enlightening about their motivations. A little supplementary probing round their initial reply usually reveals even further insight into their persona.

Another stereotype employed is that girls from Nana Plaza are very mercenary whilst the girls of Soi Cowboy are a little more laid back. I have had delightful girls from the Tilac and Dollhouse who spent some time with me even giving me the illusion of the Thai girlfriend experience. The memories of which often keep me warm on cold English February nights. I have however taken girls from bars in the Nana Plaza and experienced similar delights. My favourite bars are the Mandarin, Rainbow 3 and recently Las Vegas.

My personal preference is for girls from the smaller bars around Nana. It is more of a lottery but you do find some real gems. My penchant for daytime girls from the Golden Bar is well documented. I have also met some intriguing girls from the Biergarten each with a fascinating story to tell. I even found one of the mythical part timers in the Thermae one evening. She was a nurse/receptionist at one of the international hospitals and only went looking for a farang client once a month when she needed to pay her rent.

In Pattaya there is more opportunity for finding a variety of personas and even the Thai girlfriend experience. The go-go bars of Walking Street have a slightly different ambiance than those in Bangkok. Diamond and Beach Club have been very fruitful sources of some lovely girls.

I have also investigated many of the smaller bars in the less salubrious areas of Sin City and discovered many diamonds amongst the dross. But I have found the most consistent source of genuine and honest girls has been the Secrets and FLB bars.

I have also found that Thai women love to play matchmaker. I have some experience of ordinary Thai ladies outside the bar scene courtesy of TLL and introductions from Thai girls I know. These include teachers, nurses and government officers. The experiences are different from those encountered with bar girls but no less expensive.

Women are the same the world over. They have similar motivations and expectations it is all just a matter of degree. All women want security but with western women this is now a given. They demand considerably more whilst Asian women are slightly more pragmatic in their expectations.

I must declare all my experiences with Thai women in Thailand have generally been positive. This is more than can be said for my experiences in England with both Thai and western women


Xxx


One of the generalisations we make when comparing Asian and Western women is that the latter are better educated and being liberated are more sophisticated and worldly. The inference is that western women understand world events and with a shared cultural reference they are easier to have an intelligent discussion with. I have not found this to always be the case. Many supposedly intelligent women I meet socially and in business appear to have a serious chip on their shoulder. They are awfully opinionated and too busy being empowered to engage in decent dialogue. I am often amazed at how shallow and superficial they actually are.

I have met many intelligent Asian women (some I haven’t enjoyed any intimacy with) who could bear comparison with the majority of western women in the area of personal achievement and even business acumen. My hero is the delightful Jodi who has accomplished a great deal in her chosen field. She is a woman rising to the top of her profession and respected by her peers. She can bestride both the western and Asian worlds with ease.

Julie the girl I worked with in China could speak 6 languages and ran the marketing function of the company. She had an astonishing energy and enthusiasm for life. 90% of the customer base was from outside of China which was testament to her cosmopolitan business acumen. I felt she could hold her own with most western business women yet she retained a delightful naive and feminine disposition.

Many Asian women exhibit an enduring spirit of enterprise. Nan is a lecturer in business studies at a university in East Isaan. In addition to her teaching duties she runs the university admissions. In fact she will take on any extra curricula job that will give her a little extra money. When we met a few years ago she was 35 but in all honesty looked 17. We met in Bangkok with the ubiquitous chaperones and had an entertaining day shopping around Siam Square. The evening we took dinner in the Nana Hotel restaurant and later, at their request I took them to a couple of go-go bars in the plaza. At the end of the evening as I offered the taxi fare back to their hotel the chaperone Rene refused the money saying I had paid enough that day. She went on to tell me that she knew Nan had received money from me for her fare to Bangkok. However she felt I should know Nan was in Bangkok for a conference and her university had already paid all her expenses for the trip. Rather than being angry I actually admired her enterprise.

I have remained friends with Nan and we exchange correspondence every couple of months. I recall her telling me about a trade delegation to Vietnam she went on last year, in particular her description of how disgusting the toilets were in Vietnam. Knowing the condition of squat toilets that Isaan girls are accustomed to the mind boggles to imagine the state of the facilities she described. We often discussed her coming to the UK and even considered her coming to study for her doctorate at Birmingham University. She recently became engaged to a sophisticated French guy some 10 years her junior.

I also keep in touch with Rene the chaperone; she married an extremely handsome young Swiss guy, is now living in Zurich and is deliriously happy.

Even though she caused me some heartache I still admire my ex Thai wife Nat and respect her endeavour and enterprise. I know some of the things she did before we married which got her into debt were a little suspect and associated to an unhealthy fixation with material acquisition. Even her own family could not understand her obsession with the god of mammon. The last time we met she gave the indication she had changed and had curbed her worst excesses.

Her English was good although not exceptional but we never had a problem communicating at any level. At times our rapport was almost telepathic. I have been amazed at the number of Asian women upon seeing us together would remark “same face” which is a Thai code for the concept we call “soul mate”.

She was bright and naturally enquiring about world affairs and was always inquisitive to understand the nuances of English life we refer to as our cultural reference. She had a quite passable Black Country accent within a month of living here and gained a good comprehension of the British sense of humour. I do appreciate that we are unlikely to resurrect our previous relationship but we maintain contact and I suspect her presence and influence in my life has not yet ended.


Xxx


Earlier I mentioned networking and one of the best networks in the world is the Stickman community. I exchange correspondence with many excellent fellows from various professions, many walks of life and a multitude of nationalities. We are bonded by a common fascination with the kingdom and an enthrallment with Thai womanhood. I often find the ideas and inspiration for the next submission from correspondence about the previous one. It is a self perpetuating cycle. This is bad news for those readers who hoped I would eventually run out of steam and cease my interminable output.

Over the years countless readers have offered me wise counsel and well meant constructive advice. More importantly they have given me the gift of genuine friendship. But many have felt I desperately needed lessons in self confidence.

To be completely honest self confidence has never been my principle problem. I am actually a very confident bloke. I will walk into rough pubs that scare most people. I have compared large concerts and travel the world alone. I will give a presentation or talk at the drop of a hat and have lectured at large conferences. I have performed the best man duties at four weddings. I will sing operatic arias, romantic Irish ballads at concerts and even perform old pop favourites at karaokes unless you have the sense to prise the mike from me.

In my youth and early twenties I was successful with women which I attribute to numerous things. I operated with trusted wingmen or a group of lads. I could always find an excuse to spark a conversation with any group of women we encountered and not just in pubs and clubs. To employ a football analogy I was the midfield schemer who could carve an opportunity from nowhere. My wingmen would supply the necessary support. I could lay off the (metaphorical) ball to them and they were always ready to receive and return the pass. My pals were appreciative of the goals I laid on for them.

I also ran a mobile disco. I had a regular spot at a church youth club (which was more lively than it sounds), a Friday night residency at a notoriously violent pub in Tipton and Saturdays I would do weddings and parties. The money I made helped pay me through college and being in the limelight was an incredible bird puller. I was extremely self-assured and over the years I included two air hostesses and a page 3 model amongst my conquests.

I attribute my recent lack of success to the ageing process and to the paradigm change in society that I have discussed ad nausea. Those who claim age is only a number have never been a 57 year old bloke living in Wednesbury. I am still an inveterate flirt and if I can create an opportunity I will chat to any woman. But these days I have to operate alone and to continue the football metaphor although I am still a midfield schemer I am totally ineffective as a lone striker with no one to lay the ball off to. I haven’t scored in open play for quite sometime. Even in my youth my pals joked I was useless around the box.

Demographics also play a part. A recent survey suggested there were 600,000 “Swofties” (single women over the age of fifty) living in the UK. Of these 20% claimed they had a good social life but only 17% were seeking a partner. A basic understanding of statistics suggests half of this 17% will be above the age of 65 leaving 50,000 women between 50 and 65. It is a safe assumption that a third will be morbidly obese and a third will be either be hideous relics or merely looking for an unpaid handyman and gardener. The remaining 16,000 will be dispersed throughout the UK. My native Birmingham and the Black Country constitute 2% of the UK population so there are 330 eligible and acceptable single women aged between 50 and 65 in my area. That is 330 women spread across 4,000 square miles of the West midlands conurbation with a total population of nearly 5 million. This does suggest a proverbial needle in a haystack.

This shortage of tolerable women has not prevented me receiving some deliciously acerbic putdowns from the other type of female. Many were quite memorable and worthy of mention.

One of the earliest insults I encountered was on one of my initial ventures out after my first divorce. I approached one young lady who was standing near the bar. She was not particularly attractive… in fact on reflection she looked like she had once been set on fire and put out with a shovel, but I needed the practice I complimented her on her choice of ensemble and received the reply “Yeah I know I am gorgeous, but I haven’t got dolled up to waste it on an old fart like you!”

Another memorable incident was when I was living in Norwich. I had concluded what I felt was a successful date with a presentable if somewhat overblown lady. She informed me “I have had a lovely evening, you are the most amusing and interesting guy I have met for some time but I am really looking for someone much better looking and taller than you”.

Recently I was at the karaoke in my local chatting to a rather chubby average looking blonde in her early 40s. I was flattering her and remarked that her singing performance had clearly been well received by a couple of older blokes at the next table. Her reply (delivered without any trace of irony or a sense of humour) surprised even me “Being attractive has been a real burden to me over the years…you should think yourself lucky that you don’t have that worry.

One of the most amusing incidents was about six years ago. It was on a rare occasion I had pulled and the lady had taken me back to her house. She was a little older than me but was quite well presented with a trim little body. We had progressed beyond coffee and were having a serious grope on the settee. I was making progress, I had her stripped down to her panties and had her left nipple firmly in my mouth. She was all worked up with her front bottom like a boxer dog with a mouth full of yoghurt. She had her hand clamped firmly on my Hampton and I was clearly on the home run. Then she suddenly asked me “Have you got a power drill?” I realised that throughout my ardent performance she had merely been thinking about the DIY jobs she wanted doing around the house. All my passion evaporated at that moment like Obiwan Kenobi’s cape. I made my apologies and departed with somewhat indecent haste.

One of my biggest disappointments was with Jane who was a lecturer in law at a local university. She was elegant, petite and exceedingly pretty. We met on the internet and she explained that she had no difficulty attracting handsome men but was disillusioned how shallow and boring they were. She declared she was seeking an intelligent, cultivated gentleman she could share an interesting conversation and some cultural entertainment with. I stepped up to the plate.

We went out a few times to plays at the university theatre, to classical recitals and I took her to hear me sing at a few concerts. I also let her see me making a prat of myself at Karaoke’s which greatly amused her. We enjoyed some amazing conversations on subjects as diverse as the British labour movement, the works of Chekov to the music of Puccini. I thought things were going rather well until she informed me she had met a new bloke. Although I was disappointed I had become quite philosophical about these situations by then.

A few weeks later whilst I was in town on a rare shopping expedition I bumped into her with her new escort. I was very surprised to see he was a big swarthy tattooed bloke of gypsy appearance. I swear his knuckles scraped the ground as he walked and I can certainly imagine he had difficulty counting to three unless he had his hand in his underpants.

I learnt a new word that day….”Peripeteia” which is the discovery that everything you previously thought you knew is mistaken and actually not worth a knob of goat shit.


xxx


I am not a misogynist and I certainly don’t hate western women but I do not have much respect for the current generation and at times feel they have seriously lost the plot.

They are the most privileged, cosseted and indulged women in the history of mankind. They are the first generation of women to have lived their whole lives without the constant threat of war or plagues. They are the first women in history to control their own fertility and can fall back on abortions if it fails. Free of all dress codes, manners or constraints they can aspire to any pursuit or vocation they desire.

Western women got it all and then found out it wasn’t quite exactly what they wanted.

In my time I trained a few female foundry engineers and mentored some up to professional status. Their success in a male dominated industry had always been a source of pride to me. I constantly impressed upon them to celebrate their femininity, not to become androgynous or overcompensate with aggressive attitudes just because they were in a male world. All of them went on to make a contribution to the industry in senior technical or supervisory positions. But I was disappointed how short their careers turned out to be. All but one of them succumbed to the biological time clock and left to have babies within 3 years of qualifying.

I have actually met some extraordinary women who greatly impressed but they were all from a previous older generation like Betty Boothroyd, once my local MP and past speaker of the House of Commons. One of the most beguiling women was Cynthia Payne who made her name in the late 70s as “Madame Sin”. She ran a house of ill repute catering for the sexual peccadilloes of the high and mighty of the British establishment. Her clients included politicians, senior civil servants and members of the judiciary. She was infamous for accepting luncheon vouchers in payment for the services. There were a couple of movies made about her life.

My pal Pete booked her as quest speaker for an industry banquet many years ago. I attended the event and found her most engaging. She took a shine to Pete and would subsequently contact him every time she had an engagement in the Birmingham area asking him to have lunch or dinner with her. Pete was (and still is) a bit of a pussy and was terrified of her. He would invariably ask me to come with him (as chaperone) which I did on three occasions. At the time she was in her mid 60s but still well presented (and yes I would). She was a fascinating and entertaining lady with a fund of amusing anecdotes particularly about High Court judges and Cabinet ministers. She had no interest in me. I was about 40 and clearly too junior for her taste but she was always polite and charming to me. Pete was very tall and commanding; he had just turned 50, recently received the MBE and was worth a few bob. I don’t actually think she had any serious designs on my pal and suspect she merely enjoyed the disconcerting effect she had on him. Watching him squirm under her teasing was also a source of great amusement to me.


Xxx


Last weekend with my local the Welded Wallet like an undertaker’s carnival and the other pubs in Wednesbury resembling the waiting room for the Jeremy Kyle show, I changed my routine. I put on my best drinking shirt and went to the Hop Pole pub in West Bromwich town centre. It is a small but lively establishment kept by a popular West Indian guy and his attractive English wife. The two tasty little black barmaids are an additional attraction for me. At the bar I bumped into Simon my fireman pal who I knew was going through a rather painful divorce. Although I am always available for wise counsel he was at the angry and upset phase of the process so was best avoided. He had already tied on a few and was well up the scale of inebriation.

I saw two vacant seats nearby with two half empty glasses on the table. I ask two chaps sitting adjacent about the vacant seats and they inform me were taken by two young ladies currently powdering their noses. They were friendly chaps who suggested I sit on the seat between them and the seats in question. I began to chat to them and the conversation quickly turned to Cartesian dualism and its implications to metaphysics….just kidding we actually talked about football and the great start to the season the baggies have had, but I had you going for a moment.

Two ladies reappeared from the toilet and accidently collided with my inebriated fireman friend as they passed him. Apologies were exchanged and as the ladies took their seats beside me I took the opportunity to begin chatting to them. I remarked that the fellow who knocked them over is a fireman. “I know how you ladies have a thing about fireman so I suggest you should insist on a private home visit with his colleagues in full uniform (with helmet and galoshes) as recompense for the collision”. She smiled and replied “ooh yes I do like that idea”. Her friend nodded her agreement and also gave me a pleasant smile.

These two ladies were nice ordinary girls in their early 40s, well turned-out and pleasant. In the absence of any other amusement or diversion I had a captive audience and they responded well to my badinage and witty one-liners. I had them laughing but there comes a point when you can not keep up the stand up routine indefinitely or you feel like a performing monkey. This was the moment when I desperately wished I had a good wingman there who could take up the baton whilst I regrouped. We would have had them on the butchers block in short order and no mistake.

With my attempts to steer the dialogue from banal banter to gentle conversation I could see their mood change and their interest diminish. They were nice girls but like many women out on the town they didn’t want a conversation with a bloke, they wanted to be entertained and amused….they wanted the performing monkey back. I decided to quit whilst I was winning and save them for another day. I figured they would remember me next time; I would have a new routine for them and hopefully a wingman to assist.

Women often talk about wanting a man with a “sense of humour” and claim it is important to them. It is a myth…. “A sense of humour “doesn’t quite mean the same thing to women as it does to men. To women it means “show me what you’ve got and entertain me”.


xxx


Although there are other places I would have preferred to be (suggestions on a postcard please), Britain has been a good place to be this summer. The impressive Diamond Jubilee heralded the celebrations. We have enjoyed an incredible summer of sport starting with the Euros football tournament and ending with the Paralympics. In the middle were the magnificent London 2012 Olympics where team GB finished third in the medals behind the Superpowers of USA and China. The appearance of the delicious Denise Lewis as a pundit on our screens every evening left me a quivering wreck by the closing ceremony.

There has also been a feast of music and I particularly enjoyed the Proms in the park. One of the most entertaining was a spirited performance from the London Gospel choir. These Nubian beauties certainly work themselves into a real lather during their act. I had visions being backstage after the concert helping these young black darlings out of their sweaty gowns and diligently towelling the perspiration off their soft brown skins. There are times when I do wish my imagination was not quite so vivid.

There is not much to report on the romantic front and I have not had any sightings of my over inflated Kylie for a few weeks. I have however had a date with a Chinese girl….steady the buffs there I hear you say, tell us more. You may recall in a previous missive I told you about the Chinese girl I met on Chinese love links that I found completely bewildering; well I have met another one. One pal remarked you have a date with one Chinese girl and 20 minutes later you want another.

This latest girl is lovely, in her mid 40s graceful, well educated and very attractive. Her story is fascinating, she is divorced from a very rich (but borderline psychotic) Chinese guy who she lived with in Hong Kong. She escaped to Britain with her 12 year old daughter some six months ago. She told me she was a celebrated singer back in Hong Kong and her daughter an accomplished pianist so we have interests in common. We seem to have a rapport and she lives conveniently nearby.

But as is expected with all Asian females nothing is ever straightforward. If I thought Thai women were complicated my recent experience is that Chinese women make them look like a walk in the park. Unfortunately she works in a restaurant 6 days a week 10 hours a day. Her day off is understandably spent exclusively with her daughter. We have met twice but our meetings were taken in a local coffee shop and confined to the 2 hours between her shifts from 1430 to 1630 in the afternoon. Her motivation for working long hours is the ubiquitous Asian one to accumulate enough money to support herself and her daughter and to pay for her daughter’s education. Much as I am taken with the lady I have no idea how I can develop the relationship….without the involvement of money to reduce the hours she works. But “taking care” is a path I do not want to take and money is a resource I don’t currently possess. My split personalities are in conflict. Little brain says….go with the flow and follow the smile but big brain is urging NO run a mile.

On the work front the training and education venture is slowly beginning to develop. I still have doubts that there is sufficient work to make a living but still remain positive. The Diploma in Cast Metals is almost in place and will start in earnest in January. The first batch of 8 foundry apprentices are coming through and I started teaching them a few weeks ago on the induction days. They are very enthusiastic and down to earth lads. One lad told me his father once worked for me at a Foundry in Darlaston some years ago and another that his father had worked for me at a plant in Tipton more recently. I was relieved they hadn’t said it was their grandfathers. Another lad reminded me he once played football for one of the youth teams I ran a few years ago. It has helped establish my credentials and credibility with the group. It also confirmed what a small world it is.

At present I doubt I will be making a Siamese sojourn in the foreseeable future however I always remain optimistic that something will come up. My horoscope for the month suggests a change in my fortunes. Unfortunately it may not be the positive outcome I am hoping for. I have previously mentioned my dispute with the Benefits authorities who have been trying to recover around £12k from me (that I don’t have). This has been hanging over me for almost a year but I finally have a date for my tribunal appearance this week. If this does not go well I could ultimately be serving time at her Majesties pleasure. I do not relish the thought of having to wear soap on a rope in the prison showers to avoid my anal orifice being used as a pleasure park by tattooed Neanderthals.

My solicitor pal Kevin has engaged an Indian lady to represent me at the hearing. She was a senior officer in the Benefits department before being made redundant last year. She is conversant with the system and Kevin was working on the principle of gamekeeper turned poacher being to our advantage. They feel we now have a decent defence and have prepared a commendable submission for the court including impressive character references. We could not boast the customary three Bishops and a cabinet minister but learned counsel are optimistic that the statements from my Accountant, my Solicitor and my eminent forensic scientist pal would suffice.


xxx


As a postscript I have just returned hotfoot from the local County Court. Following a surprisingly short hearing, the Judge found in my favour. Not only does this mean I will not have to pay back the money they were trying to recover but the allegation of fraud is now removed and I will not face further criminal charges. It is a big weight off my shoulders and has eliminated the threat of violation to my anal aperture.

This is only “One down” from the list of several problems I face but it was significant. Now this is addressed, it allows me to make plans for my future.

Will I be seen sauntering the salacious sois of Suhkumvit soon? Who knows, but as always I ask you….. Watch this space.


Xxxx




Stickman's thoughts:

Nice, and congrats on avoiding the tattooed Neanderthals!