The Young Testament

26.06.14 (Day 186)

04.42 (Really!?)

Yesterday revolved around the courts: courts of law and our Courts: we lost but we won; I lost but I won.

The less important case first: that which was heard at the County Court:

I turned up. I find it helps to do that.

Then Nick The Bike (so-called because his name is Nick and he rides a bike) and Phil The Para (an ex-paratrooper called Phil: we spend a lot of time coming up with these names. Steve The Snake took ages) turned up. Nick arrived by bike, surprisingly. Phil didn’t parachute in. Both arrived on a tip-off that I may need moral support: I did.

The next cast member to arrive was the claimant. He shook hands with the defendant (me) and we exchanged niceties, as has been our way. No Ill feelings. He wants me out of his way and I want to be out of his.

Then the claimant’s barrister, who asked if I had any objection to the claim: no.

Apparently the barrister has been reading this blog (Hi Louise).

Pleasantries were exchanged in the waiting room before both parties were called to sit before the judge. One pleasantry was the claimant complimenting me on my writing: he reads it too (Hi Bill).

I’m not sure if the judge reads this but if so, good morning Your Honour. You are a credit to your profession. I’m sure there are few judges who would wink at a defendant, allegedly of course.

My wingmen sat in on the case and said afterwards that my charm and cheek were just me being me.

The judge asked if he was responsible for my housing situation and whether there was any reason for him to not grant the Possession Order. No on both counts.

So the order was granted and the judge explained the legal process which will now follow. He also mentioned that the legal process may take time and could be held up by further spanners in the works. It was at this point that he had some dirt in his eye.

So we’re here for a few days at least.

Someone who’s not here is The Courts and others who read this blog will be pleased to hear that she’s gone.

She’s gone back to her real mum; not her foster carer but her actual mum, who she’s been estranged from for some time. She’s going to pay rent. She’s going to college. She’s taken on voluntary work with one of the local churches. She left here a better person than she was when she arrived.

I gave her a bible. I inscribed it: “One day my little girl, all of this will make sense.”

And who turned that child around? She did. I’m proud, of her.

I lost that one too but I won.

Testament to what we do here.

And here are some more:

Dear Steve 
I will say something about you. Since Meghann has made friends with you, she has started to change for the better. She seems to be more thoughtful to me and Matt and I put that down to you and your little talks she says you have with her. You have an abundance of patience with all of the kids that have taken over what was your home once. I know when you eventually do leave Meggie and all the children you have taken under your wing will feel a huge loss and sadness in their heart’s, for in such a short time you have known some of them I know you have made a great change in their life and you know who I am talking about. Hope this can be of use to you.

From Annie

(A parent)

Further names withheld to protect my innocents:

I aint good with goodbyes and i aint allowed out till abit after 4 goodluck second daddy miss you x


it will be fine steve we are all behind u no matter what ya like another dad to me uve been there for me and im so so greatful xxx


Ill miss you steve u have all my love


im ganna miss u u have been there for me and im so greatful hope we still stay in touch xx


I’m always gonna be a text away of you need a chat Steve good luck with everything will miss you I wish the best for you x


Hey Steve, I reckon you’re a pretty good judge of character so to get your approval meant something to me. I’ll really miss you and the rest of the family and I hope we’ll stay in touch and that you never forget me, because I don’t forget people that have influenced my life. Good luck wherever you’re going, but thanks for the memories; they’ve been fun while they’ve lasted.
Take care,

And so they go on: and what do all of these people have in common? They’re teenagers. Young people who the system considers it inappropriate that I associate with (except the police: they’re fine). That same system is closing us down. The system they all ran from thinks it can do better. Good luck. They’ll run from you and back to me, if they can find me.

Catch us if you can.

I lost. They won. They lost. I won.

The Courts

25.06.14 (Day 185)


Not The Courts as in my daughter and The Dog’s little sister but Courts of law.

I’m due at County Court today. I’ve previously been to Magistrates, so I’m working my way up. Big, me? No. Clever? Some say (IQ of 152 etc.) Anyone watching? Plenty, with interest.

I have a fight on my hands but one of my brothers is in Crown Court today, where he shouldn’t be. One of the kids is having to attend a police interview. Many of us have earned records here. We’re damaged goods. Judge us but we know the truth.

So it’s off to court I go, with fingers crossed and wearing my pink heart on my left sleeve. This one’s for my home and my family.

Angelic Upstarts



“Last night another soldier…”

Lyrics from a song by The Angelic Upstarts: a band from my punk days, before most of my kids were born. Punk remains in the heart regardless of age and my safety pin remains through my ear.

The Angelic Upstarts are still going, like me. And so are my kids: Angelic Upstarts all of them. The Pink Hearts, watched over by a fallen angel with broken wings and a broken heart. Always.

The kids are gone now. I miss them. But one in particular leaves the biggest hole in my heart: my Courts. Mine because of what we had planned.

I’ll hold the press there as she’s come home again.


We had a bit of a farewell: The Courts, The Dog, The Jackal, Mutley, myself and a few welcome guests, in my room as it’s the only one really fit for human habitation left. We played some poker, had some drinks and food, then bade each other farewell. It was emotional.

And now my Courts has finally gone for good. For her own good in the long run. I can’t say it feels very good for me but it’s the best thing for my little girl.

She was a big part of my life. I helped many of the others in my own way but The Courts was the one I took under my broken wing. She wasn’t a distraction or some kind of project; she was my foster daughter to be.

But she’s gone and my world is an emptier place without my potty-mouthed, wayward, wilful little thing.

“Goodbye old man.”

“Goodbye young lady.”

“Last night another child…”

A Life Sentence

23.06.14 (Day 183)


Six months. A lifetime out here.

Six months to the day since being put out on the road because I was ill. Six months of misunderstanding. Six months of trying to get better. In some ways I have but not ways that are recognised by Them. They, whom I’ve battled and which has made me more unwell. For six months.

Six months of a living hell which few would endure for far less time. Six months during which many from my old life have chosen to forget me to make their cosy lives easier. Six months of sleep deprivation. I hope that those who abandoned me through ignorance suffer too, sleeping with their consciences. They have none and are not welcome in my life now.

Six months without TV or music. Lots of reading though. Six months of malnutrition, sometimes going for days without food. Six months of fear. Six months which I would wish upon no-one but those who forsake me. But my life is more fulfilled.

Six months of dealing with persecution and ignorance.  Six months of taking it. Dishing it out too, the old-fashioned way.

Six months of self-medication as access to services is limited for the disadvantaged. And having to perform minor surgery because circumstances required. Ever had to sew an open wound shut with a needle and dissolvable fishing line, with no anaesthetic?

Six months of being driven into the ground by the system, trodden on, stamped on, kicked while I’m down but getting back up again to continue the fight.

Six months on this part of a long journey. But six months which have opened my eyes, finding faith and making new, true friends and family.

Six months of love and kindness; bonding and building relationships in minutes that will last a lifetime, however long that may be.

Six months which are documented here in my journals. I may be gone but my writing never will and that’s why I did it.

My lifetime has been the last six months. Now onto the next.

Six months of finding a new life, wherever I lay my hat.

Measured Treasuries

22.06.14 (Day 182)


In the early hours of this morning, I was at an undisclosed location in southeast London playing poker. As you do. I needed to repay a debt. I was staked, won a load and paid off the debt. Job done.

Then one of the players I’d rinsed wanted to win his money back. I had to get home. As a result of my protecting home and those therein, I’m now even more pretty than I was.

I could have got re-staked but I needed to get home and I did get home, with a few dents and scratches. Such is the game.

Right now I’m on Courts watch. She got into a spot of bother earlier (not of her making), was picked up and was obliged to return to her official carer. I suspect she’ll turn round and walk away. I know my girl.


She’s home

In the Full Doghouse

21.06.14 (Day 181, still)

This the last weekend here. The last weekend on Grievers’ Estate; in The Nut House; the family home, with The Pink Hearts; at “Steve’s”.

Today was one of the dates given to me by my ex-wife to see my biological kids. I had a choice of this weekend or next and I chose next. I should be better off financially next weekend and it’s next Saturday that I’ve provisionally arranged to revisit Bexley, albeit with a certain amount of trepidation. As long as I can hide behind some cards and a deep stack of chips at a poker table if I feel awkward, I’ll be okay.

Before next weekend, I’ll make sure I get plenty of games in with my young prodigy: The Courts. On Wednesday, when we’re likely to have to vacate this den of many things, I may stay with The Dog for a few days. He has his own place but stays here to keep me company. After Bromley and Bexley next Saturday, I may continue into town as I’ll have a Travel card and London is my spiritual home. If Bexley goes well, perhaps I’ll play some poker in the West End.

There are lots of people expecting me in Bexley for different reasons. My old local could be a full house. For now we’re expecting a house full here today. The girls will be coming to see The Dog.


One of the family tells me that yesterday’s planning meeting with the council resulted in the application for redevelopment of this place being declined.

Could it be that we’re here? Could it be that objections from concerned local residents are on the grounds of us being here, not against the propose development? I suspect so and that it’s just a case of waiting for Wednesday.

I need to get hold of the minutes from the meeting.

Of Days Gone By

21.06.14 (Day 181)


The conclusion of today’s correspondence with various agencies and support networks is that the Possession Order on our family home will most likely be granted when the case goes to court on Wednesday.

So we’ll be out; over; finished; closed. I shall save the eulogising for then and the reminiscing for after (obviously).

For now, I have  a rare moment alone, in what was once my home but which was taken over. I’m writing with pen and paper by candle light.

A few of the kids were round earlier but as our closing date gets nearer, they become fewer and less frequent in their visits. The loyal ones remain with us until the end. They’re the ones I’ll miss the most.

I’m alone because The Dog has taken The Courts to the park. My assumed other half has gone with them. I’m too tired, being of a certain age. Dog’s doing me a favour by taking the girls out, so that I can get some sleep. The girls always follow The Dog. I trust him with my girls. He’s promised to bring his sister – my daughter – back safely.

We have guests due later and most will be here to see The Dog. I’m off to sleep, perchance to dream of younger days.

The Shipping Forecast


A ghost from the recent past just returned: a ghost ship back to harbour. A welcome return in some respects but also a ship which I hope sets sail soon as it’s taken on a passenger I’d rather didn’t board. Hopefully the ship will sail in the night but I fear it’s docked for a while.

Another one of my cryptic paragraphs, which may make sense when I read it back with the benefit of hindsight. Or it may not.

The guns are firing loudly from the harbour. A few of the docked ship’s tugs just set sail but the ship remains docked, with my passenger on board. I wish she could find the lifeboat, or just jump and I’d throw her a life ring.

I’m in my room, seeking solace in Radio 4.

My Shipping forecast – or rather, what I hoped for – happened: the ship set sail and was boarded by pirates. Our heroine jumped overboard and swam ashore.

Of Nine

20.06.14 (Day 180)


Non: of nine. E.g.

Nonagon: a nine-sided shape

Nonillion: 9 to the power of 54

Persona non grata: me, to many

Thrown out onto the road because I was ill and offered very little help.

Intelligent, resourceful and having acquired many skills and much knowledge to stay alive out here, where many wouldn’t; some of the many being those who think things should have been sorted out by now but who’ve never had to go against the system.

Nine lives out here, most of which I’ve lived:

  1. Bottled
  2. Throttled
  3. Molten wax thrown in the face
  4. Robbed
  5. Raped (really)
  6. Beaten
  7. Attempted suicide
  8. Attempted suicide (Yes: twice)

Not much left is there?

Overnight stays in hospital beds and police cells: eight so far.

Number of times that a ghost from my past has run back to me then left again, breaking my heart on each occasion: eight.

But I fought back every time. Always with resolve; occasionally the old-fashioned way (with fists). These lives have hardened me and I have that and much more to be grateful for. My lives have been fuller than most.

Then this morning I found a note from one of the kids:


And I realised I have one life left.

I have a long fuse; a high tolerance for pain. There’s the practice employed by the NHS to determine someone’s perceived level of pain: Describe your pain on a scale of 0-10, where zero is no pain at all and ten is the worst pain you’ve ever felt:


PS: so as not to end on an entirely negative note, my Courts made me a bracelet yesterday: black and white; two-tone. She knows me. If it wasn’t for her and some of the others, I’d be a ten.

And despite moaning recently about everyone smoking my tobacco, as I leave home to go about my business, I leave The Dog and my Courts asleep. They’re both in a bad place. I don’t have much but my heart took over and what little I have, I shared. I’ve left a wrap of tobacco in The Court’s hand, along with a note to come and find me if they wish. They know where.

One more life left.




19.06.14 (Day 179)


We possibly have just six days left here and it’s tearing me apart.

Early to rise again today and I really don’t why this should be sometimes. I get 3-4 hours sleep per night and as a result, I’m tired during the day. It’s normally too noisy here to sleep. Come the night, I’m out like an extinguished candle. Then I sleep for an hour or two and get up to check on The Courts. She sleeps in a separate room and although it’s safe here with us lot in residence, it is what it is. But this is where she chooses to be.

Today I’m taking The Courts for breakfast, then to the library. I also need to pay a fine for her.

I do find it frustrating that her official foster carer is paid to look after her, yet I’m not and I’ve been taking care of her for the last month. I submit that the official carer has the admin and the calls to deal with, including a nightly one to me, where she has to speak to us both to confirm that we’re together for the benefit of Social Services. But I have a growing pile of paperwork for The Courts here.

I guess my frustration is the same that I get when despite there being five smokers in the house, I’m the only one with tobacco, which everyone else smokes. Even when they have their own, usually there’s a dearth of filters or papers. I usually ensure that I have my own stocks but that stash becomes everyone else’s as well. I provide most of the food, as I pay for it or am given it. I cook it and everyone else eats it. Some of the others donate when they can but were it not for me they’d go largely hungry. I just don’t understand where the others’ money goes when mine goes mainly on them. I’m of very limited financial means, yet for the most part I manage to budget. Some (very little) of what I buy is for my own consumption but most goes to the house. Tobacco, smoking paraphernalia, food, candles and so on. I guess that’s why I’m the daddy.

Library books. I’m the only one who has a membership card, so I borrow books for myself and the others. They get lost, so I have to pay the overdue fees. And my account in general. Some of them have memorised my membership details. So they use my account and by the time I come to use my one hour per day of internet access, it’s already been used. Fortunately, some of the librarians have got to know me quite well. If they notice my card being used without me actually being there, they’ll stop that use.

Then there’s my phone. I keep it topped up but everyone else uses my calls, texts and data. So I have no allowances to deal with the important business, while my phone is used for Facebook and texting friends. And as a switchboard for incoming calls. Buy credit, buy baccy, pay your own ways. Do what I had to do once and beg, steal or borrow. What’s mine is mine.

Yes, I feel hard done by and taken for granted. Not even sure I care about the kids any more. I know in my heart that they just don’t think. Part of me is keen to leave here, be self sufficient and just look after myself. Maybe I should have done that already. I’ve tried. Perhaps not hard enough. Maybe this is a positive rut that I’ve created but I can’t help caring for the kids: it’s in my nature. I’m selfless. Some of them need me and this place as there’s nothing else for them.

I’m fighting to keep hold of the place for us all. Whilst spending a large part of yesterday preparing the Defendant Statement for the court, I was constantly interrupted by people wanting tobacco, filters, papers, a chat. I can’t deny them the latter and didn’t the rest. The statement had to be revised several times, re-written, pages torn out. I asked The Courts why I was bothering: “Because it’s this place; your place, which you opened to us. The reason you’re doing it is because none of us could. You’re the older one. You’re wise and you’re clever. We look up to you.” That was the gist of it anyway. There were probably some expletives interspersed.

The Courts is the girl who called an empty bag of sugar a “cunting fucking cunt”. There’s only one way to describe Courtney: she’s Courtney. She’s left the room but is indelible in my mind, as always. Alone again, I wrote the cunting sixth fucking draft of the cunting Defendant fucking wanking titting statement. Then I called it a cunt.

I hate this place but I love it. I hate this life but I love the people in it.

It’s like manic depression: that big red button bearing the word “Off”, which would switch off the downers, the panic attacks, the voices, the irrational thoughts, the anxiety and paranoia. But that button would also turn off the manics, return you to normal (whatever that is) and make you like everyone else.

Would I press that button? I’m torn.