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I Didn't Belong: 17 - An Opportunity In Swanage

Ronnie Cook gets a steady job in Swanage, marries and tries to settle down. But there are new problems…

Ronnie’s book, I Didn’t Belong, an inspiring account of his journey from a life of crime to that of a productive citizen and published author, is available from amazon.co.uk Type Ronnie’s name in the Amazon search box.

One night I ended up in a fight with some drunken Irishman in Paddington. I ended up in Paddington Green Police Station. That was an experience.

The next morning I went to court and was remanded in custody in Pentonville gaol. They took me to my cell, and guess what - my cell mate was none other than the man that turned me away from the hostel when I first went to London. He unfortunately thought I was some kind of idiot in a strange place, but I was now on turf where I knew my way around and the rules as good as if not better than most.

So, I waited until the early hours, dragged him off his top bunk and gave him a good beating, pressed the emergency call button and shouted, “Rape!”. When the screws eventually arrived I explained that he tried to rape me so I defended myself to the best of my ability to stop the man.

The usual happened I spent my remand in solitary, but one thing I can promise is that that man will never be like he was to anyone else, and probably kept himself out of gaol. For that offence I was fined and allowed to leave the court.

Eventually, after a while of being involved in all manner of crimes, I decided to leave London. Although it was an unfriendly place, I saw some good interesting people and places along with the other side of the coin.

For example, I became friendly with a well-known Irish girl in Paddington; her occupation was as a (secretary) prostitute and
keeper of a safe place. A lovely girl. While in her flat she showed me a magazine, The Lady. There were jobs advertised for the summer at a guesthouse in Swanage, Dorset. So, I applied and got myself a place to stay, and a job all in one, along with not having the usual worries about bills and so on.

It sounded good to me, but, if I used my dole to get there I would be skint until I was paid. So I hatched a plan. Pinch a car that night, put my clothes in the boot, the next morning buy a replica gun, do a robbery and drive down to Swanage. But I was caught not too long after stealing the car as I didn’t know my way around the area and spent the night in the cells. The following day I was fined forty pounds on discharge or go to gaol, so I paid, and still ended up in Swanage without a penny to my name.

But I had accommodation and a job. Perhaps this was a good thing, as I got around to thinking that I now have a new start, as far away from Doncaster and my family as I had been in thought, and distance that could only be a good thing.

So I did my best to live a normal life. The only problem was I kept myself to myself, watched and learned how to live in a small town of people with their own Dorset type culture and dialect. The weather was beautiful, so I ended up with a fantastic tan which didn’t do me any favours as some thought I was a foreigner. But in general I was sort of accepted at arm’s length. But it worked wonders for my sex life, plus I wasn’t getting the trouble I was used to from all areas.

So I was happy and free for the first time in my life. I quite enjoyed it living a normal life, going out for a pint on Fridays or Saturday night with a few people I had come to know from work. I was actually enjoying myself so much I began to forget about my sordid past as no one asked me about it.

I came to know a chap that lived in a cave along the sea front, he was a very intelligent, educated humble man. He was in fact, a highly qualified nautical engineer that had had his whole world shattered. But it wasn’t legally or politically prudent for him to speak of his experiences, so I accepted that, and we got on quite well. I used to go to his home with a few cans of beer. When I arrived he always said that just ‘cause I could, don’t spend my money ‘cause I may have nothing at all next week. Other than that we just engaged in what I term as intellectual, philosophical, educational debate. What a lovely man; he was a truly good man.

Eventually, towards the end of the season I became friendly with a local girl, Judy, an ex-convent girl from the local convent in Swanage. She was an extremely good-looking girl with a lot of love in her heart that I came to marry. I decided that I should get to know her family. Her mum, Mary, once again a wonderfully loving and caring woman. Then there was Sue a nice girl that kept herself to herself.

Then there was my sister-in-law Philomina. What an absolute cow. She was unfortunately involved with women’s aid but this was due to the fact that she was married to a drug addict ‘Bob’ that used to work at Witch Farm oil field. He was earning some damn good money but unfortunately his arm came first. Life couldn’t have been much harder for her and the children. I really felt for them.

Then came my father-in-law an Irishman, Johnny, a chronic
alcoholic, but he was a hard-working, caring man.

My task now was to hopefully befriend them; I used to go for a pint or ten with Johnny or go for a smoke with Bob and got to know the rest of the family. All went well. We had two children, a boy Gavin and a girl Sarah, my pride and joy, and at last I was a member of a loving family with my wife and children.

Just when I had sorted out my life, even had a job at the local brickworks, then my sister-in-law decided it was time to interfere with her women’s lib and the associated political rhetoric and lack of people’s cultural and social requirements. Basically stirring things up, as she wouldn’t accept that we had a happy marriage and she hadn’t and started filling my wife’s head full of rubbish.

For example, did you know that if a man spends more than eight hours a week in a public house he is a alcoholic/alcohol abuser and therefore likely to beat his wife and children when he returns home? And there is more chance of it if he isn’t a white man.

She even went to the extent to prove a point. She waited in our house for me with Judy and the children to come home after a hard day’s work (12hours) in the brick kilns and going for a few pints after work. As soon as I came through the door, she started screaming at me, full-in-the-face-job, saying, “See! You are no different, you’re just a drunk, and I suppose now you’ve found a female that will tell you to your face you’re going to hit me and take the easy way out!” She started prodding me in the face and screaming all this women’s lib rhetoric at me, so I clipped her round the lugs and threw her out.

She had obviously been brainwashed or was having some extreme women’s problem. After all, all I had done was my usual routine. I finished work and went for a couple of pints, to clear my throat of the brick dust and rehydrate myself, with my father-in-law, as he finished his work at the same time. I realise I could of drunk water or pop, but this gave me a chance to see Johnny and have a man-to-man chat with him then go home and spend the rest of the day with my wife and children, not go home to that mad woman. Who did she think she was coming into my house and laying down the law and causing unnecessary trouble?


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