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A Shout From The Attic: From Castle to Dungeon and Out Again - 2

...They took me, dazed, down the narrow stone stairway to the cells beneath the castle where I sat in a narrow holding cell in deep shock. One of the warders tried to cheer me up, but in spite of him doing his best, I was beyond cheer...

Ronnie Bray is sent to prison.

Into the Fire - a shorter distance than you might imagine!

One night, I forgot my door key. The house was in darkness when I arrived at about eleven o’clock, and I did not want to wake anyone. I tried a side window and found it opened with ease. I climbed in, closed the window after me, and then tried to open the door to the hall and stairs. The door was locked!

I climbed back out of the window, closed it behind me, and went up to Southampton city centre to take a room at the Royal Hotel for the night. It took about all the money I had until my next pay day. Next morning I went back to my lodgings and the landlady met me at the door. She asked me if I had tried to get into the house the night before. I told her that I had because I had forgotten my key. She told me that I should have rung the bell and she would have opened the door.

She is one of the reasons I believe that angels walk abroad in the earth.

It was from this address that I was rapidly summoned to Winchester Crown Court from work by DC Ray West, who had been my investigating detective. He took me in his car to Winchester Castle, voicing the opinion that I would get a probationary sentence. I was so confidant that I planned to go to the cinema to see The Guns of Navarrone that I saw advertised on one of the cinemas in Southampton.

In the cells beneath the castle, Mrs Knight, my barrister, who said she had read the case and that, as I was pleading guilty and the amount was small, I would get probation, visited me. Would I comply with a probation order? Yes, I would.

When I was called, I found myself in the dock opposite the wall on which was affixed the putative Round Table of King Arthur’s knights. It was impressive, even if not genuine. The judge was an elderly man with a long gray face dressed in a red robe and wearing a long gray wig. He appeared to be asleep when my barrister was giving me a character reference. When she stopped speaking, he lifted his head and opened his eyes.

“Finished?” he said in a languid voice, his eyes resembling those of a sad Spaniel.

“Yes, m’lud.” Said my brief.

He delivered his sentence with some words about my character, but nothing that I didn’t know. Her plea that I had recently been discharged from a mental hospital and that incarceration could have a deleterious effect on me did not move him.

“One year for forging the instrument and one year for issuing the forged instrument. Take him down!”

They took me, dazed, down the narrow stone stairway to the cells beneath the castle where I sat in a narrow holding cell in deep shock. One of the warders tried to cheer me up, but in spite of him doing his best, I was beyond cheer. Eventually another prisoner who had been handed down a custodial sentence joined me. He was an old hand, articulate, and buoyant. I am not sure he did my temper any good, for I felt badly dealt with.

**

To read earlier chapters of Ronnie's absorbing account of his crowded life please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/a_shout_from_the_attic/

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