Before I start to tell this week’s story I need to thank all of you reading this.
This blog has been running weekly now for six months.
As mentioned in previous episodes I plan to release twice-weekly shortly but to everyone thank you for staying the course and for recommending this to others.
Every week there seems to be another stranger from the internet who starts reading as well.
This to me is crazy to think that all over the world people have access to this and are interested in my story.
You have to understand that I was born and remember life before the internet so it’s mind-blowing to me that people in India and Japan would read about a guy in the UK unless he murdered ten people or starred in a Hollywood blockbuster.
There is still time on that front as Jack Nicholson didn’t get his first serious acting job until he was forty and stranger things have happened.
An example of this would be a dyslexic guy who cant even spell who came from the wrong side of the tracks who goes onto get himself a degree and now works as a teacher.
As well as fighting serious battles within himself with PTSD and drug addiction. So believe me if you want something bad enough you will make it happen if you don’t then you will just make an excuse.
So as last week’s episode was called sidetracked we went a little off-topic to the main story.
It was essential as I believe the reader should know the world I lived in. A 20-year-old lad would never look for a Commodore 64 and does not know life before the internet.
So with the right videos, he can see what we had growing up.
I have to admit by today’s standards what we had was pretty shit but at the time that was the best out there and you can’t miss what you never had.
It would probably be the equivalent of in 1000 years, someone, saying how did we live before inter planet teleportation but then I digress.
So back on point, a postcard came through the door and mum gave it to me to read.
It was from Dad and he had found us and knew where we lived.
No malice nothing was threatening and he was calling time out.
Although there are two sides to every story and he feels he had done nothing wrong I think he could see the consequences of his actions.
That as well as getting himself in a world of shit with the police he realised he had to draw a line in the sand otherwise this would go on forever and he wouldn’t get to see me and to top all that if we moved again he would have to track us down once more.
We had lived in Woolton for just over a year and things were going well.
Mum asked me what I wanted to do and of course, I said I wanted to see him.
I’ve learned in the past few years that there are three sides to a story and they are what he said what she said and what happened.
So John and I began talking on the phone and soon enough had arranged to start seeing each other.
He was being as civil as he could as fighting had got both him and mum nowhere.
It doesn’t matter who is right and who is wrong if the other party feels like they have been wronged then it goes in circles and nothing good comes from it.
I have learned that lesson the hard way on more than one occasion.
Only recently I reached out to my old school friend Chris to put an old issue to bed.
Chris and I were close for over 30 years and we ended up falling out over money of all things.
Now I don’t want to go into detail on this as we both believe we are right. The only upshot of it all was we never spoke for 7 years.
He had blocked me on Facebook so I sent a message to him through a mutual friend.
Luckily he felt the same way as me and we had a good chat and now it’s been put to bed.
Whatever happened between us both was a matter of opinion and two strong-headed people who wouldn’t back down.
Granted we probably would have fallen out anyway but it should not have got to the level it did and it definitely shouldn’t have gone on for so so long.
When people fall out it draws a huge line in the sand, for example, there were a few mates who I met through Chris and obviously, we were civil when we saw each other but their loyalties quite rightly lay with Chris.
There were three occasions when I was gutted about this and once again this was a result of ego and it brought me no good so it was an important lesson to learn.
The first time I saw our mutual friends Graham and Paul on a night out and asked them how Chris was doing he told me he hadn’t seen him for ages and didn’t have a clue.
The next day Graham had uploaded the pictures from the night before and in 20 pictures Chris was in 10 of them. He had left before he had come into the last club that I met Graham which was Heebie Jeebies.
I wasn’t arsed that they were together but was more arsed that he felt that he had to lie about them being together.
Even at the worst part of the hostility between us, violence was never threatened it was just a case of fuck off I don’t want to talk to you.
Just to make things even more confusing when we had first fallen out I saw Graham in the gym and told him we had both fell out.
I quickly added look he thinks he’s right and I think I’m right so I don’t want to go into any more detail on this.
He was relieved to hear this as he was mates with both of us.
A few months later I was in the city centre and I saw Chris’s Dad Dimitrias and there is no way he could not have seen me and he walked straight past me.
Obviously, he was going to be loyal to his son but it was heartbreaking that we grew up in each other’s houses and it had come to this through an argument and ego.
I saw his Mum Beryl about a year later I was walking past a Turkish restaurant in Woolton and she was sat in the window with her mate and we made eye contact.
The look she gave me could have turned me to stone and I was gutted. My whole demeanour changed, my shoulders dropped, my face changed and all I could think of doing was nodding in her direction as I walked into the chip shop next door.
Like with his dad I couldn’t blame her for siding with Chris as it’s her son so absolutely nothing good was coming from this.
Ego can be such a destructive trait in many people especially men.
You will see this a lot in Asian culture as a lot of there belief is about how they appear to others.
If you lose face in Asian cultures it has a lot more ramifications than it does in western culture.
Although I’m not shitting on another cultural belief system in my opinion is all ego-based.
What makes this even more fucked up is the fact I’ve seen my dad operate like this for so much of his life and in turn, always ended up fucking himself over but still didn’t learn my lesson.
I then like many young men go on to make some horrible decisions and then get caught up in the horrors of addiction.
Ask any addict and they will tell you that most addiction is to due self-hatred and resentment.
It starts off as having a good time but then depending on the individual quickly can spiral out of control.
I had been lucky enough to get clean and work the program with a sponsor who essentially saved my life and I worked my step 9 which is as follows
“Make direct amends to such people wherever possible except when to do so would injure them or others”
With this knowledge and trying to lead a good honest life, after I got clean should have made me spot this destructive behaviour a lot sooner.
Obviously, the addict in me which will always be there got together with my ego and sent me back down that destructive path.
Like I said earlier luckily Chris didn’t want the bad blood either so it was quashed.
There has been amends I have made in the past and the other person will not admit their part in it.
That’s where most addicts struggle once again due to ego but it’s not about them it’s about you.
You are admitting your part and letting it go if they want to hang onto this then it’s up to them at least you offered your hand in friendship.
So dad and I made an arrangement and he was going to pick me up on Saturday at 1 pm.
He showed up in a silver Ford Grenada and it was great to see him and catch up on everything.
To be fair there was no mud-slinging, no blame or horrendous stories about mum he just wanted to see me and it was nice.
I didn’t learn everything that he had been up to until later on but he told me mostly positive stuff about the past year.
As expected the money he had made which is explained in other blogs he had burnt through it and he also got arrested on other charges.
He ended up doing three months in prison and came out and met Sandy.
Sandy isn’t her real name but she said she doesn’t want anything written about her and her family as she has read some of my blogs.
She thinks John is portrayed poorly in these blogs and I suggested to her that if she reads all of them instead of random posts not in any order it will paint a much clearer picture.
I also assured her I had nothing but nice stuff to write about her but she was adamant that she didn’t want to be mentioned.
I told her the truth that I will write about her but I will change her identity.
She didn’t like that but knew I would do it either way so it was an OK compromise.
In later blogs, I will talk more in detail about her but for now ill concentrate on the task at hand.
So John got out of jail and was struggling for cash and ended up working through a friend on the building sites.
He quickly picked this up as I mentioned in earlier blogs John was a very intelligent man.
If he had been given the right guidance from an early age he could have easily become a millionaire. However, life had other ideas.
It was the same with my uncle Eddie a genius who was years ahead of his time but completely mad due to his mind always working at one hundred miles an hour and his tragedy with the death of his son Jason.
To be honest all of the Baileys had to be very creative as there was no money around and they had to adapt to survive in the harsh environment they grew up in.
My uncle Chris is almost 63 and he still has his fingers in a few pies and is always putting people together as they say old habits die hard.
John had then like many builders at the time had jumped on the German gravy train.
In the 80s the Germans were putting billions into their country’s infrastructure.
They were modernising everything and there was a huge property boom in Germany at the time.
Also, this was the year before the Berlin wall was to be torn down and many political analysts had predicted this.
This would open up more free trade with Russia and allow more people into Germany who before could not leave the Soviet Union without severe restrictions due to the Communist regime which was at that time in power.
So as a result of this the Germans needed a lot of builders and quickly and the best way to get them here was to pay over-inflated wages and as expected tradesmen came from the UK in droves.
This was so well known for the time that they even made a TV show about it called Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.
This show ran from 1983 to 2004 it was not running the whole time and there were huge breaks between seasons.
It followed a group of tradesmen from all over the UK who had gone to Germany to work. Although this is an old show it has aged incredibly well.
It’s hilarious in parts and other parts are extremely educational.
I asked my dad how accurate it was and he said it wasn’t exactly right but yeah they got the point across in the right way.
How you can tell this show is a masterpiece is that it’s still funny. So many TV shows from the past have aged horribly. If you watch old episodes of Are you being served in about five minutes you are saying to yourself what the fuck is this?
It’s the same with the show Red Dwarf, I tried to watch this again a few years ago and I got to episode 2 it was horrible.
Back in its day though Red Dwarf was hilarious and great TV which was very popular all over the country.
Some of the later episodes are OK but the early stuff amazes me how it’s aged so badly.
So John was back and working on the building sites in the UK and by all accounts was doing well.
He was still involved a little with connections to his old life but as I said old habits die hard.
As he now had a day job with a stable income he wasn’t making stupid mistakes with stupid people on jobs that were guaranteed to get him locked up all for pennies.
He had moved into a flat with Sandy and later on they got a house in Anfield together. This is the place they would live for many years.
Sandy was working behind the bar in a couple of different pubs.
Up until she retired a couple of years ago she always had a couple of different jobs on the go.
I’ll give Sandy her due, she wasn’t scared of work and the rest of her family was the same.
They all to this day have a strong work ethic and it’s good that that has been drummed into them.
So many people these days want something for nothing and that’s not how the world works, unfortunately.
So I met Sandy and she was nice to me and that always stayed the same. We, unfortunately, didn’t see much of each other after John died but once in a while ill call her, or we will talk on what’s app.
I know it’s a horrible excuse but I got caught up in studying for 5 years then I spent a lot of time away from home which didn’t help.
When I was in college she was working in a pub in the City Centre and I would call in at times and she was more often than not there which was nice.
When she retired I stopped seeing her so much which is on me but life gets in the way sometimes.
So some fences had been mended John was clean and was working and had met someone who seemed to understand him and now was back on the scene.
This was a huge win for me and I was happy. I didn’t realise how fucked up school was about to become but then my school story is far from unique so I don’t try to own that.
I’m just lucky that I managed to make something of myself when so many of these failed children were left by the wayside and ended up in some bad situations with very few prospects.
I also need to add that if anyone reading this is struggling with addiction please send me a private message and ill do my best to advise you or at least give you a game plan to try to fix things.