In prison and you visited me …


‘It’s a biblical imperative,’ I said.  ‘That’s why churches care about prisons.’  The person to whom I had addressed such a random remark clearly decided that I had been captured by aliens

Still – I thought it was important to agree to attend the Prisoners’ Week Question Time in Glasgow this evening.  Two things always strike me about prisons.  The first is the extent to which one is unaware of them.  I had been living in Perth for a while before I realised that there is a simply enormous prison very close to the centre.  And the second is the remarkable humanity of the people who work in the prison service and in the organisations which are involved with prisoners and their families.

In an earlier life, I was a member of a Board of Visitors and found it a dispiriting experience.  I was glad to leave but retained an interest in the whole area.

So here are some scary thoughts from this evening’s discussion:

50% of families who visit a prisoner will travel between 5 and 12 hours to have a 30 minute visit

More children in Scotland will have a parent sent to prison this year than will have their parents divorce

The US spends more on prisons than on education

The Brompton Folding Bicycle and I are practising for next month’s ‘The Wave’ Climate Change Walk in Glasgow.  So we whizzed back up Buchanan Street as the workers were putting up the lights – straight onto the platform – to post a record time of 90 minutes back to Blogstead.

Folding Enthronement

Just a quick [!] trip yesterday for the enthronement of my friend, Nigel Stock, as Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich. We go back to Cuddesdon training days when Tamsin the dog and +Brian of Edinburgh taught us theology and Archbishop Michael Ramsay lived in retirement at the top of the lane. It’s always interesting to see the C of E in full establishment cry at an event like this – and to know that, beneath the veneer, things are pretty much the same as they are everywhere else. ‘Quick’ meant that I arrived in Bury St Edmunds at 12.15 after an eight hour journey that involved car, plane, train and bus – home about 11.30 pm. But of course the highlight for me was the arrival of the Archdeacon of Canterbury on her Brompton Folding Bicycle. While she didn’t actually ride it in the procession, she had cycled from Victoria to King’s Cross and then across Bury St Edmunds to the Cathedral. Next comes the Folding Lambeth Conference? If you want to know more about the folding world view, visit the Folding Society’s website.