2007 was always going to be full of ifs!
In 2006 I had missed out on getting any reduction to my sentence in the Royal Amnesty, but I knew that there was to be another chance for me on December 5th 2007. Trust me it doesn't matter how hard you try and forget about it, put it to the back of your mind, try and think of other things it still stays put - in your every thought. Knowing that I had a chance of having my sentence reduced was on my mind for the whole year.
In November 2006 I was moved from Building No:4 to Building No: 6 so the start of the year was about finding my feet in my new Building. Who could I talk to .... who couldn't I talk to .... these things are important when living as closely as we do. I'm going to be here for a while and needed to make the right descisions from the begining. I was lucky and found a kindred spirit in Steve Willcox, another Brit who is serving thirty three and a half years. We have a lot in common as well as me having a Thai girlfriend and he a Thai wife. They also have a son Oak. We both come from similar family backgrounds and found it easy to talk to each other. I was off to a good start.
The first highlight of my year was when my Mum and Aunty Les came to see me in March, They were here for a week, Uria joined them as well and we all had a great week. On the last Friday before they returned home we had a Contact Visit. Each year we are allowed two Contact Visits and each visit consists of morning and afternoon visiting in the same day counting as one. As you can imagine these Contact Visits are very precious, two whole days a year when I can be in the same room and be able to hold, hug and kiss those closest to me. I am unable to put into words how I felt sitting round a table with Mum, Aunty Les and Uria - moments like this give me the strength to carry on. It was great to be able to hug and kiss them all goodbye. The week after my family goes home is always a bad week, after seeing them everyday whilst they are here you soon come back down to earth with a bump.
Aunty Les, Mum & Uria - thanking some of the British Ladies who visit for me.
It was at this time that Steve suggested that I start writing to pass my time here and to stop me from sitting around thinking too much. I asked my family if they would be able to help me to put a web site together and here we are! Little did I know at that time just how much writing I would have to do!
I was also looking forward to May, my next visit from home. My brother, his wife and their children were coming out to see me. I was going to be meeting my niece for the first time and I was looking forward to being able to get my hands on them both, my second and last Contact Visit for the year was going to be well used. People who know me know that I have a soft spot for children but this is different, this is my nephew and niece and I am God Father to both of them, in my heart I think it will be the closest I get to having my own children due to the length of my sentence and age.Two weeks before they arrived a new "boss" was appointed at Bangkwang, he had a look at the rules for Contact Visits and decided that the existing rule was finished. From now on a Contact Visit consisted of a morning or afternoon visit twice a year - half a day instead of a whole day - and that because I already had a morning and afternoon visit with my Mum, Aunty Les and Uria in March I had used my allocation for the year!! Being told that was one of the biggest kicks in the nuts I have ever had. I can not describe my anger and for days after those around me were not sure whether to speak to me or not. I don't get many highlights in my life at the moment but I had just had one of the biggest ones taken away from me .... just like that.
May soon arrived and for the first visit my brother bought his family with him, I got to see my nephew for the first time in about a year and my niece for the first time ever - I couldn't tell you what we talked about - all that sticks in my mind from that first visit was seeing the children in the flesh and not in a photo. That night I lay thinking about everything .... how much I had missed so far. When I was arrested my brother and his wife were not married, now they were married with children. My brother came to see me on his own the next day, it was just the two of us, we talked and made some headway in which direction we needed to be going. When he left me he was taking his family to Pattaya so that they could have a few days holiday. He continued to visit me each day, leaving Pattaya in a taxi by 6am every morning to be here in time for the morning visit and then getting a taxi for the two hour journey back to Pattaya so that he could spend some time with his wife and children .... what more can I say. Whilst in Pattaya he met up with Gav, a bloke who has stood by me for about eighteen months now, he also met the bar owner who saves the papers for me everyday and sends them in to me each week. He got on well with Gav, who I have never actually met but still the newspapers and food parcels keep coming. He tried to meet up with someone else who I had never met but who had been writing to me since I arrived here, Rowland, but was unable to catch up with him. Before I knew it their week was over and I had to say goodbye to them all. I knew what was coming .... the bump to earth the following week.
I get many letters from people which are always welcome. A lot of people will write a few times and then I hear no more. As I have said Gav and Rowland have written to me from the begining but I had met neither of them. In July I finally got to meet Rowland, all I had to go on so far was letters, I didn't know what to expect and I am sure that it was the same for him! After talking to him for an hour I was begining to discover what a great bloke he is and how he is only interested in my welfare. Since then we have become good friends. It began to dawn on me why him and Gav have continued to write, send things in for me and support me as they do .... their interest is in me as a person .... not Bangkwang Prison. I like that. I'm afraid that if you want to hear horror stories I'm not your man. I'm not saying that what you may have read about in the books does not go on, and some people here live off the stories in the books, because that is what a lot of people want to hear. Yes it's bad, yes it does happen but not always as it is written about. I'll give you an example of what I'm talking about - I asked someone who visited me what they thought of my web site "It is good and refreshing" was the reply "But I know what really goes on". What do they know .... how many days have they spent in here .... answer - not one! So how can they say that they know what goes on or what happens, as I have said some people in here play on the books, something I don't like. When my Dad and younger brother Lloyd visited in October they got talking to some people outside as they waited to come in and were filled with all sorts of sh*t by people like this. I am fit and healthy, I have 100% family backing and know that they are doing all they can to make my life easier and get me out of here, my actions have not just ruined my life but theirs as well and the last thing they need to hear is all of this crap.
My good friend Steve Willcox was transferred back to England to serve his remaining sentence in October. In the short time that I knew him he taught me a lot about dealing with things and showed kindness not only to me but others around him with no family to give support, money etc. All of this time he also had his own problems to deal with. He really is a "Top Lad" - nice one Steve .... a lot of people could learn from you.
Also In October I had a visit from Dad, Lloyd, Jo and Rachel. This was to be the best visit I have had with my Dad in three years. Seeing Lloyd all grown up was great. It was a good week especially seeing Dad's face everyday as Lloyd was telling me about his adventures the previous night! I hear that Dad and Lloyd are coming out again in 2008 - I look forward to it. Lloyd went to Pattaya overnight where he met up with Gav who showed him the sights and looked after him for me - nice one Gav.
Lloyd being shown around Pattaya by Gav
They left five weeks before the King's Birthday in December. This was the hardest part of the year for me. Nobody knows what is going to happen but in your heart you are hoping for the best. Myself .... I was secretly hoping for maybe a seven year reduction to my sentence. Remember I have only two ways of getting out of here and this is one of them. I got three and a half years, one year reduction for every eight sentenced. Everyone else, no matter how horrendous their crime, received a reduction of one year for every five sentenced. It hurt like .... sorry but no words can describe how much this hurt. I though it could get no worse but I was soon to find out just how much worse it could get.
My Mum and Step Dad John had arranged to fly out in February 2008. They had booked their flights and hotels. Knowing this was keeping me going. After the disappointment of not having a Contact Visit with my brother and his family we would now be into a new year. I have two Contact Visits to look forward to and was going to use one of them when Mum and John come out. Again we have a new "boss" at Bangkwang - new boss - new rules. It was announced that Contact Visits could only take place during the months of April and May! This killed me and sometimes it makes me wonder why I put myself through all of this sh*t. For me it's not about the conditions, lack of food etc, it's the mental side of things. How much can you take without kicking out. I thought it was as bad as it could get when I was handed a thirty year sentence, how wrong was I, it just goes on and on.
I have to stop somewhere and draw a line under 2007. So goodbye 2007 and welcome 2008.
I have Mum and John coming out in February and will also see Uria most days while they are here as she will be staying with them, so I am just looking forward to that at the moment.
My sentence is now down to twenty three and a half years. Your letters and visits help to break the mental stress and pressure. Thank you all. I have met some great people over the year, I've had suprise visits and people who have gone out of their way to visit me - Uncle Del, Paul H, Paula, Gal (Russian prostitute and Bangkwang Pin-Up Girl!!). I've also got some great pen pals - Angela, Marlen, Kerry & Ash and Cherie. Fantastic support from friends at home - Steve A & family, Kinny & Steve and the Brown family. Please forgive me if I seem to have forgotten about you - the football will soon be on and I am starting to lose concentration!!
To all of you who write and support me - nice one - don't worry I won't be beaten and one day we will all have a good party .... I promise!
Copyright Scott Hurford 2008 - All Rights Reserved