We have a family friend who lives in the village. He is mid 50's and has been on his own following a divorce for years, and has had zero luck with women. He works really hard but scarcely earns the minimum wage, and he suffers with chronic asthma, but he is the kind of person who will do anything for a friend.
Nearly two years ago it looked as though his luck had finally changed. He nearly died from a particularly bad asthma attack which was or was not lucky depending on your point of view I suppose, but whilst recovering in intensive care he fell in love with a nurse on that ward, and she felt the same way about him.
She moved in with him and he was a man transformed by the love of a good woman and she really is a good woman. She is South African and was working here sending money home to support her family. Last Christmas though my friend's luck seemed to revert to normal and she had to move away as her work permit would no longer allow her to work in our local hospital. I guess I should have sensed something was a miss at that point but maybe I chose not to think too deeply about it.
My friend was distraught by the gap she left in his life. He had no money or means of transport to get to see her due to the distance she had moved, but some six, seven months later he rang me up and asked if I could take him to meet her at the railway station. She was coming back to him.
Being there to see their joy when they met again was a privilege. They were just so happy to be with each other again. All was right in the world.
Or at least it was until the police came and arrested her at 2.00 am a few weeks ago. We couldn't find out what the hell was going on. My friend's house was searched form top to bottom. Stupid rumours circulated eg she was drug pusher. She was held in custody and my friend was denied any contact with her.
So we now know what her heinous crime was and the punishment she has been given for it. She took a felt tip pen and tried to make the '6' in the year '2006' look like a '9' on the work permit in her passport. In fact she was planning to go back in February next year anyway as she missed her daughter so much but she wanted to see this year out with the man she loved. As the report of her trial last Friday says - she showed no one this alteration,and if she ever had it would have been blindingly obvious it had been clumsily altered so no advantage could ever have come from it. She made no financial gain by means of it as no one had asked to check she was still legally entitled to work here. Her lawyer is quoted as saying"In my opinion this is at the absolute lowest end of the scale. The passport has never been used and no gain has come from it."
For this dreadful crime which fully deserved the house raid in the middle of the night I am sure...you can't be too careful with these evil middle aged nurses after all...she will be in prison for 40 days and will then be deported. The only good thing I can see in all of this is that the money she would have had to spend on her fare home next February can now go towards her family who she was only here in the first place to look after as I suppose the Home Office will pay for her deportation. Not that I could say that to my friend who tonight is more upset than I have ever seen any man before.
Guilty - How do I plead? I plead "Guilty" your honour. Though I did spend six weeks in Ireland in the summer of 1974, visiting amongst many other places the youth...
3 hours ago