I wanted to get some answers from those kids who’d attacked me. On Saturday morning I cautiously cycled past the flats where they had been playing. None of them were about but as I cycled further up the road I saw one of them and stopped my bike to speak to him; “you know the other day when the boy kicked that ball at me, do you know what his name is?’ ‘yes it’s gordon (not his real name), he’s got anger issues’. ‘where does he live?’ ‘he’s my brother and lives up there by KFC’, I live with my mum and he lives with his dad’ ‘you don’t seem like him’ – at this point he looked like he either felt embarrassed or for some reason looked away as if he did not want to pursue the conversation any further.
Later that day a friend rang me and asked if I wanted to go out for a drink later with him. I thought it would do me good to take my mind off things so I took him up on the offer. Gradually, my headache got worse until I could feel quite a distinct sensation around my forehead. My friend was trying to introduce me to people but thinking that meeting new people at the moment was a bit too much, I made my excuses and left.
On the Friday morning I had the usual debate about whether to go into work following an injury. I was tossing and turning in bed mulling things over and decided that I wouldn’t sleep anyway and that I’d just go in for the morning and finish some work that needed doing and then take the afternoon off.
The great thing about where I live in Armley is that it’s near the canal and on a Saturday morning I like to get up and hot pedal down the canal into town, whether to meet a friend or going shopping. You’ve got a clear run from here going into town and it’s so uplifting seeing the ducks and the water and feeling the air run through your hair. I had been having some second thoughts about moving from Armley simply because of the canal. But this latest violent incident had made up my mind for me. Over the years there had been a string of incidents like this – whether it was next doors bins being set alight, me being pushed off my bike in 2004, or waking up one morning and seeing to my horror that somebody had smashed in all the windows of my car. I’d always had an inkling that Armley was like this. Shortly after moving in I made a film of the house including outside on the street and there was evidence of smashed glass from the previous night’s living it up on the street outside. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve heard horror stories from all over Leeds and Leeds is probably no better or worse than any other city but I had only stayed living here really because it was near work and because of the canal. It’s not that something happens every day or every year but you can guarantee that eventually something will happen. And this recession and increased deprivation makes that possibility ever the more likely.
I cam back from work and fortunately managed to sleep a bit but the blow to my head had also been a blow to my spirit and I was struggling to feel positive. Nevertheless in the evening I went round to see a couple that live near me in Pudsey. I told them about the whole sorry affair and then after dinner I went for a walk with Rachel. John said ‘look there’s no point worrying about it, if you’ve got more brain damage then worrying’s not gonna help, and if you haven’t then you’re just wasting your time.’