How I have missed you, gentle readers. My problem (see last post) is not yet resolved. Perhaps it never will be. But there is hope. Mrs Paine and I are visiting Dublin and looking forward to some time together after many months apart.
Mrs P told me a revealing story of a mutual acquaintance. Un femme d'un certain age, she went out four times with a chap she met as a customer at the jewellery store where she works (the store where Mrs P and I have bought most of our modest family treasures over the years). He stopped calling and it turned out that this was because he was in gaol. She found out because the police interviewed her as an associate and accused her of complicity with his crimes (he is - though she had no idea - a drug dealer). Her bank accounts were frozen as suspected proceeds of crime. After some months of living on family loans, she was acquitted and the funds released.
Months later she sold two high value watches to two men who came into the shop. She had never met them before. They paid cash and it turned out they were drug dealers laundering their profits. Again, she was accused of complicity. She is a salaried employee and earned no commissions on the sales. She had no reason to be suspicious. Indeed if anyone should have reported the transaction, it was her employer. I am guessing he did, which is how the police became involved.
Again, her accounts were frozen. After more stressful months (she is a meek, gentle soul) she stood trial. The prosecutor sneered in cross examination about her ruby ring (a gift from her employer for 30 years' service) and her villa in Tuscany (bought from a divorce settlement). Despite a favourable direction from the judge a jury of envious Scousers in Liverpool Crown Court convicted her. She served a community service sentence and now has a criminal record.
I would bet my life she is innocent. Her employers must agree as they have taken her back. That's just as well as she is unemployable elsewhere. She is understandably disillusioned about British justice. I am convinced she is a victim of a miscarriage of justice driven - in my guess born of long knowledge of the area - by class envy. Though a mere "shop girl" she is well dressed and well spoken. Her Tuscan Villa (more a cottage) and her jewellery were all the evidence her Liverpudlian jury needed. Were I wrongly accused, with my honestly earned Maserati and collection of serious watches, what chance would I stand?
Retirement to my Northern homelands is clearly not an option. The new government (whose writ barely runs in these strongholds of envy and malice) has much to do to make Britain fit for honest folk again.