2) Colchester

Eventually I got Essex council funding through, so I tried another Headway. This was ‘better’ in that they didn’t wear uniform, so that – in some cases, until you spoke to them – you could be unsure who was staff and who was a ‘member’. And all the volunteers were very nice; no standing on ceremony… The main thing they did seem to do was to play a lot of games: scrabble, the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? game, Rummikub… I remember playing Blackjack with a stroke-victim bouncer from Clacton who spoke less well than me (but could drive…). We played for £1 coins, back and forth…
It was in SUCH a depressing place! An 80s bungalow in the midst of a derelict (closed in 1997) ex-mental hospital… I kid you not! To get there, you had to get the train to Colchester, wait in the car park for the Headway minibus and get driven down a long, overgrown road on the edge of the town to the Severalls site. (See Wikipedia. It was BAD…) Even if you WEREN’T depressed when you went there (and I WAS), you’d soon be after getting there. (Or you had positively no aesthetic sense.) I couldn’t shake the feeling of killing time, from 9 to 3. And I didn’t want to be there…
The only building we could see, across the empty fields, was the Colchester Weston Homes Community Stadium…


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I had a stroke on July 26th, 2013. I was a screenwriter. Don’t do that anymore. But have found another way to write.

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