I managed to lose somebody this week.

Don’t panic – it was only temporary and in answer to regular readers, no he was not locked in the loo, and in answer to the Home Secretary, it’s all okay…he’s on tag.

I don’t mean to make light of this incident; it was awful for both of us…

Bird motif on fence at LandWorks

Bird motif on fence at LandWorks

So, it’s approaching midday, it’s hot and we are digging holes, akin to breaking rocks in the hot sun. Not the best job in the world but we were all at it…teamwork.

Well – not quite. Joey had sort of ended up not completely involved; he’s normally good once he’s going, but not today…and then I snapped at him.

It was my fault; I knew at the back of my mind he needed a bit of 1:1 time. But this job had to be done; others were sweating, backs breaking to get the fence posts in. In the past, Joey has taken time to settle into the rhythm of the day.

On this day, I had rather lost the rhythm myself. Earlier, out of the blue, I’d had a phone call from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) asking to come and do a quick visit – following the good news that they’d decided to give a grant to LandWorks.

“They would like to do a quick visit”, I explained to the guys. Joey simply replied saying: “I don’t f*#king believe it…cops”.

I tried to explain but it was too late, he was already jittery. At that point, The Clash, really helpfully, started singing in my head: “Breakin’ rocks in the hot sun… I fought the law and the law won”.

Suddenly Joey legged it, I saw him go…I couldn’t quite believe it. Like a toddler breaking for freedom, he hurtled out the gate… Gone. I was stunned, shocked and, to be honest, hurt; he was running away from all this, he was running away from me. God, what had I done…?

I started to go after him, it’s not like I don’t understand his fears: the tag strapped round his leg, no home, no family help and the fear of losing LandWorks – the only stable part of his life.

I stopped dead, I couldn’t just leave everyone…I grabbed my mobile and on the second attempt, we spoke… it was okay, it was okay.

He’s come back.

I like Joey, a lot. He is exhausting. I often see a frightened young man but I also see a really caring man. Given half a chance, he’ll make it. Especially if people just don’t shout at him so much.

So all was well, the PCC were actually represented by two good guys who engaged with our lads and left impressed.

“I fought the law and the law won.”