I'm not the Ipswich killer!
The trip back to England was a bit of a nightmare. The plane arrived at Luton at 9.30pm after which I needed to catch a train to Nottingham. Rather stupidly, I hadn’t looked into the rail situation at that time of night and found that the last train going in my direction was a train to Derby. So I had to get off at a station (Long Eaton) as close as possible to Nottingham from where I’d get a taxi. I’d never been to Long Eaton before so wasn’t prepared to find it a rather strange ‘non-town’ with an almost non-existent station placed on the outskirts of the town. I arrived there at half past midnight and found myself almost in the middle of nowhere with not a taxi in sight. Well, there were taxis around but they were ferrying people about or had stopped working for the night.
I started to walk towards the town centre thinking that it would be easier finding a taxi there.
About 100 metres ahead of me, I could see a woman walking in my direction. She’d probably seen me wandering around aimlessly on the corner and wondered what I was up to. At that point, I crossed the road as a taxi was approaching on the other side of the road and I thought it may stop. It didn’t. I crossed back again, thinking that, as a local, she’d know where I could find a taxi at that time of night. As I approached her, I could see that she looked rather panicked. In fact, she looked like a gazelle trapped in the a pantechnicon’s headlights. I asked her about taxis and she, pointing wildly in the direction of the town centre, she stammered ‘There, that way. You must go that way!’
Long Eaton is a long way from Ipswich but I’m sure the murders have made women walking in dark, isolated places feel very vulnerable. Poor thing, I wonder if she slept well that night?
It reminded me of when I lived in Brighton when I sometimes used to catch the bus just outside Sainsbury’s at the bottom end of St James’s street in Kemptown. A beautiful black woman sometimes used to catch the same bus with her young son. One day I overheard them speaking Portuguese to each other so I moved closer to them and said something (in Portuguese) stupid like, ‘You speak Portuguese, so where are you from?’ There are a lot of oddballs in Brighton but I don’t think I especially look like one. Nevertheless, she looked a bit freaked out by the question and seemed loathe to reply. Feeling rather foolish, I said something even more stupid. ‘Don’t worry, I’m not trying to hit on you, I’m gay.’
Oddly enough, after that rather unpromising beginning, we became quite good ‘bus-friends’.