It’s amazing what you find when you just mosey about, being curious. I’m always discovering interesting things. But the other day I came across a mad man on Tunbridge Wells Common carrying a claw hammer in his waistband to use as weapon. He was a schizophrenic. I know this because he told me he was schizophrenic. I also know why he was carrying that hammer too, because he told me why himself.

I was in Rusthall, a village just on the edge of Tunbridge Wells and I just thought I would stroll around to get to know my surroundings I had just moved to. There I was, just ambling aimlessly around the curiously hilly place with its outcrops of large rocks and steep inclines. One of the rocks is shaped a bit like a toad and is called Toad Rock.

I was pausing frequently to peer at some of the large mansions the returning Empire builders had built for their retirement in Tunbridge Wells after a lifetime serving the British Raj in distant countries, when a man of about 36 years old with two six and seven year old girls in tow politely said ‘Good evening. Can I help you ? Are you looking for something ?’.

I usually find that kind of solicitiousness really irritating; this time was no exception. It makes you feel a bit stupid or guilty – as though you might be a prospective burglar sizing up houses that look to be good burglary targets or something.

Anyway, I just said “No, not really. I’m just looking around, exploring the area as I’ve just moved here”.

Little did I realise what I was letting myself in for. A little adventure ensued. It was most interesting. And it left me with a bit of a dilemma. I discovered that this man may well murder someone with his hammer. It’s not that he has any specific intention to attack someone. But he thinks he needs to carry the hammer to protect himself because he is paranoid and thinks other people may attack him. He is paranoid because he is severely mentally ill.

More later. It is nearly one a.m. & I need a glass of wine and a quick chill in front of tv trivia before going to bed as I have to get up in six hours time – other wise I would finish the tale.

And I’m doing a lousy job of writing this and could do better some other time.


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