Social skirmishes

● I am contacted by the police. One of my clients has seemingly set up a keep-fit class in a room above a pub. Twenty seven women have each paid a £10 registration fee and £5 for the first class. Except when they came to do the class at 6pm last night there was no sign of the instructor or their money. The pub landlord only has my name and number as a contact.

I spend a good while explaining that it wasn’t me that set up the classes. But it transpires from the landlord’s description (of a woman a good foot taller than me with an interesting array of names listed in the tattoos on her arms) that it was Faye: the mother of five children – all in care and up for adoption.

The police woman and I go round to her flat (on not so much a sink estate as a sunk one) where she is in but unrepentant. I explain my disappointment that she has undermined the trust dynamic, essential for us to have a positive working relationship.

“Bollocks,” she says, “you’re only jealous ‘cos I thought about it first.”

I try to explain that I am bound by a carefully constructed code of ethics and have a clear sense of moral boundaries. However, once again I find a sneaking sense of admiration for the ingenuity, creativity and sheer brassneck of my clients.

I had begun to fill in an application to a funder to get some furniture for Faye, describing her as a victim of a range of terrible circumstances. She might have had some terrible things happen in her life but she’s nobody’s fool and I really do admire her for that.

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