The drive to Calais was one of our most memorable journeys and we talked nonstop for five hours.
“I got done for robbin’ the Queen’s cousin in the Cotswolds!” Singher told us, “Me and couple a mates knew they had some precious antics in this poorly guarded old mansion so we tried our luck. Having never committed a crime in my life before I hadn’t a clue how it was supposed to go down but I were sure it wasn’t supposed to be like that! It was like a bloody comedy! At one point, we were in the house and we’d walked down these stairs and into a corridor. Up ahead we spied a couple of blokes in masks. We panicked and scampered around the corner, falling over each other we were. I poked my head out to have a look, then turned to me mate: ‘they’re hiding around a corner!’ I whispered to him, all scared, like. Of course, what it was, ya see, it was a big mirror down the bottom of the bloody corridor!”
As the sun carried on rising behind us, we laughed our way through the quiet Belgian motorway.
“Later on,” Singher continued, “Once we’d recovered, we were in a bedroom stashing these antiques into a bag when suddenly the lights bloody came on. I tell yer, we hit the deck as if we’d been shot, not knowing what the hell was going on. I looked up to see a bloody cat was playing with the lamp cord! We were on the floor pissin’ ourselves with laughter for about ten minutes! In the middle of a bloody burglary! Oh, I was in pieces on that floor!”
“I did ok out of the robbery and so I stopped there. The trouble was my mates couldn’t stop and eventually they got caught. They were implicated for the crime I was involved with and I got done too.”
We crossed the border into France and Singer continued regailing us with stories from his time in prison.
“There was this Irish bloke I was in prison with” he said. “He was the worst robber I ever heard of. The first time he got locked up was when he tried to rob this bar. He knew they left the cash register open at the end of the night so he broke in, right? And he run up to the bar and hopped over it to grab the money. The trouble was… they had the trapdoor to the cellar open so he fell right through and broke both his legs”
We were still hooting away as the subtle yet unmistakable fragrance of sea air permeated through the cab.
“The second time this Irish bloke had a go at crime was the best though. He was planning to knock this security guard on the head to break into a building, right? So he hid around a corner with a lead pipe wrapped in a newspaper to disguise it. He crept up behind the security guard, held the bar wrapped in newspaper above his head, but the bar fell out behind him, so when he went to smack the security guard on the head, it was just with the newspaper! The security guard turned around and beat the shit out of him!”