On the way to the northern suburbs of Wellington, on route to the southern suburbs of Porirua, sits the bustling suburbopolis of Tawa. Famous for its great Tawa trees (sadly, I think, all chopped down), as well as for it’s Dressmart shopping outlet (designer brands at great discount prices), Tawa is also home to a prison (though it doesn’t like to talk so much about that one). I think it is a women’s prison – it looks, if you squint your eyes enough, as if it is a budget form of country chateau, albeit with more barbed wire. Recently though, the prison appears to have made an escape, a bid for freedom, breaking out from its hillside enclave and leaping across to sit at the edge of the motorway.

It is a little hard to see when you’re whizzing by at 99.95kmh, but the tall concrete precast wall panels are criss-crossed with strap marks, as if it has been beaten badly with a whip, like that old bad Aussie women’s prison drama with the tough old sheilas in the lockup (what was it called again? H ? H-block? the L-word? I can’t remember).

Getting closer to it, however, on a return journey, we can see the giant slashing across the panels looking even more like a corner of the Telecom logo that besplatters our public telephone boxes. Luckily they seem to be building a sentry tower right in the corner, looking balefully out over the corner, ready to hunt down those escaped crims, should they escape their life of punishment, and chose to go shopping instead.

Oh, the irony of it all. Just for kicks, the Corrections Department have decided to make it look just a little bit like a supermarket, so that the lags can pick up a cart and pretend to go on a big weekly spendup. Ho ho ho, so droll….

Postscript: Starkive just gave me an idea…

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