It was a cold, wet miserable day when they brought me to The Lostings.
They being my ‘so-called’ beloved family, my ever moaning mother Jean, my perfect big sister Janie, her all knowing, all opinated husband, Billy and even my niece, baby Lulu came along for the ride.
I must have really mucked up this time, because even my best mate made an appearance – and for Passion Matresse – aka big Gay Al – the butchest drag queen in South London to get out of his Egyptian cottons sheets before noon was really quite some feat, I can tell you.
They had all, in their own ways been hinting, cajoling and finally threatening that this would eventually have to happen to make me see sense.
As my sainted mother had said quite recently to me:
‘If you can’t stop mucking up your life, there are places we could send you that will stop that silly behaviour of yours – dead in its tracks’.
And, give her due, she wasn’t kidding.
My name is Louise Mathews, I am 32, I have been dumped at The Lostings by mistake, I have been here for all of 2 hours and 37 minutes and I hate it already.
This is what I learned about my rehab unit in the first few days I was there, I wish I could sound more informed but to be honest I had such a headache and felt so rough, you are lucky to get this brief description.
You approach The Lostings from the Surrey/ Kent borders road.
You don’t really know that you’ve arrived until you see the large wrought iron gates at the very last moment.
One side of it backs on to a large country park and the other onto mile upon mile of disused factories and burnt out scrublands.
Bushes and trees poke out of the iron railings and gates as the hill slopes up to the entrance.
The gates have pedestrian access and swing inwards to allow car access to the property, those gates always get locked at night, regular as clockwork.
As you go through the gates, to your right is a modern looking house/office which serves as the booking in suite for the guests of The Lostings.
It is here that all the boring paperwork stuff is done, the checking in procedures, the payment options, cash up front, invoice, insurance covering the stay etc.
It is also here that the guests are allocated their rooms and their mentors/buddies.
From here, you follow the path round – where it splits off either to the Doctor’s office and the meeting rooms/ rehab area or down to the dorms and rooms.
The Lostings is open to visitors from 9am until 4 in the winter and 9 – 6pm in the summer.
Day visits by family and friends are positively welcomed but night visits are frowned upon as it is seen as too disruptive for the guests, too tempting or them.
The family and friends are welcomed into the placing ceremony which happens when the guest/patient first comes to the Lostings.
Personal belongings are not initially encouraged but as the guest/ patient moves in and settles in – friends and family are able to bring in belongings to decorate the patient’s room.
There is a children’s unit on the boundaries of the property.
You don’t often see the little ones – except when they have one of their parties when they welcome a new patient and then the grounds are full of children and little ones running and crawling about.
They admit a new person every 45 minutes, that’s how long it takes to process them.
Admission starts 10am and last intake is at sharp 4pm.
And you can always book your place in advance; you never know when you might need it!