This post is going to be like one of those films where they keep switching from one scene to the other because there are several stories going on at the same time, which all come together in the end. Firstly, as far as work was going, I fell for the yarn that was spun to me prior to accepting the new position, and was swept away on the crest of a wave of delusion. I was constantly making enquiries as to whether any new positions were coming up, and I had my heart set on joining the marketing team. I was bored with key accounts, and my efforts to get myself noticed didn’t go down very well with key accounts management. So much so, that my line manager eventually took me to one side and reminded me that I was a customer agent in the key accounts team; implying that I should know my place and get on with the job I was paid to do.
Eventually, I was offered a position within the marketing team; I was elated! If only I knew then what was just around the corner! It was cloud cuckoo land for several months. The job was only a side-step, but the marketing manager promised me it would lead to a promotion. During a conversation I had with the key accounts manager some weeks after taking up the new position in marketing, I mentioned what I had been told about getting promoted; he just laughed and walked off! This was a sign of what was to come. But in the meantime I was still riding the crest of a wave. There was long lunches, paid for on the managers’ expense accounts, and even though I was quite a low grade I was issued with a company mobile phone and I could also claim any expenses that I incurred on my travels. I should mention that my new job entailed managing the products that we were trying to sell to our commercial customers. This meant going out on the road from time to time, hence I was allowed to claim any expenses incurred. As well as ordering any stocks that I thought we needed I was also responsible for managing the installation of the aforementioned products. By this time I was no longer using the rail warrant to get to work. I had been advised to take out a company loan and buy a car, as I would need one to do my new job. This I did, and because I was not the only one commuting from Swindon, we would car share so that the burden of fuel expense could be shared.
In the meantime I had started going back to the spiritualist church on a more regular basis. Nothing had particularly changed; I still felt that there was a staleness to Spiritualism and the atmosphere in the church was pretty much exactly as it was. This time however, I did get to meet several people who I could relate to, and eventually I decided to go along to what they called the “open circle”, which was held on the second and fourth Thursday of the month. An open circle is not something that I would particularly advise participating in these days; they can actually be quite dangerous, but at that time it suited me. The open circle is for people who are wanting to find out more about Spiritualism and to start to develop their psychic and mediumistic abilities. It’s called an open circle because anybody can come and sit. Me and my particular group of friends formed the nucleus of the open circle; there was about six of us. When it was just us it was great, but sometimes there would be loads of people turning up, and everyone brings their own horrors with them so to speak, so an open circle is not always the ideal experience. Meanwhile back in Reading…
My best mates at work were Gary and Huw. Gary was one grade below middle-management within the marketing team and he lived in London. Huw was also in the marketing team and lived in Swindon; he was one of the car sharers. From time to time Gary would come to Swindon and stay at Huw’s house and we would get together over a few bears and have a real laugh. Eventually, I realised that my sexy new job was nothing of the sort. My line manager had previously been responsible for what I was now doing. When it became apparent that it entailed a lot of hassle and that it was pretty much a losing battle, they needed someone to dump on, and that person was me. In theory the products were great, but in practice they simply didn’t work; mainly because of the many unforeseen problems with installation. Cracks started to appear and eventually someone very high up within the organisation realised that our new all-singing-all-dancing marketing department was haemorrhaging money. Thousands of pounds had been spent with very little return so heads had to roll. Incredibly, there was only one actual redundancy that I remember, but there was a huge restructuring. The one bloke who got made redundant was Dave. He was one of the three salespeople and a really good bloke. As ever in these situations it was the people who had been responsible for the biggest mess who came up smelling of roses once the dust had settled, poor Dave was just a scapegoat. Meanwhile back at the oasis…
Prior to things turning sour, I started a relationship with a woman called Sue. She worked in the same building as me in Reading; she was upstairs in graphic design. We were together for six months, during which time I was incredibly insensitive towards her. I really didn’t appreciate her and eventually we parted company. For me, it was a case of, “you don’t know what you’ve got till its gone”, but we still had some good times together. I’m mentioning Sue because I think she is quite significant to my story at this time, which will become clearer a little later. We had two things in common, an interest in Spiritualism and alcohol.
Eventually, I got more involved with trying to develop myself spiritually, and there is a milestone moment I will share with you. I’ll also have to backtrack because it was the first time I ever went to the open circle. It was as though something inside me was saying, “now is the time to go forward”, so I decided that I was going to go to this open circle thing. The person in charge said we were going to try something called psychometry, which is to pick up information from an object by holding it. For example, by holding a piece of jewellery in your hand you may be able to pick up information about who has worn it. Most of the others present seemed quite apprehensive but I quickly offered myself forward to have a go, and to my amazement I was able to give some fairly accurate information to complete strangers simply by holding the items they had brought with them. This was the springboard for me and now there was no holding me back.
Because this period is quite involved I’m going to split it into two parts as I want to keep the reader’s interest. So I’m going to get straight on with part nineteen.