In 2000 I’d started to make fairly regular trips to Ceredigion, West Wales. It is a beautiful part of the world that has the best of both worlds, in that it has a wonderful coastline and also a very hilly landscape. I’d got to know about one particular place through my ex-girlfriend Sue Crewe. It was a kind of retreat five miles up in the hills above Lampeter, in a place called Llanfair Clydogau (try saying that after 20 pints of Stella!). It was a place of immense beauty, pronounced “Clan-Vire Clid-Oh-Guy”, which consisted of one shop by the bridge over the river Teifi, a few houses and a community hall on the lower level, and various houses, some spread quite a distance apart, as you went up into the hills. The name of the retreat translated as “Court of Circles”; I fell in love with the place and visited at various times throughout the year, so I was familiar with all the seasons. When bank holidays arose, I would always book an extra day’s leave from work and have a long weekend at the retreat. I went on beautiful walks, I painted and I meditated, or I just did nothing; either way it was great.
Now fast forward to 2002, I’m living at Rob’s place and my spiritual pathway was looking rather good, thank you very much. I soon learned though, that Rob, was the type of person who was very loud and wanted the world to know that he was there. On a few occasions I went out with him and I found it very embarrassing. Having said that it wasn’t a bad set up, we did after all, have one or two things in common, and he trusted me to look after the place if ever he was away. I was getting bookings at more and more Spiritualist churches too, so I was out and about quite a lot with my work as a medium.
My new job with the utility company was like most jobs. It was a new challenge when I came back after my illness, so there was the obvious honeymoon period. But the cracks soon appeared. Corporate politics reared its head and things went steadily downhill. I needed a change; but what? After a while, and inevitably, Rob got back together with his girlfriend, and almost immediately she moved in. I did the decent thing and asked if they wanted me to move out, but both of them said they wanted me to stay. However, it was only a matter of time before all the things that had driven them apart, twice already, reared their heads again. I was caught in the middle of it. Eventually, they split again and his girlfriend moved out; but something had shifted. Instead of it being as it was before, it became me living in a very grumpy bloke’s house. Rob became very unreasonable, and quite unbelievably, he banned me from the living room. It was almost laughable. But by this time I had already made up my mind what I was going to do. It was now October 2003 and I’d already told Rob I’d be moving out at the end of the month. I have to admit to feeling a bit miffed when he implied that I might be wanting to run away with his door key! We’d known each other for a few years, and this was indicative of his current state of mind that he would even think that I’d do such a thing.
I’d told my friend Sue (no, not Sue Crewe, the other one!) what was going on and she said that any time I wanted I could move into her spare room. So, my master plan was this. There had been some changes at the retreat in Wales, and the opportunity arose for me to be able to rent a room on a permanent basis. I decided that I was going to throw caution to the wind and give up the security of full-time employment. I was going to move to West Wales and do my spiritual work on a self-employed basis; simple! Don’t you believe it. What followed was nothing short of a roller-coaster ride, which was at times painful, but from which I would emerge yet further on from the sad, lost soul that I had once been. I gave my notice in at the utility company, arranging to leave on the last Friday of the month. I also arranged with Sue that I would move into her place for 10 days or so before I left.
I moved my stuff out of Rob’s place over the course of a couple of days; there was no way I was going to live in that atmosphere for any longer. I told him I’d be going at the end of the week instead of the end of the month; it was at this point that he suggested I might want to steal his door key. I then felt that I wasn’t even going to wait that long. I loaded the last few things into my car, locked the door behind me for the last time, put his key in an envelope and posted it back through the door, and that was that. I saw him once or twice from a distance during visits back to Swindon, but apart from that our paths have never crossed again.
It was a Godsend that Sue let me stay at her place. The 10 days flew by and the big moment came. I said my farewells and set off for The Court of Circles. It probably won’t surprise you to hear that I will have to write this post in two parts as it would be far too long, so hold on, the next phase is just around the corner…