So, I made it to Swindon against all the odds. On the Saturday I set off to serve the new venue near Banbury. It was out in the sticks all on its own next to a busy “A” road, but I found it OK. I forged a very good relationship with the centre and would serve it again many times in the future. My trip to Copenhagen was also very successful and gave me a much-needed cash injection. On my return to Wales it seemed that there had been a bit of a blip with the caravan, but it wasn’t a problem as Carol and Bruce let me stay in a spare room in the house until things were sorted. I returned from another trip and found the caravan in situ; it was to be my home for about a year. Living there wasn’t without its teething problems, but on the whole, we all got on very well. Carol and Bruce were also quite flexible and they would let me use the house to conduct healing and meditation sessions. Things continued to bobble along; I was serving the churches in the Ceredigion area, continuing to work in South West England and still getting the odd client here and there. However…
I mentioned very early in this series of posts that Spiritualism had never really resonated with me. I carried on serving the churches because I felt that a power far greater than me wanted me to engage in this work. But as time went by I continued to feel more and more isolated from this religion whose churches I was serving. Yes, I met some lovely people and there was always the few venues that I really looked forward to serving. But generally, I found the churches and centres to be very negative places, and at times, demonstrating mediumship was like having my teeth pulled with red-hot pliers. Something felt like it was going to give; I started to feel that my time in Wales was done. I didn’t bank on what followed next though.
At about the same time that I moved to Wales, my brother decided to move to Spain. He lived up in the East Midlands anyway, but our mother was quite upset about this; one son moving to Wales and the other moving to Spain. There was a very deep bond of love between me and my mum, but on a physical level, she was an extremely difficult person to be around. She was unbelievably negative, so I very rarely asked her how she was, because I knew that she would only start moaning and reel off a list of ailments. I’d always visited her fairly regularly, but could never stay in her company very long because of the negativity. She originated from the North of England; a place called St Helens (near Liverpool), and had lived in a village called Rainford later in her youth. She had kept in touch with people up there, but as she got older her visits back “home” became less and less frequent. By 2004 it had been some years since she had been for a visit; part of the problem was that she could never make a decision so she would spend months procrastinating, “shall I go or shan’t I”? She normally travelled by coach and would be met at the other end by my Uncle Philip, her half-brother. Unfortunately, her mobility was not what it was and she was getting frailer, so at some stage I offered to drive her up there from Swindon and pick her up again when she wanted to come home. She finally decided that she would go at the beginning of October and stay for one month.
The time came and I set off for Swindon. I stayed overnight at my mum’s place and the next day we left for Rainford. We had only gone a few miles when my mum started to display some very strange behaviour. She had seemed fine the night before and that morning, but I noticed that she asked me a question, which I answered, but within just a matter of minutes, she asked exactly the same question several times more. At first I just remarked, “you just asked me that”! But when it continued to happen I feared the worst. However, I felt that it would do my mum good to be back where her heart was for a month, so I thought no more about it.
At the end of October I drove up to Rainford again. I just knew that something was amiss. Sure enough, at the first opportunity my mum’s friend, Yvonne, proceeded to tell me how her and her daughter were extremely worried about my mum. She related to me things that could only mean one thing; my mum was in the early stages of dementia. She again displayed strange behaviour on the journey back to Swindon. The problem was; I lived in Wales, around 170 miles away. Thankfully, Sue was able to keep an eye on things for me, but I knew I had to get my mum moved. She still lived in the maisonette and struggled with the two flights of stairs. I’d found a place for her in a lovely sheltered accommodation complex a couple of years before because I could see that her decreasing mobility was going to present a problem, but she was having none of it and refused to move. So, I was gobsmacked when after finding a bungalow for her, just a few hundred yards up the road and close to the shops and doctor’s surgery, she agreed it would be best to move. This is another episode that I wrote about extensively in my book, The Amazing Journey, so I’m only going to touch on the main points here.
Sue was fantastic, she checked in on my mum when she could; they had become best friends a couple of years previously.
The time came to move, so once again I drove up to Swindon. I conducted the move virtually single-handedly. At the last-minute there was some God-sent help from Sue and another friend of my mum’s. Unfortunately, once the move was complete her mental health plummeted. Sue kept an eye out, but she had her own life to lead. The only thing I could do was move back to Swindon. One of Sue’s sons, Justin, very kindly let me stay at his flat; rent free! He only wanted me to contribute towards energy costs. At some stage my brother moved back to the East Midlands from Spain; his move was not related to our mother’s condition.
As the situation worsened, she started wandering off, she was also continually phoning the police saying there was someone on the roof; and this was just the tip of the iceberg. The bungalow was in sheltered accommodation, but it was not a care home, so there was minimal support from the warden. The next door neighbour was aware of the situation and also kept an eye on things. But, the whole situation was exacerbated by the fact that my mum also had bad arthritis in her hands and was not able to lock her doors at night. Drastic things call for drastic measures, so I went to the GP’s surgery and explained the situation. An appointment was arranged that same day at the hospital and my mum never returned to that bungalow. She had only been in there a matter of weeks.
She was admitted to the psychiatric hospital, where it took five months to assess her properly. During this time she had a fall and fractured her hip. There followed a comedy of errors where she was backwards and forwards to the general hospital because of infections; she was also on the receiving end of some appalling treatment in this establishment. Eventually, her assessment was complete and I was able to find a residential care home for her. It was a great place (The Orchards), with great staff, in Wroughton, just outside Swindon. At last, there was now some stability. Throughout this whole nightmare process I received no help from family, but Sue was an absolute saint. It will never be forgotten.
Now that I was back in Swindon I started to expand my network of churches and spiritual centres to serve. Sue and John Geis would give my telephone number out whilst on their travels, and I also contacted the venues I’d served before moving to Wales. I started to get busier again.
I’m going to end this post by sharing an amusing story with you. I was at Justin’s one morning. He had gone to work so it was just me in the flat. It was one of those mornings where you want to rant at the universe! I was doing my meditation and railing off to spirit that I needed more money to be able to function, and, “what are you going to do about it”? I quickly forgot my meditation rant and drove down the road to the big supermarket for a few things. When I came out again and went back to the car I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. I didn’t even notice anything when I was getting into the car or when I put the keys in the ignition. However, just as I was about to turn the key to start the car, I noticed something flapping about under the wiper blade. It was a five pound note! I got out of the car very gingerly, thinking it was some sort of candid camera stunt. I had a quick look around to see if anyone was watching me, then I took the note from under the wiper and threw it into the car. I drove back to the flat perplexed. A free fiver no less… “but is it real”? I asked myself. “There’s only one way to find out”, I thought. So, on my way to visit my mum that afternoon I stopped off at the supermarket again. My intention was to buy a bunch of flowers. After all, I could only get arrested if the money was counterfeit! Then I would just plead ignorant. Sure enough, the money was fine, so I was able to not only recognise the symbolism of the cheeky spirit gesture, but get my mum a £5.00 bunch of flowers…