Who Am I? Part Ten


Me, circa 1990; my descent into darkness was gathering momentum.

It seemed that Carol had a “gift”. She would get feelings about things happening before they actually happened. She would also get guidance from invisible souls; many years later I understood better what had actually gone on. But for now, in the early stages of our relationship before it all went pear-shaped, this gave us the subject matter for many an interesting conversation. I told my mum about Carol and she was very excited about meeting her. I should mention here that I’m not sure of the order in which all the things that happened during my “Carol period” occurred. I’m also not going to go into too much detail about all the negative stuff because it serves no purpose. I went into detail about stuff that happened during my marriage because in hindsight, it was actually quite funny, and it aptly illustrated my mentality at that stage of my life.

At some point Carol had travelled with me to London and had got on extremely well with my mum. They had a common interest in what we can call Spiritualism. In hindsight, my mum had her own version of spirituality and lived in her own little world. She was very naive and quite gullible. Years ago, she’d been told by psychics that she would have a series of wins on the football pools. She did, but it was a couple of very small wins and one win of around £600. She lived her life in the desperate hope that “the big one” was coming, but it never did. My dad had been so domineering and had subdued her personality to the extent that she had zero confidence. Now that he was gone she was completely helpless in a world that had passed her by. Carol represented a breath of fresh air for her; the trouble was that when things turned sour it made my mum feel very bitter, which only added to her life of woes.

My mum took Carol to a school that was just down the road from where we had first moved to in Wood Green. I’m not sure of the frequency of these events, but on Saturdays there would be various psychics and mediums gathered in the school hall and you could go along for readings etc. I now understand these events to be psychic fairs, but it was all new to me at the time. They came back buzzing and said that I should also go along at some stage. A few weeks later when the next event was held I did go along. It was quite an incredible experience for me. My mum had told me that I should see Mr Tom Dowding. He was around 86 years old and, according to my mum, knew his onions! She said that I should just go and sit on one of the chairs near his table and wait for him to call me forward.

I fathomed out who Mr Dowding was and duly sat down. He was busy drawing, and he kept looking up at me. Then he called me forward and the first thing he said was, “I’ve been waiting for you”. He then handed me the drawing; which was of a Native American Indian. He said that the Indian was my spirit guide and then proceeded to tell me all kinds of things that blew me away. On reflection there was very little evidence in what Mr Dowding told me. A lot of it was just names that he gave me, but he also made some predictions, which in the main all came true. Another thing he told me that was really completely new to me was that I could heal people just by putting my hands on them. He further stated that the power of thought was so great that I could even do this from a distance. I was so blown away by the experience that I went to see him again a few weeks later and he further blew me away. He told me of another spirit guide from Egypt and he also told me that I would be working from a platform.

At some stage I left my job with The Royal Liver and moved in with Carol at her house in Swindon. I got a job as a self-employed taxi driver thanks to Carol’s brother-in-law, John. John was a great bloke and he was still working as a taxi driver himself, having had his own taxi business, and he got me in the door.

Carol told me about a Spiritualist church that was in the Old Town area of Swindon. She went along one night and about a week later we went together. I honestly thought there would be ghosts flying around the room, but it was so far removed from ghosts and the ridiculous portrayal of Spiritualism and Spiritualist churches that we see in the media. It was just like any other church service; the only difference was that the medium taking the service would also give a demonstration of mediumship. I got a message; it was very positive, and it gave me the impetus to go again.

Now that I was back in Swindon I was worried about my mum being in the flat on her own with the squatters upstairs. She was only in her early sixties and at this stage she was still quite able-bodied, but she was very vulnerable. Carol suggested that we should try to get her an exchange move with someone in Swindon who wanted to move to London. This would be possible because the flat in Gladstone Avenue was a council property, and the exchange could be made with another council tenant in Swindon. I phoned my mum and put the suggestion to her and she agreed. So, me and Carol travelled to London having arranged an appointment for my mum with the housing department of Haringey Council. It seemed that in no time at all my mum was up and moved and living in Swindon.

She had already been for a visit and had been quite disturbed by all the arguments and bad language that were part of the norm in the household. Me and Carol were already having our problems so by the time my mum moved to Swindon things were well and truly on the downward spiral. Carol had an extremely strong personality that came from years of living in an abusive environment and she was very controlling. It was really difficult for me when my mum came to stay; I felt like piggy-in-the-middle. On one hand it wasn’t nice for me seeing my mum clearly uncomfortable in that atmosphere, but on the other hand I had to try and keep the peace with Carol; it was like walking on eggs. She told me once that what had ruined our relationship was my wandering eye.. She was so paranoid after her first husband cheated on her that my habit of looking at other women had really put a spanner in the works. I wouldn’t have cheated on her but I was aware that my eyes had a habit of wandering. I wouldn’t have liked it so it couldn’t have been very nice for her.

Carol subjected me to what I can only describe as psychological abuse. She had a way of making me feel useless and inadequate (it was a familiar feeling that harked back to my relationship with my dad before we buried the hatchet). Life was really miserable and was made worse by the fact that Carol simply didn’t trust me. She didn’t like me working on the taxis and our relationship reached rock bottom. I don’t know how I managed it but I somehow got out of the house and at the age of 33 I had the ignominy of moving back in with my mum. As I’ve already stated, the world had passed my mum by and she lived somewhere in the 1940s or 50s. She had the annoying habit of stating the obvious, which indirectly reminded me of my miserable predicament. Also, because she was such a negative person it was extremely difficult being in my mum’s company for any length of time. Things just dragged me down and it seemed as though it was always when I was at my lowest, that my mum would come out with the sort of statement that would just make me feel even more inadequate than I was already feeling. She didn’t mean it of course, it was just her understanding of things.

This period is not over yet! We are now up to 1988 but we need to journey to May1990 in order to put this piece of the saga to bed. Laterzzzzz

 

Who Am I? Part Nine


“Picturesque” Swindon

So, here I am with part nine. I wanted to write it sooner but my chronic fatigue has been a bit naughty since I returned from my trip, so it’s been difficult to get going. Just to recap on what I’m trying to achieve with this series of posts. I’m trying to write with the mentality of who I was at the time of each phase, so hopefully, the reader will evolve alongside the writer as the story progresses and we blossom together; something like that anyway. To kick off part nine I just need to rewind slightly..

When me and Sonja split up I was young, free and single again. I’d been spending time in London, but at this stage I’d not moved back there yet. I started going to the various singles clubs in Swindon, which was quite an experience. They were all a bit hit-and-miss, with the exception of one that was held on a Tuesday night in a lovely venue just off the town centre. Ironically, it was this venue that closed within a few months of me “getting into the scene”, which was very disappointing. However, during one of my first visits I met Carol. A bloke called George that I’d been chatting to told me her name and said that the girl with her was her daughter. What happened next was pure cheese in motion. I tapped her on the shoulder, and when she turned around I said, “Hi Carol, would you like to dance”? (it gets cheesier, believe me!). She looked startled but was happy to oblige. As we started to exchange pleasantries I immediately upped the ante, and the cheesometer went into meltdown as I confessed to getting her name from George and with all the cunning of a wily old fox that defied my tender years, said, “Oh, she’s your daughter????? I thought you were sisters”! I know, I know, but hey, I’m not ashamed.

That was it, me and Carol started seeing each other; but if I’d known then what I was letting myself in for I’d have run a mile. Having said that, it was ironically only because of Carol that I got my foot on the first rung of the spiritual ladder. She had grown up in a violent household with two sisters and a brother. Carol’s father was the sort of man who did not need an excuse to dole out beatings and it was quite common for him to take off his belt and use the buckle end to beat them. She had then entered into a violent marriage; her husband, on one occasion hitting her so hard, that he broke her jaw. She told me once that she could take the beatings but she could not tolerate cheating. He only did it once, she found out, and that was that. However, the marriage had already spawned twin girls and a son. She’d then met someone else, remarried and had another son, but it didn’t last. There was a big gap between the twins, the first son and the second son. When I met Carol the girls were 17, her son from her first marriage was 15 and her other son was two. The house was absolute chaos.

Carol’s experiences had made her very hard faced. The Carol I got to know was a far cry from the beautiful woman I’d met at the singles club. The age gap (she was five years older than me) hadn’t made any difference and we got on exceptionally well, but gradually the cracks appeared. The toddler, who was difficult at the best of times, was constantly tormented by his older brother and there was constant screaming and shouting between Carol and one of the girls. Our relationship was off and on to the extent that it was hard to keep up with proceedings. I was backwards and forwards to London but kept the room at Vic’s. Eventually, I gave it up and moved to be with my mum. At this stage I was still with Sun Alliance Services, and after making some enquiries, I was able to transfer to the Whetstone branch in North London just a few miles from Wood Green. It was around the Christmas period and I remember them welcoming me to the branch and presenting me with a bottle of bubbly. I felt like a thief; knowing that I would never bring any business into the office. Eventually, I came clean to the branch manager. He was great about things, and even though he tried his hardest to persuade me to stay, I didn’t go back.

My brother didn’t live that far away, but he rarely phoned or visited. The nice squatters who’d lived in the flat above when my parents first moved in had gone, and some others with a large dog had taken their place. I lived there for six months, but during this time I still made frequent visits to Swindon and also took another insurance job with The Royal Liver Friendly Society. (Liver is pronounced Ly-ver by the way). To say that The Royal Liver was stuck somewhere between the dark ages and Victorian times would be being kind to them. I’m sure things have changed now, but suffice it to say I didn’t last long. However, it was during this period that I had my first prolonged spiritual-type experiences. It was a period that was very difficult for me, but one that I suppose laid the foundations for what was to come.

To be continued…