Who Am I? Part Twenty Eight


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. 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 doctors 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 amazing, 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…

 

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Who Am I? Part Six


The truth was about to come out…

When I arrived at Kathy and Joe’s place it was obvious that something had been going down. I’d no sooner got through the door when Kathy said, “I’ll leave you two to talk”. Sonja then proceeded to tell me that the whole thing was true; she really was the most stupid international criminal mastermind in the entire history of the human race. However, it doesn’t end there. My wife, being a compulsive liar, had ulterior motives for telling me the truth. It turned out that within about 24 hours of me leaving her ex-boss’s office that day, roughly two weeks before I left Germany, he set off for the UK and turned up on Kathy and Joe’s doorstep at 08:00 in the morning with a “heavy”, just as Joe was leaving for work. The heavy apparently wasn’t much of a heavy, but that’s not the point. I couldn’t believe that Sonja would bring that kind of nonsense into the house of friends who had been kind to us. But she did leave a forwarding address after all…

Somehow, Joe let them in and left for work,leaving Kathy and Sonja with the two “geezers”. Sonja was confronted with her dastardly deeds and had a piece of paper thrust in front of her, which she promptly signed! The piece of paper was her admission to the theft of her ex-boss’s money. He now had her over a barrel. She told me that she signed the piece of paper because, “I was so frightened I literally wet myself”. I was more annoyed about being lied to than anything else; had I known that my wife was a criminal mastermind I could have prepared myself. But it did explain a few things. It explained why she was always taking money from the cash box when I went to pick her up in the evening. It also explained why she’d been removed from the other job; she had obviously been stealing from her other employer too. Two things I never understood though, why we never had anything to show for her actions; for the life of me I just don’t know what she did with all the money she stole. The other thing was that I could never work out what all that working on Christmas day stuff was about. It was obviously a lie; I can only assume that she arranged to spend part of Christmas day with someone else because she did not get any attention from me.

Sonja’s ex-boss had her signed admission of guilt and was going to involve solicitors. She was terrified and looked to me for support, but I was still angry at what she’d done and told her I would stick by her but as it was her mess she needed to resolve it. She needed to engage her own solicitor and wanted me to come with her, but I said no and told her she had to do it herself. In fairness to her she did. The money owed was whittled down to £1000, which to be honest, I thought was a bit light. But her ex-boss, via the negotiating of the solicitors, said that if she agreed to pay him £1000 he wouldn’t take it any further. It broke my heart to write that cheque! I told her that if she ever lied to me again and I found out, we were over.

We over-stayed our welcome at Kathy and Joe’s; it’s not really relevant to go into the details, but various things happened and I decided that we could not impose on them any longer. I went out one day and drove the 15 miles or so into Swindon and rented a house from a dodgy letting agency (you must be thinking that I use the word “dodgy” quite a lot, but it was just the way things were then). The rent, including rates, or whatever it was called back in 1986, was £300 per calendar month, which was a hell of a lot for that era. I didn’t realise until we’d moved in that I’d rented a house smack, bang in the middle of Swindon’s red light area…

Somehow, amid all the chaos, I’d finalised all the necessaries in regard to my job with Sun Alliance Services, and I’d been on a two-week training course in Wales. We were residing at 80 Gladstone Street, just off the town centre in Swindon and my marriage was just going further and further down the tubes. We still had some stuff stored in Kathy and Joe’s garage, but Joe’d had enough of us and during a visit to Lyneham, without Sonja, he told me he wanted it out as soon as possible. I should also mention that the “Adams Family” had moved to Kent when Doug got posted back to the UK, and Sonja had been communicating with her mother via Kathy and Joe’s phone. This was during the days before competition when BT had the monopoly and call charges were still high, especially during the day. I’d used their phone a few times, so just before we left I wrote Joe a cheque for £5, which would have more than covered my usage. However, nobody really anticipated just how much Sonja had abused the amenities, and when the bill eventually arrived Kathy and Joe nearly had “his and hers” heart attacks! Luckily, we were tucked up in Swindon by this time. I bumped into them in Swindon town centre one day. I was on my own and Kathy launched into me about their phone bill; that was when I first found out about it. When she calmed down I told them about our “lovely” house and invited them round. They said they had to go off and do something but if they had time on the way back they would pop in. They didn’t, and I never saw them again.

When Bobby had been with her husband before Doug they had lived in Wroughton, which is a tiny town just on the outskirts of Swindon. He had also been in the military, so Sonja was already familiar with Swindon before we’d gone there together for the first time. One day she was in town when she bumped into a long-lost friend from her time spent living in Wroughton. So, Sonja took to hanging out with this friend and all her mates. As a result, I’d come home and find the house half-full with kids of a similar age to Sonja. It was at this time I suppose, that I realised I’d grown up a bit; it was probably because of the responsibility that came with being a Hi-Fi salesman. We also , against my wishes, had the sister from hell move in with us.

At some stage I found that Sonja had told me another blatant lie. I knew that she’d been in my briefcase because, yes you’ve guessed it, she left evidence, but she denied it. Other things happened and it was apparent that we couldn’t go on. Now, this is where I had great respect for her. Me, being a bloke, I just let things go from bad to worse without really saying anything. But it was her who actually said that maybe we should think about a break.

I went to London, supposedly for two weeks for some breathing space, but after about a week my dad said that it was pointless me being in London if there were things that needed sorting. I knew he was right, so I came back unexpectedly. I’m sure by the look on Sonja’s face that she’d been into all sorts while I was away, but I didn’t care. We agreed to split and I said I would sleep in the spare room.

In a few months time my life would change forever.