Monday, 30 June 2008
I was driving home from my mum's yesterday, along the M62 which was littered with accidents and road works before getting onto the A1 North of which a small stretch was actually closed. It beggars belief. It really does. I sat in a traffic jam for two hours, bumper to bumper, going nowhere. Amy was wonderful, never complained, just played "I Spy". I, on the other hand, spent the two hours swapping and changing channels on the radio hoping for an update to the road closure. And then suddenly, the road opened again and off we went. I could almost hear everyone's car engine cheer as gears were changed and windows were wound up.
Friday, 27 June 2008
So I thought I would show you this picture of a hill. It is at the top of a silage field on our farm land and I go there to think. It is one of the most serene places I have ever been in my life. It is about half a mile away from my house. I take a small blanket with me of which I sit upon then I look into the distance and allow myself to become saturated in thought. Recently I have used this tranquil space to think about my book. It has helped recent despondency and I have begun to feel inspired once more. I would therefore like to share a short extract with you that I wrote recently. It is a first draft and I am obviously aware is in dire need of much tweaking, before you wonder!
My time was booked shortly after by Julia Delaney, a journalist whom I felt wanted a reading in order to write about it in her weekly column. However, obligingly I accepted her request and booked her in, hoping I would make contact with someone close to her, finding the proof that she so obviously craved. I never felt as though I had to prove anything to anyone. My gift was true and those who wished not to believe were free to do so. It always came as a shock to the sceptics when I was able to communicate with a loved one and they had no choice but to believe what they heard.
When I had first started practicing I would be visited by many sceptics which often frustrated me, leaving me feeling quite drained after a short reading. It was of course embarrassing if no spirits presented before me but after a while I realised that I had no need to feel that way. My spirit guide was always present and more often than not, the sceptic returned some months later for another try. I think it always helped them to step into my life as I never took money, even though some of the believers insisted I did and gave it to charity.
Julia, tall, elegant and dressed in smart black trouser suit, stepped into the house. She held a file under her arm and I suspected a pen within easy reach in her handbag. It crossed my mind whether or not she may possess a Dictaphone or even a tape recorder but she did not show me either. Her initial reaction to my hospitality shocked me somewhat as I ushered her into the reading room.
“Can I offer you a drink of something?”
“I think we should just get on with it. You call yourself a medium? We’ll see.”
I stared at her, asking myself if I should suggest she left. Clearly she had no intention of being here for a reading. I told her to sit down while I reached for the Crystal. Placing it once more on pewter stand I looked into it, briefly glancing up at my client. The only thing I saw in the Crystal was a newspaper. Typical. No spirit was present at that time.
“Would you like me to give you a formal reading? Are you here to see if we can contact a loved one?” My question was genuine, I often asked sceptical clients how they felt.
“You should know I will be doing a piece on you. It won’t be pleasant reading because I don’t believe a word of what you say.”
“Then perhaps we should draw a close to the reading now. I don’t wish any confrontation in my home.” I touched the Crystal. My hands came alive with electricity, a shock I had felt only a few times before during particularly difficult readings.
As a picture began to form in my mind I could see Ms Delaney standing over a pile of newspapers, laughing and jeering, a man standing nearby. Unfortunately, I could not make out the man’s face. Yet he looked familiar. He was tall also, brown hair, slightly grey in parts. An uncomfortable feeling was rushing through my stomach as I prayed hard for spirit presence, any spirit presence to join us and prove to this woman that I was genuine. Not for a long time had I felt this way.
“Can you see anything then?” she asked with sarcasm in her voice.
“I can see you and a pile of newspapers.” I knew I sounded predictable but I never lied about what I saw in the Crystal, unless it was death.
“Has anyone joined us? Can you hear any noises?"
“Please relax, I feel you are tense. There really is no need to be.” I decided to stay calm. I could not show this woman that she had caused me anxiousness. I was determined not to let my discomfort show as she continued to sit cross legged in her chair, completely unaware of the spirit I was beginning to feel had come forward.
“You really are a fake, aren’t you. I’ve never known such nonsense in all my life.” She sniggered, adjusting her jacket and folding her arms. She was terribly rude and I was tempted to just close the reading down. I found her increasingly difficult to tune into. Many clients came to see me feeling nervous and I usually had the ability, and the experience, to make them feel at ease within five minutes of coming into my home. Julia Delaney however, was a challenge.
“You should know that there is a spirit in the room with us. I do not yet know who it is and I would ask you once again to relax.... try to help me determine their identity.”
“How am I supposed to do that?” Another snigger.
“By keeping quiet. Just for a few minutes so that I can adjust my mind into understanding what I am dealing with.” The spirit was making it almost impossible for me to communicate. I asked silently for my grandmother to protect me as I feared the soul was not to be reckoned with.
The problem was, I had not sensed my grandmother at all during the short time Ms Delaney and myself were in the reading room. Ms Delaney looked at me, her eyes cold and determined.
“You are not wanted in this village. Your ways are offending the residents and people are talking about you. When I send this to print you will no doubt be forced to leave.” Abuse did not affect me. My guard was slightly rocked however, when she continued to almost order me from my own home.
Upon standing from her seat, picking up the file she had carried, she turned towards the door. I wanted the spirit to communicate so that I could show this despicable woman that she was wrong about me. My prayers were soon to be answered.
“I suggest you stay away from the Reverend too. He is not right for you and I can assure you he will not want to know you once he reads the paper.” These words shocked me more than any other she had spoken in the fifteen minutes of being in her presence.
Why should she tell me to stay away from Marcus? Who did she think she was, coming into my home, telling me what I could and could not do? I began to feel angry, a feeling I rarely had. Of course I had been accused of being a fake, by many non-believers, but words just went through me, they did not affect my ability to communicate.
As Ms Delaney turned on her heels once more, it all happened so fast; one of the candles on the mantelpiece fell to the floor, the small flame setting light to my hearth rug. I jumped up from my chair, frantically stamping my foot on the small fire which threatened to cause damage to my sacred room. The spirit was clearly angry, perhaps at Ms Delaney’s words, maybe at my own annoyance. This worried me. I did not welcome angry spirits into my home, I made sure my protective light deterred them from getting through. It was now clear that this spirit was stronger than my grandmother and had manifested in order to prove to Julia Delaney that there is indeed a life after death.
Wednesday, 25 June 2008
They have welcomed me into their lives with open arms and have doted on Amy right from the first time they met her. Amy can be a difficult child to get to know sometimes. There are certain people in her life to whom she will not speak. She will only whisper to some which makes conversation rather strained. I have been lucky so far in that the people I mention do know Amy and have accepted her unconditionally. Mr and Mrs Billy have also accepted her in this way only Amy is thrilled to be a part of their lives. She loves going to see them, ensuring that Mr Billy never forgets his hugging duty. He points to his cheek and Amy gives him a kiss. Followed by a loving hug for Mrs Billy.
To witness my daughter's confidence with these two lovely people has delighted me over the time we have known them. Mrs Billy made a chocolate cake on our first visit to their house some weeks ago. She left smarties and jelly tots by the side of it, allowing Amy to finish off the decorations. Amy was thrilled, completely over the moon at this generosity and thoroughly enjoyed tasting it afterwards. Mrs Billy wrapped the remaining pieces up in tin foil and gave them to Amy to take home. I think she saved a piece for the farmer. It was all a blur.
The second time we visited the Billy household, Mrs Billy had once again made a chocolate cake of which half had been eaten before we arrived. Amy, in her confidence, went straight to the cake and asked politely if she could have a piece. I felt a little uncomfortable. I have always been brought up to wait to be asked and I have tried to practice this on Amy. However, I could not help but smile when Mrs Billy replied, "I made it for you, of course you can have some," before wrapping the remaining pieces up in tin foil once more.
Whenever we go to Mr and Mrs Billy's house, Amy asks to play upstairs. Apart from being particularly nosey (not sure who she gets that from), she is very inquisitive and to my relief, neither Mr or Mrs Billy thought anything of it, chuckled and watched her totter out of the kitchen. That is why Amy feels happy when in their company. She does not have to put on an act; watch her p's and q's, even when my evil eye tells her to; she can ask for a drink, a piece of cake, to play upstairs and even though she always uses her manners, can join in our conversation any time and be sure that Mr and Mrs Billy will listen intently, without judging or treating her any differently.
Amy's grandma lives in Greater Manchester and her nana of whom she sees very little, lives in Cheshire. We try to spend as much time as we can visiting my mum and we always try to see Amy's nana but having permanent grandparents is something Amy has never really got used to. We might only get to see Mr and Mrs Billy once a fortnight, maybe more if we're lucky, but it 'aint 'arf worth it when we do.
Monday, 23 June 2008
A view of the Cheviot Hills in the distance. Part of the Northumberland National Park.
The farmer has walked them many times but I prefer just to look at them from a distance!
This is one of the many old water troughs on our farm land. I don't know how old it is but I would guess it's at least a couple of hundred years old.
Molly sat perfectly still, the poser that she is. Sparky, on the other hand, was moving closer to the camera. The picture came out quite well in the end though.
Rolling hills. You can see some of our sheep in the distance on what has been aptly named by my lovely husband as "tit hill". I'll leave you to work it out. The best picture would have been from a different angle. However, you can see Bamburgh Castle in the far distance. If you are able to click on the picture it is a beautiful view.
Home Sweet Home. Every where looks so lush at this time of year. My office window is the one on the end, next to the satellite dish.
Hope you enjoyed a short tour around my farm. It has cleared my head and I am looking forward to going out again tomorrow.
Sunday, 22 June 2008
I think about who will look after me once the years are not so kind. Who will look after Amy when I am the grounded spirit of the house. Recently, I have drained myself of energy. The bit I have left has been ploughed into my work, the book I have started to write, which stands still as I ponder the plot. My support has been passed around, from pillar to post and now I feel I am no longer needed. My best friend has another best friend. I feel like a child in a playground who is no longer welcome in the gang. I have become involved in her complicated life because she needed me. She only needed me. But now she does not need me. She has involved others and receives my offered support from them.
And so I feel flat. I cried for that break on a plate. With my head in my hands, I thought I heard the house martins crying with me. I shall retreat to my corner; continue in my quest to be published and remember I need to find pride for my best friend. David McMahon asks "What are you most afraid of?" Apart from spiders and old age, I am afraid of being cast aside; of having no one need me as the clock hands move and my life stands still.
Friday, 20 June 2008
Suffice to say, I did not make a flask nor did I make a sandwich but got in my car and cleared off the premises. And so, in the days of progress when my farmer husband and I make joint decisions about the farm business, it is still the case that we keep the same two misogynist ignoramuses and I do not offer my services in any way, shape or form. Should they have been however, two strapping young fella's from Auckland then I might have contemplated a flask of tea.
It is the first taster of separation for the lambs from their mothers. That haunting cry as ewes are queuing up to be de-flea'd, de-maggoted and de-woollied whilst lambs watch on in horror, wondering if the time has now come that they have to fend for themselves. And by sundown, all is quiet. Sheep are once more content, albeit rather bald. I shall provide photo's in due course. It is a happy moment for all concerned especially me when I see my husband come in through the back door upon work completed and realise that underneath the foul stench of sheep lives my own strapping sheep shearer. Perhaps not from New Zealand, maybe not even strapping but he is mine. And I'll make him a cuppa any day.
Wednesday, 18 June 2008
Monday, 16 June 2008
My friend, who had travelled with us, had gone outside to purchase gravel for her pond. I moved away from the birds for a moment, leaving Amy mesmerized. I looked for some fish food, my mind elsewhere. Unable to find what I needed I went back to the bird cages. Amy had gone.
I shouted her name but received no answer. All I could hear was the dull sound of people's voices emitting in my head; my concentration waned as initial panic set in. For some reason, Amy will not speak out loud in front of our friend. She will only whisper. I knew that however loud I shouted Amy would not respond. Abandoning my trolley I began to search up and down the aisles, back to the bird cages, back and forth along the fish tanks, back to the bird cages, over to the pet toys. I could feel panic taking over my body and I could feel the stress rising enough to have caused a seizure.
And as I went towards the door, shouting her name over and over again, people looking at me as though I had gone mad, I saw them. My friend first, holding Amy's hand. Amy cried when she saw me and I grabbed hold of her, unable to let her go. My friend told me how upon her return to the aquarium, she had seen Amy at the door in tears. Amy had whispered to my friend that she had lost mummy. Thank God my friend was with us. And why didn't anyone ask Amy if she was okay? Why did hoards of people walk past a crying child, only eager to look at the caged birds?
Friday, 13 June 2008
What has made me most proud is her amazing ability to play-by-ear. It doesn't matter what the song, she can sit at the piano and play the tune. Many times I have stopped in my tracks after hearing my eight year old daughter play music that she has just heard on the television. I used to do exactly the same thing as a child. The majority of the songs I played were by ear rather than by reading a score of music. She is like me in so many ways. Her latest piece is Fur Elise, the first piece of music I learnt to play as a child. I am currently teaching her the left hand part which she is picking up quite quickly. I might be able to get her to teach me the full score of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata by the time she's ten. It's only fourteen pages long.
Tuesday, 10 June 2008
Women, on the other hand, have those careless, silly little accidents like knocking someones wing mirror off, scratching alongside another car, backing into a lamppost. On my journey back from town I was angered by three motorists. All of them being men. The first and second just stopped their car in the middle of the road, no signal, no consideration for the fact that there could be other cars on the road and no thought for the woman behind in a muckle Land Rover who had to slam on her brakes in order to avoid the silly fart being crumpled. The third driver, a young man in a Corsa, tore passed me in a desperate bid to get in front as we were approaching the single carriageway from the small stretch of dual. I cannot believe he didn't hit my car. If he had, he would probably have spun round and crashed into the central reservation, most likely injuring or even killing anyone else on the road at the time.
So. Men or Women? You decide.
Sunday, 8 June 2008
I had an idea. It didn't hurt before you ask and I found myself hurtling downstairs, two at a time, to fetch two fishing nets. Fortunately, I managed to get back upstairs in one piece and handed a net to Amy who looked quite bewildered at this point. The bat was still circling the room on a mission and was particularly attracted to the light which I had to keep on in order to catch the damn thing. And so there we were, trying in vain each time the bat came near to catch it in the net, except every time we thrust the net in its direction, the net turned inside out. I wasn't sure at this stage who looked more batty.
Then I had another idea. This one was even better than the first. I picked up the phone and rang the farmer who was locking up his tractor for the night in the shed. "Where are you?" I yelled. "In the shed," he replied. "Well get yourself into our bedroom, I need you urgently." I think it took the farmer little more than 2 minutes to do at least a five minute journey from shed to bedroom. You can imagine his disappointment when he heard the commotion and saw the big light on.
And then the bat suddenly stopped flying. Just as the farmer had got to the bedroom door. The only problem was, amongst the chaos in my bedroom which seems to grow and space out across the floor, I couldn't find where the bat had gone. The farmer and I frantically searched. Tipping up shoes, lifting clothes that were beginning to grow mushrooms, I even found an empty flake wrapper. Then in the corner of my eye something moved. I looked towards the area, decided it wasn't a ghost and saw it. Much smaller than I had thought when it was charging above my head as it had curled itself into a ball.
The farmer smiled as he gently picked the little creature up. Cradling it in his cupped hands. "Let me see, let me see," I insisted. Amy had started choosing names. And can you believe it, as he opened his hands the teeniest bit to let me have a peep, the crafty little rascal flew away and once more resumed its position above our heads. But it was tired. And it wasn't long before it landed on the wall, thankful for the safety of a fishing net. The farmer again rescued it. With the net this time and managed to get it outside where it flew off to safety. The farmer, my hero.
Friday, 6 June 2008
Parapsychologists who offer their scientific version of events never fail to surprise me in their quest to discover the truth. One in particular has spent many episodes in Most Haunted following the crew round yet he seems to be the only person that nothing ever seems to happen to. So is he not sensitive enough to the spirit realm? Is he focused too much on his electrical equipment and not enough on the presence that has been discovered by the program's medium?
There must be so many haunted locations in Britain. I live in one of them for starters. Yet I would never welcome a camera crew into my home, I would never feel comfortable with all those investigators prodding and poking about in my knicker drawer trying to find a vibration worthy of being mentioned. Too many earthlings roaming about my house, trampling up and down stairs, discussing the rush of energy that they would no doubt feel would simply open up this wonderful home to a flurry of unwanted excitement. This is a peaceful home. There is nothing negative about this edifice, not that I have come across anyway. My sister has mentioned us doing a seance in the cellars but that does not interest me in the slightest. Why would a grounded spirit full of love and consideration want to scare the living daylights out of two women in the deep, dark depths of a cellar when it can do just that in the spare room?
I don't disagree with opening up your home to a fascinated audience, a quest to find the truth. Nor do I agree with having terrified investigators running up and down corridors saying they just heard a footstep. I have never had anyone clarify that my house is haunted. But I know what I know and I feel what I feel. My ears work, my eyes are sharp and my mind is focused. But it would be sod's law, whoever sod is, that the entities residing in this old farm property would stay hidden upon a desperation of being sought by a wary, frightened human. What is the point of screaming? Shouldn't it be the living we must be afraid of, rather than the dead?
I have done many vigils on my own which makes it impossible to prove one way or another if a place is indeed haunted. My word will just have to do. If however, two people hear the same noise or see the same thing, sense the same smell or taste even, then it becomes more likely that activity could have taken place. Last year I went on an investigation with two friends. Unfortunately, we picked up very little and could have come away from the venue saying the place was definitely not haunted. However, the castle in question has a reputation for being one of the most haunted in Britain so maybe our expectations were a little too high.
I try to stay focused. I always keep an open mind but I know what I experience is happening. To me. To others. And it's nothing to be scared about, unless you come across a negative energy that is. But then we get into a whole different ball game. Still, if the spirits have come out to play, who are we to stop them? I know I wouldn't want to. Would you? And if so, Why?
Thursday, 5 June 2008
Wednesday, 4 June 2008
My husband is one of the nicest men I know. He struggles to say "no", his helping hand constantly available. He welcomes everyone and anyone into our home, despite having a constant stream of work to do. He spent fifty-seven years doing as he was told, living in the shadow of control. Yet he always smiles. He never speaks ill of his father. He never speaks of his father. In his heart he has forgiven all those years of domination. He cried when his father passed. They were tears of forgiveness. His silence is his way of trying to forget.
When the farmer and I got married five years ago, we were not "allowed" to go on a honeymoon for longer than four days. The farmer was eager to get home so as not to cause his father inconvenience. Our holiday came to an abrupt end when we were faced with, "I thought you would have been back before now" as we walked through the door. We rarely ventured off the farm together, meals out were almost impossible unless fil was willing to look after Amy. But as she got older I worried about her wandering about the house and he not realising. The last four years of fil's life, the farmer and I had no social life at all.
People felt uncomfortable coming to the farm to spend time with me. My own friends would feel awkward about visiting me because of the way he would speak to them, making comments about women having nothing to do. He even told a Communications Therapist who came to spend time with Amy and me, that she should find a proper job, stop wasting people's time in visiting their houses, drinking their tea and doing very little. The lady could sense my embarrassment and realised how difficult my situation was. This is just a fraction of what I put up with. He had no respect for women. He had no respect for me. But what I found most difficult to cope with was that he had no respect for his own son's marriage.
Forgiving and forgetting isn't going to be as straight forward as I would wish it to be. I can never forgive the strained relationship I had with my father-in-law. But after all this time one thing has come out of those difficult years; my relationship with the farmer has grown stronger. Because of our love and our determination to make our life together, I might just be able to forget about the unwanted torment that man cast upon me. But I can never forget how he affected my husband. I live with those memories every day.
This post has been inspired by David McMahon and my late father-in-law's first anniversary.