I mentioned JM’s dog walking friends, while I was in Littleton I used to dog walk with JM twice a day, up until the time I started work, JM was a walking nuisance on the dog field because she wanted to give treats to every dog she met, causing many annoyed and embarrassed dog owners, especially when their dogs left them for JM and wouldn’t do as they were told, but she also collected a gaggle of people with problems, and these people made it difficult for me to walk with JM, the combination of feeding dogs and trying to walk with all sorts of people at stop start pace, made my legs and head ache and trying to be part of disturbed conversations and repetitive accounts of holidays was really hard for me, and I felt unwelcome, so I would walk part way with JM and leave her to sit and wait for her the other side of the recreation ground.
One of the people she walked with was Rosemary Baker, a Methodist minister and psychiatrist, who I was scared of as she was a psychiatrist and my parents had taught me that psychiatrists were bad, as well as being scared that JM would set Rosemary on me as she had set the mental health people on me before.
Rosemary pretty much ignored me, I think she did so in return for my near silence and fear of her dogs that jumped around, my fear of dogs is limited to dogs that jump, as my brain is not quick enough for the jump, and I do not like being knocked down or impacted against by jumping dogs. The other Methodist minister was called Beth, and my instinct told me to dislike her even before JM maligned me to her.
I think Beth was on a ‘healing course’ which I went on with JM, I got angry about this course for several reasons, including one person (who is dead now) pretty much recounting how they had been putting tremendous inordinate pressure on a grieving widower to speak about their grief, and no one in the room told him that this was inappropriate, he said he was still at it as the grieving man refused to speak, the ‘grieving man’ had started going out with another woman as his wife was dying, and had married her not long after the funeral!
I was surprised that when I gave my friends and church people the good news about me going into the sheltered house they seemed glum and doubtful, they told me it had a bad name and had been a kind of halfway house, with antisocial behaviour, blaring music and crime emanating from it until recently, and they told me of the suicide of a resident there.
While I was still in the bed and breakfast I went to a play thing at the village hall, it was about Jesus’ crucifixion, this must have been near Easter time, A. was there and so was **** *****, who was also friendly and smiley like A. was, A. introduced me to Lou Scott-Joynt who was there, she was the Bishop’s wife, I was overawed by her ‘A Bishop’s wife!’, this was like meeting the queen! I was so very shy, Lou asked me questions, she was interested in the fact that I was starting to help with gardening and horticultural things, she told me that if I ever wanted cuttings from the gardens at Wolvsley then I would be welcome, I was amazed, I was sure that she would have the best quality plants there.
FM was at the play as well, he later told me that Lou had said that when I was with him and JM I was quiet and childlike and when I was speaking for myself I was more mature, I don’t know the meaning of this or why FM told me this. FM also told me that he and Lou Scott-Joynt belonged to an organization called ‘Clergy Spice’ which was for spouses of clergy in the district, so he and Lou Scott-Joynt were friends. FM’s outward appearance when in company was always gentle and well-mannered, but his temper indoors led to JM talking about how men like FM should be castrated.
Anyway, JM and I went to meet the support worker from the Sheltered house, JM was surprised that it was not the support worker that she knew, but the support worker we met told us that the other support worker was of on long term sick leave and so this support worker, who was from an agency, was covering for her. The support worker was 40 but trying to be younger, very made up and with dyed hair, I could hardly communicate with her, so I left JM to do the talking, I also managed to knock my hand on something and it suddenly swelled up massively as we were talking, there was a woman who lived in the home who tried to take charge of me immediately and was more patronizing than anyone had ever been to me, I began to worry a lot about living there, but I needed a home, and I would have my own room and there was a garden and a plentiful supply of food and tea, and I had nowhere else to go, so I moved into the sheltered house.
The other residents were the woman who had tried to take charge of me, she was a paranoid schizophrenic who had a massively high opinion of herself, a silent autistic man who sat at a table all day, ate at the table, slept there, did craft work there and rarely moved, looked up or spoke, and when he spoke he said the same things over and over, he was sweet and nice though, there was a sweet natured and very disturbed woman as well, she and the autistic man got on really well, a bit like a married couple with no physical side to it, there was another man who was autistic or brain damaged, he and the sweet natured woman hated each other and would fight violently, throwing kitchenware at each other, even in the early hours of the morning, he also didn’t get on with the paranoid schizophrenic, but she was scared of his temper and rarely stood up to him. So these were my housemates, all older than me, all retirement age, so how did the young, disturbed me fare among them?
I may as well name them, I doubt they will sue, the Schizophrenic, Jo, made my life and everyone else’s miserable, which was bad because she called herself a Christian, I was vulnerable and she knew it, so she would rage at me or intervene in my life and cause me distress, among other things one day I went to put a load of washing on, she had left a few items of underwear and clothing in the bottom of the machine for days, I took them out as they wouldn’t go with my washing and she seemed to have forgotten them.
I was going to put them back in once my load was done, but she went mad with rage that I had taken them out at all, she really went mad, and despite FM’s frequent rages I never got any better at reacting to shouting and I went completely panic stricken, which she picked up on and it encouraged her to keep this horrible behaviour up, she would attack me and then try to force me to sit down and pray with her, which was bizarre and caused trouble and distress, she also took to trying to prevent me helping out in the village.
A church man came to help me cut the hedges of the sheltered house, and the paranoid Schizophrenic came out and kept trying to haul me back indoors and prevent me working, it was embarrassing, she also came to events and church services to try and prevent me getting involved, for example when it was my turn on coffee duty in church, she came into the kitchen, pushed me out the way and took my job, I was angry, baffled and helpless, I asked JM for help but she just laughed, so I was shadowed by this obstructive woman, and it took some of the joy out of taking part in community activities, she would sway into the room with her great big lamp eyes and I would wonder if I should just leave. I had to give up helping with coffee or taking part in some other things, and this woman was a Catholic, technically she should not have been taking part in Church of England communions and services. Thankfully her drugs meant she didn’t come to evening services, so I got a bit of peace.
Julie was the other woman in the house, disturbed and sweet natured with a an angry but malice free temper, she would tap on my door to say goodnight and check I was ok, I loved her, she was impulsive, uncontrollable and unpredictable, she shrieked at me that she had been raped by a gypsy and that if I was a gypsy she didn’t want to be drawn into my gypsy ways, her speech and conversations were very random and for some reason she loved Dennis, the deeply autistic man and hated Brendan the other autistic/brain damaged man, and chose to fight with Brendan in the early hours frequently so that the rest of us were woken, this shouting in the early hours distressed me a lot and made me tense.
One of the big problems with this sheltered house was that the agency support worker was not even full time and there was no supervision after she left in the early afternoon, and some of the residents were not capable, someone put the microwave on for two hours and it caught fire, and someone put washing up liquid in the kettle, so that when it boiled there was foam everywhere, it was like that there, chaos, and my confused brain grew no less confused, only more so. I am glad that someone from the council has recently confirmed after all these years that such a set up isn’t always ideal, they are aware of this sheltered house and it’s problems as we discussed it in recent council interviews I have had as I didn’t want to end up back there! that support worker now works there full time and not for the agency and JM’s friend who used to run it is long gone, JM completely blamed me for any frights I had at the sheltered house when the supervisor was off duty, and JM completely blamed me for everything, which didn’t help me.
Julie, Brendan and Dennis were all nice to me, apart from occasionally when their tempers were on edge anyway and they snapped at me, but it was a tense house, I certainly didn’t relax, Jo simply drove me mad with her behaviour. Brendan decided that he wanted to marry me and that we would have a boy and a girl and move to America and have a ride on lawnmower and smack the children if they were naughty, I coped with Brendon in almost the same way as I coped with FM, I kept the peace by letting him be sweet on me, but I kept telling him he was my brother, not my boyfriend, which he eventually accepted, Brendon did nothing sexual with me, he held my hand sometimes, and we watched the news together and shared meals, I was afraid of his temper but actually he barely lost his temper with me, he lost his temper nastily with Julie, Jo and the support worker, but Brendon is still around in Winchester and we still get on well and he is still looking for a wife, though he accepts that I am not interested in him in that way. He likes women’s bodies, openly, but he didn’t misbehave with me when I was young and confused and he fancied me, and I respect him for that. Brendon cannot write or read or comprehend a lot of things that people take for granted, he used to go round scrawling unreadable things on the pavement or house walls when he was angry and also drawing pornographic pictures, he is one hell of a character and I hope he lives forever.
Dennis never spoke or did much, one day he fell and broke his arm and it was a few days before anyone saw that his arm was swollen and took him to hospital, after that they had him fitted with an emergency alarm just in case, he was epileptic and so I had to learn to deal with fits, but Julie looked after him tenderly and it was she who discovered the broken arm. I do not know what became of Dennis, he was old and fragile and I suspect he is dead now.
Julie was a wonderful paradox, when I first used to see her on the bus before I moved into the sheltered house, I was curious about her, she looked like a beautiful fairytale witch, astounding green eyes and dark hair, physically deformed and yet beautiful, she was profoundly disturbed, her family were wealthy and she was quite well bred but she seemed happy in a sheltered house, she was nice but unpredictable and with quite a temper, especially where Brendan was concerned, but she was caring, she could shout and she could shriek about what had been done to her in the past, but she also used to check I was ok in a non-patronising way, and she made me welcome in the home, I liked her. I have only seen her once recently.
Jo used to drive us all mad by accusing us of things, including saying that we had been putting paper clips and talcum powder under her door and that we had been in her room and that we were opening her mail and following her, she had no feeling for anyone else in the home, and would have her radio on top volume, and would desperately invite all and sundry that she met home and call them friends in order to look good, she didn’t care about anyone else’s feelings, privacy or space, and if she saw me go out, she would follow me, she really tried hard to intervene in my activities and mess them up, my self confidence and boundaries were non-existent and I suffered, but JM just laughed and told me it was because Jo wanted to feel important. I still see her, but she doesn’t seem to know who I am now thankfully.
After three months in the sheltered house the support worker decided I was too independent to be in the sheltered setting, so she arranged for me to move into the flat, what used to be the warden’s flat when they had an onsite warden, the flat was for more independent people or people who were preparing to move on to mainstream housing. I was finding the fighting and restrictions of the sheltered house too much for me. The support worker was tired of trying to get me to eat a full meal when I couldn’t, tired of trying to get Jo to stop pestering me, and I was not in need of constant monitoring and helping.
While I was at the sheltered house there was one incident of FM messing about with me, JM asked him to give me a lift home from S. as she had given me a lift there but had to stay on, FM gave me a lift home, he came to my room, he sat on the bed with me, he started flirting, I was not comfortable, I asked him if there were other girls like me that he did this with, he said no, looking back at the way he answered I think he may have thought I was jealous in case there were other girls, but he was flirting and messing about with me and I said no and told him to go, later I was sick with distress as I decided to tell JM the full account of what had been happening, I told her, she took it fairly calmly, and told me that FM’s daughter had also said he had abused her, but that she had followed them when FM went to see his daughter when she was an inpatient at the hospital, and nothing had happened, so she had assumed that Sally was lying, as she often did, one distinction JM made between me and Sally, then and frequently, was that I did not tell lies.
But later and ever after, JM told me that what happened with FM was ‘six of one and half a dozen of the other’ i.e. she believed me to have flirted with FM and tried to seduce him, I remained and remain outraged, FM is ugly, he is unattractive especially with his temper and his greasy hair is horrible, I have not even consented to or wanted sex with my own boyfriends/girlfriend and I have turned men down violently/rudely when they proposition me, there would be no motive whatsoever for me to want sex with FM, and he was impotent. FM’s presence at L. church over the years and due to his tempers when I went to the rectory made belonging to the church more difficult, I continued to go to the church in town sometimes to avoid seeing FM, but that church changed hands and most of the people I got to know there left, and I was disappointed that the new and obviously talented vicar wouldn’t even shake hands and say good morning to me.
He is still there and that church hasn’t changed much, but I wouldn’t go there now, I can’t settle with overly Charismatic churches. JM used to grumble about that church anyway and say that things that very low churches did could be damaging, I didn’t know what she meant at the time.
(now I do, because of Jersey).
Anyway, after I told JM about FM and she confronted him and he denied it, there were more big rows at the rectory, and there was a number of days of FM and JM not speaking, which happened sometimes anyway, nothing to do with me, JM said that she got ***** ***** to speak to FM, and she spoke to someone called Cynthia or Sylvia, not sure which, but she said FM respected ***** as he was a master freemason and could cope with FM, this involvement of ****** meant that I was wary of him after that, though he was always nice to me, and so was his wife who was always smiling and who apparently frightened a rough sleeper off by leaving a fruit cake for them in the church porch.
Freemasonry was a trouble for me, my upbringing had involved clashes with ‘freemasons’, and though (my former landlord in Winchester) was a Freemason, he didn’t flaunt it, FM did, and JM said that FM did these things like joining the freemasons in order to upset her, because JM had apparently had problems with a gang of freemasons in one of her old churches.
I was scared of freemasonry and the possible harm it could do to me and especially what FM’s involvement in it could do to harm me, but I doubt that my fears were anything more than JM and my parents’ attitudes imprinting, the masons are really just a men’s club, who have very private element probably do support each other in problems and stick together, but so can church communities, I am no longer afraid of the freemasons. But I went through a very bad patch of not liking the masons because of FM and because of what JM said and because of what I heard that the masons do to punish people who spoke up about their private activities, JM herself seemed to come to like the masons later on when ****** ***** invited her to Masonic parties.
(surprising change in attitude from her).
Later though, JM told me of her own immoralities, she told me of how she let herself be picked up from a railway station by a man and she had a one night stand with him, he took her home telling her his marriage was over, but she found out in the morning that that was not quite the case, he was a married man, I think she said he had children, and it turned out that his wife was there when she woke up, how embarrassing!
The other thing she told me was that one day her and FM’s car broke down in the woods, FM walked to find a house phone the AA, the AA man arrived back before FM, the AA man wanted JM to masturbate him, she said that she did in order to avoid making the situation any worse, she said he was ‘more interested in what he could get for himself than what he could do to her’, I was horrified by this story and I said to her ‘you should have told the police, you left other vulnerable women in danger from abuse’, JM shrugged that off, she hadn’t even told FM about it. JM shrugs abuse off, says abusers are just victims themselves, says that abuse victims are seductive and therefore attract abuse; thankfully (my counsellor) told me that that is no excuse as the abuser is the one in charge and can choose not to abuse!
JM made me feel terrible about the abuse and told me firstly that it was six of one and half a dozen of the other, then she also made out that I had tried to get at FM to get back at her, I was horrified, I did not want what FM had been doing, I certainly did not have the ability to try and use him against her! She kept on about one time when they came in and I had a hug with FM and not JM, JM and I were not getting on, and FM was hugging me a lot, I was not being spiteful to JM and the fact she thought back then that I could or would do anything of the kind is and was horrifying.
Back to the sheltered house .unfortunately for me, the previous resident of the flat had committed suicide and his body had not been found for some days. I was scared of moving into the flat, because back then I was scared of death, of ghosts and of anything unnatural. JM came and blessed the flat and asked Kenny’s soul to leave in peace, but I remained terrified at night, Julie helped me by knocking on the door each night and asking if I was ok, but I was scared to put the light out. I was also horrified by the support worker telling me of how she found the body, the smell of it, and how it had gone squishy.