The handyman at work turned increasingly nasty and I am sorry to say that helping Ted and Joan and worrying for them as well as dealing with the lady of the big house and the neighbours all got too much for me, my energy failed and I had a stomach problem, Ted took me to the doctor and he said that the bag of medicine that they gave me was bigger than his bag of medicine! Ted had been put on enzymes and was able to take food with fat and sugar in for the first time in many years. He thought this was quite funny.
My cottage was one of two farm cottages that stood alone away from the other houses and just outside the village, the problem was that it wasn’t peace and quiet there, the people in the other cottage were the local farm mechanic and his wife, and they alone made that place as noisy as a council estate, constant noisy drunken parties, revving motorbike engines at 4am in the morning, screaming children and dogs, the children and dogs weren’t even theirs, they were their families, but the noise was constant, there was no peace, the dogs barked and yapped and chased my cats, the nocturnal motorbike revving and other noise was a nightmare. And ironically this being one of the reasons I chose to leave, the couple next door also left not long after me, they had been there for a number of years.
The stress of everything got on top of me, I was unable to cope with the noise, the demands of work, the money situation, JM, the hypochondriacs and the illness games that were making me ill, Ted’s illness, everything got too much for me, I tried unsuccessfully to overdose, and then to hang myself, I injured my neck, but ended up still alive, and realised I was no good at suicide.
The hypochondriacs knew I was suicidal, got overly involved, spoke to JM at length about me, which was extremely unhelpful because her opinion of me and most people, is crass and incorrect, they also spoke to LD, I had given them permission to phone her but they went to see her, she explained boundaries to them, quite rightly, but they didn’t discuss boundaries with me before changing them, and then they were getting stressed about an important figure in L. church who was their friend, who was arrested for child molestation and child pornography.
This was being kept a secret by the church, and this was one of my first realisations how underhand and dishonest the Church and Diocese of Winchester are in order to protect their own interests.
The Church worker who was arrested, was part of the Prayer and Praise and All Age Worship team which was my favourite area of church and which I was involved in in minor participatory ways, he was a devoted member of the mission support team and was very active indeed in working with the Romanian orphanage that the church supported, he spent a lot of his spare time over there in the orphanage, and I remember before it was found out that he was an abuser, he was giving a talk on Romania and I remember him talking about bathing one of the little girls, and I remember thinking sharply that something was not quite right, and wondering if anyone else read into what he was saying as I did.
My friend, S. mentioned a number of times after the news came ‘out’ to a select few, that she knew I knew something was wrong with the man.
I gather from a conversation I was not meant to hear that it is possible he did misbehave there at the orphanage, but the true and hugely terrible thing about his conviction is that he was a special school teacher, and it was the children there he abused, as well as downloading tremendous amounts of child porn, all I knew of this man and his wife before that was that they were friends with the hypochondriacs and were involved in youth and mission, he was an avid mission support person as were the Hypochondriacs, and when I put forward a suggestion to the group about helping the orphanage,he was not very encouraging, later though, after he was gone, I was more involved and given an opportunity to help.
But Worse things came out of the trial for me, I was horrified about hearing of the conviction, I gather I was not meant to know, and the church and diocese were trying to keep it quiet- as I now know they do with all abuse, at the cost of a human life and reputation and health- but anyway, I went to JM about it, and she was very harsh and unkind, told me that everyone forgave the man and why couldn’t I if he had done me no harm.
I replied that he had and that this was not about not forgiving, this was about shock and devastation, JM said that we would all be judged the same by God, and that he with his paedophilia and I with my autism would both be judged the same, this was utterly devastating for me, she was putting me in the same category as this man.
I have never recovered, judged for my disability in the same category as a sex offender! and knowing that people from the church wrote letters to support the man, saying he was a good man really, these same people who cross the street when they see me, and I have been called wicked, I have been condemned by the same church who supported this paedophile, and the same Diocese who hushed the matter up, what hope have I, if my autism is the same as what this man has done and I have been condemned as wicked when people say he is not, then what can I do? LD told me that what JM said was wrong, but it doesn’t take the pain away, not at all, I remain condemned.
Anyway even at the time I said something along these lines to SL because my friendship with the Hypochondriacs was breaking up, and they had written to support this man and were going mad with the stress of that and helping his wife and also their son and not coping with me.
What they were not coping with me was their over involvement as they, the same as Jill and George and others thought they could make everything ok and ended up making all of us ill, as well as this making me react and play up (nothing to be proud of and I am not), all in all they were in a mess and so was I, they helped the paedophile’s wife and so did my other friends, I cannot begin to imagine what she was going through, I did not get involved,she was as friendly to me as ever and so I spoke to her as we always had spoken, with no change, and I never spoke of her husband or the situation, and neither did she.
I did go to the court and listen to the trial, and ended up out of my mind and somewhere in the West Country because I couldn’t cope with it. I was too shocked.
I remember (another youth leader/churchwarden) coming to speak to me, I was curled up in the balcony of the church, feeling upset, he came and asked what was wrong and asked if I wanted to talk, and got me to come and stand with him and his family all squashed into one pew.
I have no doubt that he was deeply shocked by what happened with the conviction of his colleague, he and his family left the church not so long after that, I don’t know if it was that or just the politics and cliques of the church that made him leave.
I was pleased that he got the job of City Centre Chaplain, though JM said it was mad because he was too shy, but now he is one of the people who crosses the road to avoid me, which is sad because I respected him and I have certainly not done anything against him, but the church and diocese aren’t going to allow me to belong anywhere or receive anything but shunning for the rest of my life.
Another young family left the church and youth group at this time, they were my friends, I used to babysit for them and when I moved to house they inherited the rabbit, I kept in touch with them and remained friends with them for some time after they left, and we didn’t fall out, I have seen one of them today and had a chat, the church seemed empty with all the deaths, arrests and leavings, but new people soon came in and took it over.
Back to the work situation:
But I was no longer able to work with the stress and the noise and the aggressive handyman, I couldn’t stand up to him as the previous gardener had , and a row really blew up over his suggestive comments about me and Ted, so I resigned, the lady of the house kicked up a huge fuss and seemed to think I would leave and take all the fitments from the house with me, JM also got involved behind my back and ill-informed as usual and to my detriment, and the lady kept coming round to check up on me and I was either sleeping in the front room or cleaning the house and disposing of my furniture and effects to eager village residents as I could not take with me everything I had collected.
I certainly took none of her furniture or fittings! I left the place in good condition and went to live in my old house again, this time in the smaller cheaper room, I was really ill with exhaustion by then, I took my cats with me. The lady then continued to get through a number of gardeners in the next few years before putting the house on the market as it was too much to maintain and neither of her children wanted to inherit it.
She was one of the local ‘oligarchy’ who play such a part in running the Church of England churches because of their money.
Funny isn’t it? A mirror of Christianity where they use the poor as doormats and malign them for the problems they face, as she did with me.
I never regretted leaving that job, after two years there, because the cottage and the demands on me were simply too much.