Saturday, 7 December 2013

This post is an answer to a request

Good morning.

Last night I went to a Christmas party at church, we had a great time, and I wish church would have more Christmas Parties, one every week would do just nicely.

Now Peter Ould will be tearing his hair out with frustration because this is another post about anything and everything, and I gather he would rather read something constructive. Sorry Peter, you can give this one a miss, but I have been asked to do a blog about my outdoor adventures in Jersey, and so I will, I will add a few things about the church warden though, if that is any help?

I can do a post about an exercise in the fundementals of orthodoxy if you like, but I am not sure what that really means? does it mean vouyerism or being judgemental and condemning someone you have never met, after interviewing the wrongdoers and getting their cover-up side of things, and having a bias because you are part of the same establishment as them?

Jersey was an outdoor place for me, I spent a lot of time on outdoor activities.

One of my favourite therapeutic activities was rock climbing, I used to scare people by climbing alone with no harness, although I feel that apart from the craziest thing I have ever done, one particular climb on the North Coast, I wasn't at too much risk.
My favourite climb was the one behind the Highlands Hotel, where I used to scare the tourists maybe, and annoy the seagulls, but I would climb right out on the ledge, often to watch the sunset.
If I had a lot on my mind, focusing on the rocks and getting out there beyond anyone and having the sound of the sea and the view, used to really comfort me. Sitting alone on the warm granite and watching the sea, and waving to the ferries.

Another of my outdoor activities was boogie boarding, which is like surfing but not standing up, I started this in Dorset and never grew out of it, I did have surf lessons but my leg/s mean I cannot pop up or stand on a surfboard easily to get a good surf, so I tended to boogie board, and occasionally hire a surfboard for an hour, and for the record, yes, I have succesfully surfed. But I used to look at the huge waves approaching me on St. Ouens Bay as I paddled out and wonder what on earth I was doing!

Photography was another of my hobbies, as described elsewhere, I had thousands of Jersey photographs, the North Coast, Corbiere, sunsets, St Ouens Bay, Plemont, noirmont, Fort Regent, Gorey, St. Catherine's, so many Photos.
I now have only a handful of Photos.

Battle of Flowers and BBC Springwatch.
In my first summer in Jersey, I was a marshall for the Battle of Flowers, it was hard work for me, because of communication and crowds, but I felt that it was a good thing to do, to help out in the community, as I did previously at events in Hampshire.
I marshalled again the following year, but by that time, I had left the churchwarden and his wife who hurt me, and they turned up where I was marshalling and ruined it for me, and the following year, I simply was too distressed at the thought of seeing them, and did not dare to marshall.
That third year, I actually had complimentary tickets to go and see the Battle of Flowers as a spectator, as I had volunteered with BBC Springwatch that year, helping to clear a beach of litter near Corbiere, but I did not even go and spectate at Battle, because I did not want to see the church warden and his wife. The church warden always laughed when he saw me, as if what he had done to me was a joke, and he and his wife had been able to continue working at the church and treating the whole issue as if I was the one to blame and that life was just fine for them, while I was left suffering, and so I avoided them.

I was never much good at walking, but Jersey had some lovely walks, along the North Coast cliffs or along the long walk from St. Helier to St. Aubin, so sometimes I walked, and often I stopped and looked at the sea.
When it came to running, I never could run well, but while in Jersey I was not aware until my last months there that I was asthmatic, and I was also unaware of the full extent of the problems with my legs, so I tried to run, sometimes with my house group, a little group of us would run, and often I would run alone along Grev d' Azette, or St. Aubin's bay or St. Ouen's, until Kevin told me not to run on Sand as it was not good for my legs, I still ran on St. Ouen's beach, on the hard sand, and Chris, before he asked me out, said he had seen me out running, which made me blush. I used to try to run the length of St. Ouen's bay as practice for my fitness tests as well.
The toughest run was through the sand dunes at St. Ouen's, the Victoria college students were made to run through there, so I used to try to.
Despite running being very hard and the fact that I couldn't get any speed up, I always loved running, and I may never run again now, but I wish I could.

Of course sailing was my favourite hobby, and I have left writing about this because it is indeed hard to write about, because even if I wanted to sail again now, I am too damaged physically to be able to sail competently.
It was when I first met the church warden that he said he was a 'dinghy instructor' and he would teach me to sail one day.
Looking back, it is funny that he had only just met me and he said that, but that was not the only thing he said that was unusual at the time.

Anyway. He did indeed start me off learning to sail, but sadly he also started his misbehaviour out there on the water, asking me such questions as how did I deal with my sexual urges? and other worrying comments, which, had I been properly able to understand at the time, I would have realised that he then that he was overstepping boundaries, as it was, the sexual content of things crept in gradually.

Anyway, the church warden started teaching me to sail, but in many ways he was so derogatory and he didn't have much time for sailing, so I progressed to doing my sailing training and sailing elsewhere and with other people, and even getting my own singlehander sailing dinghy and also doing tall ship sailing, and sailing became the joy of my life, every saturday I would hurry down to the harbour, and the weekends were about sailing, dinghy sailing and racing in the bay, and sailing the bigger boats down to France or the other islands.

My best memories of sailing were the weekends moored at Chausey or Guernsey, doing the guard boat for the Sark to Jersey rowing race, and night sailing back from France on completion of my competent crew certificate, helming and avoiding lobster pots or sitting out on the foredeck and watching the lights on the telecoms tower on Jersey getting closer.
I guess I also remember nearly managing to sink a Lazer Stratos in strong winds, and terrifying solo sailing practice on St. brelade's bay with the wind turning round quicker than I could keep up :)
And the dolphins playing round the boat near St. Malo, and the racing, and the mishaps getting in and out of the harbour on the tide.
And of course, that BBQ on the Ecrehous, which would have been marginally better if someone had remembered the soft drinks! It was ok with just beer and wine I guess! :) And we saw seals.
Even bad weather days when we could only do boat maintenance were ok, because everyone was so nice and such fun.

when I had to leave Jersey, it took two years before I could even look at the sea again, I was so hurt.

Low water Fishing was another of my outdoors hobbies, Kevin and I used to go low water fishing, and when he left Jersey, he said it was the only thing he would go back to Jersey for and the only thing he would miss, at the time that surprised me, but I understand it now, I remained unaware of just how troubled Jersey was, despite the brutality and raid of my home and imprisonment I suffered the day the police sent me the email saying they were not prosecuting the church warden.

Low water fishing at Grev d' Azette on a low spring tide, we used to follow the tide out, and Kevin showed me how to look for the holes that razor fish left, and how to scoop the razor fish out, he also showed me the salt method, which he didn't think much of.
We looked under the rocks and found fish and crabs and other creatures, and we looked for mussels and other shell fish, but we never looked for Ormers.
We always had to watch the tide, as the tides in Jersey are very rapid, especially on a spring tide, hence following the tide out as it headed towards low tide, because the turn of the tide and the swiftness with which it approached us as we worked, was always amazing.

When we had finished fishing, we would return home with our catch, and Kevin, who was an excellent cook, would cook the catch with pasta, and it was delicious.
And there were always a few grains of sand in it.

Other outdoor activities included playing football for a short but happy time, I loved it but was not very fit by then, the asthma that had crept into my life was increasing under the stress I was suffering, and so I was not speedy, and I was not able to shout to my team mates as well as our lovely captain and coach would have liked, but it was great fun, I was not well off, but I remember the momentous day when I bought my own football boots, and I also remember how they were left behind in Jersey with all my possessions.

There were always coasteering days that I wanted to join in with in Jersey, but I was always so busy, there were so many activities that I wanted to try and never got around to it.

This is a bonus for the person who foolishly asked me to describe my outdoors activities in Jersey, may I describe other activities?

Well, simplest first, back then I had a car and I could drive, and one of my favourites was just driving to the viewpoints at Noirmont and similar places and sitting enjoying the view, very simple, I liked driving and the views, and taking photos if the opportunity arose, I loved to go and watch the sunrise or sunset.

I helped out with a variety of charity and community events, just as I used to on the mainland, Battle of Flowers, checkpoint on the round the island walk, springwatch, helping at Autism Jersey, helping with fundraising for a children's charity and helping with overseas aid charities, walking dogs for the rescue charity, helping with the Stroke Association as best I could as my life deteriorated rapidly, helping at the boat show, and more. I don't mean to boast, but these activities were a joy to me, just as sailing and photography were.
I love helping people but am not good at closeness or communication.

Studying was another of my joys, and still would be if only life wasn't so hard now.
The first course I did in Jersey was a short course on acupressure for neck and shoulder, it has been very beneficial ever since, because I get severe incapacitating pain at regular intervals, and acupressure, which in a way, applies some of the same pressure that physiotherapy does, can be quite effective in relieving the pain.
I went on to study two French courses at the college and had started a third, and also took GCSE exams as a private candidate after teaching myself for the exams.
I loved learning, and while in Jersey I taught myself languages online and made pen friends on an international language site, I also studied many and various subjects at the free online colleges, and taught myself theory about sailing and knot tying (I never got my knots right), and sailing-wise, I did my competent crew certificate on a yacht and my dinghy sailing levels one and two, and was studying for my level three right at the end when my health deteriorated so much that I could not sail.

I also had very autistic hobbies like following my favourite ships on the AIS, but shh, thats a secret :) don't call me an anorak. Now that the grief of losing Jersey has faded a bit, I follow the AIS sometimes.
AIS is a shipping movement map.

Anyway, I also had a try at karate, although my leg didn't like that, it was fun and the guys were really nice, and because of how I left Jersey, they never got the suit they lent me back.
Karate was a challenge, because to get to my class, it was impossible to avoid the churchwarden and his wife, just as it often was on Sunday as I went to church, there is only one road and they used it and so did I, so that used to upset me.

I met a lot of nice people in Jersey and I have memory of many nice cups of coffee and outings and times together with those people, I think it was the most busy and social time of my life.

I learned carpet bowls from the church warden and his wife while I was with them, they used to run a bowling group, but some of the members were also their house group members, who thought I was an imbecile and patronized me, so that spoiled it a bit.

church was a big part of life, of course, and house group, and church activities, I wont say too much about church in this post, because that is what the blog is all about.

So that was my week in Jersey, sailing, study, sea, service, etc. although being under the stress I was under in Jersey diminished the joy of my activities a bit.

I also worked, and loved my work, but I think I will do another post about work another time, because it will be sad for me to remember, and because it is a full length post.



































2 comments:

  1. I do believe this may be the most powerful of your blog postings to date, because it, more than any, should strike fear in the empty hearts of those who have marginalized you and tried to blame your disability for your suffering.

    On the one hand, you suffered all the more because of your vulnerabilities, but this is you as a living breathing person in Jersey, participating in the much fuller healthier life afforded you before the abuse. Knowing both the before as well as the after should make it impossible for any reader to miss the dire cruelty of what was taken from you, a vivid participatory life not even acknowledged by those who would reduce you to an “inconvenient problem,” once you complained of the Warden’s unacceptable abuse.

    The enormous contrast in the before and after, more than any other aspect of your story, makes me grieve for you. But I also feel some joy in knowing you can so effectively describe this previous life. Sharing what you once had and then lost makes your story so much more tragic, and so very universally human. Please, when you are able to do so without risk of re-traumatizing yourself, I hope you will write more on this time in Jersey or earlier. It is the missing piece in the larger picture of who you truly are and what should never ever have been taken away.

    For anyone newer to your story, your heartfelt words provide a shocking contrast with the blatant dishonesty of those who claim this was done to you so you could “get the help you needed.”

    They took and they took everything, leaving nothing in return.

    Elle

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  2. Thank you Elle. They didn't take my life from me to 'get me the help I needed', they did it to cover their backs. The help I needed was the church of england dealing with what their own employees had done that was wrong.
    And they still haven't.

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