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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.