The Man on our Walk

It was growing dark. The man shuffled slowly towards us, dragging his foot as he went. His shoes worn lopsided from the effort and his clothes dishevelled. His breathing was laboured, he shot me a strange look as he passed by us and I wondered why. I did not worry and did not feel under threat.

The dog was suspicious leaning his body into mine protective in his stance. The puppy with fluffy ears and long legs suddenly wolf like. There to defend me if required. Forgetting for a moment that he did not need to guard we were just out. He did not make a sound.

The man shuffled on past continuing on his way, scowling to wherever his journey took him. Moments later the puppy looked up at me and wagged his tail, whatever danger he suspected had passed. I stroked his ears, reassurance that all was well as we continued on our walk. Our breath visible in the night air, thick around our heads, clothing pulled tightly around our bodies for warmth, striding purposefully home with my furry protector.

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Unwelcome Visitors. A frightening experience and a clear message.

Although this was written some months ago, 19/6/16 I felt that it was time to post it, since it was Halloween last night and the battle continues. The Daily Post – Eerie
Who are you?
What makes you think that I am an available vessel which you can enter?
You cannot occupy me. I am not for rent. Go away, Be Gone!

You cannot creep up on me, whilst I sleep, getting past my furry protector and wrap your arms around me, from behind holding me so tightly that I cannot escape. Burning under my skin, undetected stifling my scream so that it cannot escape. My mind screaming out louder and louder as I am brought to my senses by it but where there is no voice, willing it to stop.
You have no right to do this! To haunt my night and my thoughts. Who are you?
How dare you attempt to violate my sleep, leaving me fearful of the dark. You are not welcome here, be gone, vanish to where you came from. Return there, never to visit again, for you are not welcome here.
Get off my back, I will not bend to your will. I will remove myself from this burden, it has no hold over me.
I am not consumed by whatever this is. It does not belong here and whatever this is, is unwelcome.
I am safe, safe from this influence, I am calm. I am protected.
Whatever you are, my fire breathing dragon will set you free.
My body will not hold you, you have no place here within me.
My loved ones have my back, it is not yours to take. There is no room for a monkey on it.
I will not be swallowed up by anger, or hate, or confusion, or sickness.
My mind and body is safe. Not a haven for you, but for me where my good thoughts reign and are given space to grow. The results are beautiful and appreciated, not gnarled twisted and bitter.
There is no room for hate. I do not allow it space in my heart or mind.
Be gone Hate, there is no place for you here.

Whoever you are and whatever you are trying to achieve here, you have failed! Give up, Do not try any more, your attempts will be futile, you will fail every time because I am stronger now, than ever before. You cannot master me.
I choose my master, with care and love he does not control me, he loves, cherishes and supports me. Offering me strength and armour from influences like you.
So be gone, Back from whence you came.
Your cold hands, peeled from me, you cannot enter and take a hold. No fingers entwine around my chest, no embrace around my shoulders, for there is no room for you here. We are not available for rent or occupation. I am in control of my destiny, you have no say or influence.
Demons diminished, spirits be gone. Stop knocking at my window. Your time has passed, there is no room. I am not under attack, you will not win here, I will battle against you. So be gone, you are not welcome.

 

About Some Things, I don’t have a Clue!

img_7568It’s funny how some things you just know, deep down whilst other things you don’t have a clue about despite thinking that you do.

I was thinking this morning about the process of painting a picture. Something was a bit of a revelation about when people are up on hillsides looking at pretty things, with their easels and paint looking out over it all and deciding which bit of a wonderful landscape they will choose to paint.

Clearly I was not paying attention to things in my art class years ago, because it hadn’t occurred to me what happens first and it has held me back over the years, now as it turns out unnecessarily.

Faced with the blank page in front of me and thinking, Where do I start? What if I make a mistake? Will I mess it up? All these thoughts and many more have held me back from actually doing that thing, getting the paper, paints etc out. From creating a lovely picture to hang upon the wall. Of course it might not be lovely IF I actually mess it up, but the truth is I haven’t tried, through fear of failure. My art has suffered and with it, my creativity. Who holds me back, well yes the truth is it’s usually me.

I dreamed as a child of being a ballet dancer, where I danced beautifully on stage but in reality I cannot dance. I don’t have the confidence or coordination required.  I also dream of painting or drawing wonderful images, but settle for photography as the reality is so very different from my attempts.

But then a few weeks ago I was watching something on the TV, Grand Designs, (Well it is almost Autumn again and I will have to find something to watch on the television) Kevin McCloud, the presenter was up on a hillside with the man who was building his house. He had taken him there for inspiration, declaring that it would be time out from the build and since they both paint they would each do that. Watching them sitting there, they started to sketch out the view which reached out in front of them, on paper and sat there talking. And there is was… It must have sat in my subconscious after that until now. Later in the program, they showed the reveal of the almost finished house and hanging on the wall was the painted picture that the man had done. Of course it was beautiful, but then again he painted regularly.

I also noticed another painting where you could see the lines underneath the paint, why had I never thought about this before. Well, somehow it seemed as though I had a light bulb moment and when I come to think of it, it seems rather silly that I have never done this since leaving school. I quite often sketch pictures, usually of houses or landscapes and think, I only wish that I’d put more colour on there, but something more than colouring pencils. My painting fear does not extend to painting the house, objects etc it’s just when faced with the blank page.

So all of this time, I have only been seeing something half finished, it’s time to change that.

I have also sat down and thought about painting on many occasions, only to stop for fear of putting a brush stroke in the wrong place and having to turn it into something different. Paint seems to be such a permanent thing. I know that if I had to do that then that would be the one thing that would annoy me in the finished painting, the one thing that I could see that was wrong. So I didn’t. I guess as they say in America I have issues and somewhere in there is bound to be another metaphor. As I will be heading on up the hill at sometime soon, where I will be surrounded by the beauty and the scenery for a little while at least, when I finally get there, I may just take my sketch pad some paint and finally colour my world a little bit brighter.

Images: Morguefile & My Own

Summer Reflection

Well, as the warmer weather is still with us and we have sunny days, isn’t it technically still Summer, after all the clocks haven’t gone forward yet, casting us into darkness mid-afternoon.

But I am taking the time now to reflect upon the Summer, which this year should have been great, but really wasn’t.

The past two months have been harder than I ever thought possible and at the moment there is no let up, no sign of Hope, (she is still firmly under the tarpaulin and again has not been driven) whilst these shenanigans continue. But hoping that things will change is clearly not enough to make that happen. I have pulled myself every which way to try and make things better.

In my mind at the beginning of Summer, I was looking forward to the Sunshine and making things happen, plans for the future. I was going to finish my book, publish it, write another or at least a large chunk of it. My mind was working, I was inspired by things around me, open to opportunities and new experiences. I was looking forward to a great future and felt that I had been able to let go of the past which had haunted me for so long. I had turned a corner. I have a family who love me. We would go to Scotland and spend some time there for the first time in months. Walk my Beloved Boy on the beaches and in the forests nearby and also enjoy some of the sunshine here before we went. Once there, I would make repairs to the cottage and try and fix it up a bit, to halt the decay slightly, I might even get the log burner fitted before winter and stop the damp from a leaky roof. I would also apply for work and see if I could get myself another job to cover the bills for when I came home.
I was out taking photographs again, enjoying the space around here and time with family, I even got some shots that I was pretty happy with and was looking forward to getting a whole lot more of them.

I had spent time getting the garden here under control, watered and it was thriving, rewarding me with beautiful flowers and plants and a peaceful place in which we could all relax and enjoy the nature around us. I love getting my hands dirty and awaiting the outcome of my labours out there. Here it is only a small garden, so easy to maintain and shows quick results in whatever work you put in. It gives my mind time to unravel anything which is complicating it, that it doesn’t understand or just needs time to digest and I am not sitting around doing nothing.

Doesn’t that sound simple and idyllic?
I only wish it had panned out that way….

In July, I had applied for some really good jobs my fate was in their hands, they were all ones which I could have done easily, some of which I would have really enjoyed. I was also writing daily at least something, a lot of poetry and other things too. Not all of it posted here, some was for the book of Poetry, some for another book I was working on and I was trying to expand a website which had lain dormant for too long, to turn it into a more of a lifestyle website. I was feeling hopeful about the future and finished my book of poetry in early July, the Blog here was gathering momentum and followers and I was generally happy in my little life. We were looking forward to the rest of Summer and our lives and thought about different options going ahead, what we would change and what that would bring. All positive things, Life was mostly feeling good.

And then….

Suddenly our world was turned upside down.

Alas just as the good things were supposed to happen life went more wrong than any of us could have expected. And, what is worse is that I haven’t been able to put it right yet.

For those who are wondering what on earth I am talking about although it is covered in my previous posts. In short there have been problems with a neighbour who has made threats to our lives, attempts upon them and the loss of our beloved boy through sudden illness caused by poisoning as it turned out, oh and I also had a brief time in Hospital and a long recovery, which continues. Although we have tried to, we have not been able to shake off the doom whilst we remain at our home here in the South and we have had the getaways, but it has not been safe for us to decamp in case the man concerned decides to carry out the other threats upon our property whilst we are gone. The pressure of having to search for work was taken away by a 13 week respite due the accident and recovery and because of what has been happening here, right when I needed to be away to get through the trauma of what has happened, I cannot. I needed rest and recuperation, but have been unable to have either, unable to sleep and in fear of my life. So instead the onslaught continues.

Although I am working on that, they say that the pen is mightier than the sword….
I hope that they are right, I have been corresponding with so many departments that my head is in a spin and I can only hope that my call to action has been heard. It was all quiet on the western front up until last week, but finally it seems that they have taken on board what has happened. All the police reports and maybe some of the other neighbours have also decided to speak about what has been happening here. I wrote a letter to my neighbours last week, explaining what had happened here, asking them to be vigilant and to report any issues to the authorities. They should not be living in fear caused by one or two people who have chosen to terrorise the neighbourhood. From it all, the neighbours have actually been more friendly towards us, stopping to talk and attempting to be supportive.

We are adamant that we will get away to Scotland at least for a small break, I have four weeks until I am expected back to look for work, yes a whole nine weeks have been wasted of this time, which could have been spent somewhere beautiful, pulling our lives back together. Not spent looking over our shoulder every time we leave the house. Not having to fit CCTV to our house to protect it, not having to visit the shrine of our boy every morning in tears wondering why this happened and if someone will have desecrated it again. Not having to follow each other like sheep, to watch each other‘s back so that this one person can take a run at us and stab us.
We have been kidding ourselves that it will make a difference that we are in pairs, he knows that he is invincible, in his head he can do what he likes, the police in general remain powerless, they can only take him away and incarcerate him for short periods, then he is back. Looking for the next opportunity, we are not safe outside of our home and the stress this has caused has affected the health of both of us, in mind and body over the past two months.

So Meanwhile our lives have been put on hold, the things that we would normally be doing around here, have not been done. Our time is spent with the authorities, giving statements and having meetings about what he has chosen to do to us. We are told not to speak to him, meanwhile at will he can stand across the street yelling all kinds of verbal abuse, making all kinds of threats and we are expected to do nothing at all in response, to just walk away and ignore him.
For the first few times this happens, you can ignore him, not take it seriously, but when he runs at you with a knife and you realise that it isn’t just the rantings of a disturbed human, he actually means to cause you harm. Well then that puts a different light on things. Your own instincts for self-preservation kick in, if you haven’t run off, on your “In flight” mode. You try and stand your ground, which is rather difficult if you are told not to speak to him. Yes, we cannot antagonise him by retaliating to this onslaught.
In days gone by, if someone said something to you, or verbally abused you, you could shout back, tell them what you thought of them, even tell them to shut up and go away. But now, well we are told not to respond in any way and it has made it worse. It has made me angry that what little power I have to cope has been taken away from me and the calm and peaceful home has become somewhere that neither of us want to be, both trying to deal with things in a way which is so different to how we are used to and it doesn‘t suit us at all!

If as a naughty child, you did something wrong and someone tells you off, then when I was growing up that was generally enough to make you pack it in. But not this one. I guess there was very little discipline as a child, his Mother grew her own Monster and he has behaving just as he likes ever since. The way that he speaks to her is atrocious and she lets him. Her “child” is now heading to 50 years old.

Yesterday, I had some supportive emails arrive, finally from the people I have been rallying in the past few weeks, they have responded to let me know that things ARE being done, to warn me that it is a slow process, but the situation should be improved soon. They cannot tell me any more than that at this point. But at least my actions have not been in vain and importantly for me, my voice has been heard, by someone, somewhere.

I only hope that their action comes before his does. That he does not get his own way and finish us off, before skipping off to the nearest facility for a little break before being released to do exactly as he pleases again. As they say sometimes, PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN THE CURE.

I kind of like having a life, in particular, the one I have had for the past few years, despite its ups and downs and I don’t want someone to take it away from me. As a kind lady reassured me a couple of weeks ago…

I still have things to do on this earth and my time is not up.

The Daily Post – Fragile

The Frustration in Fighting for Peace and Justice.

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Try as I may, I am bundled up with frustration at the situation which we currently face.
Following on from the incidents of this week, as mentioned in my previous post The art of holding it together…. Or keeping calm in a crisis.(which is a bit of a long read)

I have been told that the man who tried to come and kill me has been released, whilst I was being told this, he arrived back to his own home opposite mine, at about 11pm shouting that he was back. I told this to the Police officer who was informing me, she sighed and said, “so he is already kicking off then.”

It is the sort of response that I would expect from a friend of family member, but again it seems the police are actually powerless to deal with this. They know exactly what they are dealing with here and yet they had to let him go on bail, because he said that he didn’t do it! As my friend put it quite succinctly, did they expect him to say, “Yes Officer, I am a complete arse, I cannot live or function in Society”

I found out yesterday, that he told the officer who questioned him that he had never spoken to me before, which was a complete lie but thus admitting in theory at least that he did on this occasion. They said that there was not enough evidence. I am pretty sure that in the three hours it took the police to actually find him and arrest him, he was able to return the knife he was carrying back into the kitchen drawer, only to remove it and come back over the road carrying it a further twice, but there was plenty of time.
They released him on bail, but did not apply any bail conditions, like staying away from me or my partner. I questioned this, since I had been told that he had been told not to come near or speak to either of us. The police officer said that he would have been told that, but it was not an actual condition of his bail. My question, “So there’s nothing to actually stop him doing that then” “No,” he replied.

The officer came to gather more information for the Crown Prosecution Service, who are now trying to build a case against him. The two witness statements given and a verbal statement to another officer were simply not enough for them. I offered two letters from a former neighbour which mention that he was taken into custody some time ago by riot squad for using knives, and had returned to his old ways he told me that they were not useful to this investigation. I was confused as they showed a previous history of violent behaviour involving knives from a further independent witness. I also mentioned the neighbour who confirmed for the policemen who attended that he had been throwing knives about whilst she had a conversation with us and shouting abuse at us, just after he attempted to run my partner down, just 2 weeks earlier.

The police officer forgot something when he left and returned moments later to collect it to find this man standing at our front gate, yelling abuse at my partner. Clearly the neighbour did not expect him to return. He searched him and cautioned him again and sent him back to his house telling him to stay on his side of the street and not come near this property. The ranting went on for a large part of the afternoon. I stayed indoors.

Yesterday early evening he was in his front garden, yelling across the street again and mimicking my partner walking about. Then standing in front of the house menacingly. He certainly had some acting skills, that man and seems to love a camera, he was acting up for it. He was also wearing a white chefs jacket in his new cunning disguise. Pieces of a puzzle, why would he have chefs whites you may ask, well if he was out of his garden with another kitchen knife, someone might mistake him for a chef.

Thankfully since he seems to have the thought pattern of a 17 year old and you can watch the cogs whirring, we are able to see things coming to a certain extent, but basically think of a set of circumstances put together with childlike thought and remain one step ahead at all times.

I again notified the council of this incident who I would have hoped had not got their hands firmly in their pockets on this occasion. However it seems that the fence they are sitting on is so far up their backsides that you cannot even see it. A local councillor who had previously promised to deal with the matter as mediator and to lend it some weight when this first began some seven weeks ago, has done nothing not been to see other victims and now feels he’d like to go and visit the man himself for a chat, telling me that there is compassionate feeling for his circumstances. In seven weeks, no-one has visited him yet and there is clearly absolutely no compassion for mine, or the other neighbours whom he has terrorised during this time or beforehand Well, I hope that the dear councillor takes a stab vest with him and I am sure that the neighbour will have his carer present, or perhaps the barrister that his mother provided to remove him from custody the other day. Most certainly he will play his part of meek and mild to the hilt, he will probably take his medication that day, wear smart clothes and wait until the councillor leaves the house and then he will go back to being the monster he has become. I only hope that they are not fooled for a minute, but fear that they will be completely taken in by the charade.

For him it is a fine game, which can be played day in, day out, night and day endlessly for as long as it takes by someone with far to much time on their hands. Meanwhile we cannot continue with our lives or get anything done. No preparation for a trip we were due to take in July and have yet to, since our days are taken up with dealing with the circumstances of his play, or the fallout from it. Does it all boil down to politics at the end of the day, since he is Special Needs. The response which I received from the councillor certainly led me to believe that.

The frustration I feel right now is so intense that I am wound like a clock. Suffering with Hypertension, you tend to know when you are about to become ill and I am about one step away. I am not sleeping properly, I am jumpy and cannot relax, my chest is fluttering and pounding and my heart rate is ten beats more than usual. I know this since the Dr asked me to check it before I left the surgery the other day. She is concerned and has prescribed me medication for acute anxiety. Although I would love the release of forgetting about what has happened and being able to relax. I cannot afford to let my guard down outside of the home. I am on higher alert than I was three days ago, when he was away. I am looking over my shoulder as I walk accompanied down the road. I would rather not leave the house at all, I only feel safe out in the car, to a certain level.

My home here is no longer a place of safety where I can sleep, relax and enjoy being. I crave the sanctuary of the Hill, somewhere I can take us both off to recharge our batteries and forget about the Trauma caused by this  Summer’s events. Or at least can gather my own thoughts into some semblance of order once again, without the domination of this person. I have the getaways so badly that I can taste it, but am powerless to get there. I have the offer to stay with friends, but a night away, would bring fear of what may have happened by my return, so I have declined thus far.

The other day, I was feeling an inner strength which I know is still deep down. I am digging deeply for it at the moment, trying to be strong and remembering that I have a voice and to make it heard. Surely one man cannot chase off a whole bunch of neighbours, well he has managed to terrorise them for months now. I do want to move, but I don’t want to be seen off and leave the other people around here to try and deal with it. They haven’t been able to before, if I have become a kind of ambassador for the local neighbours, then that may not be such a bad thing. To have someone fighting their corner for a change. We all want to be safe in our homes.

A couple of weeks ago, I repainted a bench in our garden.  It is there as a reminder, during the times when it feels so dark. It also sends a message to the whole neighbourhood. #LoveisStrongerthanHate Although I am finding it hard to love this particular neighbour after what he has inflicted upon us as a family, which is pain so deep and personal in a barrage of unprovoked attacks, by sharing some love amongst the rest of the community, we will become stronger.

I thought about asking my current landlords about moving me to another property as they did when I moved in here following a burglary carried out by my next door neighbour. But since this man’s mother has friends in high places who are giving her information, I know that I would not be safe there either, if he was not held in a secure unit he would come and find me, since he is not giving up. Also, I have asked myself the question who would want to move in here, I would have a duty to them to tell them that there was an issue with one or two of the neighbours, so who in their right mind would want to move to a place like this at the moment? Part of me would see this as defeat if I moved. Meanwhile, the torrent of foul abuse is launched upon me whenever I step out of the front door.

I don’t have the answer, I am begging them for something to be done. For this horror story to finish so that we can all get on with our lives, but at the moment I am stuck in limbo. I am unable to proceed and certainly not wanting to retreat. If I can hold my ground, I am in with a chance of survival.

The Daily Post – Recharge

Finding Inspiration in Unlikely Places.

I feel that if I were to face my fear and walk up to the door and knock on it, something interesting will happen.  The anticipation of the situation is eating away at me.  If I ignore the feeling that a strange or dangerous person may be hiding there, I might just get a nice surprise.

I have day-dreamed of the moment that I do that. Instead of passing the house which intrigues me so much.  It has been derelict for some years, for at least the five years that I have lived nearby.  It was once neat and tidy bungalow with a nice garden, but the lack of care means that you now cannot see the garden and the archway which once covered the front of the pathway has grown all the way along it, leaving a tunnel to the door.  It is in darkness, but someone has cut a walk through to the door.  I often drove past it on the way home and looked for lights and signs of life throughout the winter months when it grew dark early, there has been none.  There is an old camper van parked in the driveway, which has not turned a wheel during that time either.  In fact it has been there for so long that a grapevine has grown up around it over the top and when it overhangs the pavement, someone cuts the edges back and slings the pieces over the fence again.  You would barely notice what was stored behind what is now the makeshift hedge. The roof of the house is showing signs of damage, the odd loose slate here and there, the pointing around the chimney loose and the gutters hanging down in places.  You cannot see the windows at the front of the house. I would love to get in there and take a look.  It’s not one of those big old houses, which I loved to go and look at if we passed them on rides out in the car.  It’s just what was once someone’s home, probably built around the 1930’s.  My kind of era for houses.

I imagine that I will summon the courage and knock at the door one day.  That some elderly person will shuffle their way to the door and we will begin to talk.  They will not want to be rude or send me packing for disturbing their day.  I will offer help, perhaps to cut back the hedge for them and let some light return to their house if they would like that, or help them with getting some shopping maybe. I will listen to their stories and hear about their life. It might inspire me to write about them, in some future book.  I look for characters everywhere, inspiration in the strangest of places.  Meanwhile, we will walk the dog past the house as often as possible and dream of what is behind the front door, of how the garden looks, of what story it can tell me.

I think of the person who has left this place as it stands for so many years.  Maybe they have left and not returned, maybe they have been there all along, waiting for the knock at the door to find out if anyone will care.  Maybe I will brighten’s someone day by offering some form of comfort or help when they need it and show them some understanding. I hope that I will not be too late for them.

Time to knock at the door…

The Daily Post – Understanding

 

Having the Vision

Oh if I could have the vision to see, what in the future I could be.

The dreams of past failures gone, giving me strength to carry on.

Oh there would be the sense of delight, that courage inside would not take flight.

leaving me hiding in the dark, not out in the world to make my mark.

A chance of regained confidence, for this work some recompense.

 

 

The Daily Post – Vision