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First edition Copyright © Michael Evans & Lily Woodard 2008 Michael Evans & Lily Woodard have asserted their right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the authors of this book. This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition, including this condition, being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.
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FOREWORD Bereavement is universal, not so happiness. This tale tells of four people, Michael, Lily, Nancy and Charlie, describing their individual lives, highlighted against a background of war and peace, town and country, hope and despair. For 45 years Michael and Nancy lived a happy married life in the West Country, Michael serving in the R.A.F., later a magistrate, teacher and conservationist. Charlie an outgoing buoyant engineer, long happily married to Lily, who, emanating from London’s East End, progressed work-wise in fascinating ways, together experiencing life in many countries. The fates then struck. Nancy and Charlie passed away. The dark and gloomy shadow of bereavement, loneliness, solitariness, enveloped widower Michael and widow Lily. They suffered that sense of isolation, separation, that hurts and wounds, the lot of more and more in today’s demanding, impersonal world. Yet both adjusted, as they had to, helped by the knowledge that death is not the end, that the individual spirit survives in a wider and fuller consciousness. This book describes their faith and experiences in the revelations of Spiritualism, buttressed by their contact through mediums with their former spouses, and particularly by Michael’s dedicated circles and Rescue groups, succouring confused souls who had found no peace. The story tells much more. It tells of the search for companionship, of the gradual flowering of the bond of love between Michael and Lily and their eventual marriage, achieving a happiness neither had believed possible. They had journeyed through the dark days of loss into a brighter world of later joy. A surprising note is the close link that developed in the world of spirit between the two departed spouses, who gave their full and joyous blessing to the couple here below. This is an uplifting picture of the organic, steady growth of relationships, for human relationships, here, and beyond, are everything. All the rest is but commentary. I commend this admirably told personal story. We will all be bereaved, yet we all seek happiness. We have much to learn from the lives of these individuals who, facing the bleakness of bereavement, were yet finally blessed with the glowing rays of happiness. Aubrey Rose C.B.E. D.Univ.
THROUGH BEREAVEMENT TO HAPPINESS
Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments. Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds.
William Shakespeare Sonnet 116
Dedicated to our former spouses. Nancy and Charlie
Who changed our lives
Summary of contents Chapters Part I 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 In the Depths Lily Remembers The Message The First Three Months Paths Cross The Visits The Private Reading Unexpected Attentions Guiding Messages No Strings Attached After the Holiday Decision Introductions Topsham Wins The Wedding Prophecies Fulfilled Fifteen Years On 1 6 12 19 24 33 44 51 61 70 90 98 106 116 135 151 168
THROUGH BEREAVEMENT TO HAPPINESS
LOVE CONQUERS DEATH CHAPTER ONE IN THE DEPTHS Some miles apart were two people, each sitting alone, immersed in the pain of their grief. One was Michael Evans, a tall, retired schoolteacher of 69 years, who had recently lost his wife Nancy. He sat in the small terrace house in a narrow street leading down to the River Exe in Devon. He was thinking back over his life while a black and white collie dog watched him from its usual position on the green settee. Eighteen miles away, Lily Woodard sat in the living room of her ancient granite house with its pillared facade, known to every visitor to the small Dartmoor town. She, too, had recently lost her husband, the helpful, cheerful, everlaughing Charlie, liked and admired by so many. Lily, too, was thinking back over her life, lost in her grief after so many years of happy marriage. Neither of them had any idea how their lives would cross in the years ahead. For Michael the pain of grief was still keen after three months of bereavement. Although he and Nancy had become Spiritualists, twelve years before, and were convinced of the existence of an afterlife, the loss of his lifelong companion was no less keenly felt. The empty house, the empty chair, the empty bed, shouted their owner's complete and final absence. The dog too, he thought, pined for her absent mistress. 1
This evening, as a bittersweet occupation, he had assembled photographs of the various stages of their family life. There were wedding photos, snaps of the children in the various stages of growing up; reminders of family holidays, first with children, then with the children and their children; and always Nancy, the lively, caring, encouraging mother and grandmother in the pictures he chose. He sat thinking about her life. A childhood attack of endocarditis when she was ten had begun to affect her again in her sixties. For the last ten years, gradually increasing heart pains had limited her speed of movement; she, who when young, had walked so fast that she passed ordinary walkers as though she was on skates. When they first met, he had been an RAF Sergeant Instructor, taking officer cadets on daily route marches, yet he had had to exert himself to keep up with her on their country walks. To the end, she had never given in. Only the previous year, helped by grandchildren, she had climbed to the top of Hembury, a local hill fort, in slow stages, stopping to admire the view a dozen times, as she waited for the angina pains to subside. In the last three days, in spite of sleepless nights, she had kept up, cooking meals for them both and their grandchild, Kathleen, who came to lunch. On the last day, a lovely sunny day, they had driven their older grandson to Crediton, to take an art examination. On the way there, she had said to him, ‘If I die, Tim, I’m going to sort out this communication business!’ On their return she had insisted on cooking lunch. At half-past eight that evening, she had said, ‘I’ve had enough! I want to be out of my body. I'm going to bed.’ She had slowly climbed the stairs for the last time, pausing for breath at every stair. He had followed her up and lain on the bed, fully clothed, holding her hand as they talked. By half-past 2
ten, nothing would stop the attacks of angina, and he rang the doctor's emergency number. The call was diverted to a locum, who came quickly, gave her an injection and called an ambulance. Nancy had been perfectly clear-headed throughout, more so than Michael, who had a sense of impending calamity. In spite of an ambulance 'strike', one soon appeared, and the strong, capable, uniformed men, wrapped the patient in blankets and carried her to the waiting ambulance. He had followed by car with her ready-packed case of things needed for a hospital stay. For an hour and a half he had waited anxiously outside the resuscitation room. What was happening? Why such a wait? ‘Would you like to see your wife for a minute?’ a nurse asked, coming out of the resuscitation room. Good, he could see her! Perhaps all was well. He nodded and followed her. In the room were two doctors and two nurses, who appeared to be waiting, apparently doing nothing. Nancy was sitting up on a trolley, conscious, her breathing laboured under an oxygen mask. ‘A glass of water,’ she managed to mouth at him and he quickly brought one. He lifted the mask and she took a sip. ‘Oxygen makes me dry,’ she whispered. ‘I think you had better go now,’ said the nurse, and once again he was outside, waiting; waiting, in the bare empty corridor-come waiting room. Was she going to make it, he wondered? She was not afraid of death, he knew, and would hate being an invalid. But they might yet do some medical magic and restore her to health again. After half an hour, the lady doctor came out. ‘Would you come and sit here a minute,’ she said, and then, 3
'I'm afraid she did not make it. The heart was too bad! There was nothing we could do!’ The terrible finality of the words rang in his head like a bell. 'Didn't make it! Didn't make it’. So she had gone, his life's companion had gone. ‘Would you like to see her?’ the doctor asked. Without speaking, he nodded and followed her through to a small side room. Nancy's body was lying there, looking completely at rest in the nightgown she had left home in. But clearly Nancy, the vibrant, sensitive, articulate Nancy had gone and left behind the body she no longer needed. She simply wasn't there. Half doubtfully, Michael addressed a few words into the air, words of blessing and encouragement, as she entered the new life he hoped she would now find. ‘Would you like to sit down and have some tea?’ said a nurse, her eyes full of sympathy. He was appreciative, but said, ‘No thank you! I must get back.’ Driving home in the car, with the case of unused belongings, he had remembered how, many years before, they had discussed death and parting, and he had said he would like to see her, 'safely off’, when the time came. Well he had done it! Whatever loss and grief he now faced, it was better this way. He had his health and more resources than she would have had, had he gone first. His pension would have died with him, and she was in no state, with a failing heart, to be left alone to cope.
Charlie and Lily married on 23.12.1939
Michael and Nancy married on 1.6.1944
CHAPTER TWO LILY REMEMBERS In Moretonhampstead, Lily, too, was thinking back over her eventful life and the many crises she had had to face. Brought up in London's East End, she had trained in office work at Clark's College and, at sixteen, she was abroad, working in Switzerland for a German typewriter firm. Her ultra-high speed typing had won her the job as a demonstration typist, going to a. number of exhibitions on the Continent. She had fallen completely in love with Switzerland, its lakes, mountains and picturesque houses. People had said she was beautiful. She only knew they were kind to her, and admired her ability and adventurousness. After her experience, growing up in grimy London, the sunshine and flowers of Switzerland seemed like heaven on earth. She felt completely at home there and had no desire to return to London. But then the blow fell. War with Germany loomed. She was offered a job in Switzerland, but she knew she was needed at home and, reluctantly, she had finished her last exhibition and travelled back across a rapidly arming Europe to get home before the inevitable war began. Then she had had to look for work at home. Taken on as secretary to the managing director of a typewriter firm, she had been suddenly directed to work instead on inspection in the factory, now making nothing but munitions of war. The near hysteria among the men in the factory, at the advent of the very first female worker, was tempered by the kindness of the Chief Inspector, Charlie Woodard. Soon she had vied with the men inspectors in her speed of work. She had been determined to show them she 6
could cope, although the smell of oil and hot metal was quite alien to her nature, and 8a.m. to 8p.m. seemed very long hours. In the end, with bombs falling nightly, she had married Charlie. When he was directed to leave the firm to be an engineer in Betteshanger Colliery, she was appointed Chief Inspector in his place, working as everyone did, twelve hours a day, five days a week, and ten hours on Saturdays and Sundays, so that shopping, even for scanty rations, became almost impossible. All their lives, she and Charlie had worked hard. She had been the one small enough to go through the hollow metal pipes of the, ‘Pipe Line Under the Ocean,’ checking for flaws. These were parts for the device, code named, 'Pluto', which, hanging from floats, but submerged beneath the waves, carried vast amounts of fuel across the channel to supply the Allied invasion army with petrol. After the war, with her father ill and penniless, she and Charlie had taken both her parents with them into the many successive homes they had acquired in their ever changing lives, and always enough money had to be found to meet her parents' needs as well as their own. She had worked with Charlie in a succession of jobs. Together they had run a farm with 600 head of cattle. Later Charlie became a leading plastics engineer, involved in making specialist one-off structures, such as the dome for a cathedral in Nigeria, radar scanner dishes, cowlings for the cameras photographing atomic explosions, and the car bodies for Lotus Cars. She, too, had worked in plastics and had her own papers published on plastics design. When Charlie fell ill in Chile, far from medical help, she had flown out alone to Arica, a remote place on the borders of Peru, Bolivia and Chile, where the only 7
medicines available were herbs bought from a local native stall. In the end Charlie had recovered and set up a factory production line to make reinforced glass fibre bodies for British Leyland ‘Minis’, the world-beating small car of its day The glass fibre bodies were so beautifully finished by the native workers, that they had all been justifiably proud of them, especially as they were rust proof and could outlast steel bodies. When they left, the Ambassador had said farewell and presented Charlie with the hand-made, leathercovered table of Aztec design, she still had upstairs. Always, together, they had survived crises. First her father had died, leaving her to give up work to look after her now senile, almost blind mother. After 10 years of that struggle, and her own illness that followed, she had gradually recovered and developed her own hobby of machine knitting, so that she had shown her wares at craft exhibitions. They had been local affairs not like the huge plastics exhibitions that she and Charlie had attended on the continent where, for a few days of luxury, they had stayed in some of the best hotels in Europe. But this last tragedy was much the worst she had ever encountered. At first things had gone well. After months of illness and hospital visits, Charlie had been declared fit by the doctor at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital and they had set out for home. The route back from the hospital to their home at Mortonhampstead was, in summer, one of the prettiest in Devon. With hundreds of bends, and new views revealed by every twist and turn of the way, the narrow road to Dartmoor was loved by tourists. On this day the 22nd December, the wind was blowing a gale, the rain had been torrential, floods were everywhere, and they were relieved when they finally 8
arrived home, feeling very joyful about the hospital report. Soon they knew the roads would be impassable. Once home, Lily realised that urgent letters had not been posted. As, 'Lucky,’ the Jack Russell dog, had not had her walk, Lily braved the wind and rain to walk with her to the post office, a quarter of a mile away. As she walked, a sudden, vivid flash of lightning surprised her and frightened the dog. As the dog pulled in fear, she lost her balance and fell on the granite kerb, and then into the road. She heard bones break in her arm as she landed. Fearfully she had managed to regain her feet, still clutching the dog's lead in the hand of her good arm. She was streaming with muddy water and her first thought had been to wonder whether she could hide her injury and act normally to avoid upsetting Charlie who had been so ill. Then she realised her muddy clothes could not be hidden. She was still trembling from the shock and a little afraid, as she knew the road back to the hospital would now be impassable. Charlie had, for many years, been a member of St. John's Ambulance Brigade. Soon her wet clothes were peeled off and the movements of her wrist and fingers checked. Charlie placed the injured arm in a sling. She had said nothing of the breaks she could feel in the upper arm and shoulder. Within a few hours she noticed that from the fingertips to the shoulder, her arm had turned black. The next day had been her birthday. She had tried to ignore the pain in her arm and, with Charlie's help, she baked a cake and prepared meals. Later they had risked taking the car to deliver Christmas presents they had ready for friends and neighbours. When they arrived home again, Charlie had happened to see her blackened arm. ‘Look at that arm,’ he had said, ‘that’s the worst I've 9
seen in all my time with St. John’s.’ Although they were now retired, their lives were still so busy that they had decided to have a quiet Christmas. With one arm, and Charlie's help, she had cooked a Christmas lunch. After the meal, they had sat quietly, except for making and receiving phone calls from friends far and wide. Charlie was a healer and had many patients who relied on his visits and with whom he liked to keep in touch. On Boxing Day morning, Lily had decided to see if she could get her damaged arm into a cardigan. Charlie was sitting in his chair with the Jack Russell, as usual, draped around his neck. Ever since she was a puppy, she had loved to lie like this on Charlie's broad shoulders. As Lily prepared to go upstairs, he caught her hand and said. ‘We'll make up for this when all is better.’ A few minutes later, Lily had heard the 'phone ringing, ringing. She wondered why Charlie didn't answer it. The 'phone was still ringing as she came downstairs and Charlie was sitting in the chair, looking very white. Her first thought was that he had fainted. With one arm she started to put his head down but realised she could not support his weight if she did so. Then there was a terrible realisation! Suddenly she knew there was nothing she could do. He was dead! Charlie the tireless, always cheerful Charlie was dead! A lifetime of hidden bitterness, for all the many things that had gone wrong in the past, swept over her. She begged him not to leave her at Christmas, and just when she needed him most. After a while she grew calmer. She 'phoned the doctor but she knew nothing could be done. He came within minutes, only to confirm what she already knew. All her life she had to brace herself to face disaster. After the first flood of tempestuous tears, she felt strong enough to do what had to be done. 10
‘It's all right to grieve you know,’ the doctor had said, as he kindly put an arm on her good shoulder. Somehow she had turned off her tumultuous emotions and she heard herself say, ‘If they needed him there, more than I needed him here, at Christmas, it must have been necessary, I'll cope somehow.’ She heard the doctor reply, ‘What a wonderful way to look at it - but what's wrong with your arm?’ She had explained briefly about the fall. He examined the arm and pronounced it broken in three places but the sling had been put on properly and there was not much more he could do. Two days later, another doctor had called and brought the death certificate. ‘You know where we are if you want us.’ he said, and departed into the gale that was still blowing.
CHAPTER THREE A MESSAGE Michael had now assembled his chosen photographs on a piece of backing card. He had found an old picture frame, inserted the photos, and hung it on the wall where he could see it from his armchair. His mind went back to that black day in November when Nancy had left him. She had died at 1 a.m. on Thursday the 30th. He had driven home, quickly walked the dog, and gone to bed at about 2.30 a.m. The next day was a blur of activity, 'phone calls, and lists of things to be done. When he told people the news, their distress triggered his own and his tears had flowed unchecked. They were a natural relief to the pain within. On the Friday morning he had a memorable 'phone call. A member of the local Spiritualist Church, of which he was secretary, rang him. ‘Hello Michael.’ ‘Yes?’ 'Just to let you know what happened last night'. 'Yes, what was that?' The speaker was Jean, a clairvoyant and healer. 'We were saying prayers at the end of evening healing in the church when I got a message.’ 'Yes?' 'It was from Mrs Burbidge, a well-known Spiritualist of years ago. She just said this: ‘DON'T WORRY. I AM LOOKING AFTER NANCY!’ I thought you'd like to know.’ He managed to say, ‘Thank you. That's marvellous. Thank you very much!’ Although, as a Spiritualist, Michael was quite 12
accustomed to receiving messages from those who had passed on, this had not always been the case. Originally a scientifically minded agnostic, only a severe injury to his spine which orthodox medicine could not cure, had brought him in despair into a Spiritualist Church for healing. In the church, a young man who had not actually touched him, but had held his hands over the affected part, had healed him in ten minutes. He and Nancy had been so impressed by the healing, and the fact that he could, resume his teaching career, that they had started to attend the services at the church. At first Michael had sat listening to the messages passed to various members of the congregation with a sceptical attitude. He could not believe that the dead were not finally extinguished and gone. Yet, as detailed evidence piled up and his mother, father and brother came through with characteristic and evidential messages, he had finally given in and accepted that there was a life after death in a new dimension and communication was possible. But would Nancy be able to get a message through? The message from Jean had given him a glimmer of hope, a hope that was to be fulfilled beyond anything he would have imagined possible. Both he and Nancy had been members of meditation groups. One had been held in their home for some years and another was held at the house of a friend, a nurse, who was also a medium. Because of this they had a number of friends with varying degrees of psychic ability. He had started 'phoning members of the meditation group with the sad news. When he rang Sheila, she was sympathetic but not altogether surprised. Within half an hour she rang him back. 'I was just coming out of the shower,' she said, 'when I heard Nancy's voice clearly asking me to give you a 13
message. It was this: ‘PLEASE TELL MICHAEL NOT TO FORGET THE CHRISTMAS PRESENTS FOR THE GRANDCHILDREN IN THE TOP CUPBOARD OF THE LIVING ROOM. ALSO THAT SOME LITTLE BITS OF JEWELLERY THAT WOULD COMFORT LITTLE KATHLEEN, ARE IN A BAG IN THE CABINET BY THE HATCH.' ‘Thank you! Thank you!’ he said. ‘Did you see her?’ ‘No, I just heard her voice in my head. I couldn't mistake her voice. She sounded fine’. With this message, so characteristic of Nancy, new light began to dawn in the dark despair of Michael's grief. Nancy had come through, incredibly, within two days of passing! When his granddaughter, Kathleen, came later that afternoon, after crying for hours at home, she went straight to the cabinet by the hatch and took out the little bag of jewellery she had always loved to play with when she visited her granny. Her tears ceased as she sat quietly in the corner, fingering the well-known bits of family jewellery. In spite of all he had to do, Michael felt drawn to go to the Saturday meeting at the Spiritualist Church, where two new mediums were to take the service, They were Victor and Barbara Kear-Morgan from Bath. In the final part of the service, Barbara came directly to him and said: ‘I HAVE A LOVELY LADY HERE. SHE WAS A VERY CARING SOUL WHO THOUGHT OF EVERYONE BEFORE HERSELF. SHE WANTED TO DO SO MUCH, BUT WAS TOLD SHE MUST STOP AND HAVE SOME REST AND PEACE. SHE SAYS THE SAME MUST APPLY TO YOU! YOU MUST HAVE SOME REST AND PEACE. SHE SENDS YOU DEEP LOVE!’ 14
This message from a complete stranger had rung so true that he felt a fresh surge of hope and gratitude. The feelings of love and thankfulness almost overwhelmed him. He longed to tell his family and friends the news. He had always carefully recorded messages and now this one was noted down. The following day, longing to hear more news, he had arranged to go to the three o'clock service at the church, with Sheila, who had always been close to Nancy. Towards the end of the service, Victor, the medium came to him with a message about his life going straight ahead, but nothing was said about Nancy. As the service ended, he had felt disappointed, having had such a clear message the day before. Sheila, a psychic, who had sat on his left during the service, looked delighted. ‘Why the smiles?’ He said, ‘I'VE HAD NANCY SITTING BESIDE ME DURING THE SERVICE’, she said, 'THIS TIME SHE WAS QUITE CLEAR. SHE SAID THAT YOU WOULD GET THE NEXT MESSAGE BUT ONE, WHICH YOU DID, AND THAT YOU HAD TWO PAIRS OF SOCKS ON.’ That morning he had been busy, as Nancy had requested, clearing out all her clothes from a chest of drawers, to send to a refugee camp abroad. He had been quite alone in the house, as he thought, when he came across a brand new pair of dark socks in her drawer and, as it was a very cold day, he had put them on over his own short socks. No one could have known this because the inner socks were quite invisible. It came to him with great force that Nancy had watched him put them on. His heart leapt as he thought of 15
her presence there in the room as he worked to carry out her suggestion about the clothes. So she had been that close! In spite of his grief, he suddenly, strangely, felt lucky. He had no mediumistic powers himself and if this had happened to them years ago, when he knew nothing of these matters, he would have had no way of hearing from her or indeed, any ray of hope in his bereavement. Nancy's messages continued to come. A few days later, another gifted friend, Valerie, a medical secretary, sent him a beautifully typed account of her messages from Nancy. It said that on Monday 4th December, she had been meditating at home, when she distinctly heard Nancy's familiar voice saying, ‘HELLO VALERIE! HOW ARE YOU? THERE'S NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT, YOU KNOW, IT WAS SO EASY! I JUST SORT OF SLIPPED OUT!' Then, after a pause, ‘I'M REALLY QUITE LOOKING FORWARD TO THURSDAY.’ Thursday was to be the day of the funeral when she would see many of her family and friends gathered together. The typed account went on, 'It was during the funeral that I heard Nancy's voice again. She said, ‘HELLO VALERIE! I'M GLAD YOU COULD COME!’ then, stronger than ever, as we were singing the 23rd Psalm, ‘ISN'T IT FUNNY? HERE I AM AND HALF THE PEOPLE DON'T EVEN KNOW IT’. The note continued, 'Nancy sounded so bright and cheerful and amused by it all that I nearly laughed out loud.' The account went on to say that, the next, day, Valerie had been ill in bed, not thinking of anything in particular, when she heard Nancy's voice again, ‘HELLO VALERIE! HOW ARE YOU TODAY?’ Then they had a long conversation together, which she could 16
not remember in detail, but when she asked her, what it was like for her, she answered, ‘LOVELY! PEACE! NO PAIN!’ and she gave the impression that there would be quite a lot more communication in the future. Later, Valerie had typed out what she had already partly described to Michael and the rest of the group. The meditation group had met again for the first time after the funeral on December 18th. At first Valerie had wondered if Nancy would, 'come through' again, but nothing happened. Then she heard Nancy's voice in her head, more strongly than ever, saying, ‘IT'S MUCH BETTER WHEN YOU DON'T TRY SO HARD!’ She told Valerie that she had been around the group. ‘I PUT MY ARMS AROUND MICHAEL; I DON'T KNOW IF HE KNEW. THEN I STOOD IN 'MY PLACE’ BEFORE MOVING ON TO BRETT. TELL HIM I LIKE HIS JUMPER!’ Valerie then felt Nancy come to her and put her arms around her. She wrote, ‘Words can't even begin to describe the feeling of love and caring warmth that enveloped me. I was completely surrounded by all this incredible feeling, and I just, could not physically or mentally cope with it for more than a few seconds and I broke down in tears. All I can say is, if that was a glimpse or insight into the feeling of love and joy that awaits us all, Nancy must be so happy now.’ Michael read the beautifully typed sheets again and again with a full heart. He then stored them carefully away with his other records. When, earlier on, he had called at the surgery for the death certificate, the duty doctor had said, 'You must expect the usual stages of grief to affect you. You will, at times, experience loss, anger, depression, even 17
resentment, before you can accept your wife's death calmly.' He had hesitated before replying. The doctor was busy as he was himself. Should he take time to explain? He knew he must face loneliness and loss from now on, but he was buoyed up by a warm feeling of wonder and gratitude for the way events were unfolding. He decided not to bother but just to thank him and get on with all the necessary things he had to settle in this new bleak phase of his life.
CHAPTER FOUR THE FIRST THREE MONTHS Lily's profound emotions had remained almost completely suppressed. She was in a state of shock. She felt totally alone. She now had no family, no near close friends, no means of transport. Charlie had been the driver in any case and she would have no money now to run a car. Charlie was a healer, and had innumerable friends, and she now had to break the news to them. They could not believe that the cheerful laughing man had gone. Many of his healing patients had spoken to him only 24 hours before and they wept at the news that he was gone, never to cheer or heal them again. Their tears had added to her own feelings of loss and isolation. A healer friend, Margaret, offered to come and stay as Lily could not cope with the lively terrier and needed help to do so many ordinary things with only one good arm. Margaret stayed for a month but as she had just lost the use of her own car through a road accident, Lily had to rely on Charlie's friends to ferry her on essential journeys. Eunice, a practical and kindly woman, drove her to the crematorium where an amazing crowd of mourners had come to say 'goodbye’ to Charlie. Eunice, who had hardly known Lily before, was later to become a devoted friend and helper. Lily found it hard to describe the emotions she felt at that time. She could not cry and suffered no apparent grief during the service, which, although simple, had emphasised the devotion so many people felt for Charlie who had spent his life helping others. Something inside her had told her that all would be well and it was no use worrying about how she was to manage. There were many problems, she knew. 19
Could she manage to stay in the large house that they rented? Could she cope with the large productive garden they had worked together? How would she manage financially? Somehow, she felt a solution would be found, and she concentrated on the immediate tasks, all of which took longer than usual because of her damaged arm. The first three months after the funeral had been a dreadfully sad time. She missed Charlie so much as they had always worked together and shared everything. In the garden there were precious plants she had moved from house to house over the years as well as new fruit trees needing attention. ‘Lucky,’ the Jack Russell, had spent hours lying on the wide windowsill of the ancient house, looking out for her beloved master's return. A brown terrier, she had gone white around her mouth with the shock of Charlie's death. Lily and Charlie had been Spiritualists for some years. The thought that tormented her was, ‘How could Charlie contact her?’ He had never gone anywhere in fifty years without saying 'Goodbye.' She knew he wouldn't be happy until he had explained to her what had happened. She also feared that unless she could go back to church and meet people soon, she might not ever have the courage to go again with Charlie gone. The weather had been appalling in January and February and she felt unsettled in the old house on her own with the gale whistling round the huge chimneys. She longed to go to church to see if she would get a message from Charlie. She had often had messages there from departed friends. Surely Charlie would be able to come through. At last on 25th February, Margaret, who now had a car, came to drive her the eighteen miles to her Spiritualist Church. The medium taking the service did give her a 20
message but she did not mention Charlie. The message was, ‘Don’t worry! All will be well. Don't be pressed into signing anything without careful thought. Enjoy the flowers.’ As she had received many presents of flowers, this seemed quite evidential, and to the point, but it was not what she had hoped for. On March 4th she was again taken to church and this time she did get a message from Charlie through a visiting medium from Exeter called John Greene. He said, 'Charlie is here and he says look to August next year for a special happening. He has been sitting beside you and knows you have been very depressed. You must take care of your knee. You must look after yourself and not so much others. He says he had not been able to get his breath. He sends his love.' This was an answer to the question she had been so concerned about. Had he suffered and why had he not called out? It was true that, years ago, she had injured her knee falling in a milking parlour at the farm and it did give her trouble. This message lifted her spirits and gave hope of further contact. Her days passed reasonably well. A stream of visitors, phone calls and letters kept her busy. Ever since she had spent two years as a solicitor's clerk, she had had an interest in legal and social matters and she often acted as a kind of Citizen's Advice Bureau to people baffled by bureaucratic forms or injustice. She had helped several people, including Margaret, to claim compensation after suffering injury and loss in an accident. These affairs, and the long garden, occupied her days, but she felt as though she was in a dream, waiting for some unknown thing to happen. The nights were unsettling. The house was very old; parts of it dated back to 1485. She and Charlie had worked 21
happily bringing the dilapidated building up to its present liveable state, but the whole place groaned and creaked in the winter storms as the winds battered the thatch. One night, a horde of mysterious creatures had run to and fro over her bedroom ceiling, while others had run about in the two-foot gap between her bedroom floor and the ceiling of the living room below. The sound of the scurrying of innumerable feet, and the squealing of the creatures above and below, terrified the little dog that was normally a determined hunter. She cowered in fear at this visitation while Lily passed a sleepless night, wondering what animals they could possibly be to make such a noise. They never returned and she never found out what they were but with a ladder and Eunice's help, she managed to put poisoned bait into the roof space. In this roof space were layers of accumulated dust and debris. It was the smoke blackened beams beneath the thatch that first proved to the historians of the National Trust that the roof had been in use in the days before houses had chimneys, many centuries ago. On Sunday 11th March, Margaret came to spend the day with her and take her to church. The speaker, a tall bespectacled man called Michael Evans, mentioned his own recent loss of his wife and described briefly some communications he had already had from her. He also read from a book a passage that brought deep feelings welling to the surface in Lily, so that, although she longed to speak to him and ask him the name and author of the book, she was too choked with emotion to speak. She wondered, too, how he could hide his own grief so well. Lily knew she could not possibly have spoken publicly so soon after her loss. The passage in the book stayed in her mind so persistently that eventually she felt she must trace it. She found Mr Evans’ phone number and asked him for details of 22
the book. Three days later, to her surprise, a parcel arrived in the post. It was the book, 'Testimony of Light'. A note said: ‘I thought you'd like to have the book quickly-it may be some time before you can buy it. Best wishes, Michael Evans.’ On 17th March, for no particular reason, something urged her to bake for the first time since Charlie's death. Soon she had fruitcake, sponges and biscuits cooling, ready to put into tins. She decided to cheer herself up by changing from her old gardening clothes into something more presentable. As she came down stairs again, wondering how she would ever eat all the things she had baked, now she was on her own, there was a knock at the door.
CHAPTER FIVE PATHS CROSS Like other bereaved people, Michael had periods when he felt lost and unhappy. When he came home there was no one to speak to. If an interesting thing happened, there was no one to share it with. When a problem arose there was no one to discuss it with. At the supermarket, where they had always shopped together, he had to brace himself to face going in alone, and often he would think, for a moment, that he saw Nancy's familiar figure pushing a trolley at the end of an aisle, waiting for him. On the recreation ground, where he exercised his dog, she, too, would rush up to anyone looking like Nancy, asking them to throw her ball for her. Yet, compared with most bereaved people, he still felt he was fortunate. He attended the same friendly groups that they had both belonged to. He had a car and sufficient income for his needs. His duties as church secretary occupied him, and brought him into human contact with members of the committee and congregation. For some years he had taken services, together with a medium, in various churches in Devon and Cornwall, and he also gave talks on both Spiritualism and Conservation at various centres in the West Country. Strangely enough, for a man, he quite enjoyed housework, shopping and cooking. He knew that Nancy had a fear that left on his own, he might do as a neighbour had done when widowed, and slide into an untidy and unhygienic squalor. For this reason, he enjoyed being meticulous with housework, especially as he could listen to his favourite tapes or radio programmes as he worked. On March 11th, he was due to go with the medium, 24
Marian Bellfield, to take a service at a Church some ten miles away. Later that week, a lady rang him to ask the name of the book he had read from during the service. The book was, ‘Testimony of Light,’ by Helen Greaves, and he gave her the details over the 'phone. The lady, Lily Woodard, explained that she had been too overcome by emotion, because of her own recent loss, to be able to approach him for the details after the service, Michael put down the 'phone and stood thinking. He knew it would be many weeks before she would get the book from the publishers and she sounded in real need. On an impulse he picked up his copy of the book and posted it to her, finding her address from the 'phone book. A few days later he received a letter of thanks. Enclosed were stamps to the value of those used to post the book. On March 17th the day was sunny and Michael's grandchildren who lived nearby had started their school holiday. He knew the two boys had talked of exploring the old disused railway line, which ran from Bovey Tracey to Mortonhampstead. The boys were aged 13 and 15 and still willing to go with an adventure-loving grandfather. When he suggested the expedition, they jumped at the idea and, with two collie dogs; they were soon travelling through the beautiful Devonshire countryside in his old Audi car. After stopping and studying the one-inch map, they found a small turning leading to the old railway line. The spirit of adventure gripped the boys and they ran about ahead of Michael, exploring and exclaiming at abandoned equipment on the deserted line. Primroses, periwinkles and early daffodils surrounded all the old signals, dilapidated bridges and rusting machinery. Full of excitement at every new find, the boys rushed on and on, with the dogs at their heels, but time were passing and, at last, they agreed to 25
return to the car. As they got in and began to negotiate the narrow lanes, the idea came to Michael that they were near Mortonhampstead and he could call on the lady who had asked about the book. Asking directions, he found his way to the old granite-pillared home and knocked at the door. A dog barked and a lady holding a Jack Russell terrier in her arms opened the door. She had an enquiring look on her intelligent, lively face. ‘Excuse me’, he said, 'I’m Michael Evans. I sent you the book and I've called to see if you liked it.’ A smile lit up the lady's face. ‘Won't you come in?’ she asked. ‘I can't stop’, he replied, ‘I'm afraid I've got two grandsons in the car and two dogs’. ‘Bring the boys in’, she said, ‘Will the dogs be all right in the car? Only I've got this one’. She nodded at the terrier, enthusiastically trying to welcome him with a pink tongue. ‘Oh yes’, he replied, 'they are tired out from a long walk. They'll be all right.’ Soon Michael and the two boys were seated at a table in the white-walled living room. Flowers were all around them on the wide windowsills of the ancient house, and they could see others in the back garden through the small paned windows. The lady provided tea and a lavish assortment of cakes and biscuits. The visitors soon realised that their hostess must be an exceptional cook. Everything they were offered looked professionally perfect and tasted delicious. Although signs of strain and grief were visible in her face, Lily entertained the boys with tales of her adventurous life, especially the episodes in the high Andes Mountains of South America. Andrew, the younger boy, said, 26
‘You ought to write a book, it's so interesting!’ ‘I've often thought of it,’ she said, ‘and I'm collecting material for it.’ After looking around the large garden, the visitors went on their way with expressions of thanks for such a welcome tea. Driving home, Michael thought with interest of the fascinating house and the interesting lady. He could see that behind the hospitality and cheerfulness lay a deep sadness, steadfast endurance and many pressing problems. He had a feeling that something important had happened which he could not put his finger on. It had stirred something deep inside him. Was it interest, compassion? He did not know. Michael's life became busier and busier. Although he was content to work in the house or garden in the day, he felt a strong desire to leave the emptiness of the house in the evening and visit friends or sit in the meditation groups he and Nancy had been members of. Doing this he felt less lonely and at the back of his mind was always the hope that a psychic friend would bring him news of Nancy. He had arranged for Nancy's sister, Betty, who had come to help him when her sister died, to come and stay. The oldest of the three sisters, she was as lively and energetic as a twenty-year old and still took part in archaeological excavations. History and archaeology were her hobbies and he knew she would be interested in the ancient house in Mortonhampstead. He telephoned Lily and asked permission to bring Betty on a visit. Lily invited them to tea and told them the story of the old granite building, which had been a monastery and a hospital at different periods and was now owned by The National Trust, from whom she rented it. She explained how she and Charlie, working together, had installed the bathroom and central 27
heating and reclaimed the garden, abandoned for so many years. A gardener herself, Betty took a keen interest in the varieties of clematis and roses, the bullace, fig and mulberry trees and the many kinds of soft fruit bushes, A week later Michael called again with the two boys, Andy and Tim, after walking on Dartmoor. They were given refreshments but the visit could not be a long one as a friend had arrived to take Lily to a service at her church and there was not enough time for conversation as before. Partly because of grief, Michael kept as busy as ever. After nineteen years on the local bench, he had retired early from duties as a magistrate in order to be with Nancy. He was however, still chairman of a conservation society and a member of the County Conservation Forum. He felt the remedy for grief was to keep busy, to seek company and, where possible, to help others who were worse off than he was. Although now retired from teaching, he was chairman of the Board of Governors of a local school and he still kept in touch with children, teachers, and the new Education Reform Acts, concerning which, new information arrived nearly every week. His grandson, Tim, was very interested in reincarnation and Buddhism. Michael had been taking him to weekly meetings at a local farmhouse where a form of regression known as Psycho-expansion was taught. Nancy had, earlier, been to some of the sessions and had had remarkable experiences of what seemed like previous lives. Tim, too, could sometimes experience these other lives. Michael continued to go to the weekly sessions with Tim, although he was never very convinced by his own experiences. Often he felt as though he was creating the scenes he saw, in order to have something to enter in his notebook. 28
What was certainly remarkable was the variety and detail of the scenes that appeared in his mind's eye. Far more than he could imagine or visualise in a waking state in six minutes. Only two memories seemed to him to be really convincing, in that they were unexpected and so startlingly vivid that he never forgot them. One appeared when he was asked to go to the year 1130 A.D. He felt he was a baby of about six months, lying on his mother's lap. The room was dark and gloomy, his mother smelt far from clean and his father, standing dark and bearded nearby, seemed to tower so high above them both that he was almost out of sight. He knew his mother loved him but there was some disagreement between his mother and the tall man which he sensed but could not understand. Another vivid memory was of being a girl of thirteen, wearing her best frock with puffed sleeves while sitting alone in the parlour of a farmhouse. As the girl, he knew that outside the door was the passage leading to the big farm kitchen. The year was about 1780 A.D. and she was looking out of the small-paned windows at the men working in her father's fields. She was wondering what the men were like at home to their children and wives, for, she thought, ' I don't really know any other men except my father.’ Convincing or not, the sessions were interesting and the atmosphere in the house was serene and comforting. Both the owner and the teacher were practising healers and the loving atmosphere could be felt on entering the gardens even before entering the farmhouse. One day he had a 'phone call. Both the leaders would be away, lecturing, and the Friday session would have to be cancelled - unless perhaps, Michael would agree to take it. He had a moment of doubt. Could he do it? Certainly he knew the procedure and the music required. There was no hypnotism involved, 29
only suggestion. There was a big book of exercises together with the ‘count down’ wording. Yes he would do it, or at least he would have a try. Eight people were gathered for the session, including Tim. After introductions and completing the record book, Michael went through the usual procedure they all knew, with it's warning that they could cut short any unpleasant experiences and return at once to the here and now. He started the gentle music and fought against the temptation to obey his own instructions and go to 1200 A.D. After seven minutes he recalled them and switched off the music. They all began to write busily in their notebooks, recording their experiences. Had he managed to regress them then? After another ten minutes, when nearly all had finished writing, he asked each in turn, if they were willing, to describe what they had experienced. The first lady, a gentle, quiet soul, recalled vividly a life in which she had been a man, the leader of a nomadic group of hunter-gathers on some dry, hot scrubland, possibly in Africa. The man had seven wives and twenty-seven children. He affected not to care for the children; that was women's business. He thought of himself as masculine, a leader and hunter but secretly, he dearly loved one child, a little disabled boy with a sweet nature. The man knew he was growing old and might die and he was very concerned as to whether his oldest son and head wife would remember to carry out the exact details of his funeral ceremony, which, he felt, were vitally important to his future in the life beyond death. The lady then experienced the man's death and his viewing of his own funeral, and she felt his satisfaction as the ceremony was carried out precisely as he wished. Michael felt that the life described could hardly have 30
been more different from the lady's own quiet life. As the others told of their vivid experiences, he realised with a little surprise that he could do what was required to regress people and, indeed, perhaps anyone could do it, if they followed a suitable formula of words in a suitable setting. At the Thursday meditation group, Nancy sometimes communicated through the medium and always she seemed happy. An early message passed through Marian was, 'Nancy was standing behind you dressed in a 1930s style wedding dress, signifying a new beginning for her. She was giving you an armful of lilac and singing, ‘WE'LL GATHER LILACS IN THE SPRING AGAIN,’ and laughing because she is singing slightly 'off key.' She says, ‘THERE IS A LOT OF WORK FOR YOU TO DO YET.’ She says ‘HAS BRETT A SON WHO HAS DIFFICULTY IN READING?’ She says, ‘TELL HIM NOT TO WORRY NOW - LEAVE IT TO THE SUMMER!’ Brett, a handsome young grower of organic vegetables, was in the meditation group that met at Michael's house. Nancy had often been to his home in the country and had promised, if she could, to come back to him with an evidential message if she passed. On making enquiries, Michael found that Brett’s son was having reading problems, so the message was passed on. By the following autumn the boy was reading successfully and all was well. A little after this, Nancy communicated with Sheila in the group meeting at Michael's house. Sheila said, ‘Nancy's here! She is showing me that she visits us all at our homes. She says, ‘JOHN, I SEE YOU COMING BACK FROM SCHOOL, PUTTING ON YOUR SLIPPERS, LEANING BACK AND SAYING, ‘THANK GOD THAT'S OVER! 31
SUZANNE, I SEE YOU HAVING A GLASS OF SHERRY.’ Suzanne: ‘I had one before I came out tonight!’ ‘BRANDON, I SEE YOU HAVING A NICE BAR OF.CHOCOLATE WHICH YOU KEEP WELL HIDDEN.’ Brandon: ‘Too right, I do. You have to in our house.’ ‘BRETT, I SEE YOU COLLAPSE INTO BED AT NIGHT AND YOU THINK, ‘THANK GOD! THAT'S ALL DONE AND THE KIDS ARE ASLEEP.’ (Brett has five young children). ‘MICHAEL, I SEE YOU SITTING ON YOUR BED AT NIGHT, THINKING, THAT'S DONE AND THAT'S DONE AND THAT'S OK, CHECKING OFF A LIST.’ Michael: ‘I've been doing that recently.’ It was noticeable that Nancy was already sufficiently advanced to be able to project pictures into Sheila's mind as evidence, as well as sending words of explanation. There was no doubt she was doing well. Michael wondered if she had had to judge her past life yet? He had heard that, even for the best of people, this could be a harrowing experience. It was some months before he received two messages about this. In one she said, 'I HAD SOME PRIDE WHEN I CAME OVER, BUT YOU SOON LOSE THAT.’ In the other, the medium said, 'SHE SAYS SHE REVIEWS HER LIFE, A BIT AT A TIME, NOT TO REGRET BUT TO LEARN.’
CHAPTER SIX THE VISITS Lily had been taken aback when she opened the door to find Michael Evans on the doorstep. She was grateful to him for sending the book, which she was thoroughly enjoying, and she had meant to write again to thank him when she posted the book back to him. He looked very different from when she had seen him in church, wearing a formal grey suit. He looked younger in corduroys and an open necked-shirt, dressed for walking on the moor, but he looked so very tired, as though nearly exhausted, and she gladly invited him in with the two boys he had with him. She was so glad that she had had that unreasoning, intuitive urge to bake that morning, so that now she could offer them a good homemade tea. She was, as well, glad she had put on some better clothes, almost as if she had known she would have visitors. They had a lively conversation about the book with its wonderful description of the afterlife, and she enjoyed seeing them tuck in with a will to the tea she provided. The boys asked about the history of the house and the curios on the wall that she had collected and they listened intently to her tales of travel in far off countries. When the visitors departed, Lily found her spirits had lifted. She realised how starved of conversation she had been. She enjoyed meeting them and talking to Michael, who obviously understood her emotional feelings, and she had very much enjoyed giving pleasure and sustenance to hungry visitors. For her, life in April was still busy. Neighbours called with problems over pensions and allowances. Some of Charlie's patients 'phoned when in 33
trouble and she did what she could to calm or advise them. On April 3rd, she happened to listen to a local radio 'phone in' programme. A man 'phoned in, in a very distressed state, weeping copiously as he asked how to cope with bereavement. Lily thought many people would answer his cry for help but she felt so touched by his distress that she wrote to him, through the radio station, explaining that she, too, had just lost a partner after many years of happy marriage and she understood how he felt. She did not foresee the consequences of her letter. On 13th April she received a letter from the man, Brian, thanking her for her letter and the articles on bereavement she had enclosed. He revealed that his wife had committed suicide and Lily's letter was the only one he had received after his appeal for help. He poured out all his distress in the letter and so she began to write to him, and telephone him when she could, to try to cheer him up in his heartrending grief. At her Spiritualist Church, the service was always tape-recorded and the forty-five minute recording normally included most of the messages passed to members of the congregation at the end of the service. When Lily was next able to attend, the medium said that before beginning the clairvoyance she had something to say: 'When I was getting ready to come to church, Charlie Woodard materialised in front of me. He said: ‘I'M CHARLIE! I'M CHARLIE! TELL LILY I LOVE HER AND I'M HAPPY!’ So I had to pass that on first.’ Naturally, the message delighted Lily and she arranged to borrow the cassette tape so that she could listen to the message again at home. Two days later she had an unexpected phone call from Michael. Could he call on her? She invited him to tea and as 34
they ate they discussed the feelings of grief they were still suffering from, and a little of their past histories. Michael explained his desire to spread the knowledge of the truth of life continuing after death. He felt the world needed to know the truth and so many were unaware of it. She fully agreed with this and told him of the messages she had already received from Charlie, and how glad she was to know that he was all right and happy in his new life. As dusk gathered, Michael left to drive the eighteen miles home. He felt the talk had done them both good. Some of Lily's friends knew that Michael had called on her and that she was trying to console the man, Brian. A Mrs Leigh said to her, 'Of course, you could never replace Charlie, could you?' All her friends felt that Charlie was unique, one in a thousand, as indeed he was. Lily's reply was immediate and genuine. 'Of course not! I've never even thought of any one else. I'm sure I could never marry again.' Charlie was there in her thoughts whatever she was doing. In the garden, the sunshine was bringing all the beautiful spring flowers out and as she wandered along the paths, tears filled her eyes as she looked at the wisteria and magnolia. They were flowering better than ever before. It had not been many years since she and Charlie had toiled to plant everything in the empty garden. It seemed so cruel that he could not see the beauty he had worked so hard to achieve and somehow Lily could not enjoy the scene, as she would have done, if they had been together. Lily's life went on from day to day. Two men 'phoned her regularly. One obviously concerned for her welfare, the other still seeking encouragement and re-assurance for himself. 35
She was so busy with callers and her many tasks, some days never getting a proper meal until late in the evening, that she did not feel particularly lonely until one sunny Sunday when her friends were away. This day, 2Oth May, she felt she wanted to get away from the house and take the dog for a good walk. Her broken arm and shoulder were still very weak but she thought she could manage the energetic terrier with her good arm. It was not to be. She had only gone a short distance when a large Rottweiler dog rose from under a bench outside a public house and flew at 'Lucky' without warning. Fearing for the little dog, Lily made a grab for her harness, snatched her up and turned her back on the Rottweiler, whose paws landed on her right shoulder. The force of the dog's weight pushed her so that she toppled off the pavement and fell on to a slowly moving car. Luckily the traffic was nose to tail, creeping bit by bit towards the crossroads or she might have been killed. The impact jolted her damaged shoulder and left both dog and owner shocked and frightened. Lily managed to recover herself and, with tears flowing, she walked on, not knowing or caring where she was going, trying to stem the tears and regain control of herself. After a while she got her bearings and made to walk towards home. At last she reached the empty house. There was no one to talk to, no one to help and no one to comfort herself and the distressed dog. It was then that she realised how utterly alone she felt. Charlie had been such a pillar of strength in emergencies. She was still trembling slightly from the shock as she sat in a chair to recover. The house seemed so empty and the loneliness overcame her. A couple of days later, Lily still felt bruised but better in spirits. Five days later, Michael called with his sister-in36
law and they had a pleasant afternoon. This again cheered her up but ever since the episode with the dog she had been concerned about certain things. She was frightened to take 'Lucky' out again with only one good arm. She could not go to see her friends easily and now had no car. Her expenses were rising beyond her means and, most of all, her neighbours had commented critically on Michael's kindly visits, while the man who had broadcast on the radio was beginning to read more into her sympathy than she had intended. She talked over her dilemma with a friend who knew how her life was going. The friend recommended that she visited a medium, one to whom Lily was unknown. She named a medium and then, later, sent the money for the medium's fee. Lily rang up to make an appointment, and on 1st June she had a sitting with Grace Gooding, who tape recorded the 'reading' for her to study later on at her leisure. With Lily sitting opposite to her and without asking her for any information, the medium began to speak softly, ‘THERE IS A LOSS OF CONFIDENCE CAUSED BY THE LOSS OF YOUR PARTNER. HE WAS YOUR ROCK AND YOUR FOUNDATION HAS BEEN SWEPT AWAY. MENTALLY YOU ARE SUFFERING A LOT OF ONGOING STRESS AND THIS WILL TAKE A WHILE TO IMPROVE. THERE IS A PHASE DESTINED HERE, MATTERS BEYOND YOUR CONTROL - A STRONG INDICATION OF A MOVE OF HOME. YOU WILL HAVE TO THINK CAREFULLY AND MAKE A DECISION IN AUGUST RELATING TO A HAPPENING IN MARCH OF THE FOLLOWING YEAR, AND THEN THERE WILL BE A STRAIGHT RUN FOR YOU.’ The gentle voice continued, 'I FEEL I CAN'T BREATHE; THERE'S BEEN A 37
STRUGGLE FOR BREATH AND HE FELT SO TIRED FIGHTING AGAINST IT. THEN A SENSE OF UPLIFTMENT, NO SUFFERING, AND HE IS SAYING HE IS ALL RIGHT AND YOU WILL BE ALSO!’ Lily watched Grace's face intently as her voice continued, ‘I FEEL A LOVELY WARM GLOW FROM THIS MAN AND A HEALING ABILITY. DID HE HAVE SOMETHING WRONG WITH ONE HAND?’ ‘Yes.’ Lily replied. ‘HE IS SENDING BIRTHDAY GREETINGS AND HE SAYS THIS IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE YOUR BIRTHDAY WAS OVERLOOKED BECAUSE OF THE ACCIDENT. THERE IS A SENSE OF RELIEF NOW; THERE IS SO MUCH LOVE COMING TO YOU. HE SAYS THERE WILL BE FEWER TEARS NOW. HE HAS SEEN YOU PICK UP HIS PHOTOGRAPH EVERY NIGHT AND SAY 'GOODNIGHT' TO HIM. HE SAYS THERE WILL BE AN ORCHID GIVEN TO YOU AND AN OPPORTUNITY TO GROW THEM YOURSELF AFTER A MOVE. I CAN SEE A TABLE WELL LAID. YOU WILL BE COOKED FOR SOMETIMES. NEXT YEAR, YOU WILL BE AMONG HEALERS AGAIN. HE IS SAYING YOU WERE VERY IMPORTANT TO HIM AND HE SHARES THE FLOWERS IN THE GARDEN WITH YOU. DID HE OFTEN TELL YOU HE LOVED YOU?’ ‘Every night,’ Lily replied. ‘HE IS SAYING HE SLIPPED AWAY WITHOUT SAYING ‘I LOVE YOU!’ 'DID HE HAVE TROUBLE WITH A FOOT?' ‘YES’ 'HE SAYS YOU WILL GET A LETTER FROM ACROSS 38
WATER NEXT YEAR.’ Grace then asked 'Do you have a problem?' ‘Yes’, answered Lily. 'It's about two gentlemen I have become friendly with. I am being made to feel guilty by people who knew Charlie. Is it too soon to become friendly with other men? - And that is all it is!’ Grace's soft voice went on, ‘WELL THERE WILL BE A LOT HAPPENING VERY QUICKLY: YOU WILL HESITATE UNTIL YOU HAVE A SIGN. THEN YOU WILL FEEL IT IS RIGHT, I CAN SEE A SUICIDE AND IT'S RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF HAPPENINGS AT THE MOMENT. AN INITIAL 'J' IS IMPORTANT. LIFE OPENS UP FOR YOU IN AUGUST OF NEXT YEAR. DECEMBER WILL SEE YOU IN A PEACEFUL PLACE WITH JASMINE COVERING A WALL. THERE'S A LADY WHO WENT OVER, HAVING COMMITTED SUICIDE BY TAKING A LOT OF TABLETS. SHE IS SAYING, ‘LOOK AFTER HIM PLEASE!’ ‘YOU WILL HAVE A CHAUFFEUR - NOT MUCH THIS YEAR BUT MORE NEXT YEAR.' GRACE SAID THAT ALL THE TIME SHE WAS GIVING LILY THE READING SHE WAS HEARING LOVELY DEEP LAUGHTER! LILY REMEMBERED HOW CHARLIE WAS ALWAYS LAUGHING. HER FATHER HAD SAID, ‘IF HIS HEAD FELL OFF, HE WOULD STILL BE LAUGHING!’ Grace went on, ‘DOES A REGISTRY OFFICE MEAN ANYTHING TO YOU?’ ‘Well I married in one.’ Lily replied. ‘Only it's going to have significance again; very definitely another marriage, and whatever fears or conscience you have, you would be wrong in not agreeing. 39
Christmas next year will have seen a far better change for you. I am getting an impression of travel across water. Does Italy mean anything to you?’ ‘Yes, I have always wanted to go back there again,’ Lily answered. ‘WELL YOU WILL, WITHIN FIVE YEARS, AND YOU WILL HAVE A SENSE OF SECURITY FOR THE FIRST TIME FOR MANY YEARS. I SEE YOU SURROUNDED BY LOVE AND WARMTH.’ Lily wondered to herself, what on earth could be coming next? Grace continued, ‘I SEE A MAN, TALLER THAN YOU, WHO WAS DARK WHEN YOUNG. HE IS SOFTLY SPOKEN BUT DEFINITE AND HAS BEEN INTERESTED IN CARS. THERE'S A LOT HAPPENING AROUND YOU. DON'T HOLD BACK BECAUSE YOU DON'T FEEL CHARLIE WOULD APPROVE. CHARLIE WANTED THINGS TO BE RIGHT FOR YOU! THERE IS MUCH KINDNESS COMING FROM HIM. LOSING HIM, IS A DOOR THAT'S OPENING UP FOR YOU.’ As her friend drove her home, Lily had much to think about. She had not even considered marrying again. Anyway, while Michael was obviously the tall softly spoken man, she knew from his conversation that he already had several lady friends who appeared to be very involved with him. Also, she did not move in his circles, could not go to the groups and meetings he attended, and had no way of really getting to know him. The whole thing was too much like, 'end of the pier' fortune telling. And yet, the evidence from Charlie seemed correct in every detail, completely convincing, exactly what she had hoped for. So, also, the message from the lady who had committed suicide was highly evidential. How should she respond to her request? 40
She was already looking after him in a way and he was in fact showing signs of becoming too attached to her. She tried to dismiss the idea of marriage from her mind as quite out of the question. At this season of the year, there was plenty to do in the garden. She had quantities of fruit to pick and freeze, and much watering to do in the large sloping garden. She had many visitors for the garden was very attractive with dozens of varieties of roses and other plants in bloom. She heard nothing from Michael during this time but had many calls from Brian, the other man, who arranged to come and see her with his daughter. The initial ‘J’ came back into her mind. The daughter's name was Judy! She had prepared a good meal and it was a pleasant visit. Before they departed, Lily was asked if she would go and stay with Brian and he added, ‘You can do the cooking.’ Although Lily promised to think about it, she could see many problems. It would be a difficult journey, thirty miles by public transport, with luggage and a dog, and just as difficult to return again quickly, if she wanted to do so. If she considered going it would look as though she was prepared to develop the friendship further. It was true she felt very sorry for the man. He couldn't get over his grief and needed help so desperately. He seemed kindly and had looked after his family. Certainly his daughter was charming. Perhaps she could do some good, but her instinct was telling her, ‘No,’ it’s for the wrong reasons, ‘it's not wise’. At this point she had a visit from a man, Geoffrey, she had known in a business way and who had always seemed friendly. Now she was on her own, however, his attitude had changed. He stayed, persistently and she had a real job to get him to go. His advances were all too obvious and quite 41
uninvited, and she heartily wished him back with his nice wife. It made her feel worried and vulnerable at being alone in the world. She missed Michael calling in or 'phoning. It confirmed her feeling that he had many other interests beside her. Sunday July 15th was Charlie's birthday. Lily was feeling very depressed, she was missing him so much. Then, unexpectedly, Michael 'phoned and asked if he could bring a friend to see her on the following afternoon and this cheered her a little. She was able to go to her Church that evening, and as she had particularly hoped, she was given a message from Charlie. The medium, Ann Lambdon, from Exeter, said: ‘HE SAYS AS QUICKLY AS HE WENT, SO HE QUICKLY COMES BACK. HE HAD SEEN THE FLOWERS BY HIS PHOTOGRAPH AND HE THANKS YOU FOR THEM. YOU MEANT SO MUCH TO HIM. HE SAYS, 'I'M FINE NOW,’ AND SENDS HIS LOVE!’ This message also cheered her, and she ended the day in a much better frame of mind than she had started it. The next day, she prepared for the visit by Michael and his friend. The friend was a lady she had heard a good deal about. She knew that Michael had been entertained at her very desirable house in an exclusive district, and he had introduced her to some of his friends. Apparently she was well known as a sculptor and writer and, in addition, was very psychic. When they arrived, the lady was pleasant, well spoken and elegant. She pronounced the tea and cakes to be delicious and took a great interest in the house and Lily's craftwork. All went well until the conversation turned to the fact that Lily was still handicapped by her damaged arm. This 42
provoked the lady, Angela, to say jokingly but pointedly: ‘You should get yourself a boy friend, as I have done.’ She saw Michael shoot a glance at Angela, shocked at this unfeeling remark and what it probably implied. Obviously he could see that Lily felt put in her place by the visitor and he was annoyed. Nothing more was said on the subject. The atmosphere became strained, for Lily felt that after her genuine welcome and hospitality, she had been clearly warned off by this elegant lady. As they departed, she noticed that the lady took Michael's arm possessively as they went back to the car. She felt downcast and not a little angry after they had gone. What was Michael thinking about the incident she wondered, Was he, as the lady had implied, her boy friend? An hour later, the 'phone rang. It was Michael, very friendly, full of thanks for her kindness. Without referring directly to the incident, he let it be known that Angela already had a regular man friend and he was in no way going to bring her to Mortonhampstead again. He described a little of how she had been kind to him when he was first widowed and Lily guessed that perhaps he had been a little flattered by her interest at that time and pleased to talk to her about his messages from Nancy. After this call she was a little mollified but she felt again that Michael had a wide circle of friends whom she did not know and the mediums prophesy was very unlikely to come true.
CHAPTER SEVEN A PRIVATE READING In Spiritualist Churches it is arranged, as far as is possible, that mediums taking part in the services shall be visitors from other areas. This is to overcome the difficulty that can arise, both for the medium and the receiver of the message, when a member of the congregation is known personally. When dealing with a stranger, the medium knows that previous knowledge cannot distort the message coming into his or her mind, and there is the same reassurance for the receiver. Mediums are rarely paid more than their actual travelling expenses and, indeed, many accept that they lose money by their work. A Church may pay for petrol for a hundred mile round journey but they do not, indeed often cannot, afford a payment to cover the real cost of running a car and replacing it in due course. Some mediums will, however, offer to do 'Private Readings' and share their fees with the Church. This helps both sides to meet their expenses and, where the medium is highly thought of, these private readings are in great demand. Some three months earlier, Michael had booked a Private Reading with a medium from London, Josie Vale Taylor, well known in Britain and Sweden. On 12th June he sat opposite her with his tape recorder, in the Healing Room at the Church. After an opening prayer, the medium said, ‘NANCY IS HERE. SHE SAYS SHE IS VERY PLEASED THAT MANY OF YOUR FRIENDS ARE AROUND YOU.’ She says, ‘WHATEVER MAKES HIM HAPPY, I SHALL BE HAPPY ALSO.’ The medium continued, ‘LATER ON, MICHAEL, 44
I'M GOING TO SAY IT, I FEEL YOU COULD REMARRY - IN FACT, I'M SURE YOU WILL. I'M PICKING IT UP, BUT SHE IS ALSO TELLING ME, AND SHE WOULD BE VERY HAPPY ABOUT IT. SHE DOES NOT WANT YOU TO FEEL, ‘I WONDER IF NANCY WOULD WANT ME TO DO IT?’ SHE IS TELLING YOU. ‘DON'T BE IN A HURRY TO DO IT YET! IT WILL TAKE YOU TWELVE TO EIGHTEEN MONTHS TO STABILISE YOURSELF. WHATEVER YOU WANT, MY DARLING, IT WOULD MAKE ME HAPPY.’ SHE ALSO SAYS, ‘YOU ARE MAKING A VERY GOOD JOB OF HOUSEKEEPING.’ Michael was thrilled at the ease and directness of this communication. Nancy had only passed over six months ago, yet she was communicating so easily. He ventured to ask a question. ‘Has she met her sister Megan who died recently?’ The answer came at once, ‘YES’, SHE SAYS. ‘I HAVE MET HER. AT THE MOMENT, SHE IS RESTING, BECAUSE SHE NEEDS REST AND RECUPERATION, SPIRITUAL RECUPERATION.’ The medium went on, 'YOU KNOW I DON'T THINK MEGAN WAS QUITE PREPARED FOR THE AFTERLIFE IN THE SAME WAY AS YOUR WIFE WAS. BECAUSE OF THIS SHE HAS HAD TO BE TAKEN TO A SPHERE WHERE PEOPLE GO WHO DON'T UNDERSTAND THE AFTERLIFE. THEY ARE TAKEN FOR A PERIOD TO GET ADJUSTED, AND TO BE TAUGHT THAT IT IS ONLY THE PHYSICAL BODY THAT HAS GONE. NANCY IS SAYING, ‘MEG WAS A BIT BEWILDERED WHEN SHE CAME OVER, BECAUSE SHE COULDN'T UNDERSTAND WHY SHE COULD SEE AND HEAR US. SHE COULDN'T 45
UNDERSTAND WHY SHE WAS SEEING US IN THE WAY WE WERE, LOOKING SO NORMAL.’ (Michael knew Megan had been a devout, orthodox Christian). ‘YOUR WIFE SAYS YOU'RE GOING TO BRING A LOT OF PEOPLE INTO THIS KNOWLEDGE AS A RESULT OF HER PASSING.’ SHE SAYS, 'THEY ARE ALREADY SAYING AND QUESTIONING IN THEIR MINDS, ‘WELL HOW IS IT HE IS TAKING IT SO MARVELLOUSLY?’ She's saying ‘I WANT TO TALK TO HIM ABOUT HIS FINANCES. I DON'T WANT HIM TO PUT ALL HIS EGGS IN ONE BASKET.’ ‘SHE MEANS, YOU NEED TO PUT IT IN DIFFERENT PLACES, NOT CONFINED TO ONE PLACE.’ (Michael, 'It's all in one building society’.) ‘SHE WANTS YOU TO SPLIT IT UP AND KEEP IT IN THREE PLACES. SHE IS SAYING THERE IS SOMEONE ELSE IN YOUR HOUSE, A MALE. SHE IS VERY PLEASED ABOUT THIS BECAUSE SHE KNOWS YOU WILL BE ABLE TO HELP HIM AND SHE WANTS HIM TO MAKE THE TOP GRADE.’ (Yes, my grandson Tim is living with me.) ‘She says, ‘THIS IS SUCH A HAPPY OCCASION FOR ME TO GET THIS CLOSE CONTACT WITH YOU. DO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF, GOD BLESS YOU. DON'T BE SAD BECAUSE I DON'T WANT YOU TO BE SAD. IF ANYTHING I SHALL BE CLOSER TO YOU NOW THAN WHEN I WAS ON THE EARTH PLANE.’ ‘She is withdrawing now,' said the medium, ending a remarkable sitting, To Michael the unselfish, loving, nature of Nancy was perfectly displayed in this message. He took the advice at 46
once about his finances. The question of remarriage was a much bigger matter, to be considered carefully over a period. In his experience, second marriages were not always successful, Younger people were more flexible and able to adjust to each other, Many older people had become rigid in their views and habits, unable to adapt to change. On the other hand marriage could be a great teacher of tolerance and people who had made one marriage work could probably succeed with another, Nancy's message certainly provided him with a new interest in life, but it gave him no help in deciding who the lady was to be or what she would be like. The field was wide open. He thought Nancy's reference to his grandson was interesting. On 10th December, just after Nancy's death, Tim, who lived a quarter of a mile away, had asked if he could come and live with him. As there were some problems at home at the time, and Tim's adolescent moodiness was not helping, Michael agreed to have Tim to live with him, and to help him with schoolwork for his forthcoming examinations. As his house had thick walls, he also allowed Tim, who was a drummer, to invite the rest of his group to practice and rehearse in his living room, on one afternoon a week. Michael's mind reverted to the marriage question. It was true, he thought, that he had always liked being married, He remembered the first few blissful years of their marriage when, after the separation of war time, simply to be together was happiness enough. He was used to living with a woman, caring for a woman, and being cared for. Lately he had found himself being more and more attracted to women and several appeared to be attracted to him. Until now he had thought of himself as an elderly man, now widowed, and quite on the shelf. He had already noticed, to his surprise, that a few ladies seemed to think of him as a possible suitor. 47
He sometimes received warm smiles from women he hardly knew as he passed them in the street. He had never really liked his own appearance, yet he had overheard someone say they thought he was good looking. But, if he was to marry, who was it to be? And, would it be a success? On June 25th he had a short message from Nancy through Marian. It said, ‘YOU WILL MARRY WITHIN 18 MONTHS.’ He always told his friends in the meditation group about Nancy's messages and he received some good-natured teasing. ‘Can you still remember your courtship routine, Michael?’ 'How does it feel to have a licence to go courting? and, 'You'll have to start a social diary,' were a few of the good-humoured remarks that greeted his latest news. The remark about his housekeeping particularly pleased him, knowing that Nancy appreciated his hard work, and he also needed to keep everything ship-shape as an example to young Tim who was an enterprising cook but a reluctant washer-up. One night, Michael decided to try automatic writing as a method of communication with the spirit world and, hopefully, with Nancy. He had watched a friend do it and he had read of the well known case of Stainton Moses, who, while a spirit controlled his right hand to write teachings in perfect English, was able at the same time to use his other hand to hold the book he was reading or to solve mathematical puzzles. Michael's attempt failed. Perhaps he did not have the gift or the patience required. After a fruitless twenty-five minutes, he wrote on his pad, 'Nancy! I wish I knew what you are doing and what you are learning'. He left the pad on his desk and went to make a cup of tea and feed the dog. He had arranged, the next evening, to go to the home 48
of John and Audrey Wagstaffe, where he and Nancy had been part of a meditation circle, some years before, His two friends were waiting for him to arrive to give him a message received from Nancy by a third member of the old circle who had passed it to them that morning. The third member was Janet Horton, who had a hairdressing business. She was a natural medium and often gave Audrey a message as she was doing her hair. This message was obviously in answer to Michael's request of the previous evening. It said, ‘NANCY IS LEARNING TO HELP PEOPLE WHO COME OVER ADDICTED TO ALCOHOL. THIS IS HER PRESENT WORK!’ Michael had heard that the receiving and caring for those who come over from physical life, was a massive ongoing task. With ten thousand people passing over each week, in England and Wales alone, there was a constant need for willing helpers to receive and counsel newcomers from the earthly life. So this was Nancy's present work, or at least a part of it. His next message from Nancy also came from Janet Horton, by the same route. It simply said, 'STAY WELL! BE STRONG! YOU HAVE A LOT OF WORK TO DO YET!' In spite of constant activity and a pleasant social life with like-minded friends, Michael still had low days. He still could not bear to look in his diary at the date 30th November, when he had entered,’ Nancy passed today at l a.m.’ Finding a lost shoe or a glove of hers still brought, the instant, immediate, shock to the heart, the feeling of loss. Nancy seems to have known this for he had a message from a Staffordshire medium, Kathy Jones, which said, ‘SHE TAKES YOUR HAND BECAUSE, DURING HER LAST THREE DAYS, YOU HELD HER HAND AND THIS MEANT AN AWFUL LOT TO HER AND 49
GAVE HER THE STRENGTH TO GO ON. SHE NOW TAKES YOUR HAND TO GIVE YOU THE STRENGTH TO GO ON.’ This message was so evidential and so comforting that Michael's spirits lifted and he never really sank into depression again. As they had been quite alone when he laid on the bed holding her hand; no one but Nancy knew about it.
CHAPTER EIGHT UNEXPECTED ATTENTIONS Lily, who had had so many years of being contentedly married that romantic attachments to other men had never even occurred to her, now found herself the object of amusing but rather worrying attentions. A man living not far away, a wealthy mysterious gentleman, who looked like Sherlock Holmes, and was reputed to be a retired diplomat, brought her presents of apples, picked from his own orchard. When she went shopping, she passed his large house, and soon he would emerge, and often seemed to be only a short distance away, where ever her shopping took her. Lily's house was a local tourist landmark. The unusual, ancient, granite cloistered facade, and the boxes of brilliant red geraniums, made an ideal photograph and, on a sunny day, there were usually several visitors admiring or photographing the building. One day, a rather distinguished looking gentleman admired her flowers and persuaded her to let him see the house. When he saw over it, and the large productive garden, he was amazed that she managed it all single-handed and he took the keenest interest in all her doings. It emerged that he was an Oxford professor and, after more than two hours, when Lily said she had work to do, he invited her to come and stay with him in Oxford. The offer was politely declined, but Lily wondered with some amusement, what she could be doing to attract so much attention. The unwelcome Geoffrey also called twice, and it was hard to persuade him to leave, but whatever was causing the attention, it obviously was not affecting Michael Evans, for she heard nothing of him for many weeks until, in August, 51
he rang to ask if he could call with his grand daughter, Kathleen. It was a swelteringly hot day. Kathleen, aged nine, who had been bathing in a Dartmoor stream, enjoyed the visit and her tea. Later Lily heard that she had enthused over both the cooking and the cook when she got home to her family. Her brothers, of course, had already met both, and agreed with her. As far as Lily was concerned, if she was to choose a partner, it could only be Michael, and as far as she could see there was very little likelihood of that coming about. Something told her not to make any advances in his direction and only to welcome him as a friend if, and when, he chose to contact her. It was not until September 9th that she received any helpful sign. The medium at the Dawlish Church, John Greene, said to her, ‘CHARLIE IS BESIDE YOU AND HAS BEEN BESIDE YOU IN THE GARDEN. YOU ARE NOT TO FEEL SAD AS THE INGREDIENTS ARE BEING CAREFULLY ASSEMBLED TO MAKE A CAKE AND THE RESULT WILL BE AS PERFECT AS MANY HE HAD. CHARLIE HAS HIS LITTLE DOG AND HE HAS WALKS AMONG THE FLOWERS AND TREES. HE KNOWS HOW DIFFICULT IT IS, NOT TO FEEL SAD AND DISTRESSED WHEN SO ALONE, BUT EVERYTHING IS BEING DONE TO HELP AND HE IS ALWAYS BY YOUR SIDE.’ This message encouraged Lily as she felt that perhaps there was a plan for her. She had little time for further thought as a group of thatchers arrived at the house. They were under contract to the National Trust to renew the thatch on the ancient building. The stripping and re-thatching made a great deal of work for her as she constantly had to clear up 52
the old thatch that blew about, but they were a very pleasant gang of young men and were very appreciative of the refreshments she provided. Above all they were company, and she felt better chatting to them and providing them with food and drink. On 16th September, Lily had another message at the church from a Mrs. Powe from Barnstaple. It said, ‘CHARLIE IS OFTEN WITH YOU IN THE GARDEN AND WHEN IN KITCHEN LOOKING OUT OF WINDOW. YOUR LOVE AND ABILITY TO COPE WITH FLOWERS AND CRAFTS DOES NOT GO UNNOTICED. MUCH LOVE FROM MANY SPIRIT FRIENDS. NEXT MAY, THERE WILL BE A SPECIAL HAPPENING. A LITTLE DOG LOOKS AT YOU WITH LOVE. ALL WILL BE WELL.’ On September 23rd at Church, Lily had a message from Marian Bellfield. It said, ‘CHARLIE IS BESIDE YOU. THERE IS UNPLEASANTNESS AROUND YOU, WHICH WILL CONTINUE FOR THE TIME BEING. THINGS WILL GET BETTER. MARCH WILL BE THE TURNING TIME. YOU WILL RECEIVE TWO OFFERS FROM GENTLEMEN, ONE OF WHICH YOU WILL HAVE TO TURN DOWN. IT IS TIME TO MAKE A CAKE AND CELEBRATE: SOMETHING TO CHEER YOU, AS YOU CERTAINLY NEED A BRIGHT LIGHT TO CHEER YOU UP AT PRESENT.’ On October 3rd, rather to Lily's surprise, Michael phoned to know if he could call, she agreed and he accepted an offer of lunch. He enjoyed his meal and chatted freely about his affairs and asked about hers. The thatchers joined in, and they had an interesting conversation about healing and spiritual matters. 53
By October 17th the thatch was still not finished. Torrential rain fell and penetrated the unfinished thatch, resulting in floods of water up stairs to be cleared up. The weather deteriorated and rain fell incessantly. Lily became very depressed. The old house was always dark but with the scaffolding outside and the leaden skies above, the gloom was intensified. Michael called on October 23rd but as some visitors called shortly afterwards, he felt he might drive them away, and departed again, much to Lily's disappointment, as she knew the visitors, who were from her church, wouldn't stay long. The medium at the church on October 28th was Mr.Bolsworth, and he asked if she was planning to go on a journey, 'Not that I know of,' she replied. 'WELL, THERE HAS BEEN AN INVITATION AND IT WILL BE MADE AGAIN IN THE NEAR FUTURE. IT WILL DO YOU GOOD. DON'T WORRY. THERE IS MUCH FOR YOU TO DO YET. YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE ABLE TO GET OUT MORE. THIS WILL SOON ALTER AND YOU WILL GO BACK INTO WHAT YOU WANT TO DO BECAUSE YOU HAVE A LOT TO OFFER. A DECEMBER ANNIVERSARY,’ Several friends had invited Lily to come and stay but she just did not feel inclined to accept. On Friday 23rd November, Michael came to lunch again and he and Lily had a long talk. She had normally shown and sold her knitting at a Mediaeval Craft Fair at Lustleigh at about this time and her friends in the craft world wanted her to show again. She had two problems, one, that she had no one to mind her little dog on one of the afternoons of the show, and two, that she had dreaded seeing all her friends again 54
without Charlie to help, as he had always done. She feared the tears might flow if they asked about him and revived memories. Charlie had always been the good-natured centre of any gathering. She had always been happy to be the quiet, thoughtful worker. How would she feel without him? It had not been possible to go to any social gathering to meet friends since she lost Charlie. The show was a three-day event but Lily could arrange for someone to look after 'Lucky' for the time she was away with the exception of one afternoon. That day Michael had business in Okehampton, and he offered to come on afterwards and mind 'Lucky' for some hours. With that arranged Lily went ahead with her plans to have a stall at the show. The opening day of the show came. Her friends made it all easy for her. Her potter friend assisted in transporting all the things to the show, and made sure he was by her side when everyone came in, so the first meetings went off very well. Others helped with getting the stall set up, as there was a lot of work to do with decorating and lighting. Lily enjoyed every minute of the show, especially talking to old customers and hearing how the other stallholders had got on during the year that had passed, when she had not been one of them. The three days went like lightning. Michael rang after the show was over, to ask how it had gone, Lily couldn't wait to tell him how very much she had enjoyed it and how successful she had been. It was difficult to know how to repay Michael's kindness and Lily had thought out a way. If Michael would agree to allow her to take him out to an evening meal, this would not only be a way of thanking Michael but it would be a way of giving them both a much needed treat to cheer themselves before Christmas. Saturday 15th December was the date agreed and Michael would arrive at 6.30 to take Lily to the restaurant. 55
On the day, Lily eagerly awaited Michael's arrival. She had arranged for her friend, Eunice, to come in as soon as she could, to mind the little dog. 6.30 came, but no Michael arrived. 7 p.m. came. Still no Michael! At 7.15, she phoned his home but there was no answer. What had happened? An accident perhaps? At 7.30 p.m. he arrived. He had made a call on the way, been delayed, and had not realised the importance of leaving on time. A table had been specially booked at a famous eating-house, some miles away. In spite of all, they set off in good spirits. Their table had been taken and they had to wait for a second sitting. The place was known for its lovely setting, and once the meal started a beautiful feeling was established between them, Even the waiter seemed to sense it. After the main course he said he would leave them to talk before he brought the sweet course. Michael asked many questions about her life and the many varied jobs that she and Charlie had done. He seemed fascinated by the way she had turned her hand to so many fields of work in so many different places. Her love of Switzerland and Italy made him wish she could see them again, but he knew her present financial position would not allow this, indeed, he guessed that this evening's meal would be costing her far more than she could afford. He told her of his pleasure at receiving a totally unexpected Christmas card. It was from Nancy. She had impressed the psychic, Janet Horton, to buy a plain card, write some verses on it and post it to him for Christmas. The last two lines of this poem read: 'ON TOMORROW'S DREAMS JUST HANG YOUR HEART. MY LOVE WILL GUIDE AT NEW YEAR'S START.’ Lily wondered what that guidance would say, and 56
where it would point him. They finished their coffee at 11pm. and then made their way home over the narrow twisting moorland roads Not knowing about the delayed start, the waiting Eunice had expected them back at 10pm. When they arrived in high spirits, just before midnight she exclaimed in some exasperation, 'I thought you had eloped'. She had obviously been anxious, with some reason, as she had never met this man Lily had gone out with. Lily was worried, as she knew her critical neighbours had seen their late arrival home. However, Michael and Eunice were soon on good terms and found they had mutual friends on the moor. She had worked as a relief milker at nearly all the nearby farms on Dartmoor, and Michael and his family had stayed on holiday for some years at one where she had a special friend. After a cup of tea and light hearted chat, Michael departed on the long, twisting, drive back home, saying he would ring to announce his safe arrival. Eunice said to Lily, ‘He's a fine man!’ This pleased Lily and stayed in her mind but it was not until the next morning that she heard how he had got on. When he arrived home, he was amused to find his fifteen year-old grandson waiting up for him, saying, ‘Granddad! Where have you been? I've been worried about you.’ This was the reverse of their usual situation, although Tim was generally good at ringing up if he was going to be late. After further pleasant chat and explanations to Tim, Michael had rolled into bed at about two o'clock, quite forgetting his promise to ring Lily. He woke with a start at 7 a.m., realised his lapse, and 'phoned to make his apologies for twice causing her needless anxiety. Lily had been so happy that she was unprepared for 57
the shock that followed. A neighbour called next, morning to say that she had seen her coming home late with Michael, and berated her loudly! How could she behave so, having had such a wonderful husband and only having lost him a year ago? All Lily's joy disappeared on the instant. She should have known better than to think all was well! She felt angry because, for the first time, she had really enjoyed herself, after a year of depression, and it seemed that, in other peoples' eyes, she should not have done. Her tears started and would not stop. She felt, more depressed than ever to feel that, perhaps, she had betrayed Charlie in some way, something she would have died rather than do. All her life, she had done everything she could to support him. She couldn't have loved him more when he was alive. Was there nothing left for her now but tears and misery? Lily felt she could not face her birthday, or Christmas, now, for they were bringing back the tragedy so clearly to her. Nothing would stop her tears as Christmas came nearer. She had not heard again from Michael. She knew he was busy with family coming to stay. Christmas and birthday cards, carefully chosen, were arriving every day. Her depression deepened and the tears still fell. She could not bring herself to put up the cards or celebrate in any way. Her birthday was spent in tears. Christmas Eve came and she struggled to pull herself together. At last Michael 'phoned. He was waiting for his family from Cardiff to arrive and he would be going away to Southampton after Christmas, to stay with his sister-in-law until January 4th. She felt in danger of getting too fond of Michael and determined she would not allow herself to show it. There was a knock on the door and a very good friend, Bob, stood 58
on the doorstep with a Christmas present. Bob was a garage proprietor and Charlie and he had been the best of friends, and he had often helped them out with their car. Bob could see that Lily had been crying. His kindness and sympathy brought a fresh gush of tears. He said he had felt that Charlie had wanted her to have the carnations he had brought. Bob came in and they sat and talked about Charlie and how she missed him. She told Bob about the friendships that had developed, especially that with Michael and how she had been made to feel guilty because of it. Being able to talk to a wise, staunch friend of Charlie's, who understood, helped Lily enormously. Here was Charlie's friend, a man who could really be trusted. The cloud hanging over her dissipated as Bob put his arm round her shoulder and said, ‘You did all you could for Charlie when he was here. He wouldn't want you to be unhappy. If a chance of happiness is offered to you, grab it with both hands.’ Lily felt her depression lifting. Bob could never know how he had helped her at a time when her world had crumbled. She knew she could trust his advice and felt an immediate sense of relief. She got to work. She put up an array of Christmas lights. She put all her cards; well over a hundred, in a fine display. Before, she had felt she would be criticised for such a thing. Now she knew beyond doubt Charlie would have approved. She cooked herself a substantial meal for the first time for weeks. She had been too upset to eat before but now, although not happy, she knew she would get through. An early lunch was cooked for Christmas Day, and as Lily sat down to watch television, the electricity was cut off. She sat with the friendly glow of her gas fire, thinking back over her life. The power cut deprived her of electricity for two whole days, not an unusual event on Dartmoor. 59
One thing Lily could do in the dark, was touch-type. She decided to take young Andrew's advice and start the story of her life. What should she call it? She thought for a while. So many times she and Charlie had achieved new jobs, new homes and a comparatively happy life, only to have it all taken away by forces beyond their control. She typed the title. ‘Just When Everything Seemed Right.’ As she typed the scenes of her early life arose before her. She saw herself as the only, lonely, little child, strictly brought up in the East End of London, her main companions the flowers she loved in the back garden and the Jack Russell dog, 'Gyp' her day- long little friend. Without lights, there was no point in pulling the curtains and passers by wondered, as they heard the high speed tapping of the typewriter keys coming from the old house, which like the rest of the town was in darkness. She typed for hours, oblivious of the time, lost in memories of the past.
CHAPTER NINE GUIDING MESSAGES On Thursday evenings, Michael still went to the same meditation group that he and Nancy had attended. The medium leading the group, Marian, was a matron at a local nursing home, a dedicated teacher and a popular clairvoyant. As Michael was seated, giving his attention to the music centre he was to switch on, Marian said, ‘NANCY'S OVER THERE. SHE'S PLAYING CARDS AND SHE HAS DRAWN FOUR QUEENS. NOW SHE'S ASKING YOU TO PICK ONE OF THEM. ALSO SHE'S GOT A BEAUTIFUL PINK CRACKER AND SHE'S GIVING YOU ONE END TO PULL. NOW SHE'S GIVING YOU ONE OF THE LITTLE SILVER HORSE SHOES THAT PEOPLE HAVE AT WEDDINGS AND SHE'S SAYING, ‘GOOD LUCK! GOOD FORTUNE!’’ Marian remarked, with a smile, ‘I think she's giving you a pretty strong hint!’ To the rest of the group, who had all known and liked Nancy, and who knew about the previous messages from her, this seemed a way of expressing Michael's situation, typical of Nancy's sense of humour. Over the next few weeks Michael would occasionally stop what he was doing and think over this little episode. He could think of two or three possible candidates, but he wondered who were the four ladies Nancy had in mind, as possible future partners. Who was the fourth one? Nancy sounded happy in herself, and seemed to find it amusing, almost hilarious, that her sober old Michael should be in a position to court one, or possibly more, of a number of attractive ladies. The group had already said to him that 61
she seemed so young and gay that he would never keep up with her when he first went over. Michael wondered, ‘Had she found anyone? Was she lonely?’ It was so hard to imagine her new life, in spite of the messages she was getting through. Certainly within the groups he belonged to, and those he met in his speaking engagements, there were quite a number of personable women at whom he might have set his cap, had he felt ready for this. For the moment he felt there was safety in numbers and the search to find and spread the truth was still his driving purpose. Michael knew quite well that it was no special quality of his that enabled him to enjoy the company of so many women. It was simply that available men of sixty-nine with a house, however small, and an income, however modest, were very scarce. Many of his male contemporaries had passed on, leaving charming but lonely widows to battle on through life on their own. Certainly with two or three ladies he did feel an affinity, especially with Lily at Mortonhampstead, and he had an idea that she, at least, returned the feeling. But marriage! That was a very big question - to be responsible for another’s happiness! No, for the moment he was enjoying his newfound self-sufficiency, his numerous social contacts and, as he saw it, the unhindered search for the truth about life after death. Lily had, by now, begun to almost expect a message from Charlie each time she went to church. Then, on 13th January, she received an airmail letter from South Africa. The only person she knew there was Iris Ratsey. Charlie had taken a Spiritual Correspondence Course called the 'Quest Course', based on the Alice Bailey books, and his papers had had to go to Iris for assessment. She opened the letter carefully. It was from Iris Ratsey. It contained the most amazing message from Charlie. He had said there would be 62
a letter from overseas in 1991 and here it was. Apparently, Iris, a medium, held what she called a 'Spirits Party', each New Year's Day and Charlie had come through. Iris had written out the message, which read, ‘CHARLIE HERE, MRS RATSEY, IF I MAY SEND A GREETING VIA YOU TO MY EVER FAITHFUL LILY. IT WAS A TIME OF GREAT SHOCK TO HER WHEN I CAME OVER HERE AT CHRISTMAS, ‘89. I FORGET - IT IS NEW YEAR'S DAY TODAY - IS IT NOT? SO TO HER, AND TO ALL MY MANY FRIENDS, I SAY GOD BLESS AND KEEP EACH ONE THROUGHOUT THIS NEW YEAR. LILY HAS FOUND IT HARD NOT TO GRIEVE FOR ME, SHE MISSES MY PHYSICAL PRESENCE SO DEEPLY. WE HAD SO MANY HAPPY YEARS TOGETHER AND SHE HAS WORKED CEASELESSLY IN HER EFFORTS TO HELP AND COMFORT ANY AND ALL, WHO CALLED ON HER TO AID. SHE STILL STRIVES TO DO THIS BUT SHE MUST GIVE HERSELF MORE REST. TELL HER, PLEASE, HOW OFTEN I AM WITH HER IN THE GARDEN WE BOTH CHERISHED AND WHICH HAS GIVEN JOY TO SO MANY. ‘GREEN FINGERS’ GO WITH LOVE OF NATURE'S GROWING THINGS. ONE DAY I WILL SHOW HER THE GARDENS HERE, WHERE ALL GROWS ABUNDANTLY AND HAS NO NEED OF FERTILISERS. I PLAN OUR HOME IN THOUGHT FOR HER FUTURE PLEASURE. LILY IS A CREATIVE GENIUS AND IS SUCCESSFUL BECAUSE EACH CREATION MUST BE AS PERFECT AS SHE CAN MAKE IT. SHE WILL LOVE IT ALL SO MUCH, THE PERFECTION SHE WILL FIND OVER HERE. I MUST GO NOW. I FEAR I HAVE 63
OVERSTEPPED MY TURN IN MY EAGERNESS TO ASSURE HER OF MY NEARNESS TO HER. MAY GOD BLESS AND AID EACH ONE OF YOU THROUGHOUT THE NEW YEAR. CHARLIE.’ Lily read and reread the message, coming so unexpectedly from overseas. Her spirits soared! She must tell someone of the news. She would ring Michael. She dialled the familiar number. Soon the deep pleasant voice answered, Michael sounded pleased to hear her voice. Then she explained, and read Iris Ratsey's letter. He sounded delighted that she should have had such an unexpected and convincing message. Although he did not say so to her, the remarks about her creative genius and helpfulness to others, impressed him deeply. They had put into words what he had felt himself for some time. Lily made a suggestion, ‘Shall we go separately to my church next Sunday and see if we get any guidance about our future?’ Michael agreed at once. 'Good idea! Let’s arrive separately, and sit as far apart as possible, and see what happens.’ On 24th February, Lily arrived and sat as usual, at the very front of the church. Michael travelled alone and, on arrival, made his way inconspicuously to the very back. The medium was a Mrs Dorothy Davies. In a Spiritualist service there are normally prayers, hymns, a reading, an address or sermon, and then clairvoyance. Mrs. Davies came directly to Lily at the start of the clairvoyance. ‘I HAVE TO COME TO YOU FIRST. CHARLIE NEARLY TOOK ME OVER, HE WAS SO POWERFUL I HAD TO SAY, ‘STAND BACK!’ BECAUSE I WASN'T READY. HE REPLIED, ‘WELL, GO TO LILY FIRST THEN,’ AND I PROMISED I WOULD. HE SAID, 64
‘TELL HER NOT TO WORRY! IT IS ALL AS I PLANNED!’ HE PLANNED IT AND THOSE IN SPIRIT ARE STILL PLANNING IT. HE IS STILL DOING HIS WORK AND HE WANTS ME TO TELL YOU THAT THE CHANGES THAT ARE COMING UP, YOU ARE TO GO WITH THEM, NOT HOLD BACK'. HE SAYS, ‘YOU ARE TO GO ALONG WITH THEM! YOU KNOW YOU HAVE MY BLESSING! YOU KNOW THAT!’ HE WANTS ME TO TELL YOU WHAT HE'S DOING IN THE SPIRIT WORLD. HE'S STILL DOING HIS HEALING, HE HAS A LITTLE GROUP HELPING HIM AND HE'S DEALING WITH ACCIDENT VICTIMS THAT COME OVER. HE SAYS, ‘WE ALL SEND OUR LOVE AND THOUGHTS TO YOU’ and he says, ‘THERE'S TO BE NO MORE GRIEF,’ AND HE MEANS IT. HE STANDS THERE LIKE THIS, AND HE SAYS, ‘I MEAN THIS! I'M NOT MUCKING ABOUT, I MEAN IT! THERE'S TO BE NO MORE GRIEF, NO MORE TEARS. I'M HAPPY I WANT YOU TO BE HAPPY! AS THE SUMMER UNFOLDS, SO WILL YOUR HAPPINESS, BUT PLEASE TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF - DON'T MISS ANY MORE MEALS!’ ‘I don't know why he's saying this,’ said Mrs Davies, He says. ‘WE'VE GOT TO GET YOU PHYSICALLY STRONG,’ HE SAYS, ‘I'LL BE WATCHING!’ Mrs Davies continued, ‘You see that's the point. They know what's going on. That's why you had to come tonight and why I had to come to pass you this message. I knew Charlie and that was him, but he got too emotional at the end and I had to cut him off.’ Mrs Davies then continued pointing to Michael in the 65
back row and Lily heard her say, ‘I MUST COME TO YOU, SIR, THERE'S A SPIRITUAL LIGHT COMING FROM YOU THAT'S LIGHTING UP THE BACK OF THE CHURCH. YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE A LOT OF WORK TO DO, SIR, I'M SORRY, BUT YOU ARE! ONCE SPIRIT GETS HOLD OF YOU, YOU KNOW, IT BLOSSOMS OUT. YOU DO A LOT MENTALLY, SENDING OUT HEALING THOUGHTS?’ ‘Yes’ ‘THEY'RE TELLING ME YOU DO, SIR, DO YOU DO WRITING?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘YOU'RE GOING TO GET SOME VERSES GIVEN TO YOU FROM SPIRIT; WILL YOU WATCH OUT FOR THIS WHEN YOU SIT QUIETLY, HAVE PAPER AND PENCIL READY.’ After the service, Michael came to the front of the church and he and Lily thanked Mrs Davies for their messages. She looked from one to the other and said. ‘Of course! Something told me you were connected.’ It was some time later that Michael showed Lily some verses that had come to him late at night. He was not sure whether he had composed them or they had been composed through him. They were entitled, ‘Where do we go from here.’ WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? The Christian goes to Heaven, Do the others go to Hell? Yet the Muslim goes to Paradise, If he fights the Christian well. 66
The Buddhist re-incarnates, The Hindu does as well. The Marxist ceases to exist, When he hears the final bell. They all believe their theories, About the state called death, They know where they are going, When they draw their final breath. They never seem to want to ask The ones who really know; The ones who have been through death's gate And come to tell us so. They tell us that their world is real, There's perfect justice there, They work for love of service, And there's work for all to share, Teaching new arrivals, Expecting justice firm, There are no harps in Heaven, Hell has no fires that burn. Yes-educating earthlings Is a spirit's first concern, And when each one has learned the truth, They have to take their turn, Explaining to the pious, Their teachings were not sound, 67
Showing to the scientist, The truth he never found. That the earth is just the infant class And life's a mighty school, Of never ending learning Where none will end a fool. For all are going God-ward, And all will gain the prize, For the leaders there are noble, The teachers there are wise. They hear with sad compassion The foolishness and flaws, That earthly leaders propagate When they lay down their laws On matters they don't understand, Because they've shut the doors. They've shut the doors that lead from earth, To the finer world above, The inspiration's turned away. With the messages of Love: But truth is slowly seeping, The door is now ajar. One day we'll hush the weeping That rises near and far, From those who think their loved ones Have gone, they know not where, 68
Whose silent tears express their fears, That they've gone, they know not where. But then the two worlds will be one, In a partnership of love, And THY WILL really WILL be done, Here, as it is above.
CHAPTER TEN NO STRINGS ATTACHED Lily had been particularly pleased with her last message from Charlie and with the fact that Michael had been there to hear it. Some time before, knowing how restricted and depressed Lily had felt, Michael had suggested to her that they took a holiday together with ‘no strings attached on either side.’ Lily had not been sure she should go, but now felt able to agree, knowing that she had Charlie's blessing on whatever changes in her life lay ahead. She now had the sign that Grace Gooding had forecast in June of the previous year. After several enquiries, Michael found an advertisement for a two - bedroom, self- catering holiday bungalow at Boscastle, in Cornwall, somewhere where neither of them had stayed before. They would both be able to take their dogs and, guided by Lily's intuition, Michael booked for the week beginning the 23rd March. On Lily's insistence, expenses were to be shared equally between them. For some time, Michael, who passed the famous beauty spot 'Steps Bridge' on his way to Lily's house, had been asking her to come out there for a walk. Each time she had refused on the grounds that he had already come a long way and this would mean extra driving for him. Lily had been well aware of the tired face, Michael presented after driving from a distance. On 3rd March she had a message from Charlie at her church. Through John Greene, he said, ‘IT IS NEAR DAFFODIL TIME NOW, WHEN THE 70
FIRST DAFFODILS COME OUT, PLEASE GO TO ‘STEPS BRIDGE.’ WOULD YOU PLEASE PUT SOME PRIMROSES AND DAFFODILS BY MY PHOTOGRAPH AND DON'T GET DOWN IN THE DUMPS AGAIN! PLEASE GO TO ' STEPS BRIDGE!’’ After such a direct message, Lily felt she could no longer refuse. On 14th March they took their two dogs and walked along the banks of the River Dart at ‘Steps Bridge.’ The sweet scent of spring was in the air. Everywhere, among the trees, daffodils were appearing. For the first time Lily felt Michael put an arm around her waist. As they stood absorbed in the beauty spread before them, on each side of the rippling river, she felt him place a soft, sympathetic kiss on the top of her head. Very gently something had started. Lily's three friends were very interested in her ripening friendship with Michael. He was to take the service at her church the following Sunday, so Lily invited them to lunch and Margaret agreed to drive Lily, Eunice and Phyllis so that they could hear him speak. Lily loved cooking and entertaining and two of the guests were particularly fond of good food. The lunch was a great success with the friends trying to outdo each other in sampling the food before them and at times they were almost hysterical with laughter. They were a joyful light-hearted group as the car travelled the eighteen miles to the church. Michael and Marian, the medium, were already in the room reserved for speakers when the four arrived, so they took their seats in the front row. When it came to the address, Michael spoke on Judgment, or, as Spiritualists would say, Self-Assessment, on reaching the next world. He put it in the context of eternal spiritual progress so that it seemed a helpful, indeed valuable event in the individual soul's spiritual evolution. 71
After the service, the friends were introduced to the tall scholarly figure, who had given such a confident address. Lily felt the service had gone very well and it had certainly made a very deep impression on Phyllis. Everyone was anxious to thank and praise Michael and there was no doubt he had made a lasting impression. She heard, later, that both Margaret and Phyllis had written independently to thank Michael for an uplifting service, something he said had never happened before. Lily, however, had other things to think about. She had to make preparations for a self-catering holiday and her mind was fully occupied with providing all the necessary requirements for a stay with a man she did not yet know very well, and two dogs, in a bungalow she had not yet seen. Michael was looking forward to the coming holiday with a rising interest that quite surprised him but also with an unexpected anxiety. He had told most of his friends that he was going away to Cornwall for a week with a friend. He had not specified who he or she might be. He felt he did not want Lily to be the subject of talk if it did not work out between them. There was a special reason for this. The thought of marriage was certainly becoming more attractive to him in spite of the many complications that it would lead to. The trouble was he had just had a message from the medium, Marian, which seemed to rule out Lily as a possible wife. Without saying where it came from, Marian had suddenly announced that he would marry a younger woman, who was a medium. Michael felt shocked at the message. He was 70; Lily was 70. She certainly had flashes of intuition and good insight into people's characters, but she was not a medium. On the other hand he did know one, perhaps two, ladies, who fitted the description! Spirits of 72
course, were not infallible. They were simply people who had passed on to another dimension and some were no wiser than they had been on earth. Also messages were easily distorted by passing through the medium's mind, as any good medium would admit. But supposing it was true! It would be very unfair to Lily to let her suppose they might make a life together and then leave her for someone else. He could tell that she had a strong interest in him and, although they had agreed that they were going away with ‘no strings attached,’ he guessed a little of what was in her heart. It would be another disappointment to add to the many others she had suffered. It was because of receiving so many blows from fate that she was going to call her book, ‘Just when Everything Seemed Right,’ and he did not want to add another disappointment to the list, For the moment, he tried to put the thought of the message aside as he collected together the items of food and other things he had arranged to bring with him on the holiday. He had meant to take with him his family photograph album so that Lily could understand more of his past life and background. Now he wondered if he should. He had also planned to take the big book in which he had recorded all the spirit messages received since 1976, Should he take it? Suddenly he decided to take them both anyway. ‘Blow the silly message!’ he thought, it was probably wrong anyway! He felt that in all honesty he musts tell Lily about the message yet it seemed an unkind thing to do at the start of a holiday together. As Michael and 'Bracken,’ his collie dog, travelled the road to Mortonhampstead, the sun was shining, the trees were budding and spring flowers lined the road verges. His spirits rose and he found himself singing as he drove his car towards the holiday with Lily. As he drew up at the old 73
house in Mortonhampstead, he saw Lily emerge with cases and boxes all prepared. She obviously cared nothing now for the thought of neighbours peeping through curtains at the sight of them loading the cases into the car. Soon they were packed up and with the Jack Russell on board they set off As they drove, Michael mentioned the message he had received from Marian and admitted that he was upset by it. They discussed the message impersonally, as though it affected two other people. Had Marian heard it right? Had she interpreted correctly? Michael said he gave it no great weight. They dropped the subject and concentrated on finding the way to Boscastle. The holiday mood gripped them but at the back of both their minds lay the message saying ‘Be careful, be cautious!’ When they reached the bungalow they were to share they were delighted. It stood in the grounds of a large Georgian house, a peaceful spot surrounded by a lawn and spring flowers perfumed the air. After taking possession, arranging their things and making the first cup of tea, they sat in a sunny lounge congratulating themselves on having found such a lovely spot. After tea, as the sun was setting, they took the dogs and set out to explore. They found a path leading directly to the cliffs. As they walked along the grassy cliff path, the sea was ablaze with glorious colour. In the distance they saw a mysterious little white tower overlooking the sea, farther to the east. As the air started to chill, they retraced their steps to the bungalow, looking forward to an evening meal together. Earlier in the week, Lily had had her radio on very late at night and had heard Pan pipe music that reminded her of her life in South America. She had felt so sorry for the hard lives the native Indians suffered and she admired their simple hardiness in extreme poverty and she loved the 74
soulful music they played on their Pan Pipes. She had managed to trace the music and order a cassette in time to bring it with her. As they started the meal, Michael set the tape going and Lily was delighted to see that he too loved the music of the pipes Early next morning, Lily followed her usual custom and stole quietly out of the bungalow to take her dog, Lucky, for a walk along the cliff path. In the distance she saw the white tower again. It seemed to be looking out to sea as though on guard. The cliffs were very steep and rocky and far below the waves crashed against the jagged base. Everywhere gulls were nesting on every available nook and cranny on the cliffs while others wheeled incessantly above her head. She returned to make early morning tea and take a cup to Michael. She had wondered whether the dogs would fight but she need not have worried. Bracken had slept in Michael's bedroom and Lucky in hers. When she opened Michael's door, Lucky burst in to smother him with affection, while Bracken, the ever-hungry one, burst out to see what was happening in the kitchen. The table where they breakfasted had a huge window by it, through which the early morning sun poured in, covering everything in golden light. They luxuriated in the warm rays, so welcome after the bitter winter that had made life so hard for Lily in Mortonhampstead, dealing with frozen pipes and icy paths. They had a long leisurely breakfast and each wondered that this intimate, friendly meal seemed so natural, as if they had been married to each other instead of to two other people for so many years. It just seemed to be right. Michael, who had read widely about reincarnation, wondered to himself if they could ever have had lives 75
together in the past. They decided that after breakfast they would explore farther along the cliffs and see if they could reach the white tower. They set out but they had not realised what a climb they had undertaken. The rolling hills had been cut away by the sea so that the cliff path climbed and descended almost to sea level, then climbed and descended again while it wound its way round narrow inlets that reminded them of Norwegian fiords. At last the tower was ahead and they struggled up the steep incline to sit exhausted on the concrete base. Presently they recovered and examined the tower from all sides. It seemed almost too artistic to be constructed merely for practical use and they later learned it was, indeed, built as a charming 'folly'. After some years the coastguards had used it and now it was boarded up and empty. On their return, Lily got the lunch. Michael asked her how she had become such an expert cook. The reply was unexpected. She said that her mother was such a poor cook that at seven years old she realised that if she wanted decent food she would have to learn to cook it herself, and now cooking was one of her main interests. Michael had always tended to jump up after a meal and start some job or other. Lily now persuaded him to sit and rest after the meal, a thing he had never done. Taking an unaccustomed rest, Michael picked up a book Lily had brought with her and was immediately interested. It was called ‘Centenarians of the Andes’, and the author, Dr Davies, described how the inhabitants of certain areas in Ecuador had very long and vigorous lives. These people lived above 5,000 feet in the Andes Mountains and they showed few signs of the decrepitude that we, in the west, associate with old age. Dr Davies had traced and studied men as old as 140 who were still agile and clear-headed, 76
while a woman he met, of 104, moved like a young woman of 20. He carefully studied everything about their lives and found them quite free from heart disease, cancer and many other diseases of the western world. They ate fruits, herbs and roots instead of modern processed foods, and very little meat. These people maintained their ability to cultivate their small- holdings almost to the end of their lives. They had herbs, which they said promoted fertility and women of sixty had given birth, while men of over a hundred had fathered children. Dr. Davies also described people of the Abkasion tribe, living in the Caucasus Mountains of southern Russia, who were also very long-lived. One man was 168 and had a brother who had died at 134. He could remember clearly, events that happened 150 years before. The conclusion seemed to be that natural foods, mountain life and regular work played an important part in the long and healthy lives of these peoples. Michael mused over the book. Were cancer and heart disease perhaps caused by western food? He felt he still had a great deal to do in life and even another ten or fifteen years would give him the chance to do it. Then there was the sex question. He and Nancy had had a happy relationship in this way for over 40 years. It had always seemed entirely natural, as basic to their marriage as their spiritual partnership, Would he ever know that kind of physical closeness again? He remembered how Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, had changed her point of view on this after her death. She had returned through the medium Ursula Roberts to say that she could now see the seven power centres in man that the Hindus call the chakras. From the sexual centre at the base of the spine, to the spiritual centre at the top of the head, she now said all should be active and in balance for a good healthy life, depending of course on 77
circumstances and situations. This seemed to argue against the Roman Catholic rule of abstinence for priests. Lily was moving. He could hear her washing up. What should they do? He went out to ask her. It was Sunday and they both had the same idea. They would like to go to a Spiritualist service in a new place. Michael had taken part in a service at Bude, ten miles away, some while before. He had been driven there by a medium and thought he could find the little church again. They set off on a lovely sunny afternoon. Now and again, on their left, they saw a glimpse of the sea with the waves sparkling in the sunshine. They drove into Bude and entered the one-way traffic system. The last time Michael had been here as a passenger, he had not paid attention to the route. As they came round the one-way circuit for the second time he had to confess himself unable to find the church. He stopped and asked in the Police Station. They could not help. With a sense of panic developing because time was now very short, Michael decided to ring the medium, Marian, in Devon. The number was engaged and minutes ticked away. At last he got through to her and she laughed at him. It was held in a hall he had already passed twice. They arrived outside at 6.29, the service started at 6.30. Lily jumped out of the car without saying a parting word to the dogs and giving them the usual chocolate drops, leaving Michael to lock up the car. He caught up with her to see her being embraced by a large gentleman at the door who said, ‘Welcome young lady,’ as though she was expected. They took their seats, almost the only ones vacant, and the service began. The medium was Michael Packer from South Devon. He had a very lively uplifting manner and when he came to the clairvoyance, he went straight to Michael. After describing Nancy, he said, 78
‘SHE IS GENTLE BUT STRONG. SHE COULD TAKE ME OVER. SHE IS VERY EXPRESSIVE, PERSUADING YOU TO MOVE ON. SHE SAYS ‘CAN’T YOU SORT IT OUT?’ SHE IS PERSUADING YOU TO SEE THINGS FROM A NEW PERSPECTIVE AND GET A MOVE ON.’ The medium came to Lily with the last message of the evening. After a brief message from Charlie, he relayed a message from her aunt Emily, which said, ‘EMILY COMES CLOSE. A CHANGE IN WHERE YOU ARE LIVING. BE POSITIVE WITH SPIRIT'S HELP. CONSIDER COMMITMENT. DON'T TURN BACK. IT'LL WORK OUT FINE.’ As they left the service, the chairman made a bee line for Lily to say a very special farewell, which, seemed strange as other people were departing without such particular attention. ‘Young lady’, he said, which she certainly was not, ‘you will come to Bude Church again. I see much happiness ahead for you. I can see a triangle over a sphere above your head,’ and he made a triangle with his arms over his own head as illustration. Another hug, another kiss and a warm but restrained goodbye to Michael followed. As they drove out of Bude, to find the coast road to Boscastle, they felt they had had a very surprising evening. The pattern of a triangle over a sphere was the logo on the front of the pamphlet Michael had published about his experiences when taught by a Tibetan teacher. There was no way the Chairman could have known this. On the way to Boscastle, they had a good deal to think about. Michael was sure that the message had come from Nancy and he was pleased she had known of their plans and spoken through Michael Packer. He was not quite clear as to what the 79
message meant. It was probably an encouragement to follow his instinct and suggest a closer friendship, and perhaps partnership, with Lily, but it made no reference to the other message about a younger psychic. Lily's message was all too clear to her. Her aunt, who had had an interest in Spiritualism, was encouraging her to do as Charlie had suggested and commit herself to a partnership with Michael. It reinforced the two previous messages. But what did he think? She remembered a letter he had written to her in which he said‘You have no competitors in my affection, but if I promise more than I can perform, it may lead to unhappiness later, which is the last thing I want. Let us get to know one another better gradually and see how it goes!’ Then there was the other awkward message about a younger woman. Obviously Michael was not ready and did not want to commit himself yet. Well, she only wanted him if he was sure she was the one, as she was sure in her own mind that he was the one for her, and he must make up his own mind without any pressure from her. The following day they went to Tintagel and explored the massive rock formation with its caves at the base, washed by the ocean. The sun came out and early season visitors were climbing the steep paths and gazing out to sea over the ramparts of what legend said was King Arthur's castle. After returning for lunch at the bungalow they sat quietly for a time while Michael worked on an article for a magazine his church produced. Later they explored the picturesque Boscastle harbour, a steep sided inlet providing one of the few shelters for boats on this harsh, rocky coast. By the harbour, were cafe's and shops and they bought provisions Lily wanted, as they had invited some guests to come to lunch the following day. Lily remarked, and 80
Michael agreed, that it seemed entirely natural for them to be shopping together, exploring the village and preparing for guests, as though they had always known one another. The guests were to be Brian, the bereaved man Lily had heard on the radio and 'Judy' his daughter. Lily worked hard preparing the lunch. She wanted the meeting to be a success and hoped that they would give some encouragement or enlightenment to Brian who was sunk in grief and still visited his wife's grave with flowers every day. Also in meeting Michael he would realise that Lily was not as alone as he might have thought. The couple arrived and during coffee Brian bluntly asked Michael, 'What are you doing in Boscastle?' ‘Oh, I felt Lily and I needed a break and we are visiting people near here.’ A little later on the question was repeated, 'But what are you doing here?’ with emphasis on the ‘you’. Any answer was avoided by a call to lunch and general conversation. The daughter, Judy was a very attractive, intelligent girl, very much concerned for her father's welfare, and she, too, seemed anxious to probe Michael's future intentions. Michael felt all this was a little unfair when they were, after all, guests eating a splendid lunch, but he bore it with good grace. . When he put the Pan Pipes tape on, as they had coffee, Brian dismissed it rather curtly, saying, 'I prefer my music straight'. Michael switched it off again. Brian seemed as if he was easily irritated, by things he did not like. About an hour after lunch, the guests prepared to depart after looking over the bungalow and garden, Michael accompanied Judy out to the car but Brian hung back in the kitchen with Lily, looking out of the window, hesitating, as though he had something he very much wanted to say but 81
could not quite say it. After a minute or two he reluctantly made his way out to the car and they departed, Michael watched them go, feeling sorry for the man who, even though he had a fond daughter, seemed locked into loneliness self-pity and grief. After clearing up, Michael and Lily took the dogs for their favourite walk along the cliff tops. The sun shone on the sea. The waves broke against the rocks far below. The dogs hunted strange scents in a fever of excitement until the sun sank, the air cooled and they turned for home. After tea they watched television. They both enjoyed an old classic comedy and then a programme on orchids, Lily's special interest. Breakfasting again, in the glorious early morning sun, they both felt the peace and contentment of this period together, away from telephones, post and regular visitors. They seemed to exist in an aura of peace. The following days went all too quickly and Saturday, when they must depart, was looming nearer. The next day they visited Delabole, the largest slate quarry in the world, Port Isaac and the seaside village of Rock. They lunched out, and in the evening they talked about their past lives and experiences. They did not venture into discussing the future. Michael described how, in 1990, he had started a little business called Amazing Spiritualist Audio Tapes. It had come about almost by accident. He had been asked to take an old friend to a well-known healer in Okehampton, some 20 miles away. The friend, a fellow teacher, had had a heart attack while lying on a beach in the South of France. His holiday insurance had brought him home by Air Ambulance but the end result had been paralysis of his left side, especially the arm and leg. The friend, Bill, remembered how Michael had been 82
healed of his injured spine and hoped for a similar success, Michael had not been too hopeful, as the damage was now many months old, but he willingly drove Bill to the healer's home and helped him into the healing room. The healer, Ted Cornish was well known and always seemed to have patients from near and far, waiting in the corridor for their appointment with him. Once inside, Ted immediately began giving healing to Bill but gave most of his attention to Michael. After asking him many questions about the Spiritualist Church, he said 'Have you seen my tapes?' which Michael had not. 'They're the most amazing recordings of communications through a medium you have ever heard’, said Ted, 'you must see them before you go. Michael described how, ignoring the waiting patients, Ted took him into a large lounge and opened a glass topped mahogany cabinet with many audiotapes displayed in rows. He explained that a small Spiritualist circle in Sidmouth had received over a hundred, 'Messages to Mankind', transmitted from the Spirit World by a representative group of those who had passed over. The whole operation had been supervised by members of the spiritual, ‘White Brotherhood’ and the speakers included housewives, bank managers and doctors, as well as well-known people such as Florence Nightingale, King George VI and Lord Mountbatten. Inclined to be suspicious, it seemed to Michael unlikely that the tapes were genuine communications. It had been known for foolish spirits to claim to be famous people in order to gain the attention of listeners. Yet, what if they were genuine? Should not this be investigated? He asked to borrow four tapes and promised to return them on his next visit with Bill. When he got home he spent many hours, listening to 83
the tapes over and over again. The personalities described their lives on earth, their passing, or death, and their experiences in what they insisted was called the, ‘Etheric World.’ The next time he took Bill for healing, he returned the four tapes and borrowed another four. These, too, he assessed again and again. He became more and more impressed with them and the idea came to him that they should be marketed, so that they were made available to the public at large. When he listened to a tape made by the former King George VI, he was more than interested to hear the King's voice say to the members of the Sidmouth circle, 'Don't worry about distributing the tapes, we will arrange for someone to do this.’ Michael asked if he could take on distributing the tapes, Ted agreed at once. There was no copyright claimed and the medium wanted no payment. He simply wanted the messages to go out to whoever wished to hear them. Ted mentioned that others had offered to market the tapes for him but until now he had had an inner feeling which said, 'No. Wait!' Now he felt the message was ‘Yes’, and so he allowed Michael to make his own master tapes from which to make copies for sale. After making a set of master tapes, Michael had placed copies in his local church and then set about advertising them in 'Psychic World.’ To save tax problems he had decided to run the business as a church activity with profits going to the church. In this way, the church accountant could deal with the income under charity law. Lily now understood why Michael so often said; 'I must deal with my post before I come out.’ She knew he had bought a word processor to print lists of tapes and had had many orders, some from overseas. Michael asked many questions about her life and 84
especially about Charlie. Their life together had been one of considerable hardship and almost endless hard work, but Lily loved to talk about Charlie and his boundless energy and kindness to one and all. He seemed to have struck a chord in the hearts of hundreds. The poor, the frail, the handicapped and the suffering had been his interest and concern. With his humour, his kindness, his first-aid knowledge and his healing gift, he had had friends everywhere. Often he had come home to her and said, 'Lily, could you make a cake for old Mrs. 'X,' or ‘Mr. 'Y'?’ As he had developed as a spiritual healer he had had some remarkable successes in apparently hopeless cases and also in training other healers. Lily had been perfectly happy to do the planning, organising and cooking so that he could do his work. She accepted that half the lonely old ladies in the town felt that they had a part share in Charlie. After he died, she found a beautiful watch he had bought for her as a present but had never given to her in the upset of her accident, followed by his sudden death. He had written a note with it she would never forget. It said, 'With all my love. You are the wind beneath my wings! Charlie.’ The next day, Michael and Lily explored Boscastle and discovered a delightful wooded walk by the side of the River Valency. They came to the cottage of the National Trust Warden and spent a pleasant half hour listening to his stories of the locality and its visitors. They knew that Thomas Hardy, the novelist, had visited Boscastle, and the Warden told them of some disputes among the members of the Thomas Hardy Society when they visited the area. Lily had an artist friend, who, when she said she was going to Boscastle, had said, with a twinkle in his eye, 'Are you going to visit Paradise while you're there?’ Lily had thought he was joking as it must have seemed 85
surprising that she was going away with Michael whom her friends had known so little about. She had laughed but wondered if there was such a place. On a sketch map they had of the district, they saw a place named Paradise. In their euphoric state they felt they must visit this place but the directions were vague and they failed to find it. That evening Michael asked directly if Lily would consider re-marriage, if asked, and he outlined his financial resources, income and general situation. Lily remained friendly but firmly aloof. None of the financial details interested her and she did not take them in. She went so far as to say, 'Yes, if I was asked I would consider it,' but she refused to go further. In this she was resolute. There were several other women in the field, she knew, and unless he was absolutely sure she was the only one for him, she would not allow herself to give way to her feelings and so put pressure on him. He must make his own free choice otherwise unhappiness could be ahead for them both. On Friday morning they lingered over the sunny breakfast table, realising that tomorrow's meal would be a hasty one as they would have to pack, clear up and settle accounts by 10 o'clock in the morning. After a last walk on the cliff path in sunny but windy weather, Michael offered to cook lunch. He felt Lily had done all the cooking and, after all, she was on holiday as well. As the stove was ultra modern and unfamiliar, he worked carefully, and slowly and lunch was rather late but Lily waited patiently. It was a long time since anyone had cooked for her and she was quite happy, thinking to herself that another prophecy was coming true. In the afternoon they visited Bodmin Moor and gave the dogs a good walk before returning for tea at the bungalow. After tea they set out to find Paradise. According 86
to the bungalow's proprietors, it was not far, just a few turnings to right and left. For some time they searched tracks and lanes without success, then, suddenly, just as the sun was setting, they found it, marked officially by a notice board saying, PARADISE. It was the most tranquil spot by the side of a charming old house. A stream trickled down towards them, flanked on each side by grassy banks, covered with primroses and daffodils. The fresh green branches of weeping willows hung over the stream as it tumbled over its rocky bed with a gentle gurgle. The whole scene was lit by a gorgeous sunset, which gave it an unearthly beauty. Lily was a practiced photographer. They both had cameras with them. As they tried to capture the scene, each camera in turn gave a depressing whir, announcing that its film was finished. They stood side by side, drinking in the view until darkness fell, Lily asked laughingly, 'Do you know the way back?' for they had already lost their way several times. 'Oh yes!' came the confident reply. They started back with the two dogs. Michael, who was now looking in vain for clues to the way back, hoped the dogs would remember the route. They at least appeared confident and strained forward on their leads. After some time the road grew narrower and sloped steeply uphill. In the gathering dusk they could make out hedges and farm gates and heard the bleating of sheep. All this was unfamiliar. Were they lost again? Still the dogs pressed forward but Michael now admitted he had gone astray, called a halt and they began to retrace their steps. Totally bewildered, now, they wandered for what seemed ages before a familiar main road appeared and they managed to reach the bungalow again, tired but still quite happy in spite of their meanderings in the pitch dark. 87
Everything they did seemed to bring them closer and they both felt the increasing attraction that was drawing them together, in spite of their 'no strings' agreement. They were hungry and, as Lily prepared supper in the small kitchen, Michael helped her and they chatted about their adventures. Lily felt they were now very close and for her, Paradise had left her with a treasured memory she would always remember. As they lingered over the meal she hoped that Michael would say he had made up his mind before the evening was over. They did some packing and then reminisced as they had their last supper drink but still Michael said nothing. Lily dreaded the thought of going home to an empty house on an Easter Saturday, Was it really to be a case of 'Paradise Lost?’ Michael too, thought he ought to say something but still felt he must not speak until he was sure beyond all doubt. This holiday euphoria, which so encompassed them, did not guarantee that a permanent partnership was right for them both. On the other hand, they were so naturally close that it seemed ridiculous to part and go to separate bedrooms. As they both fetched glasses of water from the kitchen, in their nightclothes, he hesitated. Lily looked a little aloof and after all it would not be fair until he was absolutely sure a marriage would be a success for them both. It was many months before he found out what her feelings had been at that moment. On the drive home next day, Lily heard Michael humming, ‘I’ve grown accustomed to her face,’ from the show ‘My Fair Lady.’ She wondered if in the days to come with his busy life, he would miss her, as she knew she would miss him. Their thoughts as they drove homewards were partly 88
of the wonderful companionable week that was ending and partly of what lay ahead. Michael's mind was busy with thoughts of appointments and duties that he had gladly shelved for a week. He now looked forward with enthusiasm to his various tasks. How would he find his house he wondered, after a week in his grandson's care, not to mention the care of his friends in the small pop group he belonged to who, no doubt, would have been practising in the living room during his absence. Again and again the message from Marian came to his mind; 'To marry a psychic'. A younger woman.’ Could it be true? Who knew what the future held, but if it were true, how unfair to Lily; Lily of the honest, loving and vulnerable heart.
CHAPTER ELEVEN AFTER THE HOLIDAY Lily's Easter weekend was lonely as she tackled her garden but she did have one visitor. The mysterious gentleman from the big house, who often followed her about, called with a present of more apples. He caught the aroma of an apple pie that was cooking at the time and sniffed appreciatively. He said he hoped she could use what he had brought as he was going away on holiday. To be polite she enquired where he was going and he replied, ‘I've a villa in Marbella where I'm going for a few weeks. I'd be glad to lend it to you if you would care to take a holiday there after I return!’ Lily politely declined the generous offer. She was amused that this beautifully spoken, well-educated man should obviously look upon her with favour, she who had left school at 14 and educated herself in the hard school of life. However her thoughts did no stay with him, they were centred elsewhere, as were the thoughts of her friends. Lily's friends were too polite to ask her very personal questions about the holiday, but she noticed there was an air of expectancy about them as to what she might volunteer. It was an expectancy she did not, could not satisfy. What had happened on the holiday? Had she and Michael formed a lasting bond? She could not tell. Michael appeared to act in the same friendly way as before they went away. He 'phoned most evenings and they exchanged details of what they had been doing but he said nothing about their having a future together. Alice had two friends who she knew had similar interests to Michael. They lived at Torpoint, on the west of 90
Plymouth, and she suggested they went to see them. Both had psychic gifts and were students of the spiritual life and devoted themselves to healing as their form of service. Michael agreed to pick her and Lucky up and drive over Dartmoor to meet these friends for lunch. They stopped at a point, high up on the moor, to exercise the dogs. As they walked in the cool, clear air, Michael saw something shining on the ground. He picked it up, it was a silver Parker fountain pen, half buried in the peat, something he needed as his own had just started to leak. He could see no hope of returning it to its owner, there was no one in sight for miles, so he put it in his pocket. It seemed odd to find it there just when he needed one. After a lengthy wait to cross on the Torpoint Ferry, they arrived in good time to meet Lily’s friends, John and Anne. The dogs behaved admirably for once, and they all sat down to an excellent lunch. The conversation soon flowed and Michael found that John was a knowledgeable student of the Tibetan's works. With lunch over, the conversation turned to house prices. Michael liked the look of a nearby house with a mature garden and was surprised to be told that house prices here, even with a view of Plymouth Sound, were much more reasonable than he expected. John and Anne made it clear that they would love to have them as neighbours. They explained that house prices were lower because Torpoint was cut off from Plymouth by the Sound and had to be reached by the ferry. When a patient, called for healing, Michael and Lily took the dogs for a walk by the Sound, looking at houses for sale on one side and the busy scene of boats and Royal Navy ships on the other. Michael realised that John and Anne had assumed that he and Lily might be setting up home together. 91
This was natural enough, as they had heard of some of the messages Nancy and Charlie had sent, mentioning marriage and commitment. With one part of his mind Michael spoke of the view and controlled the dogs, as they walked. With another he thought, 'But this is all too early!’ Nancy had advised him to marry in 12 to 18 months time when he had stabilized himself. Could he be sure he could promise life-long love to this lady by his side? He did not really rate the forecast about the younger psychic very highly but, as he had said in one of his few letters to Lily, they must let time pass and see if admiration and friendship would naturally ripen into love. Lily's good qualities were clear, she was unselfish, indeed generous to a fault; she was tactful, honest and skilled in many ways, They got on well together and real love might well grow between them but it must not be rushed. It was just very satisfactory that things had gone as well as they had, so far. As they drove back across Dartmoor, a sunset tinted the moor with a strange ruddy glow that spread beauty over the rocks and heather. Looking at Lily's face he noticed the set of her mouth. It was a look of patient, determined endurance, a legacy of difficulties faced and overcome. He longed to replace it with a look of contentment, a look that said she was no longer alone and had found love and security again. Lily had always been a campaigner. When she and Charlie had bought a mobile home on a charming site during a dry summer, and the following winter's rain turned the area into a swamp, with sewage emerging from the drains, the others on the site had feared to take action because the site owners simply ejected trouble makers. 'You'll never beat the site owners,’ they said. 92
She had sought out politicians, and would-be politicians, and taken the case to the press and television, so that after many letters and visits to all and sundry, powerful figures took an interest in the subject, a change was proposed in the law, and the foundation for a new Mobile Homes Act was made. The Act came into effect in 1983, granting greater security to tenants and greater responsibilities to site owners. At the moment, she was battling with the local Health Authority, seeking help for a very handicapped family that Charlie had always assisted. She interested Michael in the case and he willingly wrote letters and engaged the help of friends to secure proper provision for the mother, who was at the end of her tether with many problems. She had shown Michael the transcript of a sitting she had had with a medium when the battle at the mobile home site was at its height and victory seemed unlikely. The medium had described the swamped site and said, ‘THERE ARE LEGAL MATTERS INVOLVED, DON'T GIVE IN. THE MATTER WILL BE CONCLUDED TO BENEFIT MANY OTHERS. DON'T WORRY ABOUT LEGAL FEES, THESE WILL BE TAKEN CARE OF.’ She then went on to describe the house at Mortonhampstead in detail, a house that Charlie and Lily were to move to in the future, but of which, at the time, they had no knowledge at all. That the forecast had come exactly true made her think more seriously about the recent forecasts of marriage. Michael was busy with engagements on most days but he phoned regularly and called when he could, usually on Saturday. Lily knew his regular meetings now and knew at least the names of the friends he met with and what the meetings were about. On Mondays a group came to his 93
house for meditation as they had done for years. On Tuesday evenings he sat with a blind man. On Wednesday evenings he meditated with two old friends, as he had done with Nancy. On Thursday afternoons he had been invited by two psychics to sit as part of a group, and had become involved, quite unexpectedly, in 'rescue work'. The mediums concerned shunned publicity, but he knew that a spirit control had spoken through them and asked their help in dealing with victims of the Gulf War who were earthbound. The mediums took it in turn to go into trance, so that airmen and soldiers who had passed over, and were temporarily bewildered, could speak through them, allowing Michael and others to talk to them and advise them to 'look for the light’ and 'ask for help', whereupon they would be able to see the spirit helpers who would guide and assist them. She did not fully understand why it was necessary or how it was done, but she knew he regarded it as a privilege and a great responsibility. She had read that, after the last war, Air Chief Marshall Lord Dowding had described, 'rescue’ circles’, similarly helping earth bound RAF aircrew to progress to their proper sphere in the spirit world. On Thursday evenings he met with friends in a meditation circle run by Marian Bellfield. Here she knew Nancy occasionally popped in with a message. On Friday he often called on a young American medium and her husband and baby daughter, and on Saturday he was free to come and see her. On Sundays he often took a church service or attended one, followed once a month by a committee meeting, which went on to about 11 p.m. In addition he gave talks to about twenty interested groups, once or twice a year, in neighbouring counties, and attended meetings, chairing the Board of Governors of a school. 94
Would she ever see him, if it came about that they became partners, she wondered? At least she thought, he was usually home in the day time and, after all she could go with him to some of the things if it ever came about, She still had no idea what her future held after all their talks together. Lily had always grown geraniums in troughs under the arches on the granite wall in front of the house; they made a vivid contrast to the grey stone and had warm commendation from the local Britain in Bloom Committee. She needed new young plants from a grower near to Michael's home and he offered to drive her there, calling in at his house on the way. At first sight she thought the house where he lived was small and rather dark. As with many local houses, the walled garden was on the other side of the road and while it had a good view of the River Exe and the boats, she felt it would be very inconvenient. On their return to Mortonhampstead with the young plants, Michael accepted an offer to stay the night. He slept in the big bedroom and when he woke, watched through the window, the sun rise over the moor on a beautiful spring morning. Lily had had two messages from Charlie relayed to her recently. One came from John at Torpoint, after their visit. Charlie actually appeared briefly to her old friend and said, 'ALL GOES WELL, ALL IS WELL!’ The second message came from a medium at Dawlish Church and said to her, 'CHARLIE IS NOW FINE AND HAS FOUND PEACE AND HAPPINESS AS YOU HAVE DONE. HE CAN SEE A COTTAGE AND LOVELY GARDEN WHERE THERE WILL BE MUCH HAPPINESS.’ 95
Michael came for the weekend on 17th April and again on 1st and 2nd of May when Lily was again knitting hard preparing for a Craft Fair to be held in the town. The following Wednesday her healer friend Margaret came to stay the night, and help her with her stall on the following day. After a busy morning on her stall, the pressure eased a little during the afternoon and Lily noticed a woman watching her as though intrigued. After a while, she approached her with tears in her eyes and said, ‘IT IS SO STRANGE TO SEE SUCH A SPIRITUAL LIGHT, ARE YOU A MEDIUM?’’ On her answering 'No,' she said, ‘THIS INVOLVES TWO PEOPLE: CALMNESS FROM A GENTLEMAN, A QUIET SPIRITUAL MAN, WITH MUCH HAPPENING WORLD WIDE IN THE FUTURE. I CAN SEE A GREAT SPIRITUAL PRESENCE! DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING BELONGING TO THIS MAN?’ On being shown a photograph of Michael, which was all Lily had, she said, 'THIS CONFIRMS EVERYTHING I HAVE SAID.’ The lady, obviously a medium, gave her a sweet smile and shook her hand, saying as she departed, ‘IT'S SO UNUSUAL TO SEE SUCH A SPIRITUAL LIGHT.’ As the lady disappeared into the crowd Lily realised she should have asked her name but customers appeared and she had to attend to them. Margaret, her friend, joined her at this point. Presently the distinguished mystery man appeared at Lily's stall and exchanged a few words. As he left, Margaret realised he was the admirer she had heard about. She seemed so taken with his eligibility and the fact that Lily did not require him, that she let out a most unladylike 96
sound of appreciation that left Lily smiling for the rest of the afternoon. Margaret stood entranced and seemed to think that such a suitor should not be wasted and could Lily arrange an introduction for her.
CHAPTER TWELVE DECISION Michael had much to think about. He was well aware of the tide of feeling that was sweeping him towards Lily. He noticed how he tended to speed up as he drove towards her house, ignoring the dog's protest, as he rushed past her favourite walking spot without stopping. He had tackled Marian about the message that he would marry a younger psychic. Thinking back, she said she was not sure what, Nancy had actually said. She might have interpreted that wrongly, but the sense of the message was definitely to marry a younger woman. ‘Yes,’ said Michael, ‘I see.’ He thought to himself, ‘Lily is a year younger than Nancy was. To her she would be a younger woman. That could be the answer.' Michael and Marian were often booked to take services together in different parts of Devon, and as Marian was now widowed, they often talked about their lives and how it would be impractical to marry again. Marian was good looking and looked younger than her 40 years. ‘Where would I find a man to put up with my life.’ she said. 'I am matron at a residential home and I'm used to giving orders, not taking them. My housework is done by 7.30 a.m., and I'm at work by 8. I fill my sitting room with circles and sitters in the evenings and on Wednesday and Sundays I often go off with you to serve Churches. What man would put up with that?' Michael felt rather the same. His time was entirely filled by his tape business, his meetings, his writings, and his beloved books. A medium had once said to Nancy, 'I SEE YOUR HUSBAND SURROUNDED BY BOOKS 98
DON'T YOU MIND?’ Her good-humoured reply was 'Oh, I'm used to it!’ He loved books of many kinds. He tried to keep up with science and philosophy and with his old love, conservation. He had access to many books on Spiritualism and the paranormal, and he generally had at least three books on the go in different rooms in the house. Having been a magistrate, he had tried to keep up with the law and its many changes but he had had to abandon it for lack of time and because he found it was better to look things up when needed rather than rely on memory. Then there were other things to think about. How would marriage affect his family, the children and the grandchildren? Lily had got on well with three of them already, and she had an excellent way with people. Then there were the dogs. His collie was rather jealous of little ‘Lucky,' and wanted to take over Lily, but she growled a warning if 'Lucky’ tried to be affectionate to him. For years now Michael had had a sense of mission, a very awkward thing for a wife to live with. He had been willing to travel to any meeting in Devon wanting a speaker on Conservation. He had taught Conservation surreptitiously for years at school until; at last it became officially recognised and incorporated into the curriculum, when he could do so openly. Now the truth about Life after Death, and the Spiritual Evolution of Life, was his gospel, and his drive to teach was as strong as ever. Would it be fair to ask Lily to put up with this? He had a picture of them working together, despatching tapes, writing letters while living in domestic bliss. Certainly, Lily wrote marvellous letters, He usually received one a day and he always looked for them. She 99
expressed herself so easily on paper - yet surprisingly for a woman, she was sparing of the spoken word, never using two when one would do, preferring to look after people and listen, rather than hold the floor. It was not that she hadn't got opinions, and when action was needed she was ready with them, as her many past battles showed. He was pretty sure she loved him and she had Charlie's blessing, almost his instructions, to commit herself to a new partnership. She had said, 'I think Charlie seems quite bossy now, a thing he never was when we were married.’ 'Yes', he had answered, 'but only because he wants your happiness.’ Michael had had an offer of marriage already, and an offer to live with a woman. Nancy had come through quickly and warned him off one lady. Marian had said to him, 'NANCY IS TICKLED PINK BUT SAYS YOU'D NEVER BE HAPPY WITH THAT ONE.' He had had several messages from her recently, Ann Lambden, at Exeter, had said, 'I HAVE YOUR LADY HERE. SHE SENDS LOTS OF LOVE AND SAYS SHE IS STARTING TO TEACH. SHE TRIES TO GET YOU TO WRITE. PLEASE WRITE THAT ARTICLE NOW! AND WHAT ABOUT THE PUDDING?’ (Tim had completely demolished a pudding Michael had left in the fridge). ‘SHE SAYS YOUR SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE IS GOING UP LIKE THAT.’ ANN MADE AN UPWARD CURVE OF HER HAND, 'BUT REMEMBER, WISDOM IS ONLY AS GOOD AS THE RECIPIENT! Lots of love from your lady.’ On the way home from a service on 4th May, Marian suddenly said, 'Nancy's in the back travelling with us. She said you will marry again and shows two rings. Now she's 100
saying, ‘I myself won't be alone either!’ (This came true in 1992.) Next came a telephone message from Janet Horton. Janet said she had heard Nancy singing the song, 'TOTALLY DEVOTED TO YOU,’ from the show Grease. ‘Nancy then said, 'BE SURE TO TELL MICHAEL I AM SO PROUD OF HIM. I AM WITH HIM WHEN HE GETS READY TO GO TO CHURCH AND THEN I GO TO THE CHURCH TO HEAR THE ADDRESS.' Michael knew she was sometimes at the Church because Marian would say, 'Nancy's helping me with the clairvoyance.’ Once when a lady denied knowing a contact described by Marian, Nancy had said in her ear, 'Now we will give her something to think about,' and described details of a spirit presence the woman could not refuse to accept. Michael's thoughts revolved around marriage and all it involved. He would wake early and think about it until it was time to get up. Then in the bath he would turn it over again. It was such a complex task to unite two lives harmoniously when for nearly half a century they had shared their lives with different partners. Financially he could help her. Domestically she was a brilliant cook and organiser. Then there was sex, which might or might not be appropriate. In his day one presumed everyone did it and almost nobody talked about it, but according to the woman's magazines he saw in the dentist's waiting room, nowadays many people talked about it and a lot of them had problems with it. He had been impressed by the definition of chastity he read in the latest Roman Catholic Catechism, which said, ‘We exercise the virtue of chastity in marriage by frequent expressions of our love, especially through mutually desired sexual intercourse, in the hope of having a reasonable 101
number of children at appropriate times.' Well the latter part was inappropriate and anyway, with three children he had already exceeded his quota of 2.1 children, as recommended by the conservationists. Then there was the question of houses and furniture. He had already moved from a big house to a smaller one, and from a smaller one to a tiny one. If Lily did come to live with him where could all her favourite things go in his little house, or should he move to Mortonhampstead away from his family and interests, where she had spare rooms? While all these questions revolved in his mind, something deep inside him said, 'It's right and you're going to ask her and she will accept you.' It was in this frame of mind that Michael went to Mortonhampstead to stay with Lily on 10th May. He had already told his family and various committees that he might be spending some time at Mortonhampstead and he had given them the telephone number in case of need. How much speculation this caused he did not know but he no longer bothered about it. When he arrived the day was perfect and he helped Lily in the garden. The sun shone from a clear blue sky. Roses were blooming in profusion and everything was springing into leaf or blossom. They lunched in the wooden chalet at the top of the garden, watching the birds wheeling and turning over the garden and the newly thatched roof of the old house. Beyond, the sheep made little white dots on the green background of the moor. The Dartmoor hillside was littered with granite boulders and in the heat haze, it was hard to tell the animals from the rocks until they moved as they grazed. Lucky, the Jack Russell slept peacefully in the sunlight| apparently lost to the world, but always one ear was cocked. When she was a tiny puppy, the blackbirds that 102
got into the fruit cage had persecuted her. They had set upon her in gangs as they fought for the fruit. Now she had reached her full height and bulk, she had a vendetta against them. Let one even swoop across the garden and she was on her feet threatening violence. Other birds could alight close to her and she stirred not a whisker but she seemed to know even the approaching flight of a blackbird and was ready for battle. The next day, the 11th May 1991, was overcast and there was a threat of rain in the air. Michael and Lily were writing indoors on the dining room table. Some time before, Michael had presented her with a portable phone that she could take to bed or out into the garden when she was working. It lay on the table between them. It bleeped and Lily answered it. It was her friend Margaret. Realising that Michael was there, she said to Lily, 'What do I call him, the boy friend or your fiancée?’ Lily laughed and said ‘I'll have to ask him,’ at which Michael laughed but he did not reply until she put the phone down. When she did, he simply smiled and said the highly unromantic words: 'I think we'd better do something about it.' He waited for her to speak. Lily replied, ‘If you are sure, then ‘Yes!’ Suddenly all was settled; they were engaged to be married! Michael at once wanted to tell somebody. He rang his younger son in London, who seemed genuinely pleased at the news. He was liberated from indecision, full of hope and plans for a new life. He felt a rush of new energy and an inner happiness that boded well for the future. He wondered what Nancy would say. He felt she would approve and he hoped she would manage to give her opinion on this step, that she had herself forecast. He had to return to Topsham on Sunday 12th. That 103
evening, at the Exeter Church, he had a message through Pamela Wood, a medium from Wales. It was not from Nancy but from his brother Eric, an army major who had passed in 1980. The medium said, 'YOUR BROTHER LOOKED AS YOU DO NOW. HE THOUGHT ALL THIS WAS A, 'LOAD OF BALONEY,’ BUT HE CAN ACCEPT DEFEAT. YOU HAVE BEEN BOGGED DOWN BUT YOU CAN NOW LOOK AHEAD. DON'T GIVE UP.’ She then added, 'A DOG SITS ON THE CHAIR NEXT TO YOU LOOKING UP AT YOU.' Michael was pleased with the message from his down to earth plain-speaking brother, but it still was not what he really hoped for, On the Thursday following, he deliberately had not told the members of the group or any mediums he knew, about his engagement, preferring to wait and see if a message from Spirit would refer to it. When it came it was half joking, Marian said, ‘NANCY‘S HERE.’ SHE SAYS, ‘A MAN CHASES A WOMAN UNTIL SHE CATCHES HIM,’ AND SHE LAUGHS IN A FRIENDLY WAY. SHE IS POURING APPLE BLOSSOM OVER YOU AND LAUGHING.’ Michael was pleased by the next message from Janet Horton, on 22nd May, It said, 'YOUR HAPPINESS IS MY HAPPINESS, I LOVE YOU.’ On 26th May, at the Dawlish Church, his Plymouth Bretheren grandfather spoke through Mrs Davies. She said: 'He Is a learned gentleman with a beard. He helps you with your writing. Writing is your forte. You must, write for those who will come after you.' Mrs Davies then went on, ‘I HAVE A LADY HERE WHO COMES VERY CLOSE, SHE SAYS, ‘YOUR HAPPINESS IS MY 104
HAPPINESS.’ SHE SENDS YOU ONE RED ROSE. YOU WILL KNOW WHAT IT MEANS.' Michael was delighted with the message and the repetition of the identical phrase through a different medium. There was even more to come. Audrey brought him a written note of a message from Janet Horton. It said, ‘MICHAEL, THE MERRY WIDOWER, HAS MADE THE RIGHT CHOICE. HE HAS NOT DEPARTED FROM HIS SCRIPT. THE LADY WILL HELP HIM WITH HIS WORK.’ She had showed Janet a map with two pens drawing parallel lines, as Lily and he went on their way together. Janet had then asked her, ‘Aren't you jealous?’ Nancy replied, ‘NO, SUCH A THING CANNOT BE IN SPIRIT, IT'S HARD FOR YOU WITH YOUR EARTH BRAINS TO UNDERSTAND WHEN WE TRY TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH ABOUT THINGS.’ She sang again the song. ‘TOTALLY DEVOTED TO YOU', and then mentioned a mutual friend, Marcia, and Michael remembered what he had forgotten, that he was due to go to a fund-raising coffee morning at Marcia's house. He now felt content that Nancy had blessed his coming marriage and he was intrigued at the words, ‘He has not departed from his script'. It confirmed the Spiritualist teaching that each person agrees an outline plan of their future life before they are born into this world, but the memory of it is almost obliterated, except as an instinctive feeling of purpose.’
CHAPTER THIRTEEN INTRODUCTIONS Lily was delighted that they were to marry. As she told the news to her friends they were obviously thrilled and pleased for her. Several admitted that they had thought that Michael would ask another lady but they were very happy at her news. She did have a faint feminine feeling that she had missed something. She had not exactly been swept off her feet, nor courted with conventional gifts and promises, nor, indeed, had she been the first time, with Charlie, when the war was on and the bombs were falling nightly. On the other hand she had her heart's desire, the man she now admitted that she loved, and she had Charlie's blessing on the marriage and the knowledge that he had helped to arrange it. Life was full of excitement, She invited a group of friends to spend the day at Mortonhampstead and go with her and Michael to Dawlish Church in the evening. She pulled out all the stops in preparing an elaborate lunch and tea and after a happy afternoon they set out for the Church. Lily in particular had not wanted the medium, Mrs Davies, to be told of her engagement, but someone evidently had already done so. After the service, in which she did not get a message, Mrs Davies congratulated her privately and said that Charlie had, in fact, been there. He had said he was happy for her, all was well and he wished them much happiness. After an even more joyful supper, at Mortonhampstead, her friends departed and as she and Michael saw them off they both agreed it had been a really enjoyable weekend. Michael went home on the Monday. He was very 106
busy with talks and meetings and Lily was fully employed in the garden, watering and attending to picking, spraying and planting. Many people called and telephoned. The new portable phone was a boon, as she no longer had to come down stairs at night or down the long, steep garden in the daytime to answer it. Michael returned on Friday and they began to discuss where to live. Mortonhampstead was certainly isolated. With the recession, some shops were closing and without a car they would be stranded in the future as she had been. On the other hand while his village was attractive and well served with shops, Michael's house was very small. To deal with the problem he offered to put his house up for sale and look for a bigger home nearby. Michael was working away on the Sunday and Margaret came over to Mortonhampstead to take Lily to Church. Mr. Connibere from North Devon was the medium and she thought he, at least, could know nothing of her affairs. Beaming with smiles, he came to her and said, 'THERE IS MUCH REJOICING AROUND YOU. YOU WILL FEEL VERY MUCH LOVED AND WHEN THE SYCAMORE WINGS FALL, A GREAT REJOICING; HAPPY SONGS AROUND YOU.' He then broke into old music hall ballads, singing in a nice strong voice, 'Come into the garden Maud, I'm Henry the VIII, I am,' with a face full of pleasure at the message he was transmitting. Lily felt contented on the way home, chatting to Margaret about the service and when exactly sycamore seeds fell. The congregation at the Exeter Church had not heard much about Michael's prospective marriage, as his messages had not come in services there. It was time, they both felt, for Lily to be introduced to them, so she arranged to come to the Church with Margaret on the following Saturday 107
evening. Michael arrived early and they stood in the reception area to greet people coming in. It was something of an ordeal for Lily as she had heard that it was thought that he might, marry someone in Exeter. When she was introduced to the first lady as, 'The lady who is going to be my wife', the shock registered all too clearly on the lady's face, but was quickly replaced with a warm smile. Michael had often noticed that Lily had an excellent friendly way of meeting people, which they soon reciprocated. The news soon spread and in no time more people than she could possibly remember had greeted her. Half jokingly, Margaret had brought smelling salts to revive any ladies who passed out, but they were not required and as they left they felt the evening had gone well. Lily spent the next weekend at Topsham. They walked along the beautiful waterfront with its old houses and unspoilt views. The weather was fine and warm. The tide was high and a red sunset reflected from the smooth surface of the river, except where it was broken by the silent return of the white sailed racing dinghies, as they sailed slowly and gently back to the Topsham Yacht Club. The next morning they decided to have breakfast in the garden as the weather was so warm. One thing Lily liked about the house was the superb view from the garden, which was on the Topsham cliff, high above the road and houses below. Beneath them, as they breakfasted, was the Yacht Club with its many racing dinghies and the River Exe stretching away to left and right. Beyond that was the Exeter Canal with it swing bridge that opened now and again to allow boats to pass. Along the canal banks fishermen were already to be seen among the reeds and tall grass and beyond 108
them were the fields of the Exminster marshes, with minute cattle grazing and the occasional tractor working in the fields. Beyond the fields she could see the main railway from London to Plymouth with express trains speeding along, gleaming in the sunlight. Beyond that again, she could see the Exeter to Dawlish main road and the fields and woods climbing the sides of the distant Haldon Hills. On the crest of the hills, silhouetted against the sky was a mysterious tower or castle. It all looked beautiful in the sunlight but she still had doubts about a garden over the road from the point of view of the little dog, used at home to have the run of the garden during the daytime. On the Saturday they went to see H.M.S. Pinafore at the Barnfield Theatre in Exeter. The production was excellent, the seats comfortable and Lily felt the magic of the occasion, something she had not experienced for many years. Above all they were together, secure in their affection, sharing an evening of pleasure and companionship away from the workaday world. Lily now felt she was entitled to pay attention to Michael’s appearance. For some time he had avoided the hairdresser's, unless a public appearance forced him to go. She was a good hairdresser and as she took the matter in hand, he was delighted with the improvement she made and the delicacy with which she worked. She enjoyed seeing to his clothes and smiled at his attempts at needlework. There was no doubt she was completely in love with him in everyway, yet she still loved Charlie as much as ever, and still longed for messages from him which showed that he approved of her new happiness. On 23rd June she had her wish. A new medium, Mrs Lewis, came to the Exeter Church and gave her a message from him. She said, 109
'I HAVE A GENTLEMAN HERE WHO LOVES YOU. HE HAD, A LITTLE BLACK AND WHITE JACK RUSSELL TERRIER’ HE SAYS HE STILL ENJOYS WALKING IN COUNTRY CONDITIONS. HE TELLS ME YOU HAVE HAD MANY TROUBLES AND A SPELL WHEN YOU COULD NOT GET OUT. HE SAYS YOU ARE ASKING MANY QUESTIONS, BUT DON'T WORRY, ALL WILL WORK OUT WELL. HE EMPHASISES COUNTRY CONDITIONS AND SAYS YOU MUST GET STRONG AS YOU HAVE MUCH WORK TO DO.’ He's laughing and holding up working gloves.’ After the service Lily explained to Mrs. Lewis about Charlie and introduced Michael. They saw tears come to the medium's eyes. She looked so pleased as she said, 'There is such a lovely light round the two of you! I do hope you will be happy', On the Monday Michael drove Lily home and then returned to Topsham. Her old house now seemed lonely and quiet. She realised she was no longer used to being alone and hated it. She began to think again about where it would be best to live; Michael had grown fond of her old house with its handsome bathroom that she and Charlie had installed. He loved the garden and being able to walk out easily on to the moors with the dogs. She had asked her landlords and they were quite willing for Michael to live there if they married and indeed inherit the tenancy if she died first. On the other hand, the road to Exeter was bad in winter. Michael would have to drive many miles, going to and fro, and if at any time he could not drive, they would be housebound, as she had been. Michael had offered to try to sell his house and buy a bigger one but she was afraid it would cost him a great deal. The Financial Times had 110
referred to the area where Michael lived as the Chelsea of Exeter and houses of any kind were at a premium there. She began to think that, if need be, she would give up some of her hard won possessions if it would help them to be happily settled together in the little house. Michael's two sons now began to take an interest in what their father was 'getting up to’, as they put it among themselves. They wanted to know who his lady was that had captured his affection and agreed to marry him. Their mother, Nancy, and father, Michael, had seemed such a stable married couple that the idea of him married to another woman brought a slight feeling of disquiet, combined with the pleasant thought that at least he would not be left alone to grow old. The younger son, John, was a council housing officer, a computer specialist with a keen appreciation of the countryside, although he lived in London, He came to stay with Michael for a few days and together they went over to Lily's for lunch. John seemed to take to Lily at once and was fascinated with the old house and its history. Lily had lain on a sumptuous lunch which they all enjoyed. After several helpings of everything, John pushed back his chair looking very contented and said, 'What happens to this house if anything happens to you two?’ They both burst out laughing at his frank display of selfinterest, and explained that they might be going to give it up and move to Topsham. After lunch John wandered round the garden admiring the flowers and fruit. He chatted so easily to Lily that Michael could see that he accepted her and felt quite at ease. After a brief walk on the nearby moor with the dogs they had to leave for Topsham. As they said 'Goodbye', Michael could tell from Lily's face that she too felt the meeting had been a success. They 111
had crossed the first hurdle.
Lily at Moretonhampstead 1991. On July 6th Michael's older son, and family, came to visit. They had driven directly from Cardiff and were to go on to Michael's house to stay. Richard arrived rather late with his wife, Iona and their two young daughters, after a lengthy hold up on the Motorway. A beautiful meal had been waiting for some two hours and they were very apologetic about being late. Richard looked very tired, 112
almost too tired to eat. After the meal he revived and went out with the girls to the children's playground that bordered the house. Michael went out as well. As the children played in the sunshine he sat watching from a nearby seat. Richard was a marvellous father, he thought, always encouraging the girls and also safeguarding them. The scene was idyllic. The girls had made friends with local children and were playing happily. The playground was surrounded by glorious views of the Dartmoor hills. Suddenly Richard called to him, ‘I'm just going in for a bit, Dad, can you watch the girls?' and he disappeared into the house. After half an hour the children were still playing but no Richard returned and Michael felt suddenly uneasy. Richard was always reliable. Something must have gone wrong, He collected the girls, who were not anxious to leave their game, and with his collie, Bracken, he made his way into the house. Hearing voices in the kitchen he entered, to find Richard sitting in a chair facing the seated Lily. He was talking earnestly and Lily's face wore an amused but tolerant smile. 'I wondered where you'd got to,' said Michael, and his brawny son started up rather apologetically and dropped the conversation. Later, Lily recounted to Michael what had occurred. Richard had quite firmly cornered her, and questioned her intensively about her history and background. 'Obviously,' Lily said,’ he was protecting your interests, and I just smiled at his determination to satisfy himself that I was a suitable person for you to marry Anyway, he seemed satisfied with my answers, so all is well.’ Michael felt a little annoyed with Richard, whatever his motives, and very pleased that Lily took it all so 113
pleasantly. As the children played in the garden, Richard and Iona had a guided tour of the old house. They were both impressed with its history and atmosphere and felt it would be a great pity to let it go out of the family. They also felt Lily would be unhappy in the little Topsham house, which was dark and awkward, with it's garden over the road. Michael knew they all loved Dartmoor and could quite see their point of view, seeing it as they were, on one of the loveliest of summer days. They had not seen it as Lily had, in winter, when the roads were impassable and the electricity was off for hours or even days at a time, and the moors were covered in mists and storms of rain. They might think differently then. Michael was to stay the night at Mortonhampstead, but he and Lily drove in his car a short way with the family to show them a favourite walk on the high moor, from, which they could look down on the little town where Lily lived. As they walked, Iona, an intelligent young woman, who had been very fond of Nancy, took up the subtle questioning of Lily on her own account. She seemed quite satisfied with the results and very willing to be friendly and welcome her into the family. Michael went to the 3 o'clock service at Exeter Church on the following Sunday. The medium was Ann Lambdon and she came to him to say, ‘I MUST, COME TO YOU. YOUR LADY NANCY IS HERE. SHE SAYS SHE IS SO HAPPY AND SHE'LL BE THERE ON THE DAY. SHE WISHES SHE COULD BE A BRIDESMAID BUT THAT'S NOT ON. SHE HAS MET TOMMY, SHE SENDS LOTS AT LOVE.' This message was pleasing and also evidential. Tommy went back to Nancy's childhood and no one else 114
would know the story that lay behind the name. He went home after the service with a light heart and an even greater admiration for Nancy's loving communications. That evening he rang Lily to tell her of the cheerful message. She asked again what they had often wondered, why they were being so favoured? Between them they had over twenty years experience of Spiritualist Church clairvoyance, yet neither of them had ever heard such clear definite and purposeful messages, directing spouses to remarry. Was there some special purpose intended – ‘a phase destined matters beyond your control', as Grace Gooding had said over twelve months before? What was the work they were to do? They decided they would just have to wait and see. During the following week Michael received another message from Nancy, through Janet Horton, it said, 'WHEN YOU SAY, ‘I DO’, DON'T THINK WITH SADNESS OF THE PAST. JUST THINK WITH JOY OF THE LIFE WE HAD TOGETHER.’ Janet had been deeply touched to relay the message and he was as touched to receive it. On the 14th July they went together to a service at the Dawlish Church. A well-known medium, Bertie Bolesworth, took a very spiritual service. During the clairvoyance he came to them jointly and said, 'I AM WITH BOTH OF YOU. THERE IS SUCH A LOVELY LIGHT AROUND BOTH OF YOU, I WANT YOU TO GO FORWARD ON THE TRACK THAT YOU HAVE ALREADY STARTED TAKING, FOR OUT OF IT WILL COME NOTHING BUT GOOD. DO YOU UNDERSTAND? YOU ARE WORKING IN THE SAME DIRECTION BETWEEN YOU, AREN'T YOU? THIS IS WHAT THEY WANT TO SAY TO YOU, GO FORWARD! NOTHING BUT GOOD CAN COME OF IT.’ 115
CHAPTER FOURTEEN TOPSHAM WINS During the previous weeks, Michael's sister-in-law, Betty Smith, had been staying at Topsham. She had accepted the news that Michael was to marry Lily with a most charming letter of approval, and fully agreed with their buying a larger house. Indeed, she had become quite enthusiastic about it and as she enjoyed decorating, she offered to repaint the living room and stairway to prepare the house for sale. Michael was grateful, and gave her a free hand in rearranging and reorganising things in preparation for putting the house on the market. What time he had, he put to tidying the garden, the sheds and the chalet to a presentable condition. Betty had very good taste and appeared to really enjoy the job of altering and improving the look of the house and also taking round people who came to view. When Betty had to return to Southampton, Lily came to say goodbye and thank her for her efforts. After she had gone they walked round admiring her work and Lily suddenly found the house seemed lighter and not so crowded, and she felt it now seemed much more attractive than when she first saw it. They had looked at a few houses in Topsham, but most of them were fairly small and very expensive. Also they had nothing like the view over the river from the present garden. Michael could see that Lily felt he would be spending a good deal of money to get a bigger house and what he could afford would not bring many advantages. When finally, she said she had decided that she could live in the little house after all, if she could make changes in the 116
garden, he was delighted and willingly agreed to alter the garden layout. Lily took him round and showed him how many trees were diseased or too old to be of use, and how a long thick hedge harboured slugs and snails and how she would like to clear a space for a rose and flower bed. They agreed to draw up plans for re-shaping the garden and transferring as many as possible of Lily's precious shrubs and flowers to the Topsham garden. Richard's family had arranged to stay for a week at a private campsite in West Wales, opposite Ramsey Island. Michael had long promised to go and take his grand daughter, Kathleen, to stay with them. The family would be in their frame tent and he and Kathleen would stay in a friend’s caravan and share their meals with them. The two cousins were very fond of Kathleen, and she enjoyed being the oldest of three, instead of the youngest of three, as she was at home. Kathleen was a bit, of a responsibility for Michael but they had always got on well. The hardest job he found was to plait her long auburn hair each morning. She was very co-operative and enjoyed doing jobs and fetching water or items from the camp shop. One night she had a bad attack of toothache. He tried to relieve it with various remedies without avail. He found some brandy someone had left behind in the caravan and put it on the tooth but it had no effect, In desperation, for she seemed in agony, he said, 'Kathleen, I'm going to heal you, just relax and trust me.’ Michael had had healing himself and had sometimes tried to give it to others but he had no confidence in his powers. To his amazement, he saw her whole body relax. Within five minutes she was fast asleep and breathing 117
quietly and steadily. He stole into his own bed. When he woke in the morning, he saw she was still sleeping. As he made a cup of tea she awoke looking refreshed with no sign of the pain of the previous night. As they set off for home after the holiday the weather was fine. They made good progress and some hours later, having delivered Kathleen and her belongings to his daughter, Michael arrived home. It was, he felt, the last holiday he would take without Lily and he turned his mind towards their joint future. Three days later in the meditation circle, Sheila said, 'NANCY HAS JUST SPOKEN TO ME AND I ASKED WHAT SHE THOUGHT OF MICHAEL'S HOLIDAY. SHE SAID SHE SMILED AT MICHAEL'S ATTEMPT TO PLAIT KATHLEEN’S HAIR.' Michael smiled himself to realise she had watched him tackling the task at which he was so clumsy and she had always been so expert. Lily had been missing Michael while he was away in Wales but had been looking forward to accompanying him to Bude, where he was to take a service. They discussed over the phone what to do about their two dogs when they went. This time they had been invited to tea with John, the Chairman who had predicted that Lily would return to Bude. They decided they would have to take the dogs with them on the hundred and twenty mile journey. The day arrived, and having given the dogs a good walk in the country, they arrived and parked outside the Chairman's house. They had decided the dogs must stay in the car during the visit. The front door opened and their hostess, Hanalora, came to the gate surrounded by a group of excited Yorkshire Terriers. Michael and Lily shuddered when she suggested that their two unruly dogs should join the others in the house 118
and the invitation was politely declined. Lucky and Bracken were shut in the car, the usual chocolate drops were given and they were told to be good. Once in the house, howls of indignant barking broke out from the car, which made them feel embarrassed. At their hostess's insistence, with fear and trepidation, they brought the dogs in. The four tiny terriers, scuttling about the floor, amazingly reduced the two wilful dogs to terrified silence. After a pleasant tea, the chairman led the way in his car to the church. The only place Michael could park was immediately outside the entrance door. He wondered how the dogs would behave. In the past, each separately had behaved well. Together they now seemed to unite in a joint effort to get their own way. The usual instructions were given to behave but Michael's worst fears were realised. Having succeeded in getting their own way at the house, the dogs set about repeating the performance. As Michael began the service, above his voice could be heard a horrific noise of barking from the car. Once again, Hannalora suggested to Lily that the dogs should be allowed in, but she knew it would be impossible to control them by herself in their delight at joining the congregation. Michael tried to shut his ears to the sounds and concentrate on his address while Lily sat at the back, imagining that at any moment some one would enter the church to protest about the noise outside. She really wished the ground would open up and swallow her as, not having the car keys, she could, not even enter the car to try and pacify them. Michael did his best to ignore the noise, which must, at times, have drowned his voice. It was a nerve-racking experience for them both and, after the service, Michael vowed he would never ever again take them when he had to take a service. With profuse apologies 119
to one and all, they were glad to set out for home, still feeling embarrassed by the episode. It was some days before they could see the funny side of the incident. Having suffered from this experience, Lily decided something must be done. She did not want a repeat performance by the two dogs who, egged each other on to bark when they were left alone together. She explained to her healer friend. Phyllis, that she was going to stay with Michael at Topsham, and asked her if she would be prepared to come and stay at the house to look after Lucky. Phyllis readily agreed, and as she had no transport, it was arranged for Michael to call for her on his way to Mortonhampstead when he drove to collect Lily, a few days later. As arranged, Michael fetched Lily to stay at Topsham. The town was decorated for Carnival Week and the weather, which had been dull, brightened up. They were now having all their meals in the garden as the weather was so good and Lily enjoyed watching the busy scene on the river below them as the dinghies manoeuvred for the start of the races and the bigger cruisers passed by, going from their moorings to the estuary and open sea to the south. It seemed a heavenly time and Michael felt that Lily was settled in her mind and would come to live in his little house. To themselves, they seemed already married. A ceremony could not add to what they felt for each other and Lily said she would be willing to live with him, just as they were, if he preferred it. Michael had no such unconventional ideas. He wanted an honourable marriage with Lily provided for as far as possible, if he had to go on first, to wherever it was that Nancy and Charlie were so busy. Being Topsham Carnival Week, they both enjoyed the general carnival atmosphere in the town, with all the shopkeepers in Victorian dress. There was a function every 120
evening and when Lily heard the music playing for dancing in the square and the locals were slow to take to the floor, she forgot her years and longed to be the first to start the dance. She persuaded Michael to go out and watch the crowd and listen to the music, but then suddenly felt she must not, perhaps, be too forward in a town where he was so well known. Stalls were busy, cooking and selling various dishes. They contented themselves with eating roast pork sandwiches, and sitting, listening to the music and watching the scene as the men finally got up their courage and the dancing began. On the Thursday they returned to Mortonhampstead to see the carnival there and also keep an eye on the old house during the festivities. They visited a fair which had just arrived for its annual visit, As they wandered round Michael realised that he had taught the owner as a boy, for a few months each winter. He made himself known and they were immediately invited into the handsome caravan, to be introduced to the owner's wife and daughter and share an evening meal with them. The owner, Tony, was happy to talk about his school days and Lily heard many tales of Michael's firmness and humour as a teacher, especially how he kept order and she could see that Tony still looked up to him. They were fascinated to hear from the family the hardship and romance of their travelling life. They all seemed to turn their hand to every job at any hour of the day or night. Tony's wife even went out cleaning, to bring in extra money to keep the hard-pressed fair on the road. The new government Business Tax was bearing hard on them and they were working harder and harder just to keep food on the table and pay wages. In the days of prosperity Tony had bought his own winter quarters where they could rest 121
and service the equipment in the winter break. This had required a considerable piece of land and now the land was being assessed as a business at a rate they just couldn't pay out of the earnings of a fair. Tony felt he might, have to give up and live on the dole in their van but both the women, especially the daughter, were determined to keep the fair going in spite of the hard evidence of the bank balance. Mother and daughter were each taking a part of the fair off to another village on the next day, while Tony stayed in Mortonhampstead with the main section. They were trying everything they could think of to increase their takings and stay afloat Eventually the pair had to leave the caravan with its warm welcome and hard pressed family and they walked out and round the fair to see if they could spend or lose some money at the side shows to aid the struggling fair's finances. They now returned to Topsham for the weekend to see to affairs and watch the carnival procession there. Lily had, as she herself said, an almost childlike love of coloured lights. Some of the floats in the carnival procession were brilliantly lit with thousands of lights, and she thoroughly enjoyed watching the show and straining to photograph the best scenes as mementoes of a happy time. She now felt relaxed and people who knew her said she looked years younger. She felt settled and happy in Topsham and loved spending every possible hour in the sunny garden. On Sept. 1st, Michael had been invited to take a service at a little church at Oreston in Plymouth. Margaret agreed to baby sit for the dog, and Lily travelled down with him and was able to read the map and find the way to the little church. Her friends John and Anne had come specially to meet her and they sat together, Michael was on the 122
rostrum with the chairman and the medium, Mollie Clift. When it came to the clairvoyance the medium turned to Michael and said, ' I HAVE A GENTLEMAN HERE WHO LEFT HIS AFFAIRS IN A MUDDLE, CONFUSION, WHEN HE PASSED ON. HE WARNS YOU TO BE CAREFUL NOT TO DO THE SAME. THERE IS ALSO A GENTLEMAN, THE SPITTING IMAGE OF YOU, A MATHEMATICIAN WHO WORKS CLOSELY WITH YOU.’ Michael knew at once about the muddled affairs. His grandfather, Major Frederick Barnes, had left a will with contradictory clauses in it. Because of this, it had had to be settled by a High Court Judge under the law of Hotchpotch and his mother had had to wait many years for her share of the inheritance. As Michael was preparing to change his will this was appropriate and he noted the warning. The mathematician was obviously his father who had 1st class honours at Cambridge and who was born in Plymouth. The medium next went to Lily towards the back of the church and said, ‘YOU LOOK TOO FAR AHEAD, TRYING TO MAP THINGS OUT, BUT IT MAY NOT GO THAT WAY. YOU HAVE A FAST BRAIN AND DO NOT ALWAYS UNDERSTAND THOSE WHO ARE SLOW. I SEE KNITTING. THE GARMENT IS FINISHED AND TAKEN AWAY. THEY SAY YOU MUST BE LESS IMPATIENT. YOU'RE HAVING A PROBLEM READING THE PATTERN SO YOUR EYESIGHT MAY GIVE TROUBLE. I SEE YOU LECTURING, GIVING TALKS. YOU WILL BE PLEASED WITH WHAT YOU THOUGHT YOU COULD NOT ACHIEVE. A MAN HERE, WHO STARTED IN THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND. THAT ALL FELL APART BUT HE GOT IT 123
TOGETHER AGAIN. HE SAYS YOU HAVE HAD A HARD TASK FOR A FEW MONTHS, DOING TWO DAYS WORK IN ONE, HE SEES YOU GIVING ADVICE TO CHILDREN AS IF YOU SAW THE CHILD’S POINT OF VIEW.’ After the normal service, there was a healing session and Lily took the opportunity of having healing for her damaged shoulder, injured at the time of Charlie's death. The message gave Lily food for later thought. For the moment she enjoyed the lovely atmosphere in the church, the fact that Michael looked so well and sounded so confident and that she could feel that her friends were appreciating him as much as she did. As they left the church and said goodbye to their friends they talked over the fact that the messages were still coming to them and those in spirit were still concerned and advising them. Michael knew all about Lily's fast brain. It worked like lightning at times and he had learned not to challenge her instant response to events. Often she was two steps ahead in her thinking and usually correct. Michael had a friend, an Indian doctor, a consultant, neurologist and psychiatrist who offered to take them out for a meal. Lily felt she would like to invite him to lunch at Mortonhampstead to see her house, so Michael and he came together with his beautiful daughter, who was studying to be a doctor like her father. Lily once again laid on an excellent meal and the visitors had good appetites. The doctor had been to Catholic boarding school in India and was also very knowledgeable about Eastern religions and Spiritualism so that he and Michael always had plenty to talk about. When he had been a student in India he had visited a medium, who had given him a prophecy as to his future career, all of which had since come true. He had 124
asked some time ago if Michael could arrange a sitting for him with a good medium in England. Michael had made an appointment for him to see a lady he did not know but who had been highly recommended by friends. She did not work in churches but took four consultations a day at home, and was generally booked up at least three months in advance. After a tour of the old house and the garden, the visitors departed and Lily was left alone to contemplate the task of moving from a comfortably furnished house into an already furnished two-bed-roomed house. She could see that many of her things would have to go. Even closer to her heart were her favourite plants and bushes, some of which had accompanied her from house to house over the years. She began to think of what she could give away, what to sell and which furniture and plants could come with her to Topsham. Nancy was still sending messages to Michael. His friend Audrey normally had her hair done at Janet's salon on a Wednesday morning. Unusually this week, she had booked for a Thursday morning. When Audrey arrived, Janet had a message for Michael already written down for her to pass on to him. Apparently Nancy had actually appeared to Janet as she was getting the salon ready for opening. She saw her clearly, whole, but transparent, and she said, ‘REMEMBER AUDREY COMES TODAY’, which Janet had forgotten. She made a gesture of taking her own heart with her hands and said, 'I WANT TO GIVE THIS TO LILY AND MICHAEL.’ She then showed Janet a picture of Lily and Michael both wearing school satchels and said, ‘THEY HAVE A LOT TO LEARN BUT THEY WILL LEARN IT.’ It was true, he thought, that they both loved to learn new things in their own fields and they both noted things 125
that they thought would interest the other. But what specially, was Nancy referring to, he wondered. It seemed as though she already knew what it was but they would have to do the learning while she watched their progress. Charlie, too, was still getting messages through to Lily when opportunity occurred. Michael, who now spent much of his time at Mortonhampstead, drove Lily to Dawlish Church on a Sunday, when Roger Keenan was taking the service. He came to Lily and said, ‘DO YOU KNOW A CHARLIE, A FINE FIGURE OF A MAN?’ 'Yes,' she replied cheerfully. 'DID HE PICK YOU UP?’ ‘Not recently,’ she replied. ‘IT’S JUST A MEMORY OF PICKING YOU UP.’ Roger made a gesture with his hands of lifting someone and steering or guiding them. ‘HE SAYS HE WENT SUDDENLY AND HAD AN ANNIVERSARY ON 15TH JULY.’ 'Yes - the 15th was his birthday.’ 'HE LOVED WALKING IN THE COUNTRY.' 'Yes, when he could.' ‘NOW HE'S LEADING YOU BY THE HAND, GENTLY, TO SEE YOU DON'T MAKE MISTAKES, GO INTO A BUNKER. (HE'S USING GOLFING TERMS). HE’S MANOEUVRING YOU INTO THE LIGHT TO BRING YOU SATISFACTION - SPIRITUAL LIGHT- YOU'RE NEARLY THERE. I SEE BOOKS, ILLUSTRATED BOOKS. ARE YOU IN A CIRCLE?’ 'No! It's Michael's circle.' 'HE SAYS WE HAVE WORKED HARD TO HELP IT. CONDITIONS ARE NOT QUITE RIGHT YET, BUT HE WILL CHANGE IT, SO DON'T WORRY. THERE WILL 126
BE CHANNELLING. HE SENDS MUCH LOVE. THERE WILL BE GREAT HAPPINESS.’ Michael and Lily now set about the task of reshaping the Topsham garden. First of all they tackled the trees. These varied from a diseased pear tree some 8ft. high to a cherry and laburnum both well over 20ft. high. In addition there was a dense hedge of lilac suckers, of considerable age, actually inside the garden. Michael climbed the trees with a sharp bow saw and tackled each limb in turn. Lily systematically lopped and dug out the hedge and collected up the branches falling from the trees. After a few days of working they had a pile of branches and greenery eight feet high and fifteen feet or more across. Getting out the roots of some was hard work, with spade, crow bar and axe they worked away, and added to the mounting pile of wood and foliage. They declared Sundays a day of rest and in the evening went to the Dawlish Church. After an excellent service, the medium, John Greene, came to Lily with a message, ‘HAVE YOU BEEN IN THE GARDEN?' 'Yes.' ‘THE RIGHT HAND SIDE - HAVE YOU BEEN DOING SOMETHING?’ 'Yes.' 'HE'S LAUGHING! HE SAYS, ‘IT NEEDS WEEDING! HE'S TRYING TO WORK WITH YOU. YOU HAVE A THOUGHT IN YOUR MIND THAT YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE, HE WILL IMPRESS ON YOU THE BEST WAY TO DO IT. HE WANTS IT ALL IN ITS PROPER PLACE. HE SAYS HE'S HAPPY, AND HE'S HAPPY FOR YOU. HE STILL HAS HIS THREE DOGS AND HE TAKES THEM FOR WALKS. HE USED TO WALK 127
MILES AND LIKED TO WATCH NATURE. HE GETS ALL THE NATURE HE WANTS NOW; HE'S IN HIS GLORY. ALL THE DARK CLOUDS HAVE GONE AWAY.’ The medium then turned towards Michael and said, 'He's patting you on the shoulder as he goes.' After the service Lily said to Michael, 'That’s typical of Charlie, to tease about the weeding when you are totally occupied in a really big job. He's done it many time before when I've been up to my eyes in work.’ Doctor ‘X’s appointment with the medium was due on 26th September, At the last minute he was called in to hospital to take a clinic and could not go, so Michael said, 'You take it, Lily, we cannot let the medium down!’ The instructions for finding the house had been given for some one coming from another direction and they had difficulty in finding it for a little while. When they reached the road it was a charming, unpaved, tree-lined lane, running towards the cliffs. Cars could only go so far, so they walked the last 100 yards and as Lily entered the house. Michael turned back to wait with the dogs in the car for her return. Lily apologised for being a little late to a charming woman who ushered her into a lounge that faced the garden and the sea. They both sat down, the medium switched on a tape recorder and started to speak in a low voice. Michael waited patiently in the car, the two dogs were restive, longing to get out and explore this exciting new place. After a while he took them for a walk along the road, which passed the house Lily had entered. Her dog, the Jack Russell, was desperate to follow her scent into the house but he restrained her and, after exploring another lane, they returned to the car to wait. An hour had passed but still Lily did not come. After another ten minutes he saw her walking 128
towards the car, her head bowed in thought. ‘What was it like?’ he asked. Lily looked almost stunned, 'I can't tell you,' she said, 'You'll have to listen to the tape.’ As they drove back to Mortonhampstead, she gave him a little more information. 'A lot of it was about you, and Charlie and Nancy were there together. The medium said she'd never known anything like it in all her experience.' When they reached home they made a quick pot of tea and started to transcribe the tape. To listen to, it was of rather poor quality, yet the contents were fascinating, almost incredible. In the end, after frequently replaying sections of tape to make out doubtful words, it covered six sheets of foolscap and Michael realised he would never remember it all. On the other hand there were parts he would never forget. He read the transcript over. The medium had first described how she saw Lily. She said, 'AS I SIT HERE, I KNOW I AM WITH A SPIRITUAL PERSON, THERE IS SO MUCH LIGHT COMING FROM YOU. I SEE HEALING WITH YOU, ALSO SPEAKING HEALING, HELPING PEOPLE, I CAN SEE IT COMING FROM YOUR MOUTH – THERE’S TEACHING AS WELL. YOU HAVE A BOOK TO WRITE, OLD KNOWLEDGE THAT COMES THROUGH YOU. A LIGHT COMES FROM YOU, A BEAUTIFUL SILVER-BLUE, EDGED WITH STARDUST. IT’S A GOOD HEALING LIGHT. YOU'RE GOING THROUGH CHANGE AT THE MOMENT, I SEE YOU SORTING THINGS OUT IN YOUR HEAD SAYING, ‘WE DON'T NEED THAT, LETS CLEAR THIS, WE DON'T WANT THAT!’ YOU DON'T WASTE YOUR EFFORT, YOU SEEM TO BE 129
GATHERING PEOPLE TO YOU, A NETWORK OF LIGHT. I'VE JUST BEEN TOLD YOU ARE GIVING THE POWER TO OTHERS. YOU SEEM TO BE IN A LIGHT CENTRE. I SEE A TRIANGLE THAT REPRESENTS THREE PEOPLE. GOSH! THERE ARE CHANGES COMING LEAPING CHANGES IN THE ESTABLISHMENT. YOU HAVE BEEN, SHUNNED BUT ALL THAT IS NOW CHANGING, PEOPLE ARE PREPARED TO LISTEN TO YOU. I AM SEEING THE WHITE COATS OF HEALERS AROUND YOU. THIS IS GOOD WORK. THEY ARE BEGINNING TO REALISE WHO IS MOST IMPORTANT. IT'S THE PEOPLE WE ARE HERE TO HELP, NOT THE FACE OF MEDICAL AUTHORITY. THERE IS A MAN BEHIND YOU, A TALL BESPECTACLED MAN, HE IS PART OF THIS TRIANGLE, A CLEVER MAN, AS YOU ARE. THIS MAN HAS QUALIFICATIONS. HE HAS THE CONTACTS. IT’S LIKE HE'S PROTECTING YOU. YOU WILL HAVE HIM HELPING YOU, BUT ACTUALLY HE IS GOING TO BE GIVEN BACK SOMETHING THAT'S BEEN TAKEN FROM HIM. ITS NOT EGO - IT'S SELFESTEEM. NO EGO HERE. HE HAS STOOD IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY, HAS STOOD HIS GROUND AND HAD HARSH WORDS SPOKEN ABOUT HIM. THE NAME, MICHAEL. HE'S A SPECIAL MAN WITH HEALING ALL OVER HIM. HIS WHOLE BEING IS FOR THE GOOD OF MANKIND. THERE ARE GOING TO BE LECTURES AS WELL. I SEE HIM STANDING UP TALKING TO MANY HEADS. SUCCESS, NOT FOR SUCCESS’ SAKE, BUT SUCCESS BECAUSE OF SPREADING THE WORD AND DOING THE WORK. BOTH OF YOU HAVE GOT YOUR FEET 130
ON THE SAME PATHWAY. I SEE A MOVIE CAMERA. HE'S A GOOD SPEAKER. HE'S GOT A NICE SPEAKING VOICE. HE CAN GET ACROSS TO HIS AUDIENCE, HE CAN ACTUALLY TOUCH THE INDIVIDUAL THIS MAN, WITH HIS WORDS. I FEEL DOORS OPENING - A DOMINO EFFECT. ONE AND THEN ANOTHER, IT'S ABOUT TO HAPPEN, YOU'RE ON THE VERGE OF IT NOW. YOU'RE GOING TO BE IMPORTANT, LIKE A GENERATOR, GENERATING POWER TO OTHERS. I FEEL PRIVILEGED TO HAVE YOU HERE. I CAN SEE THE GOOD YOU'RE GOING TO DO. YOU ARE GOING TO OPEN TOTALLY NEW AVENUES FOR PEOPLE. I SEE THREE PEOPLE. TWO ARE IN SPIRIT - A MAN WITH A LOT OF LAUGHTER, A LOVELY SENSE OF HUMOUR, A LOVELY MAN AND A LADY, WHO HAS HAD A LOT OF HEALING. THE MAN WITH THE LAUGHTER ON HIS FACE IS HELPING HER WITH HER WORK. THEY ARE SITTING IN A GLORIOUS GARDEN WITH ROSES OF ALL COLOURS AND THERE'S HAPPINESS, I FEEL THEY ARE MAKING SURE YOU DON'T GET LONELY, BOTH OF YOU. I'VE NEVER SEEN THIS BEFORE IN ALL THE TIME I'VE BEEN WORKING WITH SPIRIT. SHE IS MAKING A DAISY CHAIN WITH THORNLESS ROSES AND PUTTING IT ROUND BOTH OF YOU. IT'S A LOVELY FEELING. SHE'S A LOVELY LADY. DO YOU KNOW THERE IS LOVE BETWEEN ALL FOUR OF YOU? YOU MADE A PACT BEFORE YOU CAME TO THIS EARTH LIFE, THAT THIS WOULD HAPPEN. THEY HAVE GONE ON AND LET YOU TWO COME TOGETHER TO DO YOUR WORK. YOU HAVE ALWAYS KNOWN ONE ANOTHER. 131
IT MUST BE WONDERFUL SHE'S A GENUINE, LOVELY LADY. SHE'S SAYING TO YOU, ‘THANK YOU, THANK YOU!’ I GET A STRONG FEELING OF LOVE FROM HER. THEY'RE IN A WONDERFUL PLACE, A GARDEN, AND I HAVE A VISTA OF ROLLING HILLS. YOU KNOW I SAW THE STARDUST BEFORE! THEY ARE SITTING THERE HOLDING HANDS, AND WHERE THEIR HANDS JOIN, THERE'S STARDUST COMING DOWN LIKE A DRY WATERFALL, SETTLING OVER THE TWO OF YOU. THE LADY IS SAYING, ‘HE SHOULD TAKE CARE OF HIS BACK!’ AND SHE'S STROKING IT, GIVING IT HEALING. (Michael had strained it cutting down the trees). THEY ARE GIVING YOU LILIES, A SHEAF OF LILIES. THEY ARE WHITE. THEY LOOK OLD-FASHIONED. NOW I'VE GOT TO SAY THIS, IT SOUNDS CORNY,‘THEY COME WITH OUR LOVE,’ NOT, ‘MY LOVE,’ BUT, ‘OUR LOVE.’ IT WAS MEANT TO BE. YOU SEEM TO HAVE A TWIN SPIRIT HERE AND THE SAME GOES FOR HIM, YOU ARE THE OTHER HALF OF HIM. IT’S LIKE A COIN THAT'S BEEN BROKEN IN HALF, BUT IN YOUR CASE I AM SEEING THE COIN BROKEN AND THEN BROKEN AGAIN, AND YOU ALL SEEM TO HAVE A QUARTER OF IT. IT’S LIKE THE BITS OF A JIGSAW FITTING TOGETHER. YOU WILL BE SHOWN THE COIN. IT’S A GOLD COIN AND WHEN IT’S TURNED OVER, THE OTHER SIDE IS SILVER, SO THERE'S NO DARK SIDE TO IT. YOU WILL BE HAPPY! NO REMORSE. NO LIVING IN THE PAST. YOU WILL LIVE IN THE ‘NOW’ AND MAKE THE MOST OF THE PRESENT. THE LIFE 132
YOU WILL LEAD IS BRILLIANT. IT’S A BEAUTIFUL FEELING, LOVELY TO FEEL! LIGHT BROUGHT YOU TOGETHER. DON'T WORRY ABOUT THE RING! IT DOESN'T MATTER! THERE'S NO NEED. THIS IS NOT THE ORIGINAL RING ANYWAY!’ At this point, Lily spoke for the first time and mentioned Michael's desire to gain publicity for the truth of Life after Death. The medium, without hesitation, continued, 'HE WILL. HE'S RIGHT ON THE VERGE OF IT NOW. HE WILL BE UP ON THE PLATFORM AND IN PUBLIC LIFE. YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE TO VISIT CENTRES. YOU WILL BOTH BE SUCCESSFUL. THANK YOU FOR COMING.’ The general drift of this message fascinated Michael. It all seemed too good to be true. He thought of every argument a sceptic could bring against it, but none of them seemed to have any force. The medium had not seen him. She had not known Lily was coming until the last minute. Her description of Lily and of their hopes and plans rang true even before Lily mentioned them. Only Nancy knew his wedding ring was not the original one - he had lost it while swimming in Lake Meiktila, in Burma. He had dived again and again to try and find it, without success. Only he and Lily knew they were not going to buy another wedding ring, Lily would just use her old one. The whole thing was just one more amazing communication from their former partners. He had often wondered if Nancy was lonely, she needed a special companion - and it seemed she had found one in Charlie. As to the statement that they had all known each other before, that was a new idea but it seemed very reasonable. Life with Lily seemed so natural and there were so many similar links. The Tibetan had taught him - Charlie 133
had studied the, 'Quest Course,’ based on the Tibetan's books. All four had become Spiritualists after leaving the Church of England. He and Lily were so much at home with one another, that it felt as if they had always known each other. Were Nancy and Charlie now partners in the next world? A year after her passing, Nancy had sent him a verse via Janet Horton. It read, 'I WANDERED DOWN THE ROAD AND FOUND TRANQUILLITY. I WANDERED DOWN THE ROAD AND FOUND LOVE. AND THEN I SAW, AND I FOUND EVERYTHING, BUT TRY TOO HARD AND YOU WILL FAIL!' He wondered, was this the love she had found? He had so wanted her to be happy and it certainly seemed as though she was. It took Lily several days to take in the message properly. She was delighted that Michael's plans were to be successful and she could assist them. She was amused that Charlie was so linked with Nancy, not that it was unusual for Charlie to be helping another woman. She had become quite accustomed to his caring for anyone in distress, doing their shopping, giving them healing or wheeling them in their wheelchairs to the shops or the surgery, but this was something different. If they had all known one another before, the two of them might be taking up where they left off. Altogether they felt that this was, perhaps, the most amazing and encouraging message they had had so far.
CHAPTER FIFTEEN THE WEDDING Charlie continued to come through with messages of encouragement. On 13th October he impressed Dorothy Davies at Dawlish to say, ‘TELL LILY THAT CHRISTMAS THIS YEAR WILL BE A SPECIAL TIME, BETTER THAN FOR A LONG TIME. DON'T WORRY ABOUT FINANCIAL MATTERS, ALL WILL WORKOUT AS YOU WOULD WANT IT TO. A SPECIAL HAPPENING WILL TAKE PLACE BETWEEN NOW AND CHRISTMAS. HE SAYS AGAIN, ‘DON'T WORRY!’ HE WILL BE THERE ON THE DAY - ALL WILL BE WELL. HE SENDS GREETINGS TO MICHAEL.' On the 3rd November he came again at Dawlish. The medium said, ‘CHARLIE SAYS, ‘THIS IS GOING TO BE A BETTER CHRISTMAS THAN FOR THE LAST TWO OR THREE YEARS. THE AGE OF MIRACLES IS NOT YET PAST. ALL WILL BE WELL, ALL WILL BE GOOD’. (THEY ARE ALL SMILES). GREAT LOVE COMES WITH GREAT POWER FROM THIS MAN.’ They were now discussing plans for their wedding. In all the circumstances, Lily wanted it to be as quiet as possible. If they invited some and not others there might be hurt feelings. If they invited many friends from both churches it would be a big affair and people would want to give wedding presents which they really had no need of, and some of their friends could not afford it. As Michael said, between them, at their time of life, they had two of everything and a marked shortage of space to put them in. 135
So it was agreed. Get married first. Tell people afterwards. Without even telling Lily, Michael went to the Exeter Registry Office to arrange a date for their marriage. He chose 14th November. On the very next day Marian rang him to say, 'What's going on? Nancy's been here. She showed me a picture of herself using an old Remington Typewriter, typing out Wedding Invitations.’ Caught off guard, Michael admitted he had been in yesterday to arrange a wedding with Lily but he refrained from telling her the actual date he had fixed. This was, if possible, to be a secret, and she did not press him. Two witnesses would be needed for the wedding. Michael had two good friends who agreed to be bound to secrecy and whom they knew they could trust. They seemed quite pleased to be the only ones ' in the know.’ With the date fixed, there was a great deal to do. Lily had a house, two outhouses, a work shed and a chalet to be cleared out by the end of the quarter. She had already promised her garden chalet to her old friend Phyllis Hunt who had healed her years before, when she was almost completely paralysed. Charlie had had a massive range of tools and great stocks of every kind of wood. Some had already been given away, but the remainder was far more than could be fitted into Michael's workshop at Topsham: so much had to be sorted and sold, or given away. The Topsham garden was still completely covered with the huge pile of wood and foliage so Michael decided to hire a tipper truck to take it to the local 'tip’.
In the Exe Street Garden 1991. The old wall of the garden was about 2' 6" high and 2' wide, mostly topped with a thick hedge growing from the soil in the gaps between the ancient stones. The drop to the sunken road below was about eleven feet so that with the lorry parked below, it was convenient to throw the greenery down into it through a gap in the hedge. As it piled higher and higher in the lorry, Michael's son-in-law, William, jumped into the lorry to tread down the mass of twigs and branches. At last, no more could be safely loaded and all was carefully roped down. As Michael set off for the tip, five miles away, Lily and William began to pile the next load on to the wall, ready to be pushed over into the lorry. They hoped to clear it all in two trips before the tip closed at 4.30 p.m. Michael drove carefully towards the local council tip. He had often taken sacks of garden refuse there before. With a tipper truck he hoped to be back for the next load in half an hour. As he entered the gate he had his first shock. A 137
man in a flat cap said to him, ‘You can't bring that in here! New rule! No more than a quarter of a cubic yard accepted’. 'Where can I take it then?' 'I don't know, mate, you'd better ask in the office.’ The men in the office were friendly but did not know the answer. After studying maps and notices they decided that the nearest tip to accept the load was fifteen miles away in the lanes beyond Crediton. Michael was in a quandary. The truck was hired for only two hours. He contacted the hirers and extended the hire period overnight and set off for the distant tip. At every convenient phone box he tried to ring home to explain what had happened. There was no answer. They were up in the walled garden. As he drove further and further he imagined the state of mind of the two at home expecting him back long before. He also imagined arriving at the distant tip after it had closed for the night. He began to phone neighbours instead, and, at last, found one in, who agreed to tell the two waiting in the garden what had happened. The helpful neighbour had never been through the gate into the walled garden and it was with some trepidation that she slowly walked up the path to the two, now extremely concerned at his lateness. The lady explained that Michael had telephoned her. Their minds ran ahead, ‘Had he had an accident? Was he hurt?’ It was with relief they heard he was all right. The lorry was wide and as Michael followed the signs to the tip, the lanes grew narrower and narrower. No chance of passing here. At last the tip came in sight. He was just in time and was directed to a section for material containing branches over 3" thick. He undid the ropes and pressed the tipping switch. One end of the body rose higher and higher but the contents were so tightly packed they refused to 138
budge. At last, with a crunch the whole mass descended and lay on the ground, a rectangular block of branches and twigs. As the gates were about to shut he set out for home. He stopped the lorry just short of the loading position, under the garden wall. William had gone home but Lily came out to explain that the next load was balanced on the wall and only needed a push to send it down. As they looked at it, there was a slithering sound and the whole mass slid into the road, completely blocking it. As they started to pick up the debris to load the lorry by hand, it started to rain. After half an hour the road was cleared, the lorry was loaded and roped down and they were very, very wet. Michael parked it for the night and with relief they went in to change, wash and have a meal. The next morning, with no time pressure on him, he drove to the country tip and placed another load next to the first one. It still retained its shape from the night before and he then set out to return the truck, collect his car and return home for the final clear up of the garden. The remaining bits of cuttings were gradually collected into twenty-three sacks. They took them in car loads to the local tip where the smaller quantities were accepted. The bill for the hire of the tipper truck for 24 hours made Michael whistle when it came. Now that Lily had agreed to come to live in the small house, Michael felt he would like to buy a larger chalet so that they could take meals in the garden even in spring and autumn. The best site for this was on the east side of the garden. From here they would be able to see the whole garden with the river and boats beyond. At the moment the site was occupied by five conifer trees, three of which would have to be removed and the roots treated. After their previous efforts, this seemed quite a 139
feasible task and they set to work again. Gradually the site was cleared, the tree roots treated and a base constructed to support the bearers of the chalet. After looking at many specimens, they had decided on a handsome model, and ordered it complete with timber lining. Although they had arranged with the supplier for it to be transferred to a smaller lorry for final delivery in the narrow street, the instructions had not reached the driver. A policeman, a traffic warden and the lorry driver called at the house to ask if they were expecting a chalet. Michael walked with them and found that the huge vehicle that had brought it was blocking the main street and could go no further. Finally it was slowly backed out of the town and driven away to take the chalet to a depot for transhipment to a smaller lorry. When it finally arrived some days later, Michael had gone to Mortonhampstead with Lily, and his son Richard was staying in the house with his family. This was just as well. The two men who brought it, could not lift the heavy sections and it was only with Richard's strength and experience that they managed to deliver and finally erect it. Once completed, carpeted and furnished, all agreed it was a great addition to the garden. Years before, Lily and Charlie had a log cabin built on a mobile home base on a beautiful site near Crathes Castle in Scotland. It was designed to have everything they had ever wanted, superb views, and a south view with a veranda overlooking the Balmoral Road. Deer would sometimes look in the window and otters played in the garden. A heron would stand on steps in the stream that ran through the garden. It was their Paradise. Then the oil boom came and the whole area changed so much that they could no longer stay there. The memory of that lovely home always 140
remained. The new chalet had a semi-log finish which Michael wanted to be compensation to her for the one she had had to forgo in the past. He started to build six pergolas, three on each side of the new chalet on which she could grow climbing roses, wisteria and clematis, which could all be seen, from the chalet windows. One Monday evening as Michael's meditation group was leaving, two of the members paused at the doorway and turned to him. One asked and the other repeated the same question. 'Why do you want to get married, Michael?' It was obvious from their faces that they really wanted to know. But what exactly was it they wanted to know. A number of possible answers came to his mind. He knew that both of them were single and still at the marriageable stage. Perhaps they thought that at his age, the passions of youth were quite extinguished. Perhaps they thought that love was over and mere companionship was all there was left. He could not disillusion them without involving Lily, which he had no right to do. An answer came suddenly to his lips. 'Well, I find the feelings are exactly the same as when you are younger.’ The lady looked a little doubtful. 'I expect he's used to being married.' she said to the young man. ‘Anyway we all hope you'll be very happy.’ After they had left, he postponed the washing up while he sat and thought. Why did he want to get married? There were many reasons. Love for Lily had grown, as well as appreciation and admiration. Besides the emotional and logical reasons for marriage and the fact that they would each rescue an old age pensioner from loneliness, there was this feeling of inevitability. How had Grace Gooding expressed it?' ‘A 141
phase destined - matters beyond your control!’ What else was destined he wondered? They would have to wait and see. His beloved Nancy had encouraged it and was pleased for him. He was sure he could make Lily happy and he knew Charlie was pleased for them both. They agreed so well in everyway that it would have been absurd not to marry, especially as she shared his all-embracing ambition to spread the knowledge of an active Life after Death, which their partners had demonstrated to them so clearly. Their secret wedding day was now approaching and they looked forward to it with pleasurable anticipation. In the previous week, Lily had had some of her friends to a last meal at Mortonhampstead. Phyllis Hunt had unexpectedly produced a beautiful wedding cake she had made, saying, 'As you won't tell us the date, we thought we'd have it now and make it a celebration in advance.’ On the 7th November another communication came. Janet Horton who knew nothing about the wedding said that as she was washing up at lunchtime, Nancy appeared and asked her to send this message: 'DEAR MICHAEL, FOR YOU BOTH, GOOD LUCK AND LOVE FOR EVER IN YOUR LIFE TOGETHER. YOU WILL SEE AND DO SO MUCH. WITH ALL MY LOVE, NANCY.' November 14th came at last. As no one knew the date of the wedding they did not expect any special letters on the day. However, one card of congratulation did arrive in the morning. It was from the psychic, Phyllis Hunt, a pleasant card of congratulation. Perhaps the timing was a fluke they thought. Inside it they found a note from Phyllis saying, 'I have no recollection of writing what you see on the card yet I must have done it.' On the bottom of the card in Phyllis' handwriting were the words, 142
‘MAY THE JOY AND HAPPINESS YOU FEEL TODAY, REMAIN WITH YOU YOUR WHOLE LIFE THROUGH. THE SPIRIT WORLD REJOICES WITH YOU AND SAYS, ‘GOOD LUCK, GOD BLESS, WE ALL LOVE YOU. C. AND N.’ They both looked at it and at each other. 'Well you've got to hand it to them,' said Michael, 'they never miss a trick. Phyllis must have written that in trance.' They were in an exalted state as they set off for the wedding. Their friends, the witnesses, were waiting to be picked up and Michael drove them all to the Registry Office. It was 47 years since Michael had been married at Caxton Hall, Westminster, and 52 years since Lily was married at the Romford Registry Office, before German bombs demolished it.
Michael and Lily sign the book. 143
The room they entered was decorated with flowers and they were impressed with the dignity of the ceremony and the courtesy of the officials. They felt it really could not have been bettered as a civil ceremony. In their own eyes, they were already married. This ceremony was for the world's recognition of the fact, but it was pleasing that it was so beautifully carried out and that the officials helped in every possible way, including taking photographs. The day had dawned cloudy and dull. Previously it had rained on and off for three days yet, as they left the ceremony, the sun was shining from a clear blue sky to add to their happiness. There was far too much to do to think of a honeymoon for the moment, notice had already been given to leave the Mortonhampstead house by the end of the quarter, and all Lily's possessions had to be removed. This meant many trips to and fro to bring plants and smaller items to Topsham. Many things were destined to go into Michael's sheds and chalet, at first, and his extensive loft would also have to take many of the carefully labelled boxes. Finally, on December 11th, the moving van arrived. Lily's loyal friends came to help, sweeping and cleaning behind the removal men as they worked, and at lunchtime they set off for Topsham, calling at the auctioneers on the way to drop off items to be sold. The next day they returned to Mortonhampstead to pick up a few remaining items and see that all was fit for the new tenants. As they were working, Sally, a friend of Lily's called in. She was delighted to hear of their marriage and returned later, unexpectedly, bringing a present of beautiful orchids. This was doubly pleasing, for Lily loved orchids and, as she accepted them, she realised that another of Grace's forecasts had come true. Soon all the wedding cake and letters had gone off 144
and now cards of congratulation began to arrive. Early Christmas cards and the cards for Lily's birthday followed until the entire walls of the living room were decorated with cards. Lily had brought many Christmas decorations and lights with her and they worked together until they had transformed the room into a temple of colour and light. During this time, Michael had little time for reading but he had a habit of research and usually managed to take the last half hour before sleep and the first half hour in the early morning to study something that interested him. Recently he had been studying the process of aging in humans, in general, and in himself and Lily in particular. They were both seventy now, and he would never have believed that they could still be as active as they were. He remembered, when he was twenty, arguing that people over forty were ‘past it,’ yet apart from running for buses, there was not much that he could have done when younger that he could not do now, and he now had the time to do most things better than before. Probably having a purpose in life helped one to keep a young outlook. He did see some retired folk strolling slowly about as if their life had no objective, no purpose but passing the time. In spite of having had a hard life, Lily was extraordinarily active. The kitchen, the garden, the house and writing a stream of letters occupied her day. One day a man had laid a patio in the garden for them. Lily had not had time to go and see how he was getting on, but when she did go to see the result, she realised that he had laid the specially figured slabs upside down. It was a wet day and luckily the cement was still setting. In a short time she had them all up, scraped them and re-laid them, before they were set forever in the cement. A friend had said to Michael that up to the age of 40 145
people talked about their plans and their feelings, and after 40 they talked about their symptoms and operations. Judging by the conversations he heard in the Post Office, this was partly true, although the dividing age might have gone up to 60, thanks to the National Health Service. At least, for the present, he and Lily had their health and energy. When he remarked to his grandson, 'Tim, how is it you get so little done in the day?’ he received an unexpected answer, ‘I haven't had your training, Granddad, bringing up a family and going to work. I'll get there one day,' The fact of no longer being worried about Nancy’s health, and now being cared for by Lily, must have improved his general appearance. At a local lecture he had attended, a lady came up to him and said, 'Is it Mr Evans? You looked so well, I did not recognise you.’ Similarly, Lily seemed to have a new lease of life, keeping up with many of her old friends while adjusting to many new ones. She too, had recovered from the double strain of worrying over Charlie's illness and suffering bereavement and many of her friends remarked on her improved looks. They had given up having a newspaper, preferring to follow the news on TV or radio, because they just couldn't find time to read it when they had one. Lily liked to go with Michael when he gave talks and he always asked her to look over articles he had written so that their lives connected at many points. Whether out driving or in the garden, in the living room or the bedroom, they had established an easy intimacy that was far more pleasurable than either of them had expected Life continued at a hectic pace. All the sheds were full 146
of boxes to be unpacked and sorted. Michael had now stopped his postal tapes business except for re-orders from previous customers but his speaking engagements continued and tended to increase. He resigned from the conservation groups to give himself more time at home where Lily was busy catching up with cooking for Christmas and sending responses to the hundreds of cards that had arrived. They still went to church when they could and messages continued to come. At Dawlish Church, Ann Lambden said to Michael, 'YOUR DEAR LADY IS STANDING BY YOU, ALL SMILES. SHE SAYS, ‘YOU DESERVE A LOT MORE HAPPINESS!’ SHE GIVES THE LADY PINK ROSES AND SAYS, ‘AND DON'T FORGET MY NAME IS NANCY.’’ Later in December, when the house was becoming almost organised, they went again to Dawlish and had a brief message from Mrs Davies. It said, ‘GREETINGS FROM NANCY AND CHARLIE! THEY'LL BE THERE AT CHRISTMAS!’ At last Michael and Lily were on their own in the house with all major decisions made. Tim, the grandson, had gone to college and would return at Christmas to his own home. Michael's daughter, Penny, had asked if she could have the dog, ‘Bracken’, back again. She had bought Bracken and Holly as puppies and had found the two of them too much to manage, when the children were small, and Michael had had her on a long loan. Bracken seemed happy enough to go back with her sister and with Penny's children, so Lily's dog, Lucky, now had all the attention of the household and seemed to thoroughly enjoy it. Lily worked indefatigably to make Christmas a real celebration, a compensation for the last two tragic and 147
lonely ones. They took one day off to visit friends in North Cornwall. There they had a warm welcome from Hannalore and John, who ran the Bude Spiritualist Church. Hannalore had decorated the house with an amazing blaze of lights in the German style and they thoroughly enjoyed the visit. It was John, who had said to Lily, when they were at Boscastle in March, 'Young lady you will return!' They went to the Dawlish Church on 22nd December for a beautiful service. Afterwards the President, Sid Bishop, gave the clairvoyance. He came to Lily and Michael and said, 'I HAVE TWO PEOPLE HERE. THEY SAY YOU KNOW WHO THEY ARE AND THEY WILL BE WITH YOU AT CHRISTMAS. THEY HAVE THEIR HANDS ON YOUR SHOULDERS. THEY ARE PLEASED WITH WHAT HAS HAPPENED AND WHAT WILL HAPPEN. LOOK OUT FOR A TRANSFER, REMEMBER I SAID THAT.’ Over the Christmas period, they relaxed. Cooking had to be done but apart from that and opening presents, they gloried in the cheerful warm little house with the amazing display of cards and lights. All through her many travels, Lily had made friends and every one of the hundreds of cards of congratulations brought back a memory of the people and the places she and Charlie had known. More than anything, she enjoyed the security and companionship of her new life, especially first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Early morning tea, made by whoever got up first, was a leisurely affair, as they sat in the big double bed and discussed the events of the day before or the day to come. They opened the post together and Michael read the contents to her. Eventually, some job would call him and he would start to get up and she would reluctantly 148
accept his departure and face the tasks of the day ahead. Michael was very fond of a photograph of Lily, taken when she was 17. He placed it next to a similar one of Nancy. Again and again, when he looked at them, he thought how fortunate he had been to have two such lovely women trust themselves to him as companions. Obviously, they had grown older. Time and troubles had left their traces on the once young faces, yet to him, Nancy had always been the young woman he had married. He always saw the girl within, up to the time of her death. He felt the same with the lovely picture of the young Lily. The girl was still there in the woman he had married and who now assisted him in every way she could. The spirit did not seem to grow old, only the body. It was remarkable how similar in appearance the two women had been when they were young. The likeness was not exact, but it was enough for strangers to comment on. In memory of what the medium had said about them, they had made a composite picture in one frame, with Lily and Charlie, Nancy and Michael, all as they were in younger days, looking out from the photo frame on the mantelpiece. Charlie returned again with a message on 12th January at the Dawlish Church. Pam Beer the medium said, ‘HE'S HERE; SHOWING ME HIS CALLIPERS'. (Charlie had worn them latterly). 'HE'S COME TO YOU BOTH, LAUGHING. HE SAYS, 'HAVE YOU GOT SOME GREEN FLOWERED WALL PAPER?' 'Yes,' said Michael. 'He says, "DON'T USE IT.’ Michael replied, 'I don't like it either. It's in the loft.’ 'Charlie says, "YOU'VE GOT SOME STUFF UP THERE. DON'T NUDGE IT, OR IT'LL COME THROUGH THE CEILING!”’ Pam continued, 149
‘THEY'RE ENJOYING THEMSELVES; THEY'RE LAUGHING WITH YOU. HE'S WITH A LADY, SLENDER, A LITTLE TALLER THAN YOU. THERE'S A SMELL OF BAKING. SHE'S A GOOD COOK. SHE'S MAKING A GATEAU. NOW SHE IS ICING IT WITH, ‘BEST WISHES’. For the first time ever, Lily's mother, who had died in 1981, then made herself known. Pam described her and said, 'YOUR MUM'S HERE. NOT PARTICULARLY GENTLE AND LOVING.' 'Very true,' said Lily. 'SHE SAYS IF SHE HAD HER LIFE OVER AGAIN SHE WOULD DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY. SHE HAS LEARNED A LOT. THEY SAY YOU HAVE A LOT OF WORK TO DO AND WHEN YOU COME OVER THERE WILL STILL BE A LOT OF WORK TO DO.’ Pam then said: 'I SEE YOU VERY SMARTLY DRESSED, SPIC AND SPAN, GOING SOMEWHERE IMPORTANT. They say, ‘THEY’LL BE THERE.’ After she left the platform, Pam came to them and said, 'I SEE YOU GOING ABROAD!’
CHAPTER SIXTEEN PROPHECIES FULFILLED A HOLIDAY. Lily's favourite TV programmes were usually gardening, cooking, foreign travel or a comedy, in that order. Michael often saw her looking through her collection of travel books. Switzerland, where she had gone when she was only 16, was still her favourite country, and she had all the postcards, guide books and photographs from those far off days. Michael had never been abroad apart from going to India and Burma with the Royal Air Force in the war against Japan, but he realised that Lily had travelled abroad frequently over the years and had a longing to return to those European countries where she had felt so much at home. One day he came in and said, 'Let's have a holiday and go to Switzerland. You are the expert, you make the arrangements.' In a few days the house was full of travel brochures as Lily methodically set to work, She wanted, above all that Michael should enjoy his first visit and come to love Switzerland as she did. After much consideration she suggested going to Lake Lugano in September and recommended going by coach on a good package holiday. In this way they would have few worries and Michael would be able to see France and Belgium much better than from a plane or car. Once the holiday was booked, Lily wrote to the hotel to check the menus, and she poured over her guidebooks by the hour. All the memories of that first working visit to Switzerland came flooding back, there were so many sights 151
and places she wanted Michael to see. She hoped they could both capture the pleasure and excitement of her first visit in 1936. With her 'Brownie' box camera, she had photographed the quaint shops and sights of old Lugano. Would any of them still be there? Lily had wondered whether Iris Ratsey in South Africa had again held her New Year Party for the Spirit People and whether Charlie would come through again with a message for her. She would never have believed such a thing possible, but for complete contentment, she now needed to be in touch with both her husbands. Michael she needed to see and help, and Charlie, to know he was happy and approving of her new life. No letters arrived in January or February. On the 16th February, John Greene passed on a message from Charlie at the Dawlish Church. Lily and Michael were sitting together when John said, 'CHARLIE'S HERE! ARE YOU GOING AWAY ON HOLIDAY?' 'Yes.' 'HAVE YOU THOUGHT OF ONE PLACE AND THEN THOUGHT OF ANOTHER?’ ‘Yes.’ 'HE SAYS, ‘HAVE THE TWO HOLIDAYS! TAKE THE TWO, AND DON'T HAVE TOO MANY LONG WALKS.’ THEY WANT YOU TO SIT QUIET AND TAKE IN THE PEACE AND THE SUNSHINE. CHARLIE HAS JUST GIVEN THE LADY A BUNCH OF DAFFODILS AND HE SAYS, 'WILL YOU LOOK AFTER YOUR KNEES, PLEASE?' AND HE SAYS, ‘I'VE GOT THE LITTLE DOGS.’ HE'S GOT THREE OF THEM. ‘ARE YOU STILL GETTING HEADACHES?’ 152
‘I've had trouble with my eyes', said Lily. 'PLEASE BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR EYES, HAVE THEM TESTED.’ AS HE GOES HE SAYS, ‘YOU TWO ARE LIKE DARBY AND JOAN!’ Now the two holidays were a return to Boscastle in the spring, and the projected holiday in Switzerland in September. They agreed with Charlie's advice and booked up for both in spite of the expense. Charlie had said that Lily was not to worry about financial matters; they would work out well. This had proved to be the case. When Charlie was alive her married woman's pension had been about half of his. When he died, she received the full widow's pension and could not have managed without it. Both she and Michael had expected that when they married her pension would return to the previous level. When the authorities rang to say she could retain the full pension after her marriage, they could scarcely believe it and rang the central office in Newcastle-on-Tyne to check. It was correct. Lily promptly took over all the catering expenses of the household and still had some funds over to buy plants or give away to the various people she cared for. At last the looked for letter came from Iris Ratsey in South Africa. It contained a brief message from Charlie, but this time he spoke of ‘we’. He had come through at her New Year 'Spirit's Party' to say, 'CHARLIE HERE! CHARLIE! NO NEED FOR MANY WORDS BUT PLEASED TO SAY TO THOSE WE HOLD MOST DEAR, LILY AND MICHAEL, WE ARE DELIGHTED TO SEE THE FULFILMENT OF OUR DEAREST WISH. WE LOVE TO GUARD THEM AND SAFEGUARD THEIR WORK FOR THE MASTER. THANK YOU! I MOVE BACK FOR ANOTHER. CHARLIE.' 153
Life still continued to be very busy and they were glad of the break when they went to Boscastle again. Owing to a mistake in the booking they could not have the bungalow where they had been so happy the year before. As it turned out this was a blessing. Although it was later in the year, the weather was atrocious, windy, cold and wet. For most of the time they read or wrote letters but this bungalow had, all along one side of the living room, an enormous window facing on to a lawn. Feeling comfortably warm with the heating on, they amused themselves watching the variety of birds that came to feed on the food they provided, something they could not have done from the other bungalow. All too soon the week was over and they went back to work at home. The Topsham garden was now beginning to look very attractive, ready to welcome many expected guests; some who might prove to be helpful to the work they were engaged in, as well as old friends who came to see how they were getting on. As the weather improved they lived more and more in the garden, installing the word processor in the chalet. It proved to be a long hot summer, needing much watering to keep the plants looking fresh. As the summer passed they finalised arrangements with their good friends, Phyllis, and Margaret, who were kindly coming to look after the house and the dog while they were away. Both of them seemed to feel that a stay in Topsham was a holiday in itself. After a hectic rush of last minute packing, the morning of departure arrived. Last instructions given, the taxi arrived and they were sent off by their friends, feeling relieved to get away and excited to be going on their first foreign holiday together. The coach left for Dover and the journey continued across the channel by ferry. Going up to the top deck to get the air and watch the 154
coast slowly disappear, they were joined at the rail by another couple. Lily was drawn to speak to them and almost immediately the subject of Spiritualism and the affect it had had on their lives, was under discussion. By the time Calais was reached, Lily had promised to write to their new friends with information they asked for. The friends were going on a different tour, embracing towns in which they had a special historical interest. As they began the journey across France and Belgium to Basle, Michael was interested in everything. The excellent French auto routes, the neat Belgian fields and the more than adequate bedrooms and bathrooms provided in the hotels. As they crossed the Rhine, Lily was able to show him the huge Ciba building where she and Charlie had once been shown round and entertained, ending their tour with a superb lunch at 'Solitude', a very special eating place among the lime trees on the Rhine promenade, some years before. The next morning, early they were warned by their driver that the day was going to be longer than usual because it would not be possible to stay where originally planned. So they set off and eventually came in sight of lovely Lake Lucerne as the sun was beginning to set. The destination was Sisikon. Almost at the end of the journey the road was blocked by a rock fall from the mountain above. There was nothing for it but to return and drive right around the lake, to enter Sisikon from the opposite direction. Everyone felt for the driver, who although never complaining, or showing strain, must have been feeling very tired, At last they drew up outside the Tellesplatte Hotel, and it was now quite dark. The staff had kept dinner ready and everyone went straight into the dining room to eat.
In Germany with friends en route to Switzerland. The meal was excellent and then the guests were glad to be shown to their rooms, The curtains were already drawn across the windows in the bedroom but Michael was tempted to pull back specially long ones on one side, and when he did, there was a double door leading out on to a handsome balcony, edged with boxes of flowers. As the moon rose on the scene Lily, now in her nightclothes, could not be persuaded to leave the balcony and the fascinating scene. Distant lights fringed the far edge of the lake and a single light traced the course of the cable car as it climbed the mountain opposite. The rising moon illuminated more and more of the faces of the mountain peaks as they watched an ever-changing scene. The wonderful magic of Switzerland was still there and the feeling of belonging arose in Lily again. Sleep now claimed Michael, but Lily watched on into the night until the rising sun turned the mountain tops to a rosy pink. Far below she could see Tell's Chapel, commemorating William Tell, the Swiss hero. 156
Michael on the balcony at Tellsplatte. Next day they journeyed from north to south across Switzerland to their hotel on Lake Lugano. Just as Lily had described, the attractive Swiss chalets had given way to more colourful but plainly styled houses, and plants and flowers took on a more tropical look, Three days later, Michael sat on his bed in the Hotel in Lugano. It was a warm evening and he wore only a Tshirt and shorts. He had piled up the cushions and pillows behind him so that he could sit and look out of the wideopen window at the square below. In the strong evening sunshine he could see people sitting outside the cafes and the Albergo on the side of the square. At the far end were trees and hotel gardens. On his left, he could see the colourful flags at the entrance hall of the Funicular San Salvatore, which took passengers up to the top of Monte San Salvatore, high above them.
Entrance to Funicular. Lily got up from the desk where she had been writing cards. She picked up some clothes and said. 'I'm going to have a bath and change for dinner, do you want the bathroom?' He did not, and she disappeared into the opulent bathroom, twice the size of the one they had at home. Michael knew she enjoyed the luxury of the big marble bath and would not be out for a while. Their hotel was in Paradiso, the newer suburb of Lugano, and a busy road passed along the far end of the square. It was obvious that this was the Italian part of Switzerland from the lighthearted way the Alfa Romeos and BMW’s took the corner out of the square. Michael fell to thinking about their life together since their marriage in November, ten months ago. They had, if 158
anything, grown closer since their marriage. They seemed to be the only ones in the hotel who habitually walked about hand in hand. Their lives were joined at so many points. At home, he felt that she was in command as far as the kitchen and garden was concerned. In other matters she had always put his wishes first yet was quite firm in expressing her own feelings when occasion demanded. He thought over the messages they had had from Charlie and Nancy. He still felt amazement at what had happened and at the accuracy of some of the prophecies they had been given, some prophecies through mediums were vague or ambiguous but Nancy had said that Lily would help him with his work and she certainly had done. Since he had started advertising the Spiritualist Audio Tapes again they had worked together day after day. When the post came in the mornings, they sat up in bed and opened the orders. By the time he had shaved, breakfast was on the table and Lily was writing the letters she sent with each of the tapes. While he produced the copies of the master tapes, she addressed the packets and they always sent orders away within 24 hours. They had customers now in England, Australia, Japan, France, Ireland, Portugal, U.S.A., Scotland and Wales. Lily monitored his appointments and kept the big diary of domestic and business affairs as well as his speaking engagements. He had always asked her to read over his articles and found her comments sound and to the point. She was excellent at entertaining when his family came, although always concerned lest the little dog should get out on to the road when the children ran in and out of the house. Charlie and Nancy had said that he and Lily had a lot of work to do. Had they done enough or was there more to come? They were certainly busy. He had put aside writing 159
his big book for the moment in order to write an account of their own experiences. Lily was well into her own autobiography. But was a bigger breakthrough coming? The Church of England report on Spiritualism had been published at last, admitting the truth of human survival of death and the possibility of spirit communications, but it had had little impact with the public and few clergymen read it. His mind turned back to today’s events. They had been to Como Town, on Lake Como, and Stresa, on Lake Maggiore in Italy, and had had a superb day.
Michael in the Palace Garden, Isola Bella, on an island in Lake Maggiore. He remembered Grace Gooding had said Lily would return to Italy. Well, she certainly had. He heard more water running into the bath. Lily 160
would be a little while yet. He had smiled, yesterday, when Lily had taken him into old Lugano town to try and discover- if any of the famous shops she had seen in her youth were still there. After more than fifty years he thought it seemed unlikely, But he had been wrong. Both the fantastic cheese shop, Bottega del Formaggio, and Macelleria Salumeria, the shop with the amazing array of sausages hanging outside, were still there and thriving, surrounded now, by fashion shops from New York and Milan. Lily had also persuaded him to climb the 440 steps at Morcote, leading to the beautiful church high above Lake Lugano. The scenery had been breath taking. Coming down they had missed their way, arrived back at the wrong landing stage and had to retrace their steps to catch their boat back to Lugano. Their legs were still recovering from the unaccustomed exercise.
Our own Expresso Water Taxi. Paradiso to Lugano. 161
Lily emerged from the bathroom dressed for dinner. He quickly changed and they went down to the evening meal. After dinner they strolled slowly down to the lakeside. They found an empty seat among the flowerbeds and sat watching the lights appearing everywhere around the lake in the gathering dusk. The brilliantly lighted pleasure steamers were making their last calls, depositing passengers at the landing stage on their left before going round by Villa Ciano to berth for the night, They sat in the warm air, discussing the messages and prophecies they had received. 'I remember, a long time ago’, said Michael, 'arguing that mediums only told you what was already in your mind, but Charlie and Nancy have demolished all that. They told us about the future and it has come true, and, as we don't know our own future, it certainly wasn't taken out of our minds.’ 'What about Grace Gooding,’ said Lily, 'I was in the depths of despair and she told me things I just couldn't believe, yet here we are, happily married and we've been to Italy today.' 'Yes, and you've had the present of orchids she forecast,’ said Michael, but you haven't grown them yet.' Well, I've only got a couple, its true, but I suppose it may come. I'm not going to do it just because of the prophecy. If it happens, it must happen naturally or you'll never know the truth of the matter.’ The next day they were going to Verzasca to see a remote valley where nothing had changed over hundreds of years, it seemed like a journey back in time. It proved to be all they had been told. The villagers looked old and wrinkled and some still carried their supplies in huge V shaped wicker baskets on their backs. 162
Villager at Verzasca. Still the same were the original old houses, built in the local stone, with stone roofs. They looked very attractive with bright coloured flowers all around but, no doubt, living in them left much to be desired. In winter snow fell heavily here and they were shown a church spire with a mark high up where the snow had reached some years before. It was an unbelievably beautiful place never to be forgotten and they were so pleased they had had the opportunity to see it. The fantastic scenery certainly made Michael understand why Lily had longed to return to Switzerland. 163
Back once more in the Hotel for the evening meal, they were tired but happy. After dinner Lily could not be prevented from going back to the lake she loved. As it grew cool, they strolled through Paradiso back to the hotel, pausing to look at the lighted windows of the jewellers and pastry shops. Their room had comfortable twin beds, pushed close together, and Lily was in bed when Michael came out of the bathroom to her bedside to say, goodnight, ' Happy day?' he asked, 'You know it’s been’ she smiled. As they kissed, she began to gently massage his back, a familiar sign that drew him close to her. After some time they parted, restfully content side by side. 'Do you think there's something coming up?" he said. 'Charlie said, 'You think you're busy now, but you 'ain't seen nothing yet.’' 'Go to sleep,' she said, 'whatever will be will be’ and we will accept it. They both felt it was the end of a perfect day. They slept peacefully, oblivious of the sounds of late night revellers in the square. A few days later Lily and Michael were taking their cases into the bedroom of the last hotel on the tour. It was the Casteau Moat Hotel near Mons. They were, sadly, on their way home, and Tomorrow, would catch the ferry from Calais to Dover. Michael always took a great interest in each new room and this one aroused his enthusiasm. 'Look at this,' he said, 'a big electric kettle as well as sachets of tea, coffee, chocolate and milk and chocolate biscuits! We've never seen this on the continent before - I thought you only got this in the U.K. Here's a hair drier, and what's this? It's an electric trouser press. Look in here, a luxury shower complete with shower-hat and gel and a fantastic bath’. He pulled back the bedroom curtains and 164
looked at the view outside. ‘Peaceful, green fields and gardens. What a change from the slaughter of the Great War all round here.' Lily was reading a notice. ‘You can have the loan of a typewriter here’, she said, ‘and it says, ‘If you need anything else, just ask’, Just think if we could stay here, all meals provided, how we could get on with our writing. No shopping, no cooking, just lots of time to do what we wanted.’ 'Well, if you want dinner tonight, I think we had better get ready,' said Michael, disappearing into the bathroom. Like everything else in the hotel, the dinner was beyond expectations in its choice and quality. They knew they had a long journey to face tomorrow, and an even longer one from the ferry after that, but the unaccustomed luxury had brought about a feeling of euphoria and, as they sat drinking the late night drink, they were contentedly looking back over the holiday. 'Well we nearly started out with a tragedy', said Michael. 'Do you remember when that hooting car that was chasing the coach in Brussels and we thought the police were after us?’ ‘Yes, and he was only telling us that the rear compartment of the coach was open and cases were falling out. I was certain my case was last in and would be the first out, I did think people were kind, offering to whip round for clothes for me if mine were lost but then that helpful woman came struggling up, carrying my case and we got it back.' 'Apart from that, it's all been excellent,’ said Michael,' I thought the city of Trier was beautiful to day, and the colours in the forests of the Ardennes were stunning.' 'We were lucky in Venice,’ said Lily, 'It wasn’t too hot or too crowded. It was interesting to see the children 165
going to school on the waterbus. If you hadn't seen it, it would be difficult to imagine the height of the water, as it lapped under the front doors into the ground floors of those lovely buildings. It's tragic to think that one day it could all disappear beneath the sea. I was so glad that we were able to see it.' 'To see the beautiful horses and vases being blown at Murano Glass was another amazing thing,’ Michael mused, 'the Venetian glass we bought will be a nice memento. I am glad we discovered what that helicopter was doing. Fancy the lightning striking the Angel on top of the Basilica. I suppose by helicopter was the only way to replace it. You could really spend a week at each place and even then not see half of it.’ The next morning early, they entered the breakfast room and could hardly take in the array of things to choose from. So far they had seen nothing like it on their tour. Every variety of cereal and bread was displayed together with fresh fruit and huge bowls of fruit salads There were eggs cooked in every way, fried bacon and cold meats, jams, honey, marmalade and cheeses to go with toast. It was difficult to choose and all the time additions were being made to the dishes on the buffet tables. After several cups of excellent, coffee they left the table ready to face the day ahead. Lily had stayed in some of the best hotels in Europe, but not one had offered the service and luxury this one had provided and it made a memorable end to the holiday. Soon they were on board the coach bound for Calais. Lily was content in the knowledge that the holiday had been a success and Michael had, for once, relaxed and enjoyed a new experience. For her, all foreign travel was exciting, and she now knew that he felt the same. Indeed he was already talking about their next trip. She remembered 166
that Nancy had said, 'STAY WELL, BE STRONG YOU HAVE A LOT OF WORK TO DO YET', and Charlie had said, 'YOU MAY THINK YOU'RE BUSY, BUT YOU AIN'T SEEN NOTHING YET.' Well, she thought, they now felt ready to face the work, whatever it was that lay before them. They knew that Michael had plenty of talks booked besides his church work and the tapes business. She had her network of correspondents and her campaign to obtain more time for discussing the philosophy of Spiritualism on TV and radio. She felt they were on the edge of something important but only the future would tell how their work would go. This holiday had seen more of the prophecies fulfilled and now they would wait with interest what the future held. Perhaps a hint of something would be in the pile of correspondence they knew was awaiting their return. They were now drawing into the port of Calais. She abandoned her train of thought to watch the busy scene outside. They were on the last leg of their journey home.
CHAPTER SEVENTEEN FIFTEEN YEARS ON The date is now 2006. Since they first met, Lily and Michael have passed fifteen busy, and mainly, enjoyable years together. During this time, Charlie and Nancy, their former spouses, who brought them together, have kept in regular touch, never interfering but giving encouragement and advice when needed. Lily has particularly enjoyed the nineteen holidays they have had, mainly on the continent, but also on Madeira, Tenerife and Grand Canaria.
Lily on the patio in Spain. She is pleased with what Michael has been able to do. He has given many talks at home and abroad and he and 168
Lily have hosted the Rescue Group, which now meets in their new home, a bungalow in a sheltered complex. The members of this group, which has been meeting since the first Gulf War in 1991, have published three books, and Michael and Lily have sold over sixteen thousand pound’s worth of Spiritualist audio tapes, which have gone to many parts of the world and generated a large correspondence with interested people in places ranging from New York to Tokyo. Lily has survived one serious illness, which hit her the day before they were due to fly to Portugal on holiday. After three doctors failed to grasp the real nature of the case, Lily collapsed. Michael dialed 999, and the Paramedics rushed her to hospital where she spent seventeen days in Intensive Care. When she was recovered enough to be moved to a ward – though still unable to speak as a result of a tracheotomy, Michael was able to spend the days with her from 8 a.m. to about 9.30 p.m. on most days. He almost became one of the ward staff, fetching newspapers and other items from the hospital shop for patients, and eating in the hospital restaurant. Finally, just before Christmas, Lily came home and, after a spell in a wheel chair was able to take up her usual activities again. The Rescue Group that now meets at their home comes together to counsel and assist lost and confused spirits, helping them to progress and, eventually, meet up with loved ones that they never thought to see again. Katherine, who founded the group in her own home, ceased running it after seven years, when she started a software business. John, Sheila, Valerie, Judy and Jean, are all trance mediums, and they allow any spirit in need to speak through them so that they can be helped. Michael tape records all that takes place and is usually the one to actually counsel the 169
spirit, so that it understands what has happened to it, and knows what to do to progress. To date they have carried out two hundred and ninety successful rescues as well as having interesting conversations with more than another four hundred spirits who had no problems, but were interested to talk and tell their own stories. Michael’s account of the rescues is to be published shortly by Con-Psy Publications, as the book, ‘Dead Rescue - The Techniques of Guiding Lost Souls.’ GHOSTS. Together with John Greene, and a very experienced friend, Ron Buckle, Michael arranges to visit haunted houses where people are distressed by what they usually call ‘ghosts’. Here again, the spirit is usually persuaded to move on and leave the troubled occupants in peace. In this, and all their rescue work, John’s guide, or spirit friend, ‘Grey Cloud’, guards all the members of the group and controls who may be allowed to approach them from the spirit world. Ron Buckle’s guide takes an active part and often brings the spirit’s family members who help to persuade the spirit to progress onwards with them. On one occasion, when Michael was expecting to be interviewed on the following day by a television crew, Grey Cloud contacted a medium friend of theirs in London, who ‘phoned them to pass on his advice about what to say and what to avoid. This contact by ‘phone with Grey Cloud through the medium Margaret Dwyer, soon became a weekly occurrence and, much to the delight of Lily and Michael, Charlie and Nancy usually joined in, so that Margaret could pass on messages from them as well.
Early Morning Tea Lily is sitting up in a double bed as Michael brings in a tray of tea, places it by the bedside, and climbs in beside her. Lily has already been up, but likes to go back to bed to listen to the radio news and discuss the affairs of the day. They have separate bedrooms now and Michael’s room is full of computers, tape recorders and racks of audiotapes. Lily’s room is as tidy and neat as Michael’s is the opposite – a mixture of an office, a library and a bedroom. Finishing his tea, Michael begins to read aloud, notes he has made of an unusual visit they had made the day before, to a remote and isolated house where ‘ghostly’ happenings had occurred. For once Lily had accompanied the three members of the team as they answered a call for help from a man who was worried by strange happenings inside a locked barn. Although an engineer and a complete non-believer in God, or an afterlife, he simply could not account for the way copper roofing screws were scattered over the floor and inside containers each night in the barn. His wife, who did believe, had actually seen something inexplicable, and feared the nightly appearances were a warning to him not to go on to the roof of the barn to do some repairs that were needed. Fortunately, the team had managed to move on the three spirits who were amusing themselves at the owner’s expense, and Michael had a tape recording of the events, and would send a copy of it to the couple, to help them understand that no harm had been intended and all should now be quiet. Lily listened quietly and then said, ‘Read me some more of our messages. It’s Sunday, there’s no hurry to get up.’ ‘There are so many’, he replied. 171
‘Well read the ones that strike you’, she said, so Michael began. ‘Here’s one from Mrs. Davies to you, 30th August 1998. She said: ‘YOU’LL BE DISAPPOINTED. I HAVEN’T GOT CHARLIE HERE. I HAVE A LADY AND SHE SAYS HER NAME IS NAN – OH, IT’S MICHAEL’S WIFE. SHE IS SAYING, ‘HE MUST SLOW UP AND TAKE IT EASIER – IT’S VERY IMPORTANT. WE KNOW THE MARVELLOUS WORK YOU HAVE DONE’. She is giving you a bunch of red roses for all you do and have done for Michael. ‘HE HAS SO IMPROVED SINCE YOU TWO CAME TOGETHER. IT HAD TO BE, IT WAS MEANT TO BE, BUT NOW HE HAS TO TAKE IT EASIER. CHARLIE HAS GONE WAY UP, AND IS HEALING IN A GREAT HOSPITAL WHERE HUNDREDS OF CHILDREN ARE TAKEN. BY THE WAY – WATCH THE CAR!’ (That very night the car was one of three that were burgled. There was little damage but some money was stolen). ‘I don’t think you have slowed up much’ said Lily, who often wished Michael would just sit in the sun sometimes and not always feel he should be working. ‘Here’s a domestic one’, he continued, from Marian to me on 7th June 1999. ‘Nancy is stood there. Have you a shirt that’s fraying at the collar? There’s a pair of shoes that’s wearing out, a favorite pair, you don’t want to get rid of. I think it’s about time you replaced them – there’s a lot more miles to go yet. Nancy’s with Charlie, in his Scout uniform. They’ve got a clipboard with a big piece of paper on it and they’ve ticked about a quarter of the way down on this list that they want 172
you to do. How you can get it all fitted in I don’t know. They’re laughing and saying, ‘YOU DIDN’T BELIEVE US WHEN WE SAID THERE WAS ALL THIS TO DO.’ I asked, ‘Is Nancy happy?’ Marian replied, ‘She says, ’YES! I CAN KEEP AN EYE ON YOU BUT I HAVEN’T GOT TO DO ALL THE DAY TO DAY CHORES!’ Here’s one dated 22nd August ’99, about your previous little dog, Lucky I, who passed on 17th August. Marian phoned and said, ‘Lucky woke me up last night, rushing around and barking and looking very pleased.’ Then there was another one through John Greene, ‘IT’S CHARLIE, HE SAYS, I HAVE GOT THE DOG. SHE IS VERY HAPPY. YOU WILL FEEL HER ABOUT AT HOME FOR A LITTLE WHILE.’ THIS IS VERY EMOTIONAL – THE LOVE OF THE GENTLEMAN FOR THE DOG.’ ‘Yes, I remember’, said Lily. ‘She was always Charlie’s dog. She grieved for weeks after he passed and went white round her muzzle.’
Lucky I departed 17.8.99. 173
Here’s a message to you from Margaret Dwyer on 18th September 2000, ‘CHARLIE IS CONCERNED. HE RUBS HIS HANDS UP AND DOWN YOUR BACK. HE SAYS YOU HAVE HAD A VIRAL INFECTION – VIRAL PNEUMONIA. YOU MUST TAKE THINGS VERY EASY’. ‘On 30th, after I had had three, ‘Out of Hours,’ doctors to see you, you collapsed and went into hospital by ambulance. When you were in Intensive Care, I had this one from Margaret Dwyer. It said: ‘CHARLIE AND NANCY ARE VERY DISTRESSED ABOUT LILY. THEY ARE DOING ALL THEY CAN FOR HER. SHE’S NOT SUFFERING. THEY HAVE LIFTED HER PARTLY OUT OF HER BODY. CHARLIE SAYS, ‘LOOK AFTER YOURSELF, OLD BOY. YOU STILL HAVE A LIFE. WE ARE LOOKING AFTER HER.’ Here’s one to me through Margaret on 30th December, after you came home from hospital. ‘CHARLIE SHAKES YOU BY THE HAND AND SAYS, ‘WHAT A GOOD THING YOU TWO GOT MARRIED AND YOU COULD LOOK AFTER LILY’. “There’s a short one here that interested me. It came th on 8 June 2002. Nancy said: ‘YOU’RE NOT COMING OVER YET, BUT I WILL WELCOME YOU WHEN YOU DO COME. CHARLIE SENDS LOVE TO LILY’. That came through Margaret. I must finish in a minute or we’ll be late, said Michael, but this is a nice one to you from Mrs. Davies at the Dawlish Church: 174
‘I’ve got to come to you. I’m pleased you’re both here. I knew you would be because Charlie told me earlier, ‘HE IS SO PLEASED YOU HAVE RECOVERED, IT’S A MIRACLE – HE WORKED DAY AND NIGHT TO HEAL YOU. YOU MUST SLOW DOWN. A LOT OF PEOPLE NEED YOU. DON’T OVERDO IT! LET THE DUST STOP WHERE IT IS. HE’S DOING MORE THAN EVER TO HELP EARTH PEOPLE AND GAIN MORE KNOWLEDGE.’ ‘I like this next one because I was a bit worried about a visit we were due to pay to a house in Silverton where a ghost who was violent had scared the tenant out of the house. Grey Cloud’s young helper, Chippy, said in the group, ‘DON’T WORRY ABOUT YOUR VISIT TO SILVERTON. GREY CLOUD WILL BE THERE WITH THE SPIRITUAL ‘POLICE FORCE.’ As it turned out, the visit was successful and the tenant was able to return to the house.’ ‘Which are your favorite messages?’ said Lily. ‘Oh! I’ve got two. This one is from back in the book, through Margaret. It’s from Nancy to me: ‘WE SHAN’T BE FIGHTING OVER YOU WHEN YOU COME OVER – LOVE IS DIFFERENT OVER HERE!’ and this one from Charlie years ago, from South Africa by air mail, ‘LILY WILL LOVE IT OVER HERE, THE PERFECTION SHE WILL FIND.’ Now I really must get up we’ve got to go out later. You could read the last messages for yourself.’ Michael left to get dressed as Lily scanned the last pages in the book. Some days before, her beloved and 175
beautiful dog, Lucky II, had had to be put to sleep, as her heart had simply failed.
Lucky II at teatime. They were both grieving for her and had been longing to hear news of her from the other side. It was a great relief when Margaret rang them to say, 176
‘NANCY’S HERE. SHE SAYS,‘IT’S ALL RIGHT – WE’VE GOT HER! SHE SORT OF FLEW OVER AND DIDN’T EVEN REST, BUT WENT RUNNING.’ Later they heard from Charlie, who said: ‘I’VE GOT BOTH THE DOGS NOW. THEY’LL BE PALS FOR ONE ANOTHER.’ ‘Oh well’, she thought. ‘At least they’ll both be happy.’ and started to get up herself.
At the St Gothard Pass.
On Mt. Tiede, Tenerife. 177
BUT WHAT ABOUT ME?
You may feel, dear reader, that although this story was a happy one for Michael and Lily, it is of no help to you in your bereavement. You probably have no way of getting in touch with your departed loved one, to know if they are happy and are still concerned with you and your life. This is a real problem unless you are already in touch with a good medium through whom your loved one can pass on a message. In any case, communication is not a simple thing. It’s not just the ability of the medium that matters. Your loved one is probably around you now, but he or she may not know anything about mediumship, or how to go about passing the message they long to send you. However, they probably watch you each day, and read some of your thoughts, and if you take a decision to try to make contact, they can learn what is needed from watching you. How then, you may ask, can I contact a good medium? Mediums are like pianists or singers; they need a natural gift and then a great deal of training. If there are only two hundred good mediums in a country, there will be many more who are less gifted and are still learning and a few who are charlatans. In the U.K., the U.S.A. and some other countries, there are Spiritualist Churches that you can attend for free, apart from making a donation. The mediums that work here do so as a service to mankind and rarely make a profit from taking these services where messages are passed to a number of people in the congregation. Some of the more well known mediums will give ‘private readings’ at a church, where, for a fee, you can have a private session with the medium. These are eagerly sought after and may need to be booked in advance. 178
Other mediums work privately for money and may be contacted personally or by ‘phone or letter. Here, ‘word of mouth’ is the best recommendation, and even with famous mediums, it may take several ‘sittings’ before you get such evidence as Lily and Michael had. You may prefer to watch out for signs in your own home that your loved one is often with you, and talk to them as if they were still physically present as they used to be. If you wish to investigate further, there are Spiritualist newspapers that contain articles on the subject and also details of mediums that you could consider. Here, distance makes no difference, apart from the cost of a ‘phone call. John Edward, the famous American medium, watched by tens of millions on TV, had his own long awaited message from his mother by telephoning a well-known British medium, Linda Williamson, in England. Noted centres where you can book a competent medium in the U.K. are: The College of Psychic Studies, 16 Queensberry Place, London, SW7 2EB. Phone: 020 7589 329 www.collegeofpsychicstudies.co.uk The Spiritualist Association of Great Britain, 33 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8QB. Phone: 020 7235 3351 www.spiritualistassociation.org.uk The Arthur Findlay College, Stansted Hall, Essex CM24 8UD. Phone: 01279 813 636 www.arthurfindlaycollege.org 179
The Greater World Spiritual Centre, 3-5 Conway Street, Fitzrovia, London, W1T 6BJ. Phone: 020 7436 7555 www.greaterworld.com All the above have web sites with full details if you enter their name in a search engine. Newspapers you can consult in the UK are: Psychic News, The Coach House, Stansted Hall, Stansted, Essex, CM 24 8UD. Phone: 01279 817050 www.psychicnewsbookshop.co.uk Psychic World, PO Box 14, Greenford, Middlesex. UB6 OUF. Phone: 020 8903 1993 www.psychicworld.net These again have their own Web Sites. When you find a medium with whom you would like a ‘reading’, you can have the message recorded for you, or written out to read again later. In this case, a photo or letter written by hand can help the medium to make the contact you are hoping for. Don’t be too disappointed if at first you get a message from a friend or relation you were not thinking of. At least this will be some evidence for you and you will have to try again to get the contact you seek. A lady I go to sends me the reading by Email. She is Marian Bellfield at: Marian63@btopenworld.com After years of persecution, Spiritualism is now free to tell its story. Before 1951, it was actually illegal to act as a medium in the UK, punishable by three months imprisonment with hard labour. Now Harrods, the most 180
famous store in England, has a resident medium who charges £70.00 for a sitting and who is booked up three months in advance. According to the gossip columns, having ones own ‘Psychic’ is the next trend, after having ones own personal trainer. If you have religious doubts about consulting a medium, Pope Paul II gave permission for Catholics to go to a medium at a time of bereavement, but would prefer a priest to be present as well. The Queen of England, The Queen Mother, Prince Phillip, the Duchess of Kent and Princess Alexandra, all consulted the medium Lilian Bailey, after the death of King George VI. Former Archbishop, Dr. Cosmo Lang has come back through a medium to say, ‘How grateful we are to those of you who give your time and effort to work with mediums to help people.’ So, it’s your decision! I wish you well and all success in emerging from the despair, if you have been bereaved and all success if you just want to find out the wonderful truth about what happens when we die, and how those who truly love are reunited.
Recommended reading: ‘Contacting the Spirit World,’ by Linda Williamson, Piatkus, 1997 ‘Lychgate,’ by Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding, Rider 1945 ‘Life After Death,’ by John Edward. Hay House, 2003. Over 40 million viewers have seen John Edward on TV in the USA, UK, and Australasia. ‘Voices in the Dark’ by Leslie Flint, Two Worlds Publishing Company Ltd. PO Box 55307, London SE16 6WW ‘Billy Grows up in Spirit’ by Michael Evans. (The story of a cockney boy who visited the Rescue group 14 times over three years, describing the wonderful life he found in the Spirit World) Obtainable from Michael Evans 01392 438434 £6.00 in UK plus £3.00 overseas. ‘Dead Rescue’ or ‘The Techniques of Guiding Lost Souls’ by Michael Evans, published by Con-Psy Publications, P.O. Box 14, Greenford, UB6 OUF 2007. £7.95 incl. P&P, or from 01392 438434.
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