Picture this. A well brought up tea-totalling, naïve woman with two young children in a private
Josh introduced me first to a budding actor, Mark, who had been to Eaton. He was totally endearing with a great sense of humour, and incredibly well spoken. I thought he was really something. The second person who I met for this purpose was a tough East ender called Johnny. He was very suspicious of me because he sensed that I was not only a beginner in this low life, but also really naïve, which was true. Unbeknownst to me at the time, he was near to the top of the cocaine ladder and was possibly one of the one most wanted by the drug squad. Within a week, Josh had to convince Johnny that I was no threat to his business, as Johnny felt I was a potential threat to his anonymity (which is so true), but Josh’s loyalty to me would prove very dangerous to Josh in the future. Josh was determined beyond his own safety to protect me and my children. He regretted introducing me to Johnny, and decided it was best not to let me have any dealings with him in the future. Thank God for me!
To cut a very long story short, I was set up to sell the retched drug, through Mark, to only six people who had enough money to buy my house ten times over. They shall remain nameless but are well known to almost everyone in
One day, I went to my doctor and told him what I had been up to because I was having terrifying side effects and feared for my life. He said that if I did not stop by the end of the week that I would be dead. So, taking a deep breath, I rang up my brother and told him what was going on. He came down from
From that point onward, I suffered repeated muscle spasms, and went in and out of consciousness for approximately 12 hours. During that time, I left my body and floated up to the ceiling over and over again. I felt that if I went higher than the ceiling, I would never get back into my body. So I strained and strained by doing a mental breast stroke through the air from the ceiling to get back into my lifeless body lying on the sofa. I wasn’t ready to die and had my children, who I loved more than my own life to think about. That is what gave me the will to live.
During this whole episode, my brother rang up “Release”, a drug related chat line to get advice. He also rang up my best friend (the same one I had spent my holiday with in the South of France), to come over, interrupting the dinner party she was at in Battersea. She didn’t even have time to eat her dessert and came over within 15 minutes. She and my brother stayed with me for 12 hours until the ordeal was over. They had to slap me on the face each time I became unconscious, shout at me, talk to me, hug me and basically make me aware that someone was with me the whole time until the overdose had subsided. If it hadn’t been for them, I would surely have died. I slept for 3 days and my brother took the kids to school, fed them and cared for them. He told them I had very bad flu. I love him so much, you cannot imagine.
One night a few months later, I got a phone call from Huntingdon police station, saying they had someone in their custody who was suffering from a heroin overdose. All they could find on him was a piece of paper with my telephone number, so they were calling me to find out who he could possibly be. From their description, it was Josh. This was the first time I realized he was a heroin addict. I told them to bring him to my home where I promised to look after him and that I would call my doctor. They brought him home and for the next 8 hours, I nursed him through the most horrifying experience I had ever seen in my life. The doctor told me he could not come over for moral reasons but that I should just stay with him and make sure he did not choke on his own vomit etc... I had to cool him down with wet flannels, stop him from running away, cuddle him when he was screaming out in pain, and talk calmly all night long. The next morning when Josh was finally asleep, I rang his sister who was a nurse. She arranged to have her brother-in-law and a friend come around to pick Josh up to take him home to her so that she could continue looking after him.
They arrived at the house; one at the front door, the other at the back door. I told Josh that they were here to take him home to his sister, and he totally freaked out and tried to run. He couldn’t bear the humility of his family knowing about his predicament. However, the two chaps were big and strong so Josh hadn’t a chance to dodge them. They managed to get him in the car and whisk him away to the safety of his loving sister. Somehow, this reminded me of the love my brother had given me only a short time ago. God bless siblings.
A month later, I had a call from his sister saying he was completely recovered. In honour of my saving his life, his entire family including those who came over from
Two weeks later, Josh went to stay in a temporary flat in Paddington where he was arranging to set up a legitimate business with his brother in
Within a week, Josh was found dead, having been injected with a fatal dose of cyanide and heroin. He had been murdered as there was sign of a major struggle. The only thing missing was his address book.
The police came to my house asking if I knew of anyone who would want Josh dead. I explained that the only person who I personally felt could have been responsible was a man called Johnny who lived in the
About this time, I met an amazing character called Stuart Cornock. He was an ex guardsman who had been court-marshalled from the cavalry for housing a horse in his 17th floor apartment in the Knightsbridge barracks. He was only trying to save this horse from going to the glue factory where he was destined to go because of a leg injury. Anyway, Stuart was like a character out of a 19th century novel. He had been born as the illegitimate son of a Duke in
Stuart would stay at my house in Kensington on a number of occasions because he actually lived in
One night, as I was asleep in my comfy bed, I was woken up to hear Stuart talking to someone in my adjoining bathroom. Apparently, he was talking to a ghost, dressed in a dark green velvet frock coat, who had lived in my house at the turn of the century. This ghost had been a doctor and he was telling Stuart that my children were in danger because the rafters in the roof loft over the kids bedroom were rotten and in danger of collapsing. So he was warning Stuart that he should draw this to my attention. I could not really believe that this was true as I was very sceptical about such things as ghosts, in spite of the fact that I had seen one when I was 8 years old.
However, the next morning, Stuart told me that he had been exorcised by an eminent priest several years before because he had been possessed by the spirit of a girlfriend who had died. She had been very bitter about the fact that Stuart was two-timing her with the ex wife of Corin Redgrave and apparently her spirit was making his and everyone else’s life a misery. Stuart would be sitting in a room with them and tables would lift up in the air, cutlery drawer’s would open and all the contents shoot around the room, garden doors would open unexpectedly, and Stuart would be thrown against walls, unable to move. It got so bad that they had to contact The Reverend Christopher Neil-Smith, the most renowned priest in the world for such jobs to perform an exorcism on Stuart to rid him of this problem. Apparently, the exorcism was quite difficult because when they brought Stuart to the church, he was spouting Latin incantations and struggling to avoid reaching the altar. After great perseverance from the priest and all those around, they managed to exorcise Stuart.
Because of this new-found knowledge, I located the Reverend’s phone number through direct inquiries. I called him because I was afraid that my kids’ lives were at risk. The phone was answered by his wife who told me that he was recovering from having had a stroke and was rather weak at the age of 75. However, when I told her it was about Stuart Cornock, she went away for a minute and brought the Reverend back to the phone to speak to me. I told him about my reason for ringing and he said that I should listen to what Stuart was saying to me and to get my roof fixed immediately. He confided in me by saying that he had never met anyone like Stuart who had more perception to the mysteries of the “other side” than anyone he had ever met before.
Well, needless to say, it took me a while to take this in. Less than 2 weeks later, the ceiling of my children’s room caved in before I had seen to the loft, but luckily, they were not in the room at the time. This made me think long and hard about the occult and of Stuart!
A few weeks later, Stuart was yet again, visiting us. He invited the children and me to visit the Horse guards Barracks in
We trundled up to
Stuart suddenly left me sitting on the Queen’ s horse in the open-door stall and took my children to see the weapon room which housed swords and cannons and paraphernalia from earlier wars. For some reason, the horse decided to go walk-about and left the safety of the stall. He walked out into the main courtyard where Japanese, Danish and other tourists were poised with cameras. Bearing in mind I had no means to guide or control him, things go a little out of hand. He tried to make a break for the main gates out into
Stuart in the meantime had heard the kafuffle and ran out brandishing a sword from the Battle of Waterloo which he had been showing the children. Dressed in his usual medieval jacket, riding boots, and earrings, he managed to grab my horse and calm it down as he had a way with horses. The tourists had taken so many photos at this point that I would love it if they could send me some of them as a memory of this day. Needless to say, Stuart’s friend “Waspy” was not at all pleased and could have lost his job for allowing us to even be there. But luckily there were no repercussions.
One summer soon after that, Alexandra, my daughter, (who was seven at the time) and I were invited to go to stay with my French friend in the South of France (where you will recall, my problems had originally started). This time, it was to be a healthy family holiday and her two sons were there as well. They had a private tutor to help them with their studies as they would be there for about 3 months. It would be helpful for them to have Alexandra study with them as they had all grown up together and got on so well. So we trundled off for a lovely month’s holiday.
Whilst there, we met Laura Ashley and her husband, Bernard, who lived nearby and were old friends with my friends’ parents. We went over for tea a few times and had dinner with them in the local town. Laura’s house was like something out of a
Well, things did not go very well soon after that. Alexandra had somehow caught Glandular fever (Mononucleosis) from someone at her school before leaving for
We were picked up by a chauffeur and taken to the local private aerodrome to meet them at their plane. Bernard, who was a qualified pilot and would be flying us to
I was so nervous about flying in such a small plane, knowing I would not be able to smoke during the flight, and being very nervous about the state of Alexandra, that I unwittingly lit a cigarette whilst standing on the top of the
steps to the plane. I was standing there puffing away like a chimney with my elbows resting on the roof of the plane when I suddenly heard Bernard shouting at me from the control tower far away. He was waving frantically and I just looked at him and started to wave back still puffing on my cigarette. I was THAT nervous! Of course, he was waving because I was risking everyone’s lives with my stupidity. The plane had a petrol engine and obviously was at great risk of exploding with a lit cigarette so near. Anyway, when he got to the plane, didn’t he give me an earful! I felt like a complete idiot and could not apologize enough. Anyway, we all calmed down and set off for
When we arrived, Alexandra and I were picked up by another chauffeur and taken straight to my old school friends’ flat where we were to stay a few days until Alexandra had been seen at the hospital and become well enough to fly back to
Weeks later, when the whole drama was over and Alexandra was on the mend, I wrote to the Ashley’s to thank them profusely for the fact that I’d nearly killed everyone and for going to so much trouble to fly us up to Paris. They had totally forgiven me, thank God, and I heard through the grapevine, that they often told the story at dinner parties but with a great deal of humour, not anger.
It was only a few months later that Laura Ashley sadly died.
Life after that carried on despite my nine lives being exhausted.