Sunday, November 27, 2016

I thought I would repost the ghostly encounter I had previously blogged about in October 2006.

We go back to November 1991 and the place is London. To be more precise the place is Swain's Lane, Highgate N.6. I used to work at a community rehab unit near Parliament Hill Fields and I often walked to work from my flat just off the Archway Road. A lovely walk in the summer but on a cold, damp autumnal morning...I would walk briskly. There were a number of ways to get to work but the quickest one was via Swain's Lane. It was steep and quite narrow in parts and as you near the halfway point to your left is the East section of Highgate Cemetery. I have visited the cemetery many times as a legitimate visitor and as a kid who climbed over at night with his mates. It is fair to say that I had a pretty good knowledge of the cemetery.
This particular morning I was walking towards the cemetery gates when I spotted him. He was walking directly towards the gates and about 200 yards away from me. I don't know how I knew it, but I instinctively knew something was wrong. He was extremely tall, well over six feet in height and he was extremely thin. He wore a long black cape-like coat and a top hat. His dress looked Victorian in style and he appeared all black. He also carried a small package. However, he walked directly towards the gates which I and every other local knew was locked to prevent intruders gaining entry. I watched as he walked straight at and through the gates, not once altering his stride or reaching out to open the gates. I stood frozen to the spot and stared at the gates. I kept thinking "Those gates are locked.I know they are locked".
I walked towards the gates whilst keeping to the right-hand side of the road, keeping some distance between myself and the figure who had disappeared once he had entered the cemetery. The gates were securely chained and padlocked. To get in one would need the key or would have to climb over. I stared at the gates and I realised that I had seen someone not human and my instincts told me the figure I had seen was evil.It's funny what details stick in your mind because as well as his extreme height, thinness, the clothing and the blackness of the figure, he also appeared to glide and there was no sound. The ground was littered with leaves yet I heard no sound from him nor did he take any notice of me.
I have to confess I made it into work in record time and one of my colleagues stated "You look as though you've seen a ghost". When I told them what I had seen I was met with laughter and ridicule.
However, I know what I saw that morning and I remember it distinctly to this day. As to whether it was a vampire...I have absolutely no idea as to the existence of vampires although I do believe I saw an apparition. I also took another route to work for the next few months.

The reason for this entry is this ridiculous newspaper article where my story has ended up. I believe the story was pinched from this particular book. For the record, there is no such creature as a vampire and it might well be a ghostly figure which I saw. But I still have no explanation for it. The story behind the Highgate vampire also has a long running feud between the two protagonists who started it all back in the late sixties. It is worth having a quick google for them and the story but avoid getting caught up in the feud! Hence I shan't be mentioning their names on my blog as they do somehow crash into it. As for the 'panic'... absolute nonsense as there is no vampire and I am sure that one day we will have rational explanations for these strange phenomena. 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

After yesterdays doom and gloom I thought I would post the latest picture of the moggies. The only guaranteed time to capture all four together is at meal times. The widget (Mindy) loves the old  kitchen radiator and she is often found cuddled up to it. Believe it or not she has actually grown in size but she is still tiny compared to the others. 

Maisie has settled in well and even when the back door has been open she has made no attempt to leave, often running further into the house. It does make me wonder what happened to her before we acquired her. She prefers to remain indoors and we are happy to maintain that status quo. Happy cats equal a happy home.

Friday, November 11, 2016

The election of Trump has certainly come as a surprise to the media, pollsters, professional political classes and I have to admit it has certainly come as a surprise to me. I thought Hilary would win by a small margin although I have to admit it was a choice between bad and badder. I have no idea as to what the next four years will bring although I hope he and the USA have a good presidency and people aren't hurt by the actions of both sides of the political divide. Hilary struck me as a lying, greedy power hungry tosser and Trump struck me as a lying greedy egotistical twat. Whither politics now...  Meanwhile in the UK we have more than our share of lying, power hungry, greedy tossers and twats occupying parliament, the media and various parts of the state apparatus. The 1789 and 1917 blueprints look likely to be dusted off and perused for instructions for revolution 101 the way things are going. It doesn't matter whether it's right, left or state protectionism, we are the poor buggers caught in the middle of it all when the trouble starts.  Perhaps they'll put a few more reality shows on the telly to keep the hoi polloi further sedated and prevent anything kicking off. Moi, cynical?

On the home front my move to four days a week working has seen my workload shoot through the roof and I am daily watching colleagues have meltdowns. It isn't good and sadly it will get worse which is extremely worrying. My escape from it all is reading, the cats (poor old dog sleeps a lot these days), music and the modelling plus friends and family. The organisation I work for is well into an overspend on its budget as is much of the NHS. So no more staff for struggling front-line teams, in fact fewer staff as those that leave aren't replaced although money continues to be wasted on management favourites. It always amazes me that the answer is more paperwork and more admin staff although our caseloads get bigger as the clinical staff get fewer. I am seeing colleagues paid for a 37.5 hour week putting in 45 - 50 hours per week with no overtime or time owing allowed. Meanwhile, the list of qualified staff who leave healthcare for less stressful work gets longer with another two in the pipeline in the next two months. My four days a week is the replacement for those two staff (currently off work)  plus the agency staff who has not had her contract renewed...

The next twelve months is likely to see an increase in the interesting times theme, both locally, nationally and internationally. Mrs C has suggested I buy in more tinned goods, rice and water filters. I don't think we've quite reached that stage yet but I have to admit, I have no idea what happens next in the wider scheme of things. Closer to home, a few beers tonight and a good book is what I have planned next. Who was it that said "The end of History?" I don't know about Fukuyama but he was fukungwrong. Being an eternal optimist as well as a realist I will continue to plod on and enjoy life, being content with the things we have and believe that it will all turn out alright in the end.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

I'm afraid I haven't got much to say hence the obligatory picture of the young ladies.
Work is extremely busy and with Halloween and Bonfire night out of the way the various media have cranked up the Xmas advertising to warp factor 15 and beyond. I have laid in a stock of books for the evenings as TV is approximately 90% rubbish so a good book, warmth, a comfy chair and the occasional glass of a good whisky  (current choice pictured below) will see me through the dark evenings.

Choice of book for this quiet, cold and wet Sunday is this offering from Ian Rankin which I am re-reading for the second time. Having increased my working week to four days per week for the foreseeable future I enjoy my quiet Sundays even more now. One advantage of working on the nursing bank is that I will be having a full two weeks off over the Xmas period. We also have to consider what a Xmas dinner consists of for No.1 son who has been a Vegan for the past few months. He has requested a stir fry which I will prepare and cook for him whilst Mrs C does our traditional dinner. I may also squeeze in a quick overnight trip to Colchester to see my mother and drop some presents off for her and the family. Personal gifts rather than the usual cards with vouchers although Mrs C suggested buy on line and get things delivered. For me, it is all about family and friends so I'll see as it means taking time off work. The trip there in the Mazda is relaxed compared to the old Suzi wagon but the traffic madness in bad weather leading up to Xmas is most definitely not enjoyable.

With the clocks having gone back and the evenings darkening ever, autumn is gradually moving towards winter hence the desire to stay in and wrap up warm. Amidst the modern technology I have is my favourite time piece, a fob watch and chain. This one is battery operated as wound watches tend to behave oddly when I wear them but the illusion of having an old fob watch is there. This was a present from Mrs C a few years back and it does afford me some satisfaction to wear it.
However, time moves on and I will return back to the book and a cup of Rosie.