His presence now stood by my side. I could feel his eyes boring into mine, his smile telling me all I needed to know; he was with me; he would always be with me. I smiled back at him, thanking him once again for his love.
In 1992, I made my first visit to a medium. It was in Aylesbury during the four years I lived there with my first husband. Mrs Taylor was in her fifties. She was a kind woman, gentle and softly spoken. My first impression of her 1970's semi was how ordinary it looked. I am not sure what I expected but I felt comfortable as soon as I walked through the glass front door. She took me into a room at the front. There was a round table covered with a lacey table cloth, a few chairs and a side board with a huge mirror tempting me to look into. She asked me to sit down at the table while she "tuned in" to me. I was armed with a tape recorder and a blank cassette, ready to record Mrs Taylor's every word and hopefully that of a visiting spirit.
Mrs Taylor handed me a crystal ball. She told me to hold the crystal in both my hands until she was ready to start the reading, meanwhile she closed her eyes and looked as though she was going to fall asleep. In those days I was still a little sceptical. Having had no experiences of any unexplainable phenomena myself, apart from a vague one when I was ten years old, I did wonder if I would have been better sitting in a caravan on Blackpool prom with an old lady reading my tea leaves. However, I gave her the benefit of the doubt. She had a great reputation and I was eager to delve into the paranormal.
She started the reading off by telling me various pieces of information about my personal life of which confirmed her psychic ability. She told me she could see me walking over a bridge with 2 humps. She also told me, rather worryingly, that she could see two pregnancies, yet one child. She confirmed that my husband to be was indeed a wonderful man, of which I still say is true and she said she could see me changing jobs quite often before finding the one I would settle into.
It was about half an hour into the reading when Mrs Taylor suddenly put her hand gently onto my arm. "Is your grandmother a spirit?" she asked quietly. My eyes welled up with tears. My grandmother had passed just two years since and I thought about her everyday. I talked to her also, never realising then that she had been listening and answering in her way. "Yes," I eventually answered. "She is here with us now," replied Mrs Taylor.
It was at that very moment that the tape recorder stopped. The play and record button which had been pressed were now unused. The tape inside the machine had come to an abrupt halt. I tried desperately to make it work again but it would not. My grandmother's energy had obviously drained the batteries. "Your grandfather has joined us too," Mrs Taylor announced. She then described to me how my grandma was sat in the chair next to me whilst my granddad stood over her, his hand resting on her shoulder. My grandma's hands were relaxed on her knees, one hand over the other. "Your grandmother says she watched you baking yesterday. She says you should have made a better job, your oven is much better than the one she had." Mrs Taylor's words will never leave my head, for the previous day I had been in my kitchen in my flat in Aylesbury, baking little cakes to take into work. I had thought they were passable at the time but would never have compared them to my grandma's. "Your grandfather says you need to get the tap fixed on the bath." Correct. "He also says get that piece of carpet nailed down in your bedroom before you fall over it." Again, correct. Mrs Taylor and I were complete strangers.
Mrs Taylor continued to tell me that my dad needed to see a doctor as he was suffering with pains in his abdomen area. This I could not understand. I had never known my dad to see a doctor and I was quite sure that he would not want to. As my grandma and granddad left, Mrs Taylor felt it was time to wrap up the reading. She complained of a headache, saying she needed to rest. Before she closed the front door after I had said goodbye, she told me one thing I will take to my grave and beyond; "you're gifted." I did not understand this at the time either.
Some months later, my future husband and I went for a day trip to the Cotswolds. We walked over a bridge with 2 humps, without realising until we were on our journey home. I was currently employed with a temping agency and had moved about from job to job each week, however, I had been looking for permanent employment of which came the following year when I got a job at Rothmans International. In early 1993, my dad was admitted to hospital following a doctor's appointment. He had a stomach ulcer. And in 1995, I had a miscarriage. I now have, as you know, one child.
We fixed the bath tap that following weekend and nailed the piece of carpet down in the bedroom. I bought a new oven soon after. Unfortunately, it did not help my culinary skills. When I got home that night, I replaced the batteries in the tape recorder. I listened to the first half hour of my reading and noticed that the sound became quite distorted as Mrs Taylor had kindly asked if my grandmother was a spirit. Then the tape stopped. But the memories will always remain.