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Tue, 03 Jul 2012
Drinking - the Flower Water - Life can be so cruel sometimes!



“Drinking - the flower water.”

Elene Humphreys

         Drinking -
the flower water When I was 21 I gave birth to my daughter, Lisa Elene Jackson and a week after her birth I was discharged from the maternity unit.

Unfortunately not long afterwards I was readmitted to the psychiatric ward in Billinge, near Wigan, due to a severe illness* where I purported to have had a vision of a cross in the bath water and claimed that I could turn water into wine and guess wining horses by looking at the newspaper and on top of everything else I claimed I was Jesus Christ himself!

 My stay in hospital as a psychiatric patient was no picnic, I can tell you and Lisa had to be cared for by grandparents, although they did bring her in to see me on occasions though apart from that, life was just horrible. 

Later when Lisa was 3 months old she developed bronchial pneumonia and nearly died as a result. She was rushed into the children’s ward in the Wigan Hospital in an ambulance with sirens sounding and me and my sister Lillian in attendance.  Happily with drugs and a spell in an incubator Lisa recovered and achieves good health to this day.

  For years everything went quite smoothly. Myself and my husband, Les divorced, and shortly afterwards I married my soul mate, Bob – the most wonderful man in the world!

  Around the Christmas of 1977 however, Bob experienced ruptured kidneys in a friendly football game and ended up in hospital for two weeks. I went into shock and we both ended up spending Christmas in hospital that year.

I was admitted to Winwick psychiatric hospital with acute, yet familiar symptoms, only this time I not only thought I was Jesus, I was convinced I was Jesus Christ and that I possessed special powers.

The special powers I didn’t get to use but I was given electro-convulsive therapy just in case I really did possess them! 

 My stay in Winwick was more than unpleasant and the only light at the end of a very, gloomy tunnel was that I had several wonderful visitors, including cousin Edie who was the assistant matron there and her sister, Beth, who was then a C.P.N.

 Time passed, my severe illness remained and in later life the now defunct, Mental Hospital at Denbigh was to become my bęte noir, which became apparent during my constant visits there.  I have a recollection of drinking the water from a flower vase on one occasion when thirst over-whelmed me and on another occasion when I literally sat or lay there pulling my hair out!

 How I endured this dreadful place I will never know, many I was plagued with nightmares, locked within an acute ward that went by the name of Bryn Golau, where every door was locked after an inmate went through it.

I recall circling the main area with a self-confessed murderer on my arm,  wearing dirty knickers, as clean ones hadn’t been supplied to me, that my mother or Bob, my husband brought in.

So many memories, I recall an incident when a crazed inmate set fire to the premises resulting in the attendance of the fire brigade to the ward. Drinking - the flower

One of my sharpest memories concerned a family holiday in Malta with Bob and son, Michael, together with in-laws, Ann and John with their son, Neil.

They were all to leave Malta without me as I was admitted to a venue run by nuns and stayed for 6 weeks only able to converse with the staff and one of the patients. 

This was to prove the last time I experienced electric shock treatment which affected short term memory loss, it seemed to work with me every time and it stabilized my mood. I had had a handful of experiences before this.  The episode in Malta seemed to be triggered off by sheer happiness and strangely enough I experienced a similar feeling in Spain last year, though happily the attack was just a mild one.

My journey back from Malta was a solitary one but I was cheered after meeting Bob, Lillian my sister and her boyfriend at the airport on my return.

In the eighties Bob and I moved to North Wales to a village called Treuddyn, near Mold and I immediately succumbed to the manic side of my illness though I was lucky enough not to warrant admission to Bryn Golau once again although I did have I had a propensity for removing my top and bra in the twinkling of an eye.  Embarrassing yes, more for the observers I think, though one day when Bob and his mother came to visit me and I disrobed in front of them. It was so funny if not complimentary when Jean, Bob’s mother, remarked on the firmness and attractiveness of my breasts!

 As the Denbigh Hospital closed, so the Wrexham Hospital loomed large before me, and I spent many hours on the wards there displaying my usual traits so much so that I was physically restrained Wrexham just as I was in Denbigh. I actually sent for the police on one occasion but it came to naught when they realised I was just a nutter at large. There was a time however when I became the victim of a rugby tackle to the tarmac by burly hospital staff, ruining my trousers and shoes and just because I had foolishly made a remark about wanting to kill myself.

 *Before I forget it was only in Malta that mention was made of the fact that I was a manic depressive and now we hear of bi-polar regarding certain mood swings.

 I guess you are wondering who ‘is this woman. Some kind of nut case we hear about everyday. But you see I don’t see myself as just a woman. I would rather be known as a person who suffers a dreadful illness, that isn’t visible to the naked eye, as it is contained within this persons mind.

With that little thought off my mind I would now like to refer to my background.

Drinking - the flower waterI attended Shevington junior school to the age of eleven, where I had a Christmas Carol published in the Lancashire Evening Post and Chronicle when I was 10, it was sung at the school assembly and I was very proud when my teacher compiled an anthology of my poems at around that time.

 I then went to Upholland Grammar School but did anything but shine there, leaving at 16 with only two G.C.E.’s, Economic history and domestic science.

  On leaving school however I decided to attend Wigan Tech to train as a shorthand typist. I worked hard and attained Commerce and English language as G.C.E’s. actually I am also proud to say that I now possess certificates for six ‘0’ levels law and English literature, plus 2 “A” levels – English literature and Psychology. 

When I reached the age of forty, I had my first book published in Lancashire dialect poetry and I now have 2 further books in Standard English, in print.

  My job, well I became a Crown Court shorthand writer, I held this position for nineteen years with hardly any absences, albeit having to be hospitalized 25 times, and not always on a voluntarily basis I must add.

                 Thinking back again, there were a couple of times that I ran away from Denbigh Hospital, though I didn’t get too far. But it reminded me of an episode of prisoner where Patrick McGoohan couldn’t escape a huge white ball only in this instance a hospital car would pick me up and take me back.

Once after a visit from Bob I lay in front of the car in a desperate bid to stop him leaving me but to no avail. But I did manage quite a good escape once. I managed to get a taxi in Denbigh with 2 strangers and ended up in a pub, The Colomendy which Bob and I frequented, of course I had no money but the landlord bailed me out until Bob arrived when he reimburse him.

 Another time I recall was during a stay in the Wrexham Hospital, things were different this time though I was equipped with money plus debit and credit cards, and I ended up at the Beaufort Palace Hotel in New Brighton. Very soon I was sipping a cider in the cocktail bar when I spotted a familiar figure, or so I envisaged.

 “You look just like Jane McDonald” I retorted.

 “I am Jane McDonald.”  She replied rather frosty..

 Well after a good nights sleep I took myself down to breakfast. Jane was there and I took it upon myself to Drinking - the flower
waterpress a poem to the table cloth of the table where Jane and I believe a couple off her aunts were sitting. The small poem referred to Bin Laden, and I do believe neither she nor her aunts were very amused!

 I should have mentioned, whilst in the hotel bedroom two police officers came to check on me.  What was all that about? I have no idea.

 To continue my escape, after the stay in the Beaufort Palace I caught a train from Wrexham and ended up in a B and B on the outskirts of the town.

During those 2 days Bob had no idea where I was. This was such a selfish illness!  I was a smoker at that time and got through about 30 cigarettes per day when I was high, normally 15 was my average.

When Les and I split up, rather than messy court hearings etc., I decided to leave the children in his care, as he had always been a marvelous father. At first he said he’d never take the children from me but quickly changed his mind and said he’d fight tooth and nail to get the kids, as you can imagine this killed me in its operation!

Lisa and Michael were to come every other weekend to us and every Wednesday.  Every other weekend was something to long for and I tried to make sure there were no transcripts worked on by me during the time they were with us. I yearned for such times they were to spend with us.

                 On Sundays Bob would take Michael and Lisa to swim at Ormskirk baths and I would prepare a hearty breakfast whilst they were gone. My children would see Nicola sometimes and they got on really well on most occasions. 

Bob’s daughter, Nicola, lived with us at first in his matrimonial home in Brooklands Grove then later went to reside with her mother, Eileen, and stepfather, Bernard. Bob was not happy with the situation but there was absolutely nothing he could do about it! 

At that time Nicola had a boyfriend called Timmy but some time later she met the love of her life, Tony, who worked as a buyer for a local firm. They married and went to live in a small detached house in Newburgh which was quite impressive for a starter home. Sometime later Nicola and Tony moved to our former property in Brooklands Grove, and we moved to Treuddyn, North Wales. 

This move was prompted by Bob’s move from Liverpool Crown Court to the Chester and North Wales Circuit.  He was to find himself very busy there, with regular trips to Welshpool and Mold which is close to where we live now, and Caernarfon where I worked myself quite often when he was around and went out for meals there on  a regular basis whilst staying at a local B and B. 

       Then tragedy struck – my adorable mother committed suicide by easing herself from an upstairs window at our home, of course this triggered off my illness and I ended up once again in hospital, this time I recollect very little I don’t think I was even in the picture at this juncture.

 My mother had always experienced mood swings in later life and suffered from Reynard disease and Schlermaderma which meant she wasn’t a well person.  She had parts of 3 fingers amputated as a result of the Reynaud syndrome.

My Dad wasn’t so popular with the masses, as was my mother where individual popularity was concerned.  He died with chronic obstructive airways disease at Liverpool Teaching hospital and my mother was bereft at the news.  Prior to his death his kidneys failed and he was on dialysis for a little while. This sounds an awful lot to bear for one person doesn’t it, looking back that is.

 Drinking - the flower water

Mother had threatened to throw herself through the window soon after my father died, 5 weeks previous to her demise but I joked with her saying she couldn’t possibly do it.  How wrong I was!

I will never forget the last words she said to me before she died, “are you going to the post office?”

I replied “No, mum, it’s a bit late now.” Though, obviously I changed my mind. 

On my return from the post office there was a stranger in the garden so I too had a feeling of foreboding.

Mother didn’t leave a note, and I know that this was obviously not the act of a selfish coward, but one of a brave resilient individual, as was later to be reported in the local newspaper!

Isn’t it strange this life we all lead? Bob had gone shopping and was tannoyed in Tesco’s ask him to return home immediately so he realised something was entirely wrong!  He did, Bless him

  Here is a small poem for Edie, a true friend.


You have beauty in your soulDrinking - the flower

So recognise the day

When you met husband, Brian

So much more I have to say

Just such a splendid person

With all of us to love

Just how we’ll miss our cocker

Heaven – just the sky above

Edith Elene Humphreys.

Posted 17:02

1 comment

My Friend
This blog I have added was not written by me but by my good friend Mrs Elene Humphreys. She could have portrayed her life up to today in many more words but I think 2500 plus is fine for a blog. She has got her own blog somewhere but as yet we can't find it. Give me an email if you do. hugs Dodie xxx

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