January 2011

Our Promised Dinner

Quite a busy weekend; but got quite a bit of work done catching up on written work on two unfinished projects.  One was a list of questions I had to answer for a  forthcoming book on the paranormal and local history (not mine but somebody else’s) and the other involved sorting out photographs for the finished Volume No 2 of my own autobiography.  There have been 20 pages put aside for that, but no worries there as there are plenty of vintage photographs to choose from.

But it wasn’t all work and no play.  Della and I met up for our promised dinner, and that  really made a relaxing change.  She had booked a restaurant in Hampstead that somebody had recommended to her and we took a taxi over there.  It was off the main street and dimly lit not too crowded.  We had a table for two near the back and ordered a bottle of Viognier  while we studied the menu.  We ended up sharing a fish platter; heaps of yellow rice mixed with sliced peppers, onions,  and pieces of unknown fish, surrounding king prawns and lobster.  There was a basket of hot garlic bread at the side, and some small side dishes with shallots and mussels, which I presumed had been served separately for those preferring to have some choice, rather than having to eat it all mixed in together.

It seemed to take an eternity to finish off all the food, by which time the wine had almost gone and as neither of us had any desire to leave the almost magical quality of the restaurant, we decided to finish the evening off with a bottle of Pinot Grigio

We had been talking about many things all the while,  and she seemed to be able to ‘draw me out’ and I found myself answering questions that I would not normally discuss with most people.  We spoke about the Highgate business a little, of course, but she seemed more interested in finding out more about my personal life and thoughts and feelings that I had had for other people.  This was not entirely unexpected because I knew she had read my autobiography, so that in itself made it easier to explain facts and my feelings towards events that had already been published.  The Highgate case we had discussed before; indeed, that was the main reason she had first come to see me; although on that occasion, conversation had been a little tense; as if she first wanted to dispel some of the fantastic allegations she had heard about me.

Yet now, in the comfort of the restaurant, conversation seemed even easier and there seemed to have developed an ‘invisible empathy’ between us that ignited something far deeper.  It was easy to talk to her, and I could tell from her eyes that her interest was intent, to the extent that I felt she could sense that I was really attracted to herself as a person, and so had no need to ‘guarded’ about things she was asking.

In fact, she told me little about herself, but I learned that she was from Kensington but recently moved to Knightsbridge, where she now had her own apartment and a good job as an Interior Designer.  She was not attached to anyone now, she told me, but like myself, she had encountered the turmoil in one or two past relationships. 

We seemed to have talked for ages, and as it was well past midnight, we asked our waiter if he could order us a taxi.  He willingly obliged and so, with satisfied appetites and content from the wine, we finally left the restaurant.  She insisted that she should first take me home,  and about half and hour later, the roads being virtually traffic-free, we arrived at my flat and I invited her in for a little while saying I could then order her another taxi.  Besides, I reminded her, I still had some albums of Press cuttings, not all of which she’s seen on her last visit.  She accepted, and before long we were sitting in the comfort of my front room and I opened some more wine while we could finish talking.

 Absorbed in old Press reports we again spoke about the Highgate ‘vampire’ case, and I showed her other articles about other people who claimed that they had been involved.  She read many meticulously, and some private letters I showed her about the case which highly amused her.  Before long (although time seemed to go so quickly)  the clock showed us that it was almost 3 am, and she remarked that she would have to think about leaving and her comparatively long journey.  I sensed that she did not really want to leave, and I couldn’t really blame her finding her self ‘caught’ at that cold hour of the morning.  I told her that she was welcome to stay in my spare bedroom,  which would enable her to get some rest so she could leave refreshed the next morning.  To my somewhat surprise, she accepted gratefully saying that she did not have to go to work the next day: although not before making me assure her this would not put me to any trouble.  This was no trouble, I told her, as the spare bed was already made up and all I had to do  was put the fire on to warm the room up a little for her.

I showed her the room and left her to get ready, saying I’d come in 15 minutes  to see if she had everything she needed.  When I did go back, she was in bed and although all covered the sheet revealed that she had bare shoulders.  I asked if she wanted another glass of wine before she went to sleep, and she said she ‘shouldn’t’ but that she’d enjoy that if I would drink another with her.  She did not seem at all embarrassed by this request.  If anything, I think she knew that I was a little uncertain at making this suggestion, and just wanted to assure me that she was happy to keep on talking and just relax.  In fact, we must have spent another two hours just talking.  I pulled a chair up close to the bed and we talked into the early hours of the morning.

She left the next day at about 11. 30.  Although not before arranging to meet again.  I am looking forward to that.  Work somehow seems to lose its importance after experiences like that.  It still all has to be done, of course, but writing about old experiences somehow seems to take on a new meaning now.

 David

The Evil Haggi

Evil Haggi Tales

I have been a bit lazy with my Blog lately; mostly because I’ve been finishing another book.  I won’t go into that again, but it really is the reason my posts have been fewer and farther in between.

Anyway, last Saturday, I had a good excuse to take a break.  I had received  an invitation from Carrie to her Burns Night party, and so couldn’t resist that.  I had been to the one last year, and been really impressed by the convivial atmosphere and nice people and, because it was only local in Highgate, I just had to go again.

It was a cold night, but I didn’t let that put me off, or the steep slope that served as a short cut to the house thus avoiding a fairly long detour.  A few years ago I would not have given the ‘slope’ a second thought, but I have to be a bit more careful now due to a back injury I sustained in 2002.  But I just ignored that and turned up more-or-less intact around 8.30.  I met Gareth in the road outside who’d just come off the tube.  Carrie answered the door and there were already quite a few people there.

We piled our coats on top of the others and went through to the conservatory at the back with some wine.  There were quite a few people who I recognised, and yet more in the crowded front room which we had yet to enter.

One person I recognised immediately was a girl called Christine; an attractive lady with sleek black hair and a lovely smile; I had been in contact with her previously but never met her in person.  She found a place for Gareth and myself at a large pine table and we both sat down to enjoy some wine.  It was a much needed seat.  My foot hadn’t taken kindly to the steep slope but sitting down absolved it of any weight.

Eventually, we all made our way to the large front room after collecting plates of hot haggis served with mashed potato and buttered carrots.  There was also a vegetarian substitute which pleased people like Gareth.  It was a tasty meal, and had been well prepared.  I am not a vegetarian and try to avoid meat, but I would certainly eat haggis again; that is, if ever a plate was put before me!

Several more people had arrived by this time; including Andrew Gough and his new companion Layla.  Andrew runs the Arcadia Website and, together with Layla, has been involved in a lot of film work recently.

After dinner, everybody settled down in the front room to see who would win a prise (a bottle of whisky) for telling the best ‘haggis’ story; or rather, how they succeeded in tracking down and slaying these ‘ferocious beasties’.  The stories were varied and amusing – especially Andrew Gough’s (to me anyway) who announced  that it wasn’t a vampire that really haunted Highgate Cemetery, but a fully grown ‘Haggi’ that had petrified Satanists using the place and caused David Farrant to give up his quest to find the Highgate vampire – or something like that!

Midnight passed, last buses with it.  But Andrew and Layla offered to let me share their taxi, which was much appreciated.

The lovely Christine and myself (c) David Farrant

David Farrant

And The Bride Wore Black

 

Colette Sully and David Farrant outside a haunted ruin in North Wales

As my next book is now finished and just awaiting final preparations for publication in April, I thought to put up a final short extract as part of this Blog.  Its just a short piece from the Chapter on my second marriage to Colette in June 1979, which caused a bit of local controversy as the local Press billed it as a “Witchcraft wedding” – which it wasn’t really –  as they depicted it –  but I admit it may have been seen as a little ‘unconven­tional’.  At least, it seemed to create a precedent for ‘unusual marriages’ which  even my main critics were set to imitate in the not too distant future –  some  eight years later to be exact.

Anyway, I have re-produced the extract here, but there won’t be any more till the  book is published -and that’s on K’s instructions!.  I can see her point really this is not really some stray Internet book it will be a Listed copy for the public and, as such, I shouldn’t give too much away.

 So what’s news apart from the book’s completion?  Not that much really.  Got another computer now and much of my ‘pressing work’ has now been finalised.  Have more time to relax.

 Della (an initial critic I met on another Internet Forum) have finally arranged dinner for next week.  She has found a restaurant she wants to go to, or rather take me to, she says.  So looking forward to that.  I’ve already met her and she’s a little concise in her views on the whole subject concerning myself.  But I have nothing to hide, so don’t really mind that.  At least I can talk to her, and she listens.  I know she listens as she is trying to understand something that is extremely important to her.

 But here is the short extract.  Anybody interested will be able to read the whole thing in April . . .

 To Have and to Hold

 I HAD NEVER seen Colette happier.  We talked about the wedding and decided to make this as simple as possible.  We didn’t relish a big Church affair; after all, as long as it was legal, it didn’t really matter.  The date was set for June 21st 1979 at Wood Green Registry Office, with a small reception to be held at the flat that evening, with just a few selected people.  In fact, we invited Kenny (whom I had introduced to Colette soon after meeting her) to be best man, but some unexpected domestic problem prevented him from being able to attend.  Instead, another friend of mine, Mike Boyd, agreed to take his place.

       Colette wore a long black dress for the occasion, which clung fairly tightly to her slim figure, and, as an extra element of surprise (for some anyway) she ordered a wedding cake coated with black icing.  She also hung one of her paintings on the wall portraying a ‘green-faced devil’ breathing ‘fire and brimstone’ – a parody really to show people how much we believed in such nonsense!  Colette certainly had a biting sense of humour; although it did serve to stop a couple of people, who made excuses not to eat any of the cake!  But I agreed with her in principle . . . if people prefer to think the worst of you, then just present the ‘worst’ to them, and just laugh at any predictable reaction.  In any event, this seemed to work in showing people that we just ‘couldn’t care less’ about some of the wild stories they may have heard about ‘devil worshippers’, ‘black witches’ and the like.  Inviting people to judge us for themselves in the midst of all the frivolous ‘black symbolism’ seemed as good a way as any of showing that neither did we take such assumptions at all seriously.

       This was perhaps demonstrated later in the evening, when several of the guests, who were involved in genuine Wicca, gathered in another room to witness a Wiccan Blessing of the wedding.  It was basically a simple ceremony that involved mixing a small droplet of our blood, being anointed with oil, and taking some important vows to bind the sanctity of the Union of the Feminine and Masculine Principle.

       The wedding over, in the days that followed I felt strangely elated.  It was almost as if a sense of permanency had descended in the midst of all the chaos; a remote contrast to my earlier marriage in 1967.

       But the Press, as usual, loved the implications of the story. Wedlock for Warlock headlined the North London Weekly Herald, and went on to state . . .

 Dabblers in the occult and witchcraft took part in the weirdest wedding of the year last Thursday.

            The ceremony took place at midnight on 21st of June at a small flat in Muswell Hill Road involving “white witch” David Farrant, and specialist in the occult, Australian born Colette Gee.

            A gathering of more than a 100 believers witnessed the ritual conducted by a High Priest and High Priestess.

            The couple were anointed with oil and in accordance with Wiccan (witchcraft) tradition were both nicked in the arm and had their blood mingled.

            Earlier that day the marriage had been legalised at the Wood Green Civic Centre Registry Office. . . .

Weekly Herald , 28 June, 1979 

 The Hornsey Journal ran a similar story but I couldn’t resist noting in its headline . . . And the Bride wore Black (!)

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

 Being married again was almost a relaxing experience, and presented an opportunity to relax in the comparative normalities of life.  Of course, I still had to keep up my work with the Society, and Colette was still absorbed in her painting.  But life still had its amusing moments . . .

 [From the book “David Farrant – In the Shadow of the Highgate Vampire” Vol 2 publication date April 2011]

 David

It Can Be Hard Sometimes . . .

You see - no time

 

It certainly makes a break to have finished my next book.  I mean the actual writing  Its taken about 16 months of non-stop work which didn’t just involve the actual writing.  It involved much more than that and must have cost me hours upon hours of ‘abnormal’ sleep routines in the process.  It was not just the writing.  If only it had been that simple!  It was not like writing fiction (well I’m not a fiction writer, but I can imagine what its like);  I was writing about actual events in my life and being autobiographical, it had to be accurate – or as accurate as possible. 

My last book (published two years ago) was hard enough but I had the advantage of a multiple of old notes and memory’s to assist me.  I had written most things down, so all it needed really was to put old notes and past memories together (some of them admittedly painful ones); and I had a basic ‘diary’ to work from.    Not so with the current one.  All I had was a head-full of memories, which meant names, times and dates all had to be put in sequence – from scratch!  I had to record things from the year 1974 (where the first one ‘finished’) until the early 1990’s – a long gap really, when a  lot had happened!

I wrote a lot of its at night, when the world was quiet and there were no distractions.  No traffic noises; no harsh daylight; no phones ringing (at least not normally!); just comparative silence to work through!  Of course, this inevitably affected my sleep process’s, and it would not be unusual for me not to get any sleep whatsoever until it began to get light..  And then, of course, it was not that simple, because I still had things to do that could only be done in ‘working hours’.  The Post Office closed at 5.30 pm for example (and the banks and most shops not long before that) and so to communicate with the outside world, I had to make sure that any sleep did not go on much longer than lunchtimes.  It soon turned into a regular habit – I never saw mornings – and before long normal sleep had vanished altogether. Leaving me so little time in the process.

But its finished now.  But here I am sitting up at 6. 15 in the morning again as a consequence of an induced habit.

Luckily. I have never had any sense of time, as others do.  So I think that helped.  I have never ‘watched clocks’, even when having nothing to do.  I have never eaten at set times – only when I’m hungry.  And I have never cared about the normal human conventions that seem to entrap so many people.  Don’t get me wrong; I am not condemning normal routines or behaviour.  That is part of the normal system, and most people couldn’t survive without that.  So I am not ‘knocking’ anyone; just trying to point out that my ‘time sense’ is certainly different from that of most people. 

But the writing is still not finished – by a long way.  But I feel I have earned a little break, so can just can just relax in the hectic turmoil instead!  In reality, most of it passes me by anyway.  I have little awareness of the petty thoughts and set routines that otherwise make up ‘normal reality’.   Admittedly I have to live in the midst of all these; but I am certainly not ‘trapped’ by them – that’s the main difference.  This is not some ‘acquired sense of freedom’; so some reason, it has always come naturally.  Of course, some ‘outward events’ have served to ‘entrap me’. But only very few judging by the way these can entrap most people.

Some outward events can sometimes seem beyond your control though.  And yet I wonder if even these are somehow ‘fated’, or sent to provide some unrecognised guidance.  So I just go with the ‘flow’ of life normally.  Trapped materially by some things, but inwardly basically free. 

It can be hard sometimes, almost seem cruel.  Events of 1965 have taught me that.  But even then these are not ‘dead’.  There can be no physical death in the presence of a greater Reality.

 David

Finished The Book

Maybe a Pic for the new book

I have been so busy this past week, but my new book is finished now – almost every last word of it.  The writing is done, but there is more work to do, of course.  Appropriate pictures have to be sorted out; distribution arrangements, the ISBN, PR stuff; and I’m still waiting for that bloody cover – you know who!!

Its taken about 16 months, but been worth it.  It is the second volume of my autobiography “David Farrant – In the Shadow of the Highgate Vampire”; (but I’m not telling you the next title just yet) for the sake of anybody who has not been following this.  And, of course, it will have an Introduction – but I’m not telling you who’s writing that either.  You’ll just have to wait and see!  Well, I don’t want to spoil the fun; or rather give too much away yet.

Anyway, that’s why I haven’t done a Blog this past week.  I literally didn’t want to be distracted.  So what’s in it?  It covers my life from 1974 through the mid 1990’s, and there’s a LOT in it.  I kid thee all not.  If its variety you like there’s enough of that – from people ‘dying in duels’ and ‘starring’ in ‘vampire movies’ to real life ‘cloak and dagger schemes’ that would make the devil appear like some reformed Church warden.  Yes, I can hear some people asking . . . is there any sex in it?  Well, maybe a bit, but only a little!

Earned a few days off now.  Still got other things to do.  Well, what do you expect? Running a large Society is not exactly easy.  That’s not something you can just ;finish’.  There’s always things to do.

Which reminds me, I’m STILL looking for a new secretary (but a trustworthy one this time).  Anybody got any idea’s?  Qualifications not really necessary: except must be female; doesn’t object to working late hours, and making me coffee occasionally (or pouring me a drink!).  Other than that, I’m not that fussy!

Well, I think I’ve earned a drink or two tonight (or maybe 3 or 4).  Definitely having a short break before I start the 3rd Volume.  Yes there’s still another Volume to do, in case I forgot to mention it!

Please phone me over the weekend K and I can fill you in.  And Simon, I’ll be posting that for you on Monday.

For the moment,     David