When I compose Blog entries, I usually pick the title last, but this Blog is an exception to the rule! You see, on this day in 1967 something happened which changed my life forever – my first born son came into the world. Jamie.
1967 was a hectic and confusing year. I had returned from Spain with Jamie’s mother, and although we had some fun times together in Highgate, as young parents from different backgrounds and with very different interests we found it hard to integrate our lives together there. Although we cared deeply for each other, and I would never describe our relationship as simply a holiday romance, things seemed so different when we returned from our carefree existence abroad to start a new life together in London. So many rumours were flying around Highgate village about strange, seemingly paranormal goings on at The Gatehouse, and in Highgate Cemetery and Swains Lane, and I immersed myself in them. Having been away for around a year, I also had a lot of catching up to do with esoteric and magical acquaintances, and I threw myself back into my life in Highgate with less care than was perhaps fair for Jamie’s mother – who had quickly and sensibly formed her own circle of friends in the village. Knowing that I was about to come into a large inheritance I was careless with money, and lived for the moment. How things change!
I can’t look back now and revise history; those early years of Jamie’s life were turbulent for me, and I was young and did things very differently from how I would now. I was imprisoned in 1974 as a result of my ‘Witchcraft Trial’ at The Old Bailey, and had last seen Jamie (and his brother, my second son Danny) in 1971. But I never stopped thinking about them, despite the haze of chaos which surrounded me both in and out of prison as my life in Highgate, and my life in general, collapsed around me.
Many years later Jamie contacted me. I was suspicious at first; because of the Highgate case I get so many crank emails, including ones from people giving false hope and offering erroneous information about personal situations. But when Jamie emailed me a scan of his passport I knew instantly that he was for real, and saw the boy I knew in the man staring back at me from my computer screen. I also learned that I was a grandfather, of a charming and well brought up young lady who is the spitting image of Jamie, her grandmother and myself.
Well, happy birthday Jamie : 1967 seems a long time ago now, and we have had a lot of lost time to catch up on. As I say in my autobiography David Farrant : In the Shadow of the Highgate Vampire:
Our first son, Jamie, was born in November. There was no shortage of visitors to the flat at this time, and inevitably he had no shortage of attention.
I am sure you have had a lot of attention tonight Jamie, as you always seem to. Like myself at your age (and younger) you are always surrounded by friends. So have one on me tonight, and you can have your proper birthday drink next time you come and stay – and it won’t be a bottle of pop this time!