Cats dying and the fear of being abandoned.

Bloo Jumper 041

Depression and anxiety are predictable end results of quite a few basic issues that people grapple with. Me included. A big one for me is fear of being abandoned. Fear of being alone. My father had it too, he was terrified of being alone for even ten minutes. I got the impression that he couldnt bear being with himself. His inner dialogue was self berating and angry with himself. Which is why he thought it was good to get a woman who punished him.

He was, at the end of his life, able to release, share, his inner diaglogue with me. And I think it was me alone he revealed it to. Certainly I havnt met anyone else who heard it first hand. I took to putting my iPhone on record in front of him when he did it, and recorded over 17 hours on more than 30 individual recordings of him during the week of lucidity he had before he set about dying.

We all have our inner dialogue. I am listening to mine right now, alone, here in the flat. John (my husband) is burying our Bloo Kittun today. I am not doing it, I have buried enough cats over the years, and I have buried two this year alone before this one. I dont need another grave to sit and weep over. I can weep here well enough.

What is my inner dialogue saying to me right now? Its saying that I am a truth seeker but also a pragmatist. I know at the moment I appear cold about having Bloo put to sleep and am not overly concerned with where she (her mortal remains) are to be buried. My job was to love her, adore her, provide for her and in the end, not let her suffer.

John is very emotionally involved with her, she was his cat really. I found her, I bought her (pedigree cats – rare and expensive), she lived in my house with my other cats but she was Johns cat. John is inconsolable. He keeps crying, I try and feel for him. I try and connect with Bloo and the tragedy of her dying.

But I cant think of Bloo without thinking of her making us laugh with her antics. And the sheer joy she brought us everyday. Her getting ill (again) and we had made the decision after her last operation for cancer, not to intervene again, that she would die this Autumn , Winter or possibly make it through till Spring or not was inevitable. For me, just identifying the right time and doing the right thing is something I have been preparing myself for for over a year with her.

Do I grieve? Of course I do, this blog is about loss. I am grieving today for my father, and three cats who I have lost this year – Smudge my Seal Point Siamese who died of cancer aged three in February, B1 a Havana kitten who was killed in a road accident in May, and Bloo who lost the long fight with cancer this Saturday. What is the poinht of crying though? It just upsets Leo and Bruno. My husband keeps breaking down and crying, will I be a better support of him if I share the tissues?

I’m still not finished about crying over the death of Pushkin (died 2004) or Bats (died 2011) and burying them. And the rest. Min, Bobby, Sid, enough enough. I would like to get a good hardy Moggy next, that will live for more than three to seven years. A big tough animal. John wont have it, so what next?

I dont feel anything different about Bloo this week than every other week since the day I bought her in a motorway service station from a hapless woman who had decided she “didnt want an Oriental after all”. I had already been in touch with the breeder and told him what was about to happen. He actually took the trouble to come over here and see Bloo in her new home and no doubt assess our commitment. And he was satisfied.

To me Bloo isnt dead, she has just been immortalised.

Advertisements

Christine the Hungry Ghost 3

Vampira and Dad 001

The first feeling I got when I was told Dad had died was relief. The last letter he had from Piers had said it contained the information Dad had asked Piers for, it was the contact details for Dignitas. Even had we been able to take him to Switzerland, Christine had cleaned him out, there wasnt enough cash left to pay for such a trip.

My sister and I hadnt spoken for over a month. I had been seeing him everyday for so long as I live closer to the hospital, and I dont work. She was working full time, so had asked me to keep her updated about eeverything i had and this soon annoyed her so much she told me not to contact her anymore! I couldnt win.

My sister Alex then aligned with Christine to arrange Dads funeral. I asked to choose a hymn, I was told it was already arranged. i asked that John be able to fulfil his promise to Dad and pipe at his funeral, I was told no. We did it anyway, out on the grass. Dad loved the highland pipes and the piper does add dignity to an occasion. I had my hair done in the morning and popped the Valium my GP had given me to help me through it. I wanted to scream out to everyone what Christine had done. Instead I hardly spoke except to quietly thank people for coming. I sat with John and some of Dads friends who also dont like Christine, including the man who had warned Dad that she was a gold-digger all those years ago.

Dads final legal battle was about to start.

I was summoned to meet the executors, I had met them before. There were meant to be four of them: two legal people, my eldest nephew Chris, and Sandra my cousin. Sandra had already resigned, I was never told why. my nephew was abroad travelling by this time, he had his 15K and wanted to make the most of it, he is a good age to travel. So it was just the legals, Geraldine and Duncan. I just couldnt face it. i was in their bad books from about three years ago when I threatened to report them to the Law Society unless they did something to protect my father. I had been able to see what was coming, it was like being Cassandra of Greek mythology.

John went and recorded the meeting for me. It was fairly straightforward, basically we need to wait for probate. I got a copy of Dads will, it directly excluded Christine, other than that it named cash amounts for all three grand sons, and the trust fund for my sister and I, which included the house Christine was still living in, rent free.

In January this year I met them and handed over all the evidence I have on Christine’s misappropriation of Dads money, and pointed out the cheque for 20K that i believe should have come to me, and all the other amounts and urged the executors to investigate it. They did. Christine admitted that she took 10K for “emergencies” and admitted that she had not had permission to take it, she implied that she would repay it. Probate dragged on and on but was finally granted two weeks ago.

I had a meeting with Duncan last week and his first sentence said “we have come to believe that that cheque for 20K was intended by your Dad for you and that Christine filled her name onto it instead”. What a relief. And the rest. I want her prosecuted, people go to jail for less.

http://www.hulldailymail.co.uk/pub-landlady-Mary-Tracey-stole-64-000-elderly/story-24991348-detail/story.html#Crdyy0paqx8VtFij.01

But the solicitor mainly wants her out of the house and thinks a prosecution might be difficult, it might make her contest the will. So I gave in and said OK, give her a chance to return the money and get out of the house.

Duncan sent her a letter:

Dear Christine

I am writing further to your email of 4th December 2014. I have now taken instructions from my fellow executors and each of Samantha and Alex. There are a number of issues that we need to resolve. I hope that we can do so amicably. I am writing to you because I am not sure that you still retain Sheridan Ball as you are Solicitor. Either way, I would respectfully suggest that once you have read and considered the contents of this letter, you do not reply to me immediately but instead you seek legal advice. Whether we correspond after that point or I correspond with your chosen Solicitor, is entirely up to. I would only ask that you deal with the matter with some urgency.

The issues are as follows:

  1. Misappropriation of funds.

Whilst we have been waiting for the grant of probate, I have been investigating the significant reduction in Hugh’s bank account and cash position in the months leading up to his hospitalisation and death. Specifically, I have looked at the following:

  1. In the months leading up to Hugh’s hospitalisation the bank statements show a substantial number of ATM withdrawals, amounting to several thousand pounds. These withdrawals were being made at a time when Hugh did not operate the bank card and when Hugh’s personal expenditure (although not necessarily his outgoings) would have been minimal because of the state of his health. We have no record of what this money was spent on or indeed, whether it was spent. I would therefore be grateful if you would give me a complete account of the cash expenditure from say 1st March 2013 to 31st July 2013.
  2. I have been told that Hugh owned a safe and that he habitually kept cash in the safe amounting to some thousands of pounds. This is borne out by Hugh’s pattern of ATM withdrawals going back a number of years compared to what I believe was his expenditure during that time. This view is supported by eye witness accounts. I would therefore be grateful if you could confirm to me the current amount of cash held in the safe at the house in Market Weighton or elsewhere on behalf of the estate. I would also be grateful if you would give me an account of any money you have taken from that safe or any other safe belonging to Hugh or other storage place, from 1st March 2013 onwards.
  3. On the 8th July 2013, you made a direct bank transfer from Hugh’s account with Nat West to your own account in the sum of ten thousand pounds. When questioned you admitted that you were not authorised to take that sum of money but you had explained that you had taken it for “repairs and emergencies”. Unfortunately, I am not in a position to judge whether Hugh would have given you that money had you asked him and explained to him what you needed it for and had he capacity to agree to give you that money. I know that you did not ask him and did not get his consent to take that money, nor were you implicitly authorised to take that money. I understand that you were in fact estranged (whether temporary or otherwise) from Hugh at that time, so that it seems likely that he would not have given you the money when you took it. Nor am I concerned as to whether you actually used that money for repairs and emergencies. I would therefore, ask that you repay this sum of money forthwith.
  4. On or about the 4th or 5th June 2013 you wrote three cheques on behalf of Hugh, which Hugh had signed: one for £20,000 payable to Alex White, one in the sum of £15,000 payable to Christopher White and one for £20,000 made payable to you. For some reason, which I am unable to ascertain these cheques were post-dated the 7th June 2013. Two weeks later you received, incidentally, a further cheque in the sum of £5,000, which you say Hugh told you was for investment. In each case, Hugh signed those cheques and you wrote out the details, including the recipient. In relation to the cheque payable to yourself for £20,000, after enquiry I have significant reason to believe that Hugh intended that cheque to be made payable to Samantha White. Knowing that to be the case, I believe that you inserted your name onto the cheque instead of Samantha’s, once it had been signed by Hugh.

The executors have debated the appropriate course of action in relation to each of these matters but in particular to the misappropriation of the cheque due to Samantha. At the moment our desire is only to see the return of those funds to the estate but we are in little doubt that you took money that did not belong to you without proper justification. We would, therefore, demand that you repay to the estate the sum of £20,000 forthwith.

  1. The House at Market Weighton

We have also debated as executors your continued occupation of 7 The Orchards, Beverley Road, Market Weighton. Unfortunately, as you are not a beneficiary of Hugh’s estate we do not feel that we can permit you to remain in occupation of the property rent free. I appreciate that you may consider that it was Hugh’s wish that you remain in the property but Hugh did not execute the codicil that you wished him to execute that would have allowed you to stay in the house. This was because Hugh did not have the mental capacity to execute the desired codicil but that is not the only reason. As you know, I spent a lot of time with Hugh considering what would be appropriate provision for you in relation to his estate. Hugh was always clear in his instructions to me (during which time I had no doubt about his mental capacity) that proper provision for you was that you would get the pension, which is substantial, with the balance of his estate (including the house) going into trust for his children and grandchildren.

It seems to me that you therefore have two choices: firstly, to vacate the property as soon as possible or secondly to enter into an assured short-hold tenancy agreement, paying a market rent for a relevant furnished property in Market Weighton. The executors may be prepared to see either happen as there has been some talk about not selling the house and retaining it for investment. The executor’s position is dependant on resolving all matters referred to above. However, once decided the appropriate steps must be taken quickly. If not then we will look to take steps to obtain possession.

  1. Rent

Because you have not been in permitted occupation of the property since Hugh’s death, in theory we are entitled to claim rent from you for the period of your occupation. However, if you vacate (or we agree to an assured short-hold tenancy) reasonably quickly, we will not seek rent from you. Should you refuse to leave the house or take up a tenancy (if offered), and we are obliged to seek possession, it would seem appropriate to seek rent at that time.

  1. Chattels

We understand that the house at Market Weighton contains a large number of chattels belonging to Hugh’s estate. We will need to secure those chattels and come to some arrangement for their removal from the house. Of immediate concern is the need to retrieve a painting of boats in Albufeira, which is a specific bequest under Hugh’s will and I would like to arrange for someone to collect that painting as soon as possible.

I appreciate that you may consider the contents of this letter to be harsh but we have duties to discharge as executors and we must discharge those duties fully and properly. I should therefore repeat my advice to you to obtain legal advice as soon as possible and thereafter revert to me without delay. I do not intend to take any action before the end of the year, which will hopefully give you sufficient time to take advice and get your arrangements in order.

I look forward to hearing from you.

——————————————————————————————————————–

She didnt take legal advice, she immediatley relied with a email rant about how dreadful I am, that I am a liar and that I have a long running hatred of her and will do anything to discredit her. She was right about a couple of things. But what she didnt know is that in investigating the cheques, the trustees had asked my eldest nephew, Chris, what he knew about it. Chris confirmed that Dad had told him he was giving to both daughter and himself. The solicitors have helped run Dads accounts for years and know it was his habit if he gave to one daughter he always gave to the other equally.  They have copies of the cheques and it can clearly be seen that Dad signed them and she made out the rest.

Its my complete frustration and anger at the whole thing that has made me write this blog, its therapeutic to do it. And she shouldn’t get away with it.

Dads ex-wife is still in touch with the woman who does the cleaning (Christine doesnt do cleaning) at Dads house and has done for years, even when she was married to Dad. Pam the cleaner told Anne that within two weeks of Dad dying Christine was on dating websites looking for her next victim, and within two months had found someone and he was a regular visitor to Dads house.

Me? I would like to see her in court, I would be happy for her to go to jail for what she has done. Its not just about the money, its the way she treated him for years, he was frightened of her, she bullied him. But they dont send you to jail for bullying people, they send you to jail for being a thieving bitch though, so we have to concentrate on the money.

Her house in Spain has been on the market for about three years, the property market in Spain has collapsed, and being greedy, she wont lower the asking price, so it hasnt sold. She wants to make herself homeless to try and make her claim on our house stronger. There is another reason though, the ex-pat community in Denia now know what she is and she is unlikely to be able to pull this stunt off again. Men out there wont touch her, so she needs to sell up and go somewhere else.

It seems from the solicitors letter that she needs to pay up and move out this month or they will begin proceedings in the new year. It cant come soon enough for me.

Christine the Hungry Ghost 2

Vampira and Dad 001

By January 2013 Dad was getting very frail. The Parkinsons was getting worse, his walking was unsteady, his memory was bad. He was very vulnerable. He still hadnt married Christine. He had made his will and settled his affairs. he often talked about going to Dignitas, he was so unhappy. His hearing was going, he could no longer read. Christine had bought him a new phone but hadnt programmed his phone numbers in, he couldnt do it himself. So except the landline – and that number had changed when they moved and not all his friends had the number, he was totally isolated.

She started whining that she couldnt cope, she wanted to put him in a home so she could go to Spain and have a holiday. Dad really DID NOT want to go into a home, even for a day. However, Christine and my sister put him into a home for two weeks in March. It was miles away so I couldnt visit very often due to the cost. So I found a campsite nearby and took my caravan up so I could visit him every day for the first week. As homes go, it was very nice. But all the doors are locked and he hated it, he endured it. He was angry and humiliated. He said the deal was he had named her as his spouse on his pension, which meant she would get 50% of his pension for the rest of her life – thats over 30K a year. But in return, Dad expected to be cared for and die at home.

A woman I knew quite well. Claire, was a qualified carer and had nursed her husband as he died of cancer. She was out of work, I gave her number to Christine. Claire started going in for 8 hours a day to help out and look after Dad.

June 9th, Dads birthday came. Christine did a very unusual thing, she invited my sister and I to visit him on his birthday. This had never happened before. He had a deep gash on his arm. When he had broken his arm they had put a pin in it, it had been taken out a few months before and wasnt healing. I asked how it was, Christine said it was fine and lifted the dressing off, it was edged with pale green pus, clearly infected. It didnt look fine to me. It looked neglected.

As usual she was expensively clothed, professionally done hair and nails. Dad was in cheap ill fitting clothes. Later Claire told me that she had fine Egyptian cotton sheets on her bed while Dad had cheap bedding. he was given ready meals heated in the microwave each night, and the same meagre salad lunch everyday. No bacon sandwiches allowed! Bacon sandwiches were his favourite. When ever I took him out it was the first thing he wanted to get.

In early July I got a phone call from Dad, he was in a third rate care home in a local village and was really unhappy, she had put him there against his will, booked him in for three weeks and was intending to head off to Spain.

My sister and I contacted his legal team and a meeting was held the next day in the care home. Christine, Claire the carer, my sister and I and his legal representative Geraldine, and John all attended. Geraldine told Christine that as Dad still had capacity albeit limited, that she couldnt put him in a home against his will. It was decided that as he had an appointment at the Spire hospital the next day that he would stay there one more night and see what the hospital said. The private hospital sent him straight to the large local NHS hospital Castle Hill. He had a raging untreated urinary tract infection and it was killing him.

Claire the carer told me that she had told Christine he had a UTI two weeks ago as he had blood in his urine and Claire, as an experienced carer knew what this meant. Christine had not called a doctor.

So, this means she dumped him in a third rate care home with an untreated raging UTI that was killing him. She booked him in for 3 weeks. He would have been dead by then. That is what she wanted to happen.

But it didnt quite go that way…..

The head nurse who admitted Dad was concerned about the neglected state he was in, underweight, untreated UTI, infected wound. i had already called Adult Protection AGAIN. The nurse said if I hadnt already done it, he would have.

For 48 hours Dad was too ill to really make any sense. He was on intravenous antibiotics to fight the infections. This started to take effect and by the third day he was more lucid. He started to say he didnt want to see Christine, he didnt want her to visit him. The nurses agreed he shouldnt have to see her, so she was banned.Dad had comeinto hospital with very few things, but Christine took everything when she left. Gill and I had to buy him pyjamas, shaving kit, dressing gown etc. Social Services came and spoke to him, they also got the Fraud Squad involved as he was very worried that Christine was stealing from him. She was.

He wanted to speak to his bank manager. He couldnt really use a phone, he couldnt remember his bank managers name. I helped find it out and left a message for her to contact me. I also rang and reported his bank card as missing, a stop was put on it immediately.

He was getting better from the infections, but was still really ill so the hospital were doing other tests. Christine rang the hospital and said no test results were to be given to me or my sister unless she was there. This delayed things somewhat as she was banned from the ward. We got that overturned and the same day his bank manager, Belinda came to see him we had the results that morning. Dad had leukaemia.

Around this time I was visiting Dad every day and so was his ex-girlfriend Gill. We were also paying for his carer, Claire to visit and help with meals. We had a rota between us so he had lots of company and help with every mealtime. Claire started to tell us what had been going on at home, it wasnt easy to hear. She told me that Christine had summoned Dads legal representative, Geraldine in March to witness the signing of a document she had prepared stating that Dad gave permission for her to live in his house rent free for the rest of her life. Geraldine refused as for many years Dad had said the opposite. She insisted that he would have to be deemed by a specialist neurologist as mentally competent before she would witness such a document.

Christine took Dad to see his neurologist Mr Min, he agreed Dad had capacity to make small decisions, such as what to wear or eat, but not big decisions that impacted on his existing Will. Nice try Christine. Christine was so angry that Geraldine had refused she became aggressive and verbally abusive to her, and according to Claire, Dads life at home became really horrible. The one escape he had was the TV, but he was so deaf by this time he needed earphones. She wouldnt let him have his earphones. She made him wear clothes that were too tight and hurt him. She danced around the sitting room waving his debit card saying “I’m off to spend your money” and came home three hours later laden with Jaeger and other top end clothing bags.

Belinda from the bank brought three months of bank statements. Dad was frightened because he hadnt seen a bank statement for months. Christine was hiding them from him, using his debit card and doing online banking using his passwords by now. She brought three copies and gave them to Dad. We hadnt got power of attorney, so she couldnt give them to us. Dad then gave them to us. In three months his bank account had gone from over 65K to 2K. In those months he had not been well enough to do his own banking, walk, or leave the house alone.

Dad had told John earlier in the year that he was going to be giving me, my sister Alex and his eldest grandson, Chris a large cheque. I had never had mine, so thought he had intended to do it but had not got around to it. Looking at the bank statement told a different story however. Alex had had a cheque for 20K, Chris had had one for 15K and a third cheque for 20K had gone into an un-named bank account. A further 10K and 5K had been internet banked into Ms C Haworths bank account – Christines. several times a week in this period the debit card had been used to withdraw the maximum – £300 a day, in cash.

Altogether Christine had stolen tens of thousands of pounds.

I gave this evidence to the police. They wanted to interview Dad, get a statement, but his was too ill to really make sense. They dropped the case. I was devastated. They had interviewed Christine under caution, she can be very plausible. She told them Dad had given her permission to take the money. Dad was too sick to say otherwise on the day they came to see him. Other days he was better, it was bad timing.

Social Services also found her convincing, any neglect and cruelty was put down to “carer stress” – despite she had paid help 8 hours every day.

Once Dad had been diagnosed with leukaemia they started him on chemotherapy. He had two lots and it didnt really work, so they gave me 24 hours to find him somewhere to go, they were discharging him.

He couldnt go home as Christine would not get out of the house and he was still refusing to see her, my sister wouldnt have him, and I couldnt have him because i live in a first floor flat. I hadnt got any money but tried to get my sister to agree to help me rent a house where we could take him and look after him. She refused. There are thousands of nursing homes, I didnt know how i could choose, but I wanted one nearby and it had to be kept secret from Christine. She had been removed from the hospital by security three times. She was spotted on security cameras trying to sneak in. The first time she got in, a nurse discovered her badgering Dad about letting her stay in the house. After that security had been tightened.

I decided to ask Sister Catherine of the Endsleigh Mercy Centre as she had a lot of local knowledge. She recommended Holy Name nursing home. Claire. Gill and I went to have a look and it appeared to be very good. Unable to walk Dad was taken by ambulance to the new home. I was exhausted but for the first week I went ever day.

IMG_0297

Half the time he couldnt even remember that I had been the day before, the investigation was ongoing. I decided to take my caravan up to the field 50 miles away and have a little break.

Soon after I got back I got the news that the police and Social Services had dropped it, and that Christine had been told where he was staying. She then removed him to a nursing home 35 miles away from me. Only my sister would tell me where he was.

John and I had intended to get married in January, the venue was booked, the dress was delivered. But Dad had been so distressed and his phone calls so depressing we had called it off. The license was going to run out so we decided to go ahead and get married very quietly. We got married on September 25th. I went to see Dad the day before and told him, he seemed happy. I read him a letter from his good friend Piers that Piers had sent to my address. I told Dad I would see him in a week, that we were going for a little honeymoon to my caravan in the field.

campin 2013 030

We had a lovely week with the cats in that field. And the day we got back the nursing home rang to say Dad had died.

Christine the Hungry Ghost 1

Vampira and Dad 001

This blog is about Christine, and about my father. Its about betrayal, fear, dependency, trust.

Christine first got her claws (see picture) into my Dad when my Dad had retired and was spending quite a lot of time alone in his villa in Spain in around 1998. her husband had had enough of her and she was looking for a lonely, rich old man. She found Dad. His friends warned him she was a gold-digger, but he was lonely and she gave him what he needed, a glamourous woman on his arm, in his bed and in his kitchen.

He had a beautiful old cottage here in the UK and a lovely villa with a pool in Spain, and a pension of over 60K a year! Dad had been married twice before and swore he would never marry again. Christine did everything she could to get him to marry her, but he flatly refused. He didnt want her to move in with him, so she made herself homeless so he had no choice.

She had a shabby little house in Spain and she sold it and bought a ruin in Denia. A traditional town house but it only had four walls and a broken roof. No one could live there, so while it was being restored – she moved in with Dad. She tried very hard to get Dad to pay for renovations, but he didnt want to. In the end he paid for everything, including paying off her mortgage, air conditioning and heating to be put in, he sold his place and moved in with her. he did this to prevent her claiming his property when he died. He had made a will and set up a trust for his two daughters (my sister Alex and myself) and three grandchildren. He had his solicitors draw it all up. he didnt want to leave anything to Christine in his will, he specifically had a paragraph in the will stating that she should get nothing.

Christines long term plan was to get her hands on his money, lets not beat about the bush. But how could she do it when he had everything tied up? She had to isolate him first from his friends and family, so she set about doing just that.

I used to have keys to Dads cottage in Hotham, East Yorkshire. Dad liked me to go and stay there for little breaks and I did, for years use it as my second home. Christine wasnt happy with this arrangement so she began to accuse me of stealing from the house. The first thing was those cheap bistro wine glasses that you can buy off any market for 50p. Then she said I had stolen a wok, then a casserole dish. All things from the kitchen, Dad didnt cook, so wouldnt know what was in there anyway. Eventually she browbeat him into making me give the keys back, from then on I wasnt able to have little breaks in my fathers house.

It did come in useful once by NOT having keys. Dad rang me one day and asked me if I had been in the house and opened his bank statement. I said no I hadnt, and reminded him that I no longer had keys to his house. I advised him to look closer to home for the culprit. This was in about 2008.

For many years Dad produced an annual document about the state of his finances, he would give a copy to me and one to my sister. The document stated how much money or shares he had, in which account or with which company etc. Christine got him to stop doing this in 2009, and demanded that all previous copies we had we had to return. From then on we didnt get any more information except what he told us.

Later she banned me from the house completely. She had become panicky that Dad had started to ask me to help him with his paperwork. One day he had asked me to come and help him with a phone issue, he had changed provider and was a bit confused as to what plan he was on. So I got all the relevent paperwork out to see what I could discover for him. Christine was out shopping when I arrived. When she got back and found me in the office she was not at all happy. She emailed me calling me a theif, a scrounger and all sorts of horrible names and informed me that I was no longer welcome in “her house”.

Dad had owned the cottage for about 30 years, he had been mortgage free long before he met her. He was leaving the cottage to my sister and I, but Christine wanted to try and get the house for herself (it was worth over 200K).

As Dad was getting more and more distressed because of forgetting things he became more difficult to care for. her solution? Valium. She fed him Valium (easily available from Spanish doctors) daily and sleeping pills at night. Being banned from the house by this time, the only way i could see Dad was to go and pick him up and take him out for a few hours. it was during these times that he told me about the Valium. He also told me that she “begged him for money” – literally begged him, on her knees with her arms around his legs so he couldnt walk away. He hated it. He had tried to leave her and re-unite with his ex-wife in about 2008  I think. Christine had simply refused to move out, complained of being ill (a hernia) and that one of her silicone tits was wrong, it had gone hard or something. Dad crumbled under all this. His ex-wife got heartily sick of it and called it all off.

The real state of things came to light in 2009 when Dad fell in Spain and hurt his arm. Despite this they caught their flights back to the UK as planned. An X-ray revealed that Dad had broken his left arm very badly, Dad was left handed, so this was the worst arm to break. What did Christine do? She immediately flew back to Spain to “pick up some more clothes” leaving Dad stranded in a cottage, not able to drive, there are no shops in the village and no bus service! She was gone for two weeks. John and I went a few times and John showered him, I shaved him and cooked. We stayed over a few times. But with John working full time in town and having three cats we couldnt just move in to look after him. I live in a flat above a shop, with lots of stairs, and no spare room or Dad could have come here. In the end he went to stay with his sister until Christine returned. After that my aunty never welcomed Christine to her house again.

Her strategy of isolating him from his family was going apace.

One of the very first things I noticed that alarmed me was that very early on Christine insisted they have separate bedrooms and SHE occuied the master bedroom, Dad was relegated to the spare room!

The end game began in 2011 when Dad was diagnosed with Parkinsons. By this time hardly anyone visited the house as Christine was so rude and unwelcoming when anyone did visit, that they were reluctant to every repeat it. Christine commenced a renovation of the property as she had decided it was to be sold and a bungalow purchased in a nearby market town. As my husband John and his business partner restore properties (mostly for landlords) Dad wanted them to do a lot of the work. So around this time John and Paul were often at the house. It was around this time that Dad was ringing me almost every day and sometimes several times a day, very distressed, very unhappy. He by this time no longer drove but could still use a telephone and email. He used to ring me when she was out shopping. he was suicidal at times. Once I was so concerned I got John and Paul to go and visit to see if he was alright. During this meeting Christine admitted she used to give him Valium “but I’ve stopped doing that now”.

Sometime before this I had called Adult Protection (Social Services) as i was so concerned. Soemone started going in, and a man took Dad out once a week so Christine could have “respite”. I had also been in touch with his GP trying to raise the alarm. I was desperately miserable, I didnt know what I could do. I told him time and again to throw her out, but he wouldnt, couldnt. He asked me if I would go and live there to look after him, I said I would, we would, John and I would. But then he said i could only take one cat. i have three cats, how would I choose? And what would I do with the other two? It was impossible.

I would bounce between feeling despairing and miserable with concern for him, and pity, and anger that he was allowing it and had had opportunities to get rid of her and hadnt seen it through. When I was in the angry states I wouldnt see him and I would try and avoid speaking to him in case I said something i would regret. Most of the time I was frantic and trying to think what i could actually do to help. Its a very frustrating situation to endure. When I did see him all he would do is moan about her, say he doesnt love her, say he is afraid of her, he told me she bullies him. He was looking more and more henpecked.

He was very worried about money, she was spending a lot (of his money) on the house, on herself. He wasnt worried that she would get her hands on his main investments as they were protected. But he worried a lot about his off-shore bank account where he had over 60K stashed. He told me that the bank only did things if he himself spoke to them, it had a password, he knew that Christine had discovered the password. So he told the bank to only act if it was his voice that said the password.

In November 2012 the house had sold and they were moving into the bungalow. Dad was miserable, he loved his cottage, he didnt want to move. John helped with the move. I took Dad out for lunch and a drive around so he wouldnt be “in the way” while they got some order into the place. She had sold all Dads lovely antiques at the local auction and bought the reproduction furniture that was in the house.

Dads health declined sharply after the move. Not in his familiar surroundings disorientated him. She was very much Mistress of this house.

Boxing Day of 2012 was the last time Dad ever came to my flat. John collected him and brought him here, my mother also came. Dad fell asleep by the fire. Later John took him home. It was lovely, I made a trifle and Dad eat absolutely loads of it!

Other things changed once Dad became ill. Previously I had been banned from the house and having contact with Dad had been made very difficult. He sometimes dared not see me, he said it wasnt worth the hassle he would then get when he got home. After his diagnosis I was still not welcome in the house, but taking him out for a few hours was actively encouraged. I started taking him out once a week. It was so terrible as he was so depressed, anxious and miserable, and frankly, frightened that if I was feeling down I had to keep away.

I took him out many times but after each time I was exhausted, it was draining. I did it as much as I could. By this time I had a caravan and would spend most of the summer away in a field. Dad wanted to come and stay in the caravan, so I bought a three berth van so we could have him come and stay. It never happened, he was too ill by this time.

How it all came to a head as he began to die, and what Christine did in the final chapter is in the next blog.