I was manager of the homeless hostel and the committee thought I ought to go in for councelling training. I was one day a week so it was a break from the mainly drug crazed hostel residents. They also had Catherine counsel me on a weekly basis.
I supposed it helped me to let off steam, so to speak, mainly about the ever so middle class committee members. Catherine invited me to a party where those involved in counselling, teaching or training, would be in attendance.
It was on this occasion in 1994 when I met Penny who was also training to be a counseller. Penny who was in her mid forties was attractive and slim and shorter than me – all the attributes that may be attractive to me.
We got one like a house on fire and discovered we were interested in the same esoteric subjects. That was the hook. We made a date to see each other after that. Penny stayed with me at Springhill in my ‘big’ bed on several occasions but I guess Helen had spoilt me for choice. Although Penny filled the criteria there was something about her physically that didn’t quite turn me on sexually. I won’t go into that now, however.
Nonetheless, the relationship continued for some months and we spent a sporadic amount of time together. We walked on the moors, went to the sea and all those things.
Penny had left her ex-husband Steve in Jersey with her son. Her daughters, Michaela (age about 10) was delightful whilst Tammy (age about 16) was more difficult and a little strange, sort of ‘off the planet’ so to speak.
Penny had bought a house in St Germans in Cornwall and was having a loft conversion in order to provide a bedroom for herself. The house was a mess and I’m sure that the chaos did not help the relationship as Penny was usually stressed about something or other.
I think I spent the night once in the loft conversion. Penny’s brother, Mick, was living in a Mercedes camper van just a few yards away. He was a bit of a fly boy having somehow acquired the camper van for free after defrauding the finance company. Still, I wasn’t dissaproving too much of that as it seemed OK at the time to steal from the rich, and he was a nice enough guy.
I suppose we drifted apart, and the relationship just faded away. There was nothing very strong to keep it going and I don’t think we ever loved each other i.e. we didn’t fall in love, it was other things. We did get back together, regrettably, for the ‘Bad Trip Around Ireland’, some months later in 1995.