An Incident in the park

I first met Andrew J Andrews on a 49 bus in Brighton. I love to talk to eccentrics and this man sitting minding his own business oblivious to his mundane surroundings, certainly was!

Just picture him. He was wearing large cobalt blue framed glasses, a baseball cap with a ‘Day of the Dead’ skull patch in the centre, together with sunglasses perched atop! If that was not enough, he wore a pale blue matching jacket and denims with various skull patches and political badges randomly placed all over it plus silver rings that bikers and ‘Hells Angels’ normally wear. Very odd for an obviously gay man in his late 50s. I HAD to speak to this apparition!

I engaged him in conversation about his unique blue framed designer glasses and found he replied, fully enunciating his words, like an actor. Yes, he was but also a psychic investigator. You don’t meet many of those. I had only met one before in the 80s called Manfred in London. Andrew, proffered a leaflet for his official ghost walking tours in Kemp Town. He was training to be a medium with Sascha Cooper who I already knew and had interviewed. A small world indeed! I HAD to add him to my collection of YouTube interviews on my channel so I invited him over for tea and sympathy and he gladly accepted.

A few days later Andrew arrived but we talked so much about his past, present and future projects that there was no time left for an interview. It seemed his landlady insisted he be back for his daily evening meal at 7.00 pm. He slept all morning because he had insomnia and so could only be available mid afternoon. Thus we arranged another session.

The following week we first went for a walk in my communal park. Park Crescent in Brighton used to be the Sussex Cricket club in Georgian times and its 48 Italianate houses had been designed by the architect Amos Wilde, famous for the folly - Brighton Pavilion. The park had also been the public Victoria Gardens but today is private for the residents of the Crescent. Full of bushes, shrubs, and trees, it is very verdant and splendid with birds, birdsong, benches, cats, dogs on the leash with their owners and children happily running around.

Escorted by Neko, my adorable black and white furry feline friend, we strolled around until Andrew suddenly stopped to speak to a bush! He had ‘heard’ a wail and a ‘cry’ for help. He asked ‘it’ some relevant sensitive questions. Who? How? What? I continued on leaving him to commune with his ‘burning bush’. Later back in my flat he explained there was a Victorian or Edwardian spirit “lost” between heaven and earth, resident in the park with no final resting place. He needed Sascha’s help as it was too complicated for him to work alone. But it was not to be.

There was no time left for the interview and once again an excuse to return. In the end, looking more ‘normal’, apart from the blue glasses, I did 14 or was it 16? interviews with him over 2 sessions as he had so much to say. He spoke about his acting and TV career, his depression, his homelessness, the landlady who took him in and treated him like a son, his psychic investigations, his ghost tours and a forthcoming big secret project.

At one point he got up to go my back door for a smoke. When he came back he said that the spirit had called to him from afar to plead for help once more but he did not go down my garden path to communicate with her. He invited me to come on his haunted ghost tour but it involved 2 hours walking at night and drinking in haunted pubs, so I declined.

Then I didn’t hear from him. Silence. No answers to my messages. One day I saw Sascha had put a message up on Facebook to announce that Andrew had died. I later found out from her he had died in his sleep and had been found by his doting landlady as the poor man had no family. What a loss but the best way to go to join the spirits and ghosts he investigated and knew so well.

Written in Alison Goldie’s writing workshop on 23 December 2019 at Cortijo Romero, Orgiva, Spain.