It takes time and energy to be alternative

Vic, the primal scream exponent, came round to rebirth me in a brick pyramid like Mrs Blair

Share
Related Topics

Conmen and wacky friends are not, thank heavens, the exclusive property of the Prime Minister's wife. Sit me next to a conman rather than a lawyer any day and preferably the genius who sold that unwitting American London Bridge instead of Tower Bridge. Now that really was a scam. Getting a discount off a student flat in Bristol isn't in the same league.

As for the flak that is constantly being hurled at Cherie Blair because she goes in for holistic medicine, healing studs, mantras, mediums, re-birthing, pyramid power and organic inner soles, most of my friends have done some if not all of that. So have I and a great deal more in my quest to find the key, the light, the path, the Truth, the ultimate wild rocket salad with mixed leaves, a light basil dressing and white truffle shavings at the end of the universe.

I'm sure I've told you about the psychic healer I went to see in Chelmsford who "operated" on my frozen shoulder with an imaginary scalpel. Afterwards even my least wacky, most sceptical friend Kate, who plays bridge and breaks the speed limit to get her library books back on time, had to admit that she could see a small, neatly stitched scar.

I may not have told you about Vic the primal scream exponent from Streatham who came round to rebirth me not in a brick pyramid in Mexico like Mrs Blair, but on the carpet in the playroom. I remember lying in the foetal position with my eyes tight shut while Vic crouched behind me making loud whooshing noises to represent the amniotic fluid surging round my unborn body. I did scream violently at the moment of rebirth but only because in his final frenzied contraction as earth mother/birth mother Vic pushed me so violently that I fell headfirst into the Fisher-Price space station and one of the lunar modules jabbed into my eye.

I have done one of those back-to-back weekend EST courses from California where tanned team leaders fresh from the Erhard Seminar Training School harangued me and the 250 other questing students about love and joy and choice and life for 15 hours at a stretch until we cried: "Yes, yes. We understand, we've got the message, we'll sign up for another course but please, please can we go to the lavatory?"

I've spent a week at the ashram in Oregon set up by the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh when he left Poona and twirled in the Temple of Meditation alongside lawyers who had just flown in from Washington in private jets. I have meditated in Dumfries, chanted in Ladakh, worn a load of Tantric, Celtic, Egyptian and Chinese charms on every conceivable and inconceivable part of my body. I've had my runes read, my cundilini raised, my chi located.

But hang on, this was years ago before the really serious quest, the practical business of dealing efficiently with children, job, ageing parents, illness, pensions etc took over. Being wacky is a full-time occupation and, if anything, we should admire Mrs Blair, who even with the demands of a high-powered job, ditto husband, baby and endless social commitments still has the time and energy to be alternative.

Apart from the conmen who regularly sell me useless kitchen gadgets (I have half a dozen gizmos to turn radishes into roses) I can remember only two occasions when I've been well and truly conned. The first was a call to say that I'd won a year's free groceries. I said I didn't know I'd entered a competition to win groceries. Maybe my husband had filled in the flier, said the caller, could they deliver them tomorrow? Sure I said and the following night a smooth-talking, sharp-suited operator called Dan arrived and spent five hours sitting at the kitchen table trying to convince me that if I bought one of his company's giant deep freezes and filled it with food from the cash and carry I would save what I normally spend in a year on groceries in no time.

The second was a call around lunchtime from a man who said he was a researcher from the Department of Education polling public opinion about current attitudes to corporal punishment. Did I have five minutes to spare? Sure, I said. Did I believe in corporal punishment? he said. No, I said. Was I ever been beaten at school? he said. Yes, I said. I went to a convent where the nuns regularly beat us. There was a silence and then distinctly heavy breathing. What were you wearing? he whispered huskily. Wow. Two for the price of one – a whacky conman. Bingo.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SEN KS1 Teacher

£21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Qualified and experi...

KS2 Teacher

£21588 - £31552 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Exceptional teacher ...

Year 5/6 Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to be part ...

Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: We are currently recruitin...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Children of a bygone era  

Kids these days aren't what they used to be — they're a lot better. So why the fuss?

Archie Bland
A suited man eyes up the moral calibre of a burlesque troupe  

Be they burlesque dancers or arms dealers, a bank has no business judging the morality of its clients

John Walsh
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star