Montezuma’s Revenge

Last night I ate hot spicy food with friends. I can assure you that I have suffered no after effects, and certainly nothing of the nature of Montezuma’s Revenge.

Revenge is an emotive word, charged with anger and irrational energy. Sadly, when marriages breakdown people lose control as the desire for vengeance reigns supreme. Hence wives really do slash their husbands’ clothes; husbands really do post unsavoury offerings through their wives’ letterboxes; both sexes really do make telephone calls to third parties aiming to hurt their other half but succeeding also in involving more people in the hurt and misery they are suffering.

Spare a thought for the poor solicitors in the middle. They do genuinely try to bring a sense of calm to the situation but when their client is a loose cannon their task is often a hopeless one.

Needless to say the aggressor eventually runs out of steam and generally feels quite shamed-faced, whilst the object of the aggression emerges morally victorious despite whatever philandering or dastardly deed brought on the attack in the first place.

Originally published on 26 September 2007

To Russia with Love

There are various ways to conduct ourselves when a marriage breaks down and whilst I did not recommend Stepford two weeks ago, I remain a firm believer in alternative remedies where appropriate. Another that I do not recommend however was highlighted in the media today and should be a dire warning for any man contemplating a move to Russia with his loved one.

In the case reported, the couple, who had divorced 3 years before, had been forced to continue to live together in a small flat resulting in increasing acrimony between them. Presumably in desperation, the former wife took matters into her own hands when her ex-husband gave her an easy opportunity to inflame the situation still further. So whilst he was naked on the sofa, drinking vodka and watching TV, she leaned over and set his penis alight! I have a hunch, although the report was silent on the point, that the vodka may have helped. Needless to say the husband is quoted as telling reporters that “It was monstrously painful, I was burning like a torch.”

Now before anyone reading this gets ideas, can I just stress that here in the UK whilst you can still end up in the unhappy situation of living in the same home after a divorce has been finalised, a court does reserve the power to decide the outcome of a home’s ownership and even in the case of a rented property which of the couple can continue living there. This will take a little time but pending a decision and in the event of abuse or violence (a description that would undoubtedly encompass this woman’s actions), the court can also make an injunctive order excluding the perpetrator from the home.

Originally posted on 23 August 2007

Tongue Twisters

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled pepper. Where’s the peck of pickled pepper Peter Piper picked?
Red lorry; yellow lorry.

Tongue twisters. They are difficult to get our mouths round and even if we do they hardly make any real point at all.
It’s the same with feelings. They can be difficult to express and even after hours of analysing them, they may still fail to make sense.

She sells sea shells on the sea shore; the shells she sells are sea shells I’m sure.

Originally posted on 17 August 2007

Pebbles on the Beach.

“There are always plenty of other fish in the sea.” Do people still really say that in the sincere hope of cheering up a close friend or family member who’s been jilted?

Alternatively: “Don’t worry there are lots of pebbles on the beach.”

Well I made a good, though perhaps not so scientific, investigation when I was on holiday. As a result, I can verify that there were very few fish in the sea (it was after all the Mediterranean). As for the pebbles on the beach, yes there were plenty of those and in a variety of different colours and shapes. You know what though, essentially they were all identical; smooth, hard, and uninteresting; “chips off the same block”.

Originally posted on 9 August 2007

Harry Potter and the Last Goodbye

Like thousands of other holidaymakers this year I took the latest edition of Harry Potter on holiday with me, knowing it was going to be the last holiday we would ever spend together. My relationship with Harry goes back to 1997 and whilst Apprentice Man claims to have long since outgrown stories of witchcraft and wizardry, his mother has not.

On the one hand, therefore, whilst I was excited by the prospect of the final instalment and a last opportunity to satiate myself with Muggles, Dementors and House Elves, I opened the book with a certain trepidation. Half a dozen pages in, I was engrossed, but then two dilemmas arose; firstly amidst all the rumours of characters being killed off would Harry actually survive to the end of the story and secondly did I want to read it quickly or would I prefer a lingering goodbye? Pedantically I noted that at 607 pages and an average reading speed of say 60 seconds per page the whole book was going to take me some 10 hours to complete. I therefore had a choice; I could limit the indulgence to say 45 minutes a day or jump in and get through it as quickly as possible.

The difficulty was that if Harry succumbed to Voldemort in the first half, then our time together and my enjoyment of the whole experience was going to be cut short very quickly, especially if I decided to do nothing else but sit on my sun-lounger and read from morning to night. Indeed an early exit for the hero could spoil the overall ambience of my long awaited summer holiday. I, therefore, succumbed to temptation and did what nobody should ever do with a good book, but I inevitably do; I read the last 5 pages.

If real life were the same and with the benefit of crystal ball gazing, how much different our lives might be. However and even then it wouldn’t solve all issues because I still had to determine whether or not to spend only the beginning of my vacation with Harry Potter or the whole of it. Crystal ball gazing might reveal the outcome but not necessarily the method of getting there.

Frankly I can’t see the point in long goodbyes; they only delay the inevitable. Ten years is a long time for any hero to keep you dangling with his tales of bravado and I decided that if it was all coming to an end then it might as well do so promptly. It took a day and a half to complete matters and that was it, for all time. Of course, there was a tinge of regret that there won’t be any more novels, and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I occasionally looked over my shoulder for a passing Horcrux or Death-Eater. Overall though, I got on with my holiday, indulged in some other pursuits for a few days and finally came back to my bed by the pool to read more books!

Originally posted on 7th August 2007

Staying Together for the Sake of the Children

Teenage boys – who’d have them by choice? I should know by now: arguing with an adolescent only ever leads to raised voices and do you ever win when he always has to have the last word?

Come to think of it, why, in this nanny state of ours, don’t babies come with a health warning stuck to their foreheads? “CAUTION this little bundle of joy will turn into a belligerent teenager!”

It always amazes me, and I suppose demonstrates the full extent of parental love, that I have so many clients who want to argue over their children. Indeed I can’t recall a case where both parties have sought to reject the kids. If Outdoor Man and I ever went down the road to separation however, I speculate that Apprentice Man might just find himself in that novel position.

“Staying together for the sake of the children,” is an oft quoted phrase. Properly interpreted, does it actually mean: staying together for the sake of the parents? Neither parent should be expected to take on the sole day to day care of their children; it’s unfair – they’re extremely hard work.

Moving in Together

The new motor moved in last night. Totally refined, grey, suave and sophisticated. That’s not quite how the sales literature described it but car manufacturers either lack imagination or else don’t write their brochures for middle-aged women.
It arrived complete with a bouquet of flowers on its front seat; this car certainly knows how to treat a girl. It also came with an array of gadgets which I’m sure I’ll be making use of before long.
I confess, and I giggle at the memory, to being locked in a lengthy embrace with its steering wheel immediately we got the opportunity to be alone together.
It has taken up residence in my garage as if it has always belonged there. A little different to what I’ve been used to over the past few years, but we’re working hard at getting our commitment just right. I was a bit peeved that I had to rearrange a few things to accommodate it in a way that suited us both, but we overcame that hurdle with acceptance on my part. After all I was too excited by its arrival to let a few plant pots and garden tools get in the way of the potential for a fulfilling relationship. I just know we’re going to have a long and happy time together.
Please wish us luck.

originally published on 12 July 2007

LETTING GO – Chattels and Other Items

Last week the family and I went for a studio session in a local photographers and today went back to choose the prints we are having made up into pieces for the wall. “Family heirlooms,” the sales pitch describes them as.
It set me thinking. A decade ago, most of my cases would involve an argument over a division of the family photographs; fortunately the age of digital photography has made such disputes passé.
That said, frequently the stumbling block to settlement terms can still be an heirloom of sentimental rather than monetary value. It’s all about letting go and yet locked into a dispute with what seems like nothing else to hold onto, it can be very hard to do.
Once upon a time I remember a client arguing about a teapot passed to her by an elderly aunt of her husband’s. Both claimed ownership but eventually the husband gave in and my client retained it. I met her a few months later in the street and couldn’t help asking after the item. It transpired that she no longer had it.
“I let go,” she explained.
I assumed she meant in the metaphysical sense but then she elaborated: “Slipped straight through my fingers when I was moving it from the dresser,” she said. “Mind, I never did like it. I only wanted it because he did. After all it was only a ‘thing’!”

originally posted on 23 June 2007

Time is a Great Healer

I started this blog back in June 2007 for a variety of reasons, not least as a form of personal therapy. Carrying the weight and trauma of divorce for  a multitude of clients, I sought a diversion through an often tongue in cheek examination of both their and my daily burden.

Retired now for almost 4 years, I am pleased to say that, like my clients before me, I have been through recovery and come out at the other side. Fully rehabilitated by the process of time there is no longer a need to pursue my entries here.

I, therefore, thank all my readers, old and new, and extend to you my very best wishes and thanks for visiting this site which, in light of the ongoing visitor numbers, I propose leaving online. If it can assist you as it has me, then it has been a job worthwhile.