Jomtien, 13th December, 2009

Today I have been sober for 105 days.


Today, it’s not so much a question of ‘if’ rather than ‘when’.


The ‘if’ and the ‘when’ are connected to my ‘live-in’, who, I have decided has to go. It was a big mistake, which I now need to correct it before she becomes too entrenched.


I thought I really needed a woman to fill up the empty gaps in my life after I left my wife, but I now realise that in spite of the obvious problems in living alone (no ‘sex on tap’, no one to cook and housekeep), I am definitely better off alone at this point in my life.


She hasn’t even been with me for 2 months, yet we barely talk any more, and the constant daily whine of “no have money’ is driving me round the bend. Trust me, I am always have been and always will be a very generous man with my ladies, and she has been no exception.


Then, to top it all, a few days ago her younger brother arrived from up-country to take up a job. Well, I had no problem with him kipping on the couch for a couple of nights, but 2 nights stretched to three, then four, then five, so finally, yesterday morning, I asked her how long was he proposing to stay here? She replied that she didn’t know.


Didn’t know????!!!!


I lost my cool, (which I hate doing and is very bad for my peace and serenity), and she got the message.


Last night he was gone, thank God, but we are still barely talking, and I know that I have to undertake one very unpleasant conversation and move her out. Maybe today, maybe tomorrow, we’ll see.


So I haven’t been a very happy camper over the past week or so, what with losing my life-long friends, and all this crap with my ‘live-in’.

As one of the senior members of our morning AA group said a few weeks ago: “We alcoholics have incredibly creative ways of turning our lives and relationships into an almighty mess.” Never was a truer word spoken.


Yesterday, I missed the morning meeting, but made the lunchtime meeting at Jomtien, and enjoyed the change in faces and venue. Today I slept in late again, no doubt due to these antihistamine tablets I am still taking, and plan to spend the day quietly at home, and maybe make the evening meeting.


I will not be going to the meeting tonight. I spent about two hours writing the next installment of “The Retirement Years” and something happened on my PC and I have lost the lot, as it wasn’t saved, and after 3 hours of trying to recover it, I have finally given up. I thought my system was full proof as I open a new draft file in Microsoft Word, and save the text as I go along. I even thought that if the system or ‘Word’ crashed it could still be recovered under the ‘auto recovery’ system, but I was wrong. I have lost all the text written since the first save.


I am now playing around with the auto recovery system to see why it doesn’t work, as all the options seem to have been set correctly, so I may or may not get back to blogging today. It is very upsetting when you lose a whole bunch of text and I very much doubt that I can reproduce anything than even vaguely resembles the the original ‘lost’ document.


MOBI’S STORY – (PART 22)



THE RETIREMENT YEARS (CONTINUED)


(This is the second time that I have had a go at writing this particular installment!! – maybe it was meant to be…)


The ‘big bang’ holiday across the North American continent did little to reassure me that I was embarking upon a happier stage of my life, and once I wasb back at our Essex home, cold reality set in,  and I realised  that I was in for a difficult and unhappy time.


The only brief periods of ‘light’ in an otherwise increasingly depressing and bleak existence, were my early morning, daily jogs across the Essex countryside, and my regular visits to the golf driving range, and even the odd venture onto a real golf course.


After a while, I re-established contact with an ex work colleague, who was also retired, lived in the same area, and was almost as bad a golfer as poor old Mobi. We fell into a routine of meeting once a week for a round at a local ‘par 3’ golf course, followed by lunch at a nearby country pub.


And of course there was my creative writing, which continued fitfully, despite my wife’s constant interference.


During that early period of my retirement, we owned and maintained two residences. Our main residence remained in Essex, and our new property in East Northamptonshire was used at weekends and on other convenient occasions. The two properties were around 100 miles apart, but thanks to the M11 motorway, and the A14 which ran through Cambridgeshire to Northants, the journey was not too arduous.


We kept the two places going for almost 2 years, mainly because I could not move my daughter from her grammar school in Essex until she had completed her GCSE examinations which she would take in the early summer of 2002. And of course we had to sell the Essex house at the best possible price. But I didn’t really want to go to the expense of furnishing two houses, and if I did, what would I do with the excess furniture, once we disposed of the Essex house?


Luckily, my older ex boss, who had been retired for some years, came to my rescue. He was in the process of ‘downsizing’ his home, from a large four bedroom executive house to a  luxury apartment, and none of his existing furniture would fit into his new home so he let me choose what I needed from his house at ‘knock down’ prices. Thus we were able to make our new home quite habitable, at little cost. But we had ambitious plans (or at least my wife did) for our new retirement ‘nest’ and we spent many months traipsing back and forth between the two houses, arranging painting, decorating, modifications, and building a large extension at the rear of the house from where we had full view of the back garden and the fields and woods beyond.


So although not relishing my new way of life as I was firmly under the thumb of my ‘control freak’ of a wife for much of the time, I was kept quite busy, what with my ‘personal’ activities together with the domestic obligations to help the wife with the shopping and daily chores. Then there were the constant trips up to our new place for a few days at a time to meet with builders, carpenters and decorators, and also to start working in the overgrown gardens, which had become a veritable jungle.


Occasionally, I actually got to make the journey alone, as my wife had commitments back in Essex, and those times were particularly enjoyable, despite all the tasks I had been instructed to carry out by ‘er who must be obeyed’. It was during this time that I became very friendly with two of my next door neighbours, Joe, and his wife Doris, who in time became extremely close friends, and remain so today. They are both are now in their early eighties and still are active and mentally alert, and I don’t know how I could have managed without their kindness and support through some very difficult times that I experienced during my few years as their neighbor.


What about my drinking during this period? To be honest, I don’t have many memories of major drunken episodes, although for sure I was still drinking on a daily basis. It is possible that my drinking during this period was more in the ‘medium to heavy’ drinker’s category, rather than the ‘hopeless alcoholic’ category. I had been drinking for many, many years – seriously since about twenty one years of age, so well over thirty years. No matter how much I drank I was usually able to ‘maintain’ –  behave in a reasonable manner and do what needed to be done, as I had proved through most of my working years. Though there were a few notable exceptions, (such as the time I came home from work so drunk, that I passed out in the downstairs toilet fully clothed and slept on the floor, much to the disgust and rage of my wife), for the most part I was able to function almost normally. My tolerance for alcohol was very high.


Once retired, I continued to drink, and whenever we had a few friends or family around for a barbeque or a dinner I would certainly seize the occasion to get right royally drunk, and of course my solo trips to the new house invariably resulted in some very drunken sessions, both at the local village pub, and also by courtesy of Joe and Doris, my new neighbors, who although they were a long way from being alcoholics, enjoyed an occasional tipple with great gusto, especially Joe.


In retrospect, it is strange that my wife wasn’t more insistent that I keep my drinking under control. Of course I would get the constant nagging, and sometimes, when we would share a glass of wine together from a newly opened bottle, she would be horrified when she discovered an hour or so later that I had finished off the bottle alone – on top of a few beers and maybe a few ‘shorts’. Maybe her Thai upbringing had conditioned her to accept a certain level of drunkenness on the part of the men in her life, and also maybe the fact that I rarely let my drinking interfere with my ‘chores and duties’ meant that she didn’t have to concern herself about it too much.


We were spending more and more time at our new place, including the Christmas of 2000. The family duly came for dinner  on Christmas day and on Boxing Day I had some visitors from very far afield.

Quite how it happened I will never know, but during this period, Bob (from Australia, of whom I have written much about) was at that time working in London, and Dave, (yes, alcoholic Dave), was actually staying in England at his brother’s house near Birmingham.


Dave was in the early stages of recovery from a recent bout of liver failure and surgery in Bangkok, and his brother had insisted that he fly back to the UK for Christmas. He was still quite weak, but Bob drove up from London, picked up Dave from Birmingham, and together with another English friend, (who had lived in Bangkok for many years, but who was in the UK to spend Christmas with his family) the three of them descended on Mobi at his new home on Boxing Day 2000.


It was a strange time, that Boxing day. The first time the four of us had been  together for a great many years, One from Australia, two living in Thailand, and me living in a quiet little corner of rural England, all meeting up by more or less coincidence, for it wasn’t until a few days earlier that we had realised that we were all in England, and so set up this festive ‘get together’. Happy times, sad times (for Dave was so emaciated and weak that we feared he would last more than a few months), and, it goes without saying…. very drunken times. Even Noi seemed to be on her best behaviour.


2001 was spent alternating between the two houses, slowly getting things done in the new house to prepare us for a life of ‘eternal marital bliss’, and back to the old house to prepare it for sale.


I was clearly starting to feel the marital ‘heat’. In October, 2001 I put pen to paper about ‘my problem’ for the first time since The summer of 2000 when we were travelling across America:


“15/10/01

“It is now over a year since I last wrote about my problem.

“There have been good times, not so good times, and some very bad times. There have been days, even weeks when I have been quite happy.  But there have also been some terrible depressing days when I’m not sure how much longer I can take it.

“I have been quite busy, and that has helped. There has been my writing, which has gone quite well, and the jumping around from old house to new and also  to our house in Thailand.

“At the end of the day I don’t think she has any idea how unhappy she makes me most of the time. However hard I try, she will always find some reason to have a go at me, almost every day of my life, sometimes, several times in one day. Most of the time I say nothing, except for  the odd mumble under my breath. Occasionally I answer her back in a relatively mild fashion – which only makes matters worse. Once or twice I have completely ‘lost It’ with her. The last time this happened was a couple of months ago and I don’t think she talked to me properly for several weeks following that incident.  I’m still not sure that our relationship is back to where it was before my blow up.

“There have been so many incidences – every day almost – each one in themselves so trivial, but when I have to endure her intolerable behaviour, day in day out, it cannot remain trivial.  I have resolved that from now on I will keep a daily, or maybe a frequent diary of the ‘incidents’, so that I can review over a period of time and see just how trivial or otherwise these incidents really are.

“I will start with last night. She was getting ready to retire, and suddenly decided to tidy the lounge in her usual moody manner before bed. She then sat down at our shared desk and had a go at me because my computer was there and she had “no room to do anything”. Fairly trivial – except that it must have been the hundredth time she has moaned at me about my computer. It’s been there for over a year and I spend several hours on most days working on it – writing and using the internet etc. She only has very occasional use of the desk to do her monthly bank recording, and the odd miscellaneous need. I have told her that I can move it any time she wishes to use the desk, or she can just write on top of it. (It is a flat lap top). If she really had a problem I could set it up elsewhere – but she just wanted to have a go at me – and mumbled about ‘buying my own desk!’ Trivial but it just gets under my skin. When is it ever going to stop?

“Today there were 2 incidents. I woke up with a resolve to put everything behind me and have yet another fresh attempt at sorting out our relationship. The morning started well and I played with her and kissed her many times in a way I had not done for months. After breakfast, I sat down at my computer to do some writing, but she wanted me to go shopping with her. Keeping my good mood I told her that I would love to go shopping and we were almost out of the door when she snarled at me because I left an empty cereal wrapping on the kitchen work top. Now, I was the last one to eat breakfast, and in my customary manner I cleared up everything and left the kitchen spic and span. For some odd reason, I left a small wrapper on the work top that I had intended to dump in the outside bin.  A pretty minor sin one would think, but the way she had a go at me and told me sarcastically where the rubbish bin was, left a nasty taste in my mouth and destroyed my new found resolution.

“Tonight, she asked me where her battery charger was as she needed to charge her phone. I told her I thought it was in the drawer in the bedroom. She couldn’t find it, and had a’ mega go’ at me, slamming all the cupboards in the kitchen and telling me that she instructed me this morning to “watch when her phone had gone flat” and charge it up for her. Well it hadn’t gone flat until late this evening, so I couldn’t have done it anyway. She was really mad at me – this is the person who is always tucking things away and not remembering where she had put them. (She recently ‘made’ two perfectly good mobile phones, with their chargers, disappear permanently!) I went out to the garage and searched everywhere, as I thought I might have put them there by mistake. Remember this is 10 o’ clock at night – and she’s not in any way desperate for her phone – she hardly ever uses it. We have two landlines in the house. In desperation I checked the drawer in the bedroom – it was there all the time! I told her – she never apologised. SHE HAS NEVER, EVER APOLOGISED FOR ANYTHING!”


Then an undated note that must have been written a few weeks later:


“She’s been at our new house by herself  for 2 nights. She came back a couple of hours ago – I was so nervous about her return – yet I don’t know why. I’m just so scared all the time that she will find something I’ve done wrong, or something not cleaned properly, or something not tidy etc and have a go at me. It’s ridiculous really but I can’t help how I feel. I’m nervous nearly all the time she’s around – I guess that’s why I’m always chewing my knuckles and fingers.

“Anyway, she starts talking about the bathroom that was being tiled in the new house. We had bought a new bath with a shower attachment, so that it would double up as a shower. We have an en suite bathroom with a proper shower cubicle in our bedroom , but I wanted to have a shower in the ‘family’ bathroom, so that Samantha and anyone who stays with can have a shower without having to go through our bedroom. Of course they can still do that as it’s a better shower, but they can also have the alternative – (and for anyone else who may be visiting overnight and we don’t want walking through our bedroom!). She told me that she didn’t want to attach the showerhead to the wall, and didn’t want to have a shower rail or shower curtain, as it would spoil her beautiful bathroom. She said people could sit down in the bath and shower sitting down. I tried not to over react. I thought we had already agreed that another proper shower in the house would be a good idea – but thinking back on it – it was my idea – and in the end anything that I think of will be no good – if she hasn’t thought of it then it’s no good. I suppose I should have known better. It was all a bit petty, so after a few minutes I swallowed my irritation, I agreed with her plans.

“Well, although I had conceded, (yet again), she still had a go at me anyway, and said that if I didn’t want to have a beautiful bathroom, then she would change all the building plans for the rest of our house modifications, as we could save a lot of money and we could have a functional house rather than a beautiful house. I knew she was just leading me on as she would never give up her real plans for the house, but nothing less than my total capitulation would satisfy her – i.e. not only must I agree to her plans for the bathroom, but I must sound as though I meant it!  It was all completely ridiculous and I told her so – but as usual, I got nowhere.

“She reminded me about a previous argument a couple of weeks ago when she tried to persuade me that we didn’t need a large table in the kitchen (after we had always agreed to have one), claiming that it would get in the way and spoil the look of her beautiful kitchen. I told her (at the time) that I didn’t want a beautiful kitchen – just a comfortable family home, and I thought that a nice big table in the kitchen (which is already there) was great for all of us to sit at and eat and chat etc.

“It was all too much, so I tried to put more feeling into my agreement, and she finally let the matter drop.

“I can see endless problems ahead with this new house. She wants a show house to retire to – I want a comfy home. It’s not going to work – is it?”


Then, at around Midnight, on Boxing day, 2001, I wrote:


“26/12/01

“Its nearly midnight on Boxing Day. Hasn’t been a great Christmas – but there again I didn’t expect it to be. Usual moody behaviour – no one able to let their hair down for long – for fear she will get mad at something. Had one minor spat when I mumbled something under my breath and she heard me – so I told her what I had been mumbling. I shouldn’t mumble and what I said was petty, even though I was probably right. But as I told her – at least when I am wrong I admit it and apologise – which I have done on countless occasions – but I have yet to hear  an apology cross her lips.   Apart from that she has had long moody spells which have kept everyone on edge. The usual crap about having to do all the cooking – I offered to cook breakfast for us – but predictably, she refused saying I would make too much mess, which is the same line she was using 20 years ago! She just enjoys bitching and spreading this bloody moral blackmail around. If she doesn’t want to cook then don’t! Nobody would give a toss – we’d make out – we always do when she goes away.

“The ‘biggy’ came this morning – Boxing Day. In order to keep the peace over Xmas I have been doing my best to help out with helping her do the cooking and trying to be as helpful generally with all the housework etc. Every day I have made early morning tea etc and fed the cat. Today, when she finally got up, she went to the sink and shrieked that I was so disgusting! What on earth had I done? She was looking at the sink which contained one used tea bag and a few tiny  bits of cat meat which I had washed off the cat spoon I had used for the early feed. I had intended cleaning it up but she beat me to it. It was all perfectly normal. She is always leaving slops of all kinds in the sink – including tea bags and cat food from dishes – but I guess she had to have a go at me for some reason. Well I wasn’t having it and told her she was crazy and she was making a fuss over nothing and that my ‘crime’ was no more than she did all the time. I was pretty angry but I didn’t go over the top. She argued a bit but then shut up. Probably because my eldest daughter and her boyfriend were staying with us and she didn’t want a big scene in front of them. Anyway it all more or less settled down, but I think we’re both on edge and not very happy.

Such I pity because I was in really good mood first thing today and hoped we could all be so happy together for a few hours at Xmas. But she had to ruin it all as usual.”


In the late spring/early summer of 2002, the Essex house was finally sold, and we made the big move. We had so much stuff that it took two large removal trucks to move it all. I had spent the preceding weeks packing stuff from early morning to late night, and having fights with my wife over what should be kept and what should be dumped. Amongst all her other attributes, she was a tight fisted hoarder, and would never throw anything away, even though it would never be used again. Much of it would be simply moved from the loft in our Essex house to the loft in our new home.


But unpacking is worse than packing, and not only was I the chief ‘unpacker’, but I was also responsible for doing heavy laboring work in the gardens. And in the middle of all this we had booked a month’s holiday in our house in Thailand, so it became a very mad scramble to get the house sufficiently sorted before we set off. Inevitably it wasn’t all done by the time it came for us to leave, and I will never forget the temper tantrums and recriminations she leveled at me, for of course it was all my fault.


I had a terrible holiday, was dragged all over the place ‘shopping for our new home’ and rarely had a day of peace. Upon our return to our unfinished home, it was all starting to catch up on me and I felt very tired and quite ill. My blood sugars were very high and my blood pressure was through the roof. But Noi didn’t give a hoot. She was still living on ‘Thai time’, and rose at the crack of dawn every morning and insisted that I too get up and help her get the house sorted.


It was a very depressing and trying period, and there were many days when I felt truly at the end of my tether, and even suicidal. But I had to maintain my composure because of my daughter, who had just started at her new school.


In October, 2002, I wrote the following:


“04/10/02


“I don’t know why I keep resolving to keep a more regular record, but in the end I  never do, and leave it for months and months. I was just looking at the last time I wrote, and it was way back at Christmas – so long ago – so much had happened! We moved into our new house permanently in July, went to Thailand for a month, came back to a nightmare of unpacked boxes and we are still settling in, but we are more or less sorted now.

“I suppose the reason I am  failing to keep a regular record is that I keep hoping that we can finally find a way to live happily together and resolve all these conflicts that exist between us. I guess I know deep down that I am expecting the impossible, but I really don’t want this marriage to break up. When I read what I have written before, it really scares me and makes me realise how unhappy I have been on so many occasions. Of course in between, things are not too bad, and there are times when I am fairly happy. At the end of the day it is all down to her moods. If she wants to be nice and cheerful and loving, then all is fine with the world – but when she turns on one of her moods – then it is very, very miserable and wretched.

“I really should try to write more often, as the individual incidents are so trivial, and soon forgotten, it’s just the accumulation that is so depressing and difficult to handle. I do so want to keep the family together – especially until Samantha  finishes her A levels, in two years time. After that we’ll just have to see – but it’s looking grimmer and grimmer at the moment.

“Well, what’s happened in the last few months? When we got back from Thailand, I think I went through one of the worst few weeks of my life. Her moods were so terrible, and she would have a go at me all day long as she was unpacking and sorting out. I had terrible jet lag for many days, and felt so ill, but she insisted on getting up at the crack of dawn and waking the whole house. I had so little sleep, and then had to put up with her terrible temper and moods all day long. I tried to stay quiet and do what I was told, hoping that it would all settle down once all the unpacking etc was finished – which it did. I didn’t want to upset Samantha who was under enough stress starting her new school, without having to put up with rows at home.

“So that sort of brings me up to date, although I’m sure much has been forgotten. I’m now going to try once again to record the daily trivialities. I note that on 9th Sept she complained about me doing a bad job with nailing the TV cables to the outside wall. She also told me I was taking my shoes off in the wrong part of the garden decking.

“On 16th Sept, she had ago at me because there was grass on the bottom of the laundry basket, which got there when I brought in the washing from the line on the lawn.  It was a complete accident, but I had to suffer a tirade. On 2nd October she called me to see marks on the exterior decking made by wet shoes. I also had to see some coffee grounds on the floor, which were spilt when I made my coffee. The same evening I was sitting in the conservatory, and she came in and found that I had turned the radiator on. She told me to put a cardigan on if I was cold. I pointed out that the central heating was on in the rest of the house, and that I just released heat from the system, to warm up the room a bit. She got really upset and accused me of making ‘inappropriate comments’. The previous day, there was a burning smell in the conservatory – she asked me if I had tried the ceiling fan to see if it still worked – I said ‘yes I had’ – she said: ‘when?’ – I said: ‘just now’, with some irritation, as she never believes anything I tell her I have done – she still insisted on trying it herself – and had a go at me for being slightly irritated.

“I have just recalled an incident a week or so ago, when the culmination of some petty argument was that I lost my cool and accused her of being a ‘moody, moody bitch!’ She got really mad and smashed some plates and glasses in the kitchen before retiring to her bedroom. (This was in the morning). I calmed down, cleaned up all the mess, mopped the floor etc – it took me a couple of hours. Then I went to see her and told her she should go for her dentist appointment (She had been having a lot of dental problems as she got some bridge work done in Thailand on the cheap, which didn’t work out too well) She sulked, cried, said she wouldn’t go, would suffer the pain and never do anything again.  She said she had never sworn at me and that I was a terrible person to call her a ‘bitch’. I had to beg, plead and cry for half an hour before she allowed herself to be persuaded to go to the dentist.

“The other day, evening time, we had an argument about God knows what. She accused me of always using a ‘higher tone’ of voice with her – not shouting or speaking louder – just a higher tone. Well of course it was my irritation coming out.  With great self-control, I usually avoid shouting, but it is much harder to hide the tone of my feeling. Anyway the upshot was that she told me that she ‘wasn’t well’ (an old moral blackmail ‘chestnut’ – It’s funny because I thought I was the one being kept alive with drugs) – and that the next day she would be buying a ticket back to Thailand. I said nothing and refused to discuss anything with her. The next day, I tried to be as nice as possible, and the ‘crisis’ faded away.

“7th Oct – a strange day really. No particular problems – the morning started in reasonably friendly manner, and then, suddenly when we were both sitting in the conservatory having breakfast, she suddenly mentioned that she still wanted to go to Thailand, in a couple of weeks time, after I had fulfilled a social commitment back in Essex. Since the previous occasion when I had begged her not to do anything stupid, I resolved never again to question any decision of this nature that she decides to tell me about. So I didn’t ask her ‘Why?’ or ‘What’s up?’ or even ‘Please don’t’, as firstly, I don’t care if she goes, and secondly I’m tired of playing her ‘games’ which will end up in her telling me why I am such a lousy, lazy husband, and expecting me to apologise and promise to ‘try harder’ in the future. So I just said in my politest tone, ‘Ok. Would you like me to book the ticket for you?’ She said ‘yes!’ somewhat dramatically, and in response to my request for a return date she said ‘open return’. So as not to appear too eager, I left it for an hour or so and got on with other matters, but when I eventually called the travel agent, I found that I could only get  a 3 month, six month or a 12 month return. I asked her which one she wanted and she said she would think about it and let me know. For the next few hours I could tell she was very upset. It is now 8 pm and she has become more friendly and things seemed to have settled down – except that she didn’t cook us any dinner- most unusual. (I bought us all some fish & chips). Anyhow at the moment a slightly uneasy peace. I am absolutely determined not to get drawn into any arguments or discussions about our relationship or about my behaviour – coz I know I can never win and I will only get very upset. I think she knows this now and I’m not sure that she likes it.

“4/11/02

“(She didn’t take up my offer of a ticket to Thailand.)

“Here we go again – nearly a month since my last entry. I have been thinking about this business of failing to write anything down. I think there are two main reasons. Firstly, it is very hard – after all it’s all emotional and it’s just not easy to sit down and put some of into words. It’s much easier just to let it all fade away and forget about it – pretend it never happened. And of course that is always made easier because, bad episodes are always followed by a comparative lull, when things are really not too bad. The second reason is probably more sinister. I think that by elucidating the problem, I am bringing it closer and closer to the point when I have to do something about it -–and I don’t want to. I want it all to go away and get better! But it won’t!

“Nothing too terrible has happened. Just the continual nagging and desire to control everything I do – pointing out my errors to me all day long – so trivial that I can never remember them but they go on all day every day. You would think she would get fed up with trying to tell me how to live my life – but she never seems to. I never say anything except ‘Yes’ or ‘Ok’ or nothing, if I can get away with it. There’s no point in debating any of it. It’s all so petty – and apart from a slight irritation when she has her latest go at me, I can more or less live with it. But what a sad life!

“Last weekend my brother and his wife came to stay. They stayed Saturday night and left on Sunday. Well I’m not particularly close to my brother and strangely it is she who always keeps the contact going. Anyhow, to cut a very long story short, he sort of invited himself up, and she had no particular objections so up they came and she did a bit of cooking and we had a few long chats and went for a drive on the Sunday. All pretty harmless, all be it boring. Anyway it was my family and we probably won’t do it again for a very long time. She gave me chapter and verse this morning. She can’t stand them – they are so selfish- she never wants them here again- if they come she’’ll go away, etc. etc, on and on. Then she told me that our house is better than their house – our rooms are bigger than their rooms – on and on. It was all too much – all over the top. It was just a bloody weekend with my brother for God’s sake!  What’s it all about??

“It’s all too sad. I couldn’t discuss it with her. The moment I open my mouth to offer any sort of opinion it would be ‘World War 3’.  What a depressing life! I’m not sure I can stand it another two years (when Samantha finishes school). I think sooner or later I’ll blow up and that would ruin everything. It’s much better to just make a quiet exit and hope that Samantha  is not damaged too much. I think she’s pretty strong. At the end of the day I think I’ll probably end up taking care of her – but there are many hoops to jump and mountains of bullshit to overcome before I reach that point.”


So things were getting ever closer to the end of my fourth attempt at married life.


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