Wednesday, 24 December 2008


The trouble with specialising in divorce cases is that you can begin to spot divorce everywhere even at Christmas time. So it was that I became extremely disturbed when visited by one of my neighbours this afternoon.
“Ran out,” she said, “And on Christmas Eve too. I wouldn’t care so much if it was just us, but it’s the children I’m more bothered about. It could hit them hard.”
Now just as I was beginning to think that my holiday hadn’t started after all, I realised we were on different planets. Certainly I came back to Earth with a bump when she mentioned the word “sellotape.”
“Have you got some I can use? I have to get their presents wrapped?”

Saturday, 20 December 2008


Today was apparently the last day for posting anything you want delivering before Christmas. Apologies therefore to all those people who will instead receive greetings cards from me between Christmas and the end of the year; it turned out our last collection was at 10.45am and I missed it! Still don’t our rules on service deem first class post duly delivered on the second working day after posting? Well that’s going to have to be my defence as I’m struggling to come up with anything else.

Our postman is, of course, very busy at the moment, delivering cards and seasonal messages from people I always mean to see during the year but never quite manage to do so, relying on a two liner in a card instead for a quick update. Little Girl loves Christmas. She told me the other day that “It just feels so warm, it’s lovely.” I know what she means; a traditional time for peace and love.

Not so for my friend Constance who sent me a card. “Peace and goodwill to all men,” it said inside, and then she had added: “Except the ex and his solicitor, of course.”

Wednesday, 17 December 2008


This evening I have been to a school awards evening. The guest speaker was a person who had survived adversity and in so doing, and with the help of family and friends, had striven to take on new and more demanding challenges. His advice to students will have a particular resonance for many readers of this blog for he stressed that life's unexpected traumas can be the seeds from which to achieve greater things and that there is no point looking backwards, only forwards where your future lies.

Friday, 12 December 2008


Shanghai Pyjamas
Originally uploaded by tiantiande

I learned today that officials in Shanghai are horrified by people taking to the streets in their pyjamas. Apparently parading in nightwear is a demonstration of wealth.

All of which reminds me of a divorcee who once upon a time took to parking his car outside his ex-wife’s house. He’d felt extremely bitter at the breakdown of their marriage and even a huge lottery win a few months later did little to assuage his pain. Whilst he invested a large chunk of his winnings in prestige motor cars with personalised plates, his hurt still showed when he parked them in rotation in front of the ex’s sitting room window. I confess I do wonder what he might have done had he lived in China; parked himself in nightshirt and cap outside her door perhaps?

Thursday, 11 December 2008


Anyone attempting to walk or drive along the footpaths and roads in my village this morning was in for a tough and traumatic time. Unexpected and almost imperceptibly they had changed into skating rinks of the treacherous kind. You think you know your route; you travel it every day; suddenly black ice hits and crack, with no prior warning, you’re down on your back or sliding and spinning out of control and into a ditch. Getting yourself back on your feet or onto the road, can seem like a herculean task, and shaking and nervousness lasts for hours or even days. Relationship breakdown, when it comes like a bolt from the blue can have the same effect, but it hurts deeper and lasts longer. Fortunately black ice does melt and bruises also heal.

Sunday, 7 December 2008


The Panto Season is here again and it’s that time of year when “Oh no he didn’t,” “Oh yes he did,” rings out in theatres across the land as well as in the family courts. Little Girl and I made our annual pilgrimage last night, when we were also treated to the story of the couple who went round together after meeting in a revolving door, only for it to end in a travel agent’s with the last resort.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008


One of the organisations I am involved with has iron railings that are badly in need of painting. New laws may mean that absent parents who default in the payment of child support maintenance or parents with care who breach orders imposing contact arrangements could find themselves doing unpaid community work in the future. Maybe there’s some scope for matchmaking here!

Monday, 1 December 2008


As proceedings to repossess homes for non-payment of mortgages rise in number, a timely report from the Institute for Social and Economic Research, has concluded that falling house prices lead to more couples splitting up. Indeed the report states that “the partnership dissolution decision of owner-occupier couples is particularly responsive to unanticipated adverse real house price movements compared to unexpected gains”. In other words when your major asset loses £25,000 of its value and potentially plunges you into negative equity, it puts pressure on your relationship.

However, it would appear that a decrease in house values is not all bad news for couples, well not if they are living in the rented sector anyway. In such times, those couples are more likely to stick together as the prospect of being able to buy a property together becomes more feasible.