Saturday, 30 May 2009


It is often said that “An Englishman’s home is his castle” (although unlike MPs the rest of us can’t claim to have our moats or even drains cleaned at the taxpayers’ expense). So it is that, when a relationship ends, invariably the hardest asset to sort, and to which so many of us are emotionally attached, is the home. Whether it be the inside living space to which we have applied paint and creative thought, the hours spent growing the garden or the nostalgic memories of happy times within its walls, all serve to increase the attachment.

But what if the mortgage is too large, the repair bill huge, the equity is needed to provide two homes, or the living space too much for one person? Regrettably and as a result there can be no choice but to let go. The castle has to be sold and both of its occupants move on.

That, of course, is the tradition with castles. North Yorkshire, where I live, is scattered with proud ruins, each with its own history of ransacking and battles, particularly from the continuous skirmishes during the Wars of the Roses. Drawbridges, moats, cannonballs and even boiling oil poured from the ramparts never proved themselves as total defences when seeking to ward off an onslaught for possession. It's no different in the divorce courts.

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