Thursday, 13 December 2012


Blackpool Tower at night
Originally uploaded by

Blackpool, home of the seaside holiday and famed for its Tower, rock and Pleasure Beach, now has another claim to glory. Figures released from the 2011 census show it to be the divorce capital of England and Wales. Yes, London might be the divorce capital of the world but Blackpool has a higher number of divorced people than anywhere else in the country.
The statistics from the census show that 9% of people are divorced, but in Blackpool the percentage is 13.1.

So what is it about this seaside town “up north” that results in so many divorces? Punch and Judy might still perform on the beach but one would expect the adult population to be too mature to fall under their influence. Further and whilst the town may play host to the political party conferences we surely can’t blame the MPs for this one as well as every other anomaly in society.

It seems we don’t need to. Inside sources tell me it could be the fault of the Illuminations. By lighting the town up from September to November each year, the indiscretions of amorous couples are noted by everyone passing down the Golden Mile. Sharing chips in the moonlight was never the most romantic of gestures but when it’s not your spouse you’re sharing with and you are lit up in a glorious technicolour spectacle, there is a potential to add to the statistics.

Saturday, 8 December 2012


The next couple of weeks are the Office Party Season, followed, of course, by Christmas, before moving into January which statistically is the most likely month to instruct a divorce lawyer. Is there any connection, other than the intervening Christmas period between the party fun and the miseries of separation and divorce?
It is certainly not uncommon for the antics at the Office Party to be quoted as instances of unreasonable behaviour for inclusion in a subsequent divorce petition.
So how can you guard against this?
Well here are ten tips for surviving the Office Party with your marriage (and dignity) intact:
1.      What do you wear? Nothing revealing or tight fitting. In fact consider keeping your coat on and buttoned all evening.
2.      How long do you spend preening yourself?  You don’t – just a quick hand wash, comb through your hair and you’re done. Oh and definitely no exotic fragrances, although if desperate you could try a spray from the nearest air freshener aerosol.
3.      Do you meet your mates in the pub first? A definite no here too I’m afraid. Get your spouse to drive you to the venue and, as you pass the pub, mention casually how everyone else was meeting there for a few drinks beforehand. That way you will at least have earned a few Brownie points, in the event that things go wildly wrong later.
4.      What do you drink? No doubt about the answer to this one: orange juice; yes, I repeat orange juice.
5.      What do you eat? Easy, see the response to question 8 below, but essentially as many cheese and onion crisps and pickles as you can muster.
6.      Can you dance?  Yes, it is a night to enjoy, although you must ensure that your partner is the oldest person in the room, regardless of gender.
7.      How do you avoid getting caught in that embarrassing shot by one of the many mobile phone cameras that will be flashing all night? Connect only with colleagues over 65 years of age and give everyone else the cold shoulder if you need to, although hopefully the hints so far will help resolve this dilemma anyway.
8.      You are conscious that Mel in accounts , inebriated by the effects of alcohol and your charms and sheer charisma, will try to get you to share little intimacies, vampire style. Well if you are sure that despite the precautions taken so far you are going to be irresistible then go on an onion and garlic diet for three days beforehand. Top your perfumed breath up with the pickles and cheese and onion crisps when you get there.
9.      What time do you leave? At precisely 10.30pm to get home for 11pm. Keep reminding yourself that you’ll turn into a pumpkin and find your pyjamas neatly folded and stored in the freezer ready to wear, if you don’t.
10.   What do you say about the party when you get home? The truth: it was a bore, everyone else drank too much and behaved outrageously and next year you think you might as well stay in and watch other people partying on television instead. Your spouse won’t believe you but you will still have a home to come back to in January.

Monday, 3 December 2012


Just a quick reminder to all those men who participated in Movember that it is now over. It is a great cause; it was brilliant of you to get involved and I hope you raised lots of money for men’s health charities. However, those who fail to remove any offending hair growth that is not to their wife’s liking, risk her keeping that pre-Christmas appointment at her lawyer’s office.
Frankly I do not want to hear again this year:
“It’s like being married to the partridge in the pear tree, all those feathery whiskers on his face.”
“He thinks he’s Bruce Forsyth but the only similarity is the cuddly toy, and in his case it’s sitting above his top lip rather than on a conveyor belt.”
“If he dyed the moustache green, hung a bauble at each side and put a fairy on his head, he’d look like the Christmas tree in your Reception.”

“He began by thinking he looked like Johnny Depp; now he’s disintegrated into Long John Silver with a budgie on his shoulder instead of a parrot.”
Please guys, it’s all part of the deal: shave it off.