Archive for January, 2011

Or rather: SOMETHING about my feet is problematic, but I don’t know if heel is exactly the right word. If “heel” can only refer to (part of) the sole of one’s foot, then heel is not the word, not the problem, and this whole damn thing has been a waste of time. IF, however, “heel” can also properly be used to talk of the back of one’s foot, as it rises to the ankle, then that is EXACTLY le mot juste, and I can sleep easy abed tonight.

For now, let us call the problem area the heel and be done with it, in the interest of moving onto the exciting task of delineating exactly what the issue is. It is as follows: my heels shred my shoes.

This is not to say that my shoes are too small (although at a generous 46, it is just as well that I don’t have to buy larger ones, as I think that would put me into a territory when I need to resort to mail-order (from a shop called “Brobdidnag’s” or similar), or to hand-made shoes in St. James’s), but that the heel bone juts out unattractively (a flaw I have been hiding from Unfeasibly Attractive Girlfriend with some success) and cuts through first the lining, and then the overlocked seams on the tops of my shoes. I think some kind of foot-shaving procedure will have to be looked into: perhaps I shall become famous as the first man to arrive at a plastic surgeon’s with a picture of Michelangelo’s David’s foot, proclaiming “I want mine to look like THAT!”, because the man at The Chelsea Green Shoe Studio is beginning to look at me suspiciously when I arrive with the latest pair of shoes that appear to have been ravaged by very hungry, but very targeted rats.

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I’ve been living in Richmond for the last six months or so: a beautiful place and home to my parents, sister, brother-in-law, nephew and niece – so a great place to be. That said, there are some observations that I have, which I feel should be recorded for posterity.


  1. How is it possible to accommodate branches of Max Mara, Joseph and Brora, and yet not have a butcher?
  2. Why are all the restaurants “shit”?
  3. Is the fact that every child here is dressed in Bonpoint, Ralph Lauren, Petit Bateau, (or if you’re slumming it) Boden, Jack Wills, and Joules an enforced bylaw?
  4. Would it be possible to re-open the ice rink? I only ask because my children absolutely loved skating at Christmas, so it would make it a lot easier for me.
  5. Is the woman who shouted in a packed railway carriage to the eight year-old girl sitting right next to her “Catherine! Catherine! Have you done your Sanskrit homework?” a fair representation of local, stressed motherhood?
  6. Is there anywhere nicer in London (well, Surrey – but you know what I mean).

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Now, with a little bit of distance between “the event” and my current reality, I’ve been taking stock of my current situation.

The one thing you can’t dismiss is how horrible it is to be separated from your children: that’s something that doesn’t get any better, and while it gets more recognisable it doesn’t get any easier to accept.

On the other hand, I have found that it’s been quite complicated to accept being separated from my ex-wife – only in as much as what I miss is the presence of the woman I married (who was fun, considerate, interesting and cultured – and sexy), but what I am pleased to have left behind is the lying, mean and adulterous being I ended up with (who was none of the above-mentioned things). It’s in trying to reconcile the co-existence of the two (and, I suppose, trying to work out when the latter replaced the former) that hours of grieving, thousands of pounds in psychiatrists’ fees and countless bottles of wine with friends would be wasted (were I that type, which I’m not), I suppose.

After it all, though, there are lots of good things: a sifting of the wheat from the chaff in terms of who ones friends are (with the results being surprising, often – and all the more gratifying for that; a different attitude to life (far less pressurised, worried and intense: because after this, what can really hurt you?); and (very recently, needless to say) the emergence of Ludicrously Attractive Girlfriend (of whom more, later). There is also a reconnection with my family (whom ex-wife, for her own very sad reasons, was always at odds with) which is marked by all the insane ups and downs of a proper family bond – and which I shall feature very heavily in the entries to follow.

Finally – and not to sound too crappily New Age about the whole thing – there is a reaffirmation of what you are, yourself. The things you find funny, the things that interest you, the things that make you angry, the people whom you like, the values that you hold, the standards that you want to adhere to. It’s necessary, I think, in any relationship to subjugate some of yourself to the will of your partner – people who claim otherwise are, I believe, deluded – but it’s also good to be able to catch sight again of the person that you were at (in my case) 18, 21, 25, 30 and 35 and think: “He’s great – and I’m glad he’s around.”.

May I just say RIGHT NOW, having re-read this post that this is the last time that I shall engage in such amateurish navel-gazing – but it had to be done, if only to clear the way for a resumption of the former tone of this blog: silly, littered with stupid names and a little bit ranty.

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In what is possibly the least hotly anticipated return to any public arena since the announcement of Jim Davidson’s return to stand-up comedy, I’m back.

You will be keen for updates: “But just what HAS he done with all his books now?”, “Have his children discovered new ways to swear in front of priests?”, “Has he REALLY forgiven Fiona Shaw for “Black Dahlia”?” and “Is finding out that your wife was having an affair worse than living with your parents?” – and I shall be ready to elaborate on all of these in due course.

Anyway, this is very much by way of a dipping of a toe in the water. All the fun stuff (children, holidays, idiotic things that people say and do at work etc.) and all the less fun stuff (divorce, finding out stuff you’d probably rather never have known, some very bad theatre) will be rolled out for your delight, disdain and comment. Now I feel I have broken my duck (and with words that – I don’t feel it boastful to say – shall hereafter be compared to the opening of The King James Bible, The Gettysburg address, and Dr. King’s “I have a dream…”, let’s be honest), I think  it’s going to be a little easier to score run after winning run.

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