Thursday, March 24, 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Santa has just left the house. Or so it would seem. On a plate on the floor under the tree there are a few crumbs from a mince pie, the stump of a carrot and an empty glass. Evelyn's presents lie under the bejewelled plastic fern that holds so much magic, hope and promise to children and children at heart. Evelyn and I went carol singing tonight, I sang, she danced
I received a series of cryptic text messages from my estranged wife Laura on Wednesday, so I called and she told me that she had given up the legal battle to leave the UK with our daughter. A fax arrived at my solicitor's office as it was closing for the night. My solicitors, solicitor's clerks, barristers, attorneys at law and Queen's Counsel, for there are many and on both sides of the Atlantic, were all left dumbfounded, as was I. At Laura's request, I went over and we had a chat with Evelyn and tried to explain what was going to happen, I'm not sure what she understood. Laura had told her what was occurring previously, but when I was there, she was capering about the apartment on all fours, yelping and pretending to be a puppy. Laura was tearful and without the malice and bile I have become used to over the last eighteen months. Laura had already left for the airport when I picked up Evelyn the following morning from Laura's mother, who has been here since August and I became a single parent.
Evelyn was ordered to be returned to the UK in July at the orders of the Canadian courts and Laura came with her, the final hearing for leave to remove was to be in January. My legal counsel were passionate about our case for refusal and felt that we were in with a fighting chance of success despite the UK's traditionally outrageous bias towards maternal preferences over domicile.
There are a few legal loose ends to be tied up over agreed contact and holidays, but these are just routine. We will all then have to settle in to the new phases in our lives.
When I was in Canada in May 2009 on vacation with my wife and daughter and staying at the in-laws, plans were already underway to present me with the surprise divorce petition which has now been struck out. A few weeks later I discovered by e-mail that I was separated and five days later, discovered that the woman I loved had asked through the courts for a divorce, full custody of our daughter, approximately two thirds of my net income and a freeze on the bank account which had my the final deposit for an apartment I had bought off plan, effectively meaning that I would lose it. As if that wasn't enough I was told that Laura would rather see me in court than allow me the unaccompanied access to my child that I had had since her birth. I tried at the time to get them to see what they were doing, to try to do this the decent way, to allow some dignity and respect. They wanted my daughter, my money and my assets. I say they, as I don't believe that Laura was the sole architect of this, responsibility must also be borne by her mother, who seeks and sought to control everything, and her lawyer who seemed to have obtained her qualifications from watching daytime TV. It was the wrong thing to do, it would have been a wrong thing to do if I had not prevailed in the courts. Somehow they don't seem to understand that the responsibility for what has passed is their own. Laura could have done this so differently, I did the only thing I could.
I often wondered how Laura thought she was going to explain what she had done to Evelyn when she is old enough to ask questions.
And now we are here and my daughter is living with me permanently. I have missed out on a year of watching her grow up, with what contact I had spoilt by my estranged wife's mother, lost perhaps £150,000 in cash and assets and who knows how many years of my life. Laura has no doubt suffered too. My daughter has been denied the loving home with a mummy and daddy that she deserved and lost a year's worth of real contact with her father. I must do my best to be the best father I can be and make up for the distance of my daughter's mother. I must ensure that the contact she has with her mother and her mother's family is better than I was given and see what I can do to heal the wounds that have lain open too long. I want Evelyn to grow up happy and I'll do whatever it takes.
Thus ends one chapter in all of our lives and hopefully the next will bring peace, civility and respect to everyone. I hope Laura and her family find serenity and I'll do what I can to help them share in the joy of Evelyn's life.
Merry Christmas one and all!
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Around the corner I have a friend,
......................What are you feeling right now?
Saturday, January 30, 2010
The French just know bread and no other nation has ever really come close in this regard. Had Napoleon opened a chain of brasseries he would have had no need of military campaigns, world domination would have been a surety, we would all have been spared the high street blight which is Greggs and Emma Hamilton would have lived happily ever after. And how is it that the French have patisserie Paul and the British have Greggs? I ask you, we won the War of the Third Coalition! After Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo all of the patisserie Pauls in Paris should have been moved to London and all of the Greggs should have been moved to Paris, that would have taught them a lesson!
I love patisserie Paul, I love the understated shop frontages which would not be offensive anywhere, the wonderful cakes and tarts, the quiche, the baguettes, the staff, it is one of the few chains that there are just not enough of. Why isn't there one on Bishopsgate?
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Our home life had actually been very good over the last year. I shall probably never know what dark mental dances she had in April and May as she schemed the assassination of our marriage. It's sad. I loved her with all my heart and truly wanted her eyes to be the last I saw before I closed mine for the final time.
In the book of my own life I turned the page honestly believing we would both live happily ever and found the rest of the leaves torn away by the person to whom I had entrusted it.
In the last two days, I have spoken to two old friends. One has been dieing for years but is too stubborn to give in. To hear his voice, is to hear the fragility of his heart and I fear that every beat will be its last. The other has always seemed as strong as an ox, but has been given two years to live by his doctors.
"No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee."
John Donne - Devotions upon Emergent Occasions, no. 17 (Meditation) 1624
Monday, April 13, 2009
About three weeks ago I flew out to be with Laura and the baby who are spending some time in Toronto. They're staying there for a bit and I'm here in London alone. I'm looking forward to the return of those few distilled moments of perfect content and stillness that are bestowed upon me when my little baby falls asleep in my arms after her last bottle of milk of the night. I really miss them both, so I thought I'd tell my daughter a little Easter story, and here it is:
Sorry I can’t be with you for a little while, but your daddy has to be in England right now.
When I flew out to Toronto, I departed from Heathrow Terminal 5. Despite the terrible press surrounding the opening debacle it feels very much like a proper airport in the same way that Terminal 4 feels very much like an abbatoir.
I lunched at Wagamama there and, as usual, had the Chicken Kare Lomen, which is a spicy curry soup and their superb White Chocolate Ginger Cheesecake. The curry soup was only 50% successful, it tasted wonderful but unfortunately, I was unable to squeeze out a fart in the multifaith prayer room. That small opportunity to show my contempt for all religions thwarted, I went to board the plane. I like to think that it was perhaps because of my innate purity and godliness that on handing my passport over to the flight attendant, I was upgraded to business class.
Monday, February 16, 2009
New stuff: I have finally relented and got an IPhone and I have to say it is possibly the best invention since the mobile phone, MP3 player, Play Station Portable, Internet radio, pocket TV, PDA or maybe all of these things put together. It still doesn't stop me from loathing Apple's personal computers, but if they stick to this portable media stuff they will rule the world. I am worried about it's fragility in a way that I haven't really been about any previous mobile phone. It somehow just seems more personal. The bazillion applications that are on it keep me constantly occupied with news, podcasts, strategy games, books, music. With one of these devices the western world need never trouble itself with time for introspective thought or mental tranquility.
In recent years, well the last two in the UK anyway, I have oft lamented the absence of real seasons. But this year it will be different instead of the grey and rainy season and the very grey and very rainy season, we will have had the "February was 'king freezing!" season. On Tuesday February 3rd I was actually told to work from home. How morose I was, as I beavered away testing the Internet, discussed some reconciliation application bugs with my baby daughter and worked out that if only I didn't have to pay tax for all the people that get to do this every day and all the people in government that might as well do this every day what a happy and less overdrawn chap I would be. This is the first time that weather has ever prevented me from getting to work.
This was the sort of event that I craved every winter as a child when I saw the first white puffs falling in the morning, my nose pressed against the window pane, rubbing away the condensation to see the snowflakes melting against the glass and laying a thin white velvet sheet over the garden. Please don't stop, just another few inches, two feet of snow and they will surely close the school. But it never happened, well not until now. But now I have a taste for it. Once a year, just for a day or so, I could live with a repeat experience.
On to a less pleasant matter. The British Government recently banned Dutch MP Geert Wilders, the maker of the film Fitna, from entering the UK as it was felt that his presence would cause outrage among Muslims living here.
Having watched the film, I think it is sensationalist, but nowhere near as sensationalist as say..... blowing up London buses or flying planes into the World Trade Center. I think perhaps the Muslims that are offended by this film should ask themselves what they really find offensive about it and direct their angst against the fundamentalists that support just the sort of actions which Geert Wilders highlights in his film.
One of my dearest and closest friends, Anas, is a Muslim. One of the things that makes him such a great guy is that his warmth, humanity, decency and honesty come before his religion or any other beliefs. If only everyone was like that.
Friday, November 07, 2008
A big week.
It was my lovely baby daughter's first birthday on Monday, a year ago she was handed to me by a nurse 00:33 after a really difficult birth. Eyes closed and crying. I can't remember which one of us that was, could have been all three of us I suppose. A year later she is an inquisitive child full of laughter and with a marvellous generosity of spirit. As she was born in England at 00:33 and we are in Canada where 00:33 GMT is 19:33 EST, and is the product of not only my demonstrably superior sperm, but also my beautiful Canadian wife's DNA and gestative care, she got two birthday parties. One on Sunday with her cousins where her emergence into the cold dry post-natal world was toasted at 7:30pm and another the following day.
She took her first few unaided steps today. So not only has she had a lot of loot from friends and relatives as birthday presents, she has also learned to walk. A big week indeed.
In other less important news, the United States of America have, for the first time in 8 years, elected a president who is not an asshole. Barack Obama, has, throughout his election campaign, acted as a statesman, a gentleman and an inspirational man of great vision. I truly hope he lives up to the great expectations that the whole world has for him. Lewis Hamilton has also won the F1 drivers championship, so perhaps the white liberal middle class pricks at the BBC can stop blaming absolutely everything bad that happens in the world on white on black racism. The BBC do not recognise races other than white and black, where white just includes Caucasians and Sir Trevor MacDonald, while black includes North Africans, sub-Saharan Africans (all tribes), Asians (oriental and from the Indian subcontinent), native Americans, Eskimos, non-Jewish Semites, indigenous Australasians, people from every island in the Pacific, Atlantic, Southern, Arctic and Indian Oceans and visitors from other galaxies.