Tuesday, 29 March 2011

A day of rest

Ah ha, at last I have something to hang my hat on and this time it is from Trading Standards!
It all started with an onslaught from National Westminster Bank making payment demands in spite of us having a court decision in our favour stating that this debt is unrecoverable.
Until recently I could not grasp any kind of understanding of this case. Firstly, even though my name was on it, I had no knowledge of this arrangement let alone had use of any of the credit cards. Having resigned myself to this scenario, yet again, I decided to say nothing rather than enter into another battle with my husband. I was, however, even more mystified to find out that "we" had taken Nat West to court via a Birmingham solicitors that we had no previously dealings with. It transpired that my husband had answered an internet advert that had ultimately directed him towards this course of action and we had won our case against Nat West. One might think that this result would mean one less creditor on my list to placate. Wrong! This actually resulted in the debt being sold on so I have had a constant stream of threatening letters from a collection agency since the beginning of this year.
"OK," I thought," time for plan B".
I wrote and fully explained our position. Result, more demands, this time from Nat West, because the collection agency wanted nothing more to do with it. I could feel the stress levels rise in me as I try and resign myself to the fact that some things are beyond my communication skills but, while I am festering over this unpleasant fact, I receive a phone call of mercy that has lifted me out of this hopeless state of mind. Today I can rejoice in the help that the powers that be have sent me. A gift in the form of a call from Trading Standards office about another matter has given me an opportunity to discuss the Nat West bombardment with them. I discover that these bully boy tactics are common place in the banks collection departments these days. I am told that I will now be referred to their enforcement department so that I can give them the full details and in an instant it feels like a wonderful reprieve.
Today has become a day of rest for me. Today I can pass on the fight to someone else and take a much needed break from this never ending onslaught. It is, after all, the first week of my children's Easter break and it feels so good not to have to carry this burden for a while. Today I am able to return to just being a Mum and for this reprieve I am truly grateful. Thank you, thank you, thank you God, the Universe and the powers that be!!

Friday, 25 March 2011

Lost love

My husband is a quiet sensitive man and until recently I believed he would never lie to me.  I admired his composure, clarity and intelligence.  Third time around I felt sure I had, at last, made the right match.  After fifteen years of marriage I discovered I hardly knew him at all.

On a damp October morning, after discovering the extent of his borrowing, I felt as if I had woken next to a monster, a sentiment I attempted to share with him. He laughingly replied he did not see it as lying but I had simply not asked the right questions. His abdication of responsibility struck more fear in my bones than any creditor on my doorstep threatening a claw hammer through the skull as his reward.

To this day I cannot fathom how he thought his actions were justified or his words to me truthful. However, I live in hope that one day I will be able to forgive him and  I will once again be able to look him in the eye and see the honourable man I fell in love with.

A pocket full of joy

I have struggled to keep things in perspective over the past few days and I think it has alot to do with down time. After all, as I am so often told these days, "It is only money" and inevitably one does get used to anything, eventually. However, now the fear is back and I think it may well be because I have, on occasion recently, been slightly more relaxed.

Braced for abuse on every front in the beginning there was certainly no respite when I initially discovered the size of our financial problems on a dull life changing October day in 2008. I was bombarded from all sides by every means of communication known to man. People were constantly knocking on the door of my home, while others chose to approach me at school.  Each one panic stricken with concern over whether they were going to have their money returned.

The phone rang up to forty times a day, day in day out and the postman delivered armfuls of hate mail every morning. Everyone wanted to know the same thing. How was it possible for my husband to be without funds when he had repeatedly promised them if they were patient he would pay. Disadvantaged by the beauty of our prestigious sixteenth century home, those who arrived on our doorstep struggled to believe there was no longer any money after they had receive so many assurances to the contrary. Some I discovered, had waited almost two years to be paid. My husband had appeared to them, as he had to me, to be a rock of integrity who did not have the disposition to go back on his word.

During these early days I lived in a state of constant panic, surviving only on an instinct to fight for my families safety. Thankfully fear kept the adrenalin flowing while  functioning in overdrive meant I needed little in the way of sleep or food. Having lived the life of a middle class house wife ten years, I had to dig deep to encourage the former business woman in me to resurface. I put aside an overwhelming need to grieve for a life lost and instead forced myself to acquire the expertise necessary to explore all options including find a home that wasn't a local authority shelter.  Every single minute of this two year period was endured "braced" for more revelations from yet another friend or relative who had, unbeknown to me, lent my husband money.

At the height of our financial distress my hair fell out in handfuls leaving me completely and I lost more than two stone in weight over a matter of weeks. I regularly shook from head to toe with the shock of what I was finding out about my husband’s business dealings. Sickened with the shame I had unknowingly acquired enormous debts to my name, I was terrified of the prospect of having no means with which to repay them. Angered by our predicament, I could not bring myself to look my husband in the eye let alone speak to him for the diappointment I felt and the fear of more lies.

In contrast, two and a half years on, there are now times when I am truly happy. I can, on occasion, feel contentment and sometimes pure joy. In situations where I have a role to play, such as at my children's new schools functions, I completely forget I am actually a “distasteful debtor" who has been tarnished for life by her husband’s business gambles. Thankfully, I no longer wake every morning ready to cry with the hopelessness of our situation and mercifully the hate mail arrives much more infrequently nowadays.  My life has taken on a semblance of normality and I love the feeling of living without fear haunting every crevice of my life.

However,still it only takes one letter to plunge me back into a state of panic and sadly this is what has happen again this week. Irrational though this may be my panic can last anything up to three days after which I am left completely spent. Unless I secure debt forgiveness, I am destined to live the next twelve years stepping from heaven and into hell because we have no money with which to pay our creditors and they just won't listen.

It for this reason I fight for just a pocket full of joy.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Hear No Evil, See No Evil

On receipt of yet another fatuous reply to my request for debt forgiveness, I wrote to Lloyds TSB to enquire if their continued unaffordable requests for a payment arrangement from my husband's £11,987 salary as a retail warehouseman, were in  fact a covert bid to securing funding for my husband's business debts via the proceeds of ill gotten gains. Assuming this was indeed their objective, I assured them, I had left no revenue producing stone unturned since the onset of our financial demise and went on to explain why some of the less mainstream avenues open to us, which would normally be more likely to associated with a more underground approach to business, would still leave us unable to repay an alleged £900,980 of unsecured debt.
Selling my kidney on the black market.

Having explored this option via the Internet it seemed unlikely raising capital in this manner would produce much more than £5,000 per kidney and, as my husband and I would need at least one kidney each if we were to remain functioning members of society for several more years to come, I felt £10,000 didn't not provide a sufficient return to allay a million pounds worth of creditors. I explained it was for this reason plans of this kind been had abandoned.
Sex industry
Alternatively, if Lloyds hoped I might instead make a killing in this industry, I felt bound to point out I had spotted some major flaws in a marketing strategy of this kind. To begin with I am a fifty three year old housewife and mother, and although I am told I was quite something in my youth, I am now completely bald from stress related Alopecia and frequently look haggard, grey faced and much older than my years because of the unrelenting financial pressure I am now under from creditors. Furthermore, I felt it only fair to make it perfectly clear, my body after giving birth to five children, was most unlikely to be a lucrative vehicle from which to reap the rewards they seemed to be anticipating.
Hoping at the very least for a little humour in reply I was, needless to say, disappointed to find I was merely thanked in the usual neutral tones for taking the time to explain our circumstances and then asked, in very large type, if I would like all future correspondence in braille.

When asked what one must do if people can't hear you my three year old grandson said. "You have to shout louder."  Sadly for me I am unconvinced this tactic will ever work for me when I can only conclude from personal experience that Lloyds Banking Group are deaf and now, on top of all their other misconceptions, they appear to believe I'm blind!

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Spoon free

Yesterday, my youngest son asked me why no-one ever mentions the spoons. Initially I struggled to follow his thinking but, with a little more nine year old logic imparted, it became clear  he was referring to laying the table and emptying the dishwasher. Until this point I not given "spoon status" any thought and indeed struggled to explain why they were rarely mentioned. It did, however, help me realise there are certain things that rarely get a mention in spite of being a large part of our everyday lives.

Debts most certainly fall into this category. The individual rarely speaks freely about how much they have borrowed or how they are managing to service their debt and often assume the lenders would not lend unless they were sure their money could be repaid.  During my time as a consultant in the financial services industry I regularly discovered many clients had no real understanding of the terms of their loans let alone how much they had borrowed. The focus of the companies offering these lines of credit was always on what the loan could buy and how quickly it could be arranged. By passively encouraging the individual to give little attention to the financial commitment or their ability to pay the "Let's face it they wouldn't be offering it to me if they didn't think I could afford it" attitude has been perpetuated. Factor in the temptation of discounted payments and payment free periods and it becomes a financial candy store of "money for nothing". Such an irresponsible lending attitude is precisely the reason a large number of people currently find themselves in financial free fall.

I wish I could say it was this naivety that caused our own downfall but sadly, I don't believe it was. I think my 45 year old exceptionally intellectually able husband believed he was sufficiently savvy to be able profit from banking greed and be home and dry before interest payments began to bite. Over estimating his abilities on many levels for many years allowed him to romance himself into thinking, "They would not be lending if they did not believe the business was viable".  In reality, I have since discovered, the banks and credit card companies didn't care. They were happy to lend to virtually anyone as long as they owned their own house and had a clean credit history.  I believe my husband fell under the spell of his own smoke and mirror show and only woke up to the nightmare he had created when his brother died. By this time our unsecured debt was close to £1,000,000.

I also believe, in his mind, our predicament was unmentionable to anyone, most of all me. I had been singing the praises of his endeavours for years to friends and family, not least because I genuinely believed he was doing really well. He regularly discussed the business and his plans for its future with me and this future looked bright. I even had the impression that I was being involved in the decision making, albeit not the day to day running of things. Never once did I ask for documentary evidence because I trusted him implicitly. Little did I know he was only talking about his dreams and not the unpalatable reality. With hindsight, I became an accessory, and because of my confidence in him, and my personal track record as a business woman, our family and friends had even more faith in his abilities than perhaps they would have done otherwise.

It came as an immense shock to discover many of these very same people had been asked to help finance his business in the years running up to the credit crisis but it was as an even greater shock to find he had borrowed from everyone who had said yes. It was, however, humiliating to be made aware of this when speaking to friends and family for support only to find I was faced with the question as to when we would be able to pay them back. For me it was nothing short of having the ground whipped out from under my feet.

I firmly believe I would and could have saved us if I had been made aware of what course my husband had set for us sooner. If  only it was socially acceptable to talk openly about debt our friends and family may not have been paralysed by this unwritten decree that forbids personal finances from being openly discussed. I may well have had the opportunity to make the outcome for our fragile ship on what became overwhelmingly stormy waters a very different but,..... they didn't and I didn't and we are where we are because there are some things that are rarely mentioned...like  spoons.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Passionate beliefs

I am told to believe in something passionately is the way in which to make it a reality and conceptualising in this way has been the driving force for my continued attempts to piece our lives back together. While frequently advised to throw the bankruptcy towel into the arena by those without the constitution for tumultuous seas, I have refused to allow lending sharks to pick over the bones HBOS have already stripped bare because,
  • I believe passionately financial institutions should not lend residential mortgage   money to those with £446,000 outstanding on credit cards.
  • I believe passionately banks should not advance £3,500,000 in commercial mortgages without evidence of taxable income and assets.
  • I believe passionately it is negligent for lenders to ask wive's to sign away a family home to support a husband's business without illustrating how they have assessed payment affordability.
  • I believe passionately it is irresponsible for a bank to instruct the conveyance of a family home without giving a wife independent advice.
  • I believe passionately it is unacceptable for a creditor to lay siege to a woman and her children in her home, until such time as the police arrive, with sub machine guns, wearing riot gear, to remove them.
  • I believe passionately it is unacceptable for any family to be hounded by phone and threatened by debt collection agencies who pretend they don't know the financial position of the vulnerable despite hundreds of letters to the contrary.
  • I believe passionately it is unacceptable for any man to borrow £17,000 from the parents of his children's school friends.
  • I believe passionately it is unacceptable for any man to borrow £65,000 from his and his wife's family.
  • I believe passionately it is unacceptable for any man to secure the equity in his step daughter's and grand children's home against a business debt.
  • I believe passionately it is unacceptable for any man to sign documents which will give  unpaid tradesmen the authoriy to take away gifts made to his wife from her parents.
  • I believe passionately it is unacceptable for any man to tell anyone he can afford to  pay them when he does not know how he will achieve this.
  • I believe passionately it is unacceptable for any man under any circumstances to keep all of the above from his wife with lies.
  • I believe passionately it is unacceptable for any man to go to any lengths to avoid taking responsibilities for his actions and instead choosing to blame others.
  • I believe passionately it is unacceptable for any man to lead his whole family to the edge of a financial precipice without asking them if they wish to go there.
  • I believe passionately it is unacceptable for any man to pretend he has his difficulties in hand in order to avoid losing face.
But I also believe passionately,
  •  No man should be hounded by creditors to the point of suicide.
  • No man should lose his brother (age 44) and his mother (age 67) to Motor Neurone Disease three weeks apart. 
 And above all else I believe passionately
  • No child should be forced to grow up without a father as consequence of having financial difficulties.
It is for these reasons I am still here and for these reasons I continue to fight back.... passionately.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Stand and deliver

I have been unable to think let alone write a post for the past four days and instead have ground to a halt from both exhaustion and brain overload. To the passerby, and even to most of my friends and family, I have functioned perfectly well over the last few days while cheerfully accepting more Friends  of the school challenges. I have successfully progressed my case with the FSA regarding the Bank of Scotland and even managed to be concise and business like in my correspondence. The proverbial rabbit is always pulled out of the hat, without fail, if I have I anything to do with it! This, after all, is my talent and it is one I am well known for.

However although I continue to step up to the mark, in reality, today it is not me who is present but merely an echo. Today the enthusiastic and energetic me has been banished by the pain in my head and I am left to look on at myself in helpless defeat as I am forced to succumb to the obliteration of migraine yet again. Gripped regularly with this stress induced master who often takes as much as three days to vacate, the pain, nausea and impaired vision often reaches levels which both consume my head and weigh down each of my limbs. Each time it happens I feel sure I will be unable to cope, but inevitably I always do. For me it is the tortuous price of each success and every failure.

Unable to share my affliction with those around me, I continue to smile while preparing Sunday lunch for twelve as planned or agree with the Head attending to an extra issue will be no trouble at all. To give in to this illness is completely beyond me while hiding it existence has become the purist of art forms. Unprepared to give this uninvited interloper an introduction to the people in my life it always remains my secret until long after its departure.

Finely honed over fifty three years my methods of concealment are exemplary and for the reason I am always available, without exception, to stand and deliver.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Pieces of Eight

It appears my task over the following few months is to organise a summer ball for the parents at my childrens school. Throughout my fifty three years it has never ceased to amaze me the multitude of skills other people believe I have and now indentified, the powers that be seem intent to capitalise on my very rusty fundraising experience despite being privvy to my somewhat precarious financial position.

Aside from the obvious pitfalls which go hand in hand with the chairing any committee, I cannot dispute the fact  my new role has me given a much needed and far healthier focus to my days. Not only has it provided me with a welcome escape from reality but on occasion, it physically removes me from my insular existence and debt fighting crusade which has bordered on an all consuming obsession. Without this distraction I know I would spend each and every day bailing water from a life ressembling little more than a decrepid and excessively leaky boat in an effort to keep my family together. Behind the outward facade of the archetypal housewife and mother, I have, for two whole years covertly beaten off the predatory loan sharks which constantly circle us and living every moment under this immense pressure has cost me every hair on my head.

In the blink of an eye, as Chairman of the Friends, I am transported to the helm of a quality vessel which docks in prestigious ports and rubs shoulders with, unlike me, financially established people who are  more than happy to take my lead when braving the often turbulent waters of fund raising. However, despite this welcome shift in how I now occupy the hours, not a day goes by when I do not lament the decision my husband made to discard my sea fairing kills and instead whispering his sweet and beautifully memorised nothings in my ear. Foolishly I believed him when he spoke of  Pieces of Eight.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Up,up and away

What a weird day!  Last night’s Friends of the school fashion show was an exhausting but resounding success and I have been basking in my new found fame as event organiser and fund raiser extraordinaire!!

It feels wonderful to have had an opportunity to be the person I used to be and the person I am at the same time.  All too often these days I have been required to lead a double life.  One moment, I am centre stage as a well spoken ex-public school career girl, the next a shattered and fragmented character trying to pull herself together in the face of creditors chasing debts amounting to almost seven figures.

However this was not me last night and it is certainly not how I feel today.

Today the world is my oyster and I feel wonderfully whole.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Knock, knock, who's there?

I will spend all of today day in disguise and there will be no room for self pity or tears because today I have secured the role of a stereo-typical middle class mother of three children who go to independent school.

My character lives in an enormous, shabby chic fifteenth century manor house overlooking a village green. She takes a pride in her appearance and plays an active part in the local community.  Her two grown up daughters from her first marriage, who live locally, have provided her with four grandchildren and two step grandchildren and this extended family gives her many opportunities to socialise over a meal which she is happy to cook.  She regularly serves up on a table that started its life in the board room of her father but now has many happy family memories associated with it.

An aging mother, with whom she has a good relationship, lives in the nearby market town. My character visits regularly, taking her out for day trips whenever she can find  time.  She has a 4x4 parked on the extensive gravel drive and people usually talk to her wherever she goes because she is always smiling. She has many friends and is reputed to be a good and caring listener who will always find time to help a friend in need.  It is because of the personable way she has with people she was the perfect recruit for Chairman of the Friends of her children's prep school and the Headmaster was delighted to welcome her on board.

It is the day of the  Friends fund raising fashion show and there is an air of nervous excitement amongst the new committee members as the time approaches for the doors to open. The role I am playing today will not be too difficult because I have, in recent years, rehearsed it well. However these days stage fright haunts me.  I am told this is only natural and certainly not unexpected for someone playing a character part to such a large audience. However, I still worry I will be exposed as a fraud.

Only three short years ago I was not a fictitious character and this was my life and I believed it was bought and paid for.  Today I appear to enjoy a life like this but in reality it is no more. Now my children remain at private their schools because of the kindness of their headmaster’s who have secured them all bursaries.  The car parked in my drive has been moments away from repossession and the house we live in is rented while much of the furniture in it has been donated by family and friends.  Its lofty rooms are not just for my own use as sharing it with three lodgers is the only way in which I can make ends meet and my beautifully coiffured hairdo is a wig as I lost every hair on my head when the shock of our financial position came to light. My clothes have been carefully purchased from charity shops with pocket money gievn to me by my mother.

The friends I speak of have propped me up because I could barely stand from shock and the good relationship with my mother has developed in spite of my husband borrowing £55,000 from her that she could ill afford to lose but has.  My grown up children now make a contribution to the costs whenever I cook and the food I purchase comes from the M&S waste sale, at a fraction of the usual price, where my husband now works as a warehouseman.

A refugee from the past, I stand reborn in a new life which has been carefully reassembled from the tatters of the old. It may well appear I have made a seamless transition but, each and every day, I wonder how much longer I can remain undetected in this well practised charade. Surely someone will spot the devastation in my eyes while my face smiles and then I will be painfully outed.  What can I possibly say today if someone looks at me and asks, "Who's there?" when to me I am a 53 year old bald woman whose very core has been mangled by the shame of her husband’s insurmountable business debt.

I wait with trepidation how much longer will I get away with just playing me?

My debt shame

Today it was my intention to recount, from the beginning, the sorry tale of our suffering at the hands of HBOS. In the belief I had sufficiently distanced myself from our financial distress and regained the strength to put pen to paper I planned to inform the Financial Services Authority and the Financial Ombudsman Service precisely what the Bank of Scotland has done and the impact it has had on my family. I woke up determined to describe, in detail, how spotting us adrift with our three young children and fully aware we were fighting for our lives aboard a sinking ship, they ignored all government guidelines and instead chose to completely remove the wind from our sails, strip us of any chance of recovery and force us onto the rocks where their appointed debt collector now persecutes us for sport.

It was my intention to explain that a former career in the financial services industry did not prepare me for the pain a "too big to fail" giant was prepared to inflict. I wanted to make sure the Financial Ombudsman Service knew I had been rendered powerless against a banking machine which was deaf to my proposals and what is more, intent on wrecking the financial future of my whole family.  I believed it should be common knowledge the Bank of Scotland was unhindered by their own codes of conduct for customers in financial distress and intent on serving their own ends regardless of the cost to my family.

I was sure I could go back to the beginning and illustrate articulately and accurately how the Bank of Scotland chose to multiply our financial difficulties ten times over and, after stripping us bare, proceeded to persecute us for being unable to reimburse them. Sadly I was unable to do any of this.

Instead, all I could do today was cry.


Tuesday, 8 March 2011

International Women's Day

Thirty-eighth American vice president Hubert Horatio Humphrey once said, "The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously" and despite many years of women's the best efforts to attain both, today, on International Woman's Day, I continue to battle with HBOS without the benefit of either. 

Working my way up in the UK's financial service industry throughout the 80's and 90's, it did not occur to me that one day my gender would not only make me invisible but also prohibit me from being heard. Now, some twenty years later, as a result of my extensive communications with HBOS, it has become uncomfortably clear that as a married women, I should not have expected to enjoy the same right to information about the status of my residential mortgage as my husband. Not knowing this has cost me my home, my health and my financial future.

Furthermore this"too big to fail" banking giant Halifax Bank of Scotland is far from coy about it's anti-female stance and instead are more than happy to put, in writing, they have no obligation to discuss arrears on joint borrowings, debt advice and court proceedings with me as long they have discussed them with my husband. So, ladies be warned, this means your lenders will effectively support your husbands if they choose to keep financial difficulties from you  and you could, like me, find the banks are forcing a sale on your homes without giving you the opportunity to find out why they would wish to do so in the first place.

According to the Bank of Scotland's complaints department, they are under no contractual obligation to discuss any aspect of a mortgage with all the named parties on the loan and although government initiatives have publicly urged them to give people in difficulties debt counselling before legal action is taken, this is merely a guideline which a lender may, or may not, chose to abide by. Nothing more. In short HBOS do not consider it their role to include all parties to a mortgage in discussions concerning forcibly repossessing a family home and no regulator has the power to make them. Nor will banks who chose to flaunt regulatory codes and guideslines be penalised.

Sadly, I only became aware of these facts once the repossession process had already begun. It was only then that I discovered my husband had been unable to bring himself to divulge the unpalatable truth about our financial situation to anyone, let alone me. Remarkably, I could have remained in the dark even longer had I not become suspicious and beaten him to the post one day only to discover
 his property business had failed, our business bank had gone into administration, the bank of |Scotland were taking us to court  to repossess and, to my absolute horror, we were £27,000 and eight months in arrears. Little more than two weeks later a possession order was granted to HBOS for our lovingly restored sixteenth century tithe barn and home of ten years and there was nothing I could do about it.

However, it didn't stop me trying.

Desperate to address the problem the moment I became aware of our position, I soon secured a tenant to cover the interest payments on mortgage. However, the Bank of Scotland refused to allow me to save my home with rental income on grounds it was too late. Instead they insisted I accepted a forced sale offer of well below market value and in doing so turned our sizable £27,000 into a staggering mortgage shortfall of £217,000. Now I am reliably informed by their solicitor I must conjure the shortfall from out of thin air and, despite numerous letters from the Citizen's Advice Bureau (CAB) explaining we are financially finished, (a situation HBOS were wholly aware of well before they issued proceedings) my instructions are to produce a solution within seven days.

Outraged at the callous and unprofessional attitude of this calculated example of sexist banking avarice, it beggars belief the untouchable Bank of Scotland are also happy to state that married women do not count when it comes to providing them with information and making decisions about their homes when their mortgage accounts get into difficulties. 

I still strongly suspect I could have rescued my home had I been given the opportunity, but as a married woman, I was denied the chance to try. Now, nearly two and a half years on, the Bank of Scotland are more than happy to grant me equal rights to my joint and severally liable shortfall but remain deaf and blind to the fact that by failing to keep me informed, it was they who created the shortfall in the first place. It for this reason I say to each and every banksters who played a pivotal role in the financial downfall of both myself and no doubt numerous other married women, 

"How will you be marking International Women's Day?" because, I for one, plan to mark it by fighting back!

Monday, 7 March 2011

Long John No Silver

At times I feel like I have a faithful parrot sat upon my shoulder in observation of my Long John No Silver-like limping around while endeavouring to piece together a life which remains is in both financial and emotional tatters.  Every now and then I look up from my task to find he is still there, on his now familiar perch, waiting to see where I plan to lead him next. On occasion, I wonder how many parrots have single handedly sunk their loved ones ship and still kept their lofty perch, but there lies another story.

It was to parents evening I took him last night. As ever, he sat patiently waiting for an opportunity to impart some of his beautifully memorised knowledge.  Only the Head, his wife and, of course I, are aware of the devastating effects that a reckless life on stormy waters has had on me in this role as parrot keeper.  To the rest of the world, and certainly everyone else at parents evening, I am, without a doubt everything one would expect to see in a fellow parent.  I wait patiently in line hoping to hear my children are happy and untouched by the wreckage which is now all that remains of our lives.

To almost everyone present there is no evidence to lead anyone to believe that I am anything other than the woman with
a knowledgeable husband faithfully perched at her shoulder waiting for an opportunity to speak.  

A declaration of independence

While sitting in my aga heated kitchen on a dull debt clouded spring day I learned  from a very good friend that posting my thoughts on Blogger might bring me one step closer to writing a book. Armed with her encouraging words and a short lesson in how to publish a post, I now plan to tell my story in the hope it may reach those who wish to listen.

Today is the day on which I declare there is more to me than mere stay at home wife and mother. One day very soon I shall tell my tale and in doing so reveal precisely what has happened.