Having cleared things up with him, I felt more confident that he’d back me up if anyone complained about my line of questioning. I was learning other things though about the set-up of the firm. It was a private limited close company. York was the majority shareholder by a long way – his wife and brother were minority participants. All the other directors – sales and production – were simply employees, appointed by York. From the shop floor staff, I was picking up indications that employees – including directors – were sacked by him, or at his direction, often on a personal whim. I was beginning to think that my best strategy should be to deliver quick results and then hand my notice in. I neither liked nor trusted him. Apart from anything else, I could now see that putting more effort into our website co-operative would be a more rewarding use of my time
January – Personal Life
Being at work during the day helped to take my mind off my situation at home. The house seemed empty almost all the time. Helen was still only bringing Paul on Sundays. My Mum and Dad had started calling round a couple of nights a week.
Even Helen’s Mum had phoned me a couple of times since the split. It seemed clear to me that her Mum was unhappy about the whole business. She thought that Helen had been wrong to get involved with the new man, that she’d been unreasonable in how she’d treated me and that it was unfair to keep Paul out of my life so much.
Even though I was so busy, I often found it difficult to concentrate or to remain motivated. All sorts of thoughts kept pushing their way into my consciousness.
When had this relationship between Helen and this new fella started, and how had it begun? How often had they been meeting, when and where? How had she managed to keep it so secret? I couldn’t understand how I’d missed the signs – there must have been some. I felt that I had been blind and stupid. Perhaps I really hadn’t been paying her enough attention.
Then again, questions kept troubling me about the extent of her manipulation of me. I wondered how long she’d been planning to leave and whether she’d delayed her departure merely to minimise unpleasantness over Christmas ? I asked myself whose idea that had been – and was it for her convenience or his? I still knew nothing about the other man – what was his name and where did he live? I couldn’t be sure whether she’d moved into his home or whether they’d both left their homes if, for example he’d left a family behind him at the same time?
I was starting to read all kinds of new meanings into events in the past few weeks – such as the number of times that she’d ‘worked late’. Again, had her moods over Christmas been caused by frustration at having to wait? God! So many unanswered questions.
On the second Sunday that Paul was brought to spend time with me, I learned Helen’s new address and her new love’s name – Cliff Edwards. They were living in a house on an estate of new-build detached houses. She told me the road name and number. My requests for further information were rebuffed. It was none of my business.
In the third week of January, things started to happen quite rapidly. I received an email from my solicitor with a copy of a letter that he’d received from her solicitor attached. Also attached was a letter from my solicitor containing details of his costs. The letter from her solicitor included the reason she’d provided for the separation – including ‘unreasonable behaviour’, plus I was boring, inattentive and, more recently I had been making unreasonable plans that threatened family finances. My solicitor’s letter asked me whether I wanted him to write to hers about a full financial disclosure. It spoke of negotiation and mediation (an information pamphlet was also attached). He advised me to draw up a new will, and to transfer to it funds from our joint bank account. He offered to write to Helen’s solicitor regarding my concerns about custody and childcare. Merely reading the letter gave me a headache and I had to do an internet search to learn more about some of the issues he mentioned. I still wasn’t much better off having read everything that seemed relevant and up to date, but I wrote to authorise the solicitor to do whatever was necessary. My main concern now was to keep the legal costs down and to avoid losing the house. I’d need it for Paul’s visits more than anything else.
Today’s photo is one that I took in January 2020 when I enjoyed a weekend of photography in London. This shot was one I took from the South Bank of the Thames, while walking towards London Bridge, shortly after dawn on my second day.
The Exif data are as follows: Pentax K-1 36 MP full-frame camera with a 15-30 mm f/2.8 lens at 28 mm and f/16. The shutter speed was 8 secs and the ISO 100. The shot was tripod mounted, without filters and post processing in Lightroom Classic.