It’s quite simple: whereas, to my almost certain knowledge, no one, but no one, ever read the diary, this blog is, according to ‘the stats’ read - or rather individual entries are read - by about 30 folk a day. So where before I was able, in private, to let it all hang out, to bemoan my lot, to rant and rave about the fortune life had decided to give me, now I am far more inhibited. Here everything I say is public, but how could anyone have been able to read my previous private diary? Unless someone had broken into my home and decided to make a point of searching out out a diary rather than making off - in that quaint phrase still used by newspapers, although only by newspapers - with whatever goodies and chattels they might come across, my diary would have forever remained unread. Good Lord, even I didn’t bother reading it after a particular itch had been thoroughly scratched.
On the other hand, and ironically, a blog such as this can be - and is, in fact, according to the statistics - read, by complete strangers the world over, many of whom, I’m certain, are quite content with browsing through my ramblings and have no intention whatsoever of taking any interest in my woes, let along stealing anything from me. In fact, even if they did decide to rob me blind, such an enterprise would, logistically, be not just difficult, but pretty bloody pointless. The vast majority of those who tune in live several thousand miles away: in Russia - increasingly, which is something of a mystery to me, but quite gratifying - in the United States, in the ‘Far East’ (a quaint concept that the ‘Far East’: do our cousins in Indonesia, China and Japan see us as her in the smug Western World as the ‘Far West’? I rather doubt it. I rather suspect they increasingly don’t really give a shit about what we here in the ‘Far West’ are up to).
So even if some reader or other in Turkey or India or South Africa or wherever they lay their heads at night did wake up one morning, find they had nothing better to do for a while and did tell themselves: ‘That chap whose blog I sometimes read, I wonder whether he’s got anything worth nicking?’ would they really follow it through? Answers, please, on the customary postcard. Ever so often - as now - I do rather wish that this were more of the ‘private diary’ I once kept and that I could speak personally. I do rather wish I could moan. But I am inhibited: who, except for perhaps the morons who are all so keen to perform on prime-time TV with several million watching, is all that keen to bare their soul? Not me. I am the private kind.
The point is that because my ‘private diary’ would never be read by anyone, I could step out from behind the disguise, facade, call it what you will, and record what was on my mind, what was upsetting me. Here, in this blog, I have never really felt I cold. But now I will. I have in past entries hinted that my marriage is not the best. It is not the happiest. In the best world of all possible worlds I would have hoped for better. But I also know that no marriage, and I stress ‘no marriage’ is ever trouble-free. But in a good marriage I suspect there is willing, their is a desire to improve things. That, sadly, is not unilaterally the case in my marriage.
I am, of course, very, very aware, that there are two sides to every coin, that should my wife also be writing a blog, she would quite possibly give a slightly different account of our troubles. Let me put it this way: I am not ‘a Christian’ but I do believe that what Christ said, or what he is reported to have said, is often quite wise. And one of his observations is that - I am obliged to paraphrase - we should be rather less critical of the mote in the other’s eye and rather more aware of the beam in our own eye, because all too often we are not. So please bear that in mind when you read what follows, and please bear in mind that I am very aware that I am no saint.
My wife - how do I put this? - more or less treats me as a stranger. I am, more or less invisible to her. And that’s how she likes it. She doesn’t want to know any more. She doesn’t talk to me. She discusses nothing. To sum up: we don’t have a marriage in more or less every sense of the word.
I have described, in past entries, how our marriage came about, and it was not - on my part at least - the most romantic of couplings. I discovered after we were married that long before we got to know each other, though after she had first set eyes on my, she had developed a crush on me. The trouble was that, as is almost always the case, what she imagined would come true was nothing like what did come true. The problem was, and is, that she is utterly inflexible and has been unable to adapt.
You, who is reading this, don’t know me. You don’t know my wife. All you have to go on is what I record here, but I must ask you to believe me, to trust me. I have my faults, as we all do, but I also have my virtues. I am usually quite easygoing. Yes, I can lose my rag, and, yes, I have a sharp tongue and, yes, I can be ratty. But at the end of the day I like to get on with people, I will compromise, I will make allowances, I will give way, I will start again, I won’t hold a grudge, if for no other reason that it helps to make life easier and more pleasant all round. Quite simply I like life to proceed as smoothly as possible.
My wife is - and I remind you again that this is my account, not hers, so at least be aware that I am aware of that - is more or less the opposite. To put it prosaically, choose to regard a glass as half full, she far prefers to see it as half empty: perhaps that will make some sense to you reading this. A few years ago her father fell out with his daughter-in-law and - I almost wrote ‘in a very Cornish way’ but, in fact, such thing happenings are universal - what I can only describe as a family feud developed and my wife cut her father out of her life and chose to side with her sister-in-law. He, too, became a non-person. I was astounded at her attitude. There was no compromise, no meeting halfway, nothing. The odd thing was that it wasn’t even her fight. It was just that she had aligned herself with the side he wasn’t on. Something similar has happened to me.
Whereas I was once, from afar, the apple of her eye, I am now a zero. As far as I can see my one role in her life is to pay the household bills, no more. I have, every so often, tried to discuss it with her, but that was never successful. I don’t deny that I have said some hurtful things - I have already admitted that I can have a sharp tongue - but then so has she. I shall try to describe her objectively to, perhaps, give you a fuller picture.
She is not stupid, but she is not the brightest, either, in the sense that some people have an ability to evaluate situations and see them from a variety of points of view. She can’t, or, at least, doesn’t seem to want to see anything through the other’s eyes. She is very confident in her own narrow world, supremely confident, in fact; but outside that extremely narrow world she goes to pieces. Put her in a situation in which she is unfamiliar or at a loss and she goes to pieces. People like that can, I think, develop in two ways: some become timid and cower, afraid of what might happen next. Others, and I think she is one, prefer to keep an iron grip on everything to ensure that nothing changes. She wants to make every decision to that she is certain of what is what and will have no discussion on any matter. It so happens that I - and I must again remind you that this is my account, that I am describing the mote in her eye and am quite possibly utterly unaware of the beam in mine - will choose to give way to keep the peace. I can’t pretend that situations don’t rankle, but I also really don’t want - for my own sake as much as anyone else’s - to live in a perpetually poisonous atmosphere.
. . .
This is pretty irrelevant (even though I haven’t had sex in 14 years - an invitation, girls or what!) but I have always liked these seaside pictures, both Donald McGill and Bamford.
This one is a Bamford. And if you like that one, here’s a few more: