Project1: Icebreaker talk

Open On January 1st 2011

I was 53 and a half ( in January and I had been born in Leicester in March 1967. I was 26 stone and had no physical outlets between a sedentary office job, a car, and domestic life. My roles were office utility or domestic appliance – take your pick.


I married my wife in April 2002 on the 36thanniversary of my parents wedding. We met of a muddy walk in January of the millennium as the practical farmer sort pulling the not so practical artist sort out of the mud.  She remembers me as the strong rugged sensible type who carried a warm smile and could keep an informed conversation going. I remember her as the arty girl who had intractable problems with a boyfriend called Paul and who, whilst giving me her number, introduced me to her lift -a guy called Paul. We courted on the Modern-Jive and Blues partner dance scene. Her seduction technique was to ‘need’ me to help on her fine art degree show as a dance partner/model for her video installation. In hindsight I am impressed her one time fiance and soon to be ex Paul did the camera work.

In time our children arrived:

Apr 2005 L. A. M. W.

Aug 2006 C. E. F. W. C.

Jan 2008 S. C. M. E.

Yes that three kids in two years nine months, one every 16 months. The dreaded three under three and we were both in our 40s. I could tell you that each of the children was born a bit too early and we had not got our naming shortlist down to one or two names. At the time I was convinced that their forenames would be the names that they were known by. If I wanted a pet name I would name them as such. I despair at the corruptions of, say Elizabeth. In reality I took a tip from Royal circles and included names from all grand parent’s lines. That tips you off to the fact that I’ve taken a strong interest in my family history. My fathers family can be traced via Gainsborough to Derbyshire to Sanderstead and to the Norman Conquest and then, speculatively, further to Charlemagne. I embody these values in my children.


In late 2008 we moved to N Bucks to be closer to work and away from a one bedroom flat in N Herts and a master bedroom surrounded by three cots. Where we live is a semi urban rural market town with 90% of all your needs in walking distance and a coherent history and community. However, typically in commuter towns the families are tightly defined, but the social connections between them are weak. Compare that to say the rural areas of West Wales, which are far more socially organic – much as rural England might have been a century ago. My parents are in Malta, and my siblings are in the Channel Islands. My wife’s immediate family members are dead bar her mother who is in her 70s in a sheltered housing flat in near us. We find ourselves at the end of a weak extended social support network

Sleep Deprivation

On the first of January I had been through a period of 2085 nights of sleep depravation and disruption.  That is nine days longer than in took for the Brits to win World War Two and 518 days longer than it took for us to win World War One.

Nicole Bieske, a spokeswoman for Amnesty International Australia, has stated, “At the very least, sleep deprivation is cruel, inhumane and degrading. If used for prolonged periods of time it is torture.

The symptoms of sleep deprivation include; confusion, memory lapse and loss, obesity, depression, headaches, malaise, irritability, and stress.


The massive investment in our family at a mature age had led into an extended perfect storm of isloation, exhaustion, and sleep deprivation.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email