THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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The blogger at bay

The second Mrs P., who led me from my grief at the death of Mrs P. to a new and briefly happy life, has left me. She met a new man at her work. 

Our age difference (almost thirty years) was always a risk. For years before we married I told her that – good though it was for me – our relationship would never work for her in the long-term and that she should find someone more suitable. A religious friend told me I was selfishly putting my own happiness before hers; denying her the prospect of a full life, children etc. I was too weak to take his advice to break it off for her sake.

Perhaps it really was selfish on my part. I tried not to fall in love with her, but failed. I convinced myself that she knew her own mind and that – crazy though it seemed – I was blessed. So much for that nonsense.

Today I am paying the price. I am the old fool there is no fool like and this feels like the end of more than just my marriage. When I told one of my best friends – a younger man I mentored long ago – it was noticeable how quickly he passed from sympathy to boasting of his own achievements. In that moment, I felt like a wounded old lion, skulking off into the veldt to die alone.

My sense of loss is in some ways greater than when Mrs P. died. She, after all, did not choose to leave me. That thirty year relationship was fraught at times and far from perfect. I was no more the ideal husband than she was the ideal wife, but – robustly critical as she often was – she did not reject me like this. Unlike our daughters whose reaction to my remarrying was implacably hostile. They refused to come to the wedding and have mostly spurned me ever since. Another price I pay for folly.

I am not sure what this development means for an already-faltering blog. In COVID times, it's become apparent that the vast majority of my fellow-citizens are as far from my view of politics, economics, justice and morality as it is possible to be. I was already posting infrequently because I felt my cause was lost. The pontificating of a broken and bitter old man is even less likely to win anyone over. 

I shall read and write a little every day. I shall exercise and try to take care of my health. I shall focus on my hobbies and perhaps make a solitary road trip or two. The story took a dark turn but it is not ended yet. 


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Oh, Tom, I'm sorry to hear that. There is nothing more tiresome than being proven right. She may have felt that she had to make a hard-nosed choice now, but at least you'll always know that she originally saw something that over-rode the age gap. It sounds like you had fun in the interim, too.

Your daughters will likely come round. It will be their chance to explain to their Dad why they knew best all along. Some humble pie might be needed though.

And please keep blogging.

Lord T

Tom, Sorry to hear of this.

I'd not ponder too long on what went wrong. It will do you no good. This happens no matter what the age difference and I know a couple that have worked out. At least you were being honest with yourself and her, she wasn't or didn't fully appreciate the situation so you although you had an issue with the age difference and based on her feedback took a risk and it didn't pay off. She had told you it was OK and thought she could handle it and she was wrong.

Best wishes are with you in this. Don't let it be the end chapter in your book.


We've been instructed by Julia to pop by and offer best wishes, and I know better than to get on the wrong side of her, so here they are.

It is infuriating when people don't behave as they should, but micro-manageable automata wouldn't be terribly appealing either, I suppose. I know the admiration and appreciation of strangers is no substitute for a fulfilling intimate relationship, but you do have the former in spades, for what it's worth.

We're all rooting for you.


Sorry to hear of your problems. Human relationships are extremely complex...and difficult. However I think your daughters are entirely wrong to spurn you; you are their blood, and father. Compassion is surely appropriate.
Also, I think you are wrong that the majority of your fellow citizens do not share your views. I think a large number do; hence the Referendum result. But the MSM neither reflect or impartially report those views. Someone must and you do it rather well.
Whilst not a Churchill "fan", he was a good "when you're going through hell, keep going".


It's a brave thing to share such pain. It will ease.
I come across people whose families are fractured and find it very sad. I hope that you and your daughters reconcile.
There will, I'm sure, be many readers, like myself, who open your blog in the hope of a new post but who seldom comment. We should, so that you know that your writing is appreciated. I hope that you keep going.


I am sad to hear that the Second Mrs P has left you for another.

It is human nature to feel the need for someone to connect with and make us feel alive. We all seek love and affection. As it turns out Mrs P No. 2 was not a soul mate for you.

My best advice for you is for you to try to reconnect with your daughters xx


I am so sorry Tom and deeply shocked. I have no sage advice to give you, just a listening ear as always and a big hug. Life will go on. Remember the good times and there were many. No regrets.

Devil’s Kitchen

My dear Paine,

I’m sorry about this: one does not like to think of Paine’s pain. Do, please, drop me a line is you fancy a consolatory beer or four — during which session we may discuss the situation or never mention it.

You know where to find me…


David Bishop

I think you are being too hard on yourself, and (perhaps understandably given the circumstances) are judging yourself by one criterion only: your age - firstly vis-a-vis your second wife and secondly per se. Yet you are a multifaceted individual, and I expect that you will harness your talents and experience to good purpose once the pain of this blow recedes. Like others above, I certainly would like to read more from you not less - I opened the email as soon as I saw it, leaving many others unopened.

I know you not, yet feel I do, as the principles and values you have so eruditely written about are shared widely yet quietly by a great many of us, as friends have commented above.

I wish you well.


What you do here is worthwhile.

'Say not the struggle nought availeth,
The labour and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
And as things have been they remain...'
- I can't read the last verse without choking. Churchill used it too.

Lick your wounds, lion, and come back again.

Johnny Howson

How rotten. So sorry.

I do hope you continue blogging. Your views and values mirror just express them with better fluency than I can manage.

Good luck.

Steve Lindsey

Don’t beat yourself up. It’s time for more blogging not less

James Higham

Ah Tom, Tom, Tom. Yes. I just add my voice to t'others, young chap.


Really sorry to hear this. Take time out for yourself, don't forget there WERE good times as well as the current bad ones.

And to echo Sam Vara, keep blogging. We've lost too many good ones now.

JuliaM (Ambush Predator)


Maybe but actuarially I probably don't have long enough to reach that wise view. Thanks.

Sam Vara

I'm very sorry to hear this. Lots of us have been there; loss in one or another of its many forms is ubiquitous. I hope you find consolation somehow.

Please don't give up the blogging. If you find it worthwhile to write, I certainly find it rewarding to read.

Will Williams

I am sorry that this has happened to you. What I want to say is that your writing is always of great quality and interest to me as one of your readers and do please keep that up.


Baron Jackfield

Sorry to hear about your personal disaster. I was in exactly the same position some years ago, similar age-gap, similar heart-searching, similar outcome... As "Eugenides" says, things do get better... Eventually.

Please don't give up blogging. You might feel that you are at serious odds with your fellow-citizens but I read your writings and feel greatly relieved that I'm not the only one to have such opinions and views.

Mark in Mayenne

Is it not better to have loved and lost, etc?

Mr Eugenides

From an old comrade… sorry to hear it. Better days lie ahead.


Take time off. Reflect. Look at the good times, as well as the bad. I’m sure there were plenty.

And come back refreshed. Good blogs are getting thinner and thinner on the ground!

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