I married Elaine on June 6th 1970. We had two sons, Paul, born in 1974 and David
in 1977. My life seemed complete, with a career as Service Manager for a large equipment manufacturer in Wandsworth, London. Clearly, I could not foresee the future, but events conspired to make me review my life direction.
My challenge arrived when my employer suggested that I might like to change careers within the organisation and move over to a sales role. I was interested because it seemed to offer a higher salary, job satisfaction/challenge, and a new way of life that would benefit my family and myself. I was asked to consider taking a job that could either be based in Bournemouth or Birmingham.
I set out to consider my options. Both areas were inviting, but the economics of the
offer meant that Birmingham was the better one. The challenge was simple, if I selected Birmingham, would it be accepted by my wife and two sons, would they move with me, or would it destroy the family?
Advice came from a close friend I could talk to on the phone, although she and her family lived overseas. One Saturday morning, I phoned and discussed the choices open to me. Her advice was to explain to Elaine that this opportunity was rare and would turn out well, that I had no desire to split the family up, but that I honestly felt we should all go.
What a challenge, such high stakes, so what did I do?
I took the advice, started the new job in Birmingham on April 1st 1980, and lived in a
hotel for three months before our house in Surrey was sold, and we bought a new home in Worcestershire. I rose to the biggest challenge I had ever had up until that point.
Sadly, it did not all go well because in 1983 Elaine decided she wanted a divorce.
That was major challenge number two; what do I do now? As before, I took the advice
of close friends, stayed living in the family home for a short while (this was very
hard to do ), and then began the story of the rest of my life.
I fell in love with the lady who was losing her husband to my wife, a situation I had no prior warning of, and nor did she! A business colleague advised me to at least move in with her as a lodger and see what might happen. Diane had three girls, and I had two boys; would five children be easy? The story ended well, as we are now almost 38 years married, have a wonderful family, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, what a result.
Do I have regrets? Very few.
Have I succeeded in overcoming my challenges? Well, you be the judge… but I think so.