4

This Divorced and Childless Woman’s Mother’s Day

Life is a funny old one.

What do you do on Mother’s Day when you are divorced/single and childless, and the whole world seem hell bent on celebrating their children?

This year, like I do most years, I decided to concentrate on the positive fact that I am lucky enough to have a wonderful mother who is still alive. I think of my friends who have lost their mums and I reach out to them to show some love. The day would usually pass without much drama or sadness. It is what it is.

This Mother’s Day, I had gone to bed late on Saturday night or should I say Sunday morning (2.48am bad, bad, bad, bad girl!) and around 9am on Sunday morning, in that dreamy/wakey/confused state, my door bell rang. I sleepily went to the video intercom and I could see a lady.

“I’ve got flowers.” With my eyes half closed, I couldn’t really make out the figure on the video screen.

“Flowers?” I answered sleepily as if she had just declared that she was dropping an alien from outer space on my doorstep.

“I’ve got flowers for xxxx xxxx.” My local florist said, saying my full name.

My scrabbled brain tried to decipher what on earth she was on about. My brain worked overtime trying to figure out who on earth could be sending me flowers. Various names flashed through my head and just as quickly, I discarded them. Could it have been the man I went on the date on Friday who I did not intend to see again? But he didn’t know my full name. And why on earth would he be sending me flowers? Stalker alert. Who on earth could it be from? I knew no one. I had no one. There was no one. This is odd.

“Could you please leave it on the porch?” I informed the florist whose van I could see on my video screen.

I sleepily went downstairs to the porch with the gait of a special agent about to solve the crime of the century. I would have to be extremely careful with this package. It clearly wasn’t some sort of assassination attempt as I recognised both the florist and her van. Then again it could be.

And there it was.

The most beautiful bunch of flowers I have received in longer than I can remember.

Flowers 2018

I reached for the card attached to the side. It read:

Happy Mother’s Day to our second mum.

Thank you for always being there for us.

We love you.

X Y and Z.

The flowers were from my nephews (aged 16 and 18) and my niece (aged 13)

Flower card 2018

These precious, most adorable, super awesome, generous, kind, sweetest kids have spent money they don’t have to send their auntie, a most gorgeous hand tied, bunch of flowers, timed to be hand delivered on Mother’s Day, with the increased premium.

The overwhelming gratitude and love I feel for these kids, and to my sister for raising such generous, kind, thoughtful kids, is more than I can express on this post.

I am very blessed indeed.

 

 

0

Sadness Lives Here

The last few weeks have been tough, extremely tough physically, mentally and financially.

The last week and a half have sucked serious lemons.

I had some bad news that brought about the sort of indescribable pain only someone who has been through similar situation can ever understand, and many people in my life haven’t…thankfully for them, as I wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone else, let alone anyone I care about.

As a result, I’ve withdrawn from social activities, ignored messages and phone calls, deactivated my personal Facebook, ditched social media, currently have nearly 2,000 unread messages on WhatsApp, majority of which are from a secondary school class group, and I’ve kind of tried to quieten a lot of life’s noises, as I deal with the grief of my news.

I am also acutely aware that isolation is not good for me, so hopefully, I will be back in the swing of things soon enough.

More than anything, I am physically, emotionally and financially drained but I’m a survivor, I will sort myself out soon enough.

Although the bad news isn’t directly connected with the end of my marriage, there is an indirect connection. And therefore the sadness of all of that have kind of resurfaced.

It didn’t help that when I confided the bad news to a good friend, her reaction was to go on and on and on and on about how she blames my ex for the news, how he wasted the best years of my life and how the shock of her whole life is the fact that my marriage ended when she had never met two people more in love or closer than my ex and I. In the end, I brought that conversation to an end by firmly stating that my ex was in the past and that I didn’t want to talk about him.

One lovely reader wrote on my blog that it will basically take around half the length of a relationship to get over my divorce, in my case, over 7 years. I remember reading that and thinking in defiance that there was no way in hell I would be mourning the loss of my marriage for over 7 years. No way, would I be giving a shit about someone that doesn’t give a shit about me, let alone for that length of time.

Sadly, the cycle of loss and grief are not solved by defiance and determination alone.

They have to run their course.

The fact that I still have moments, even within this past week, when the shock that my marriage ended wash over me anew, is not because I haven’t accepted its end and moved on.

It is just what it is.

I still feel sadness that someone else chose to break a marriage contract that was supposed to last until death. As a realist, I am fine that marriages end, the disgustingly appalling way my ex ended our marriage, the fact that in all things, he put a married woman he had an affair with, and had known for only four months, way above a 14 and a half years relationship, allowed this woman to be so actively involved in the ending of our marriage, including using her sister’s gutter divorce law firm for our bitter divorce battle with all the unnecessary drama of court appearances, is a double stabbing in my heart and back which will take time to heal.

As anyone who reads this blog would know, my ex ‘s big love affair didn’t even last two months after he ended our marriage (by email!) in the belief that he would waltz into the sunset with his lover. This married woman with two children, who had allegedly broken up with him four times during their four months affair, because she wasn’t happy that he was married, whilst remaining married herself, and who had promised him that if he left his wife, she would leave her husband, remains (happily?) married.

My ex and I have not spoken or emailed or had any communication whatsoever since our court proceedings were completed in November 2016.

I have zero intentions of ever contacting this man but if one day, his madness clears and he finally recognises the enormity of the pain his bad behaviour caused and continue to cause, and decides to apologise, he has my email address.

In the meantime, I will leave him to his karma. I hear she’s a bitch.

So many questions will remain forever unanswered and I am OK with it.

For example, finding out that the same week in May 2015, when my ex husband sent me an email entitled “My end game” dated May 4th, from his business trip in Singapore, saying that our marriage had ended and he wasn’t coming back home, a mail written with such bad grammar and weird formatting, it was obviously written by someone like his lover who learnt English as an adult, was the very same week, Mylien, the married woman he had an affair with, completed buying a new house in Woking (May 6th) which she owns jointly with her husband. Buying a massive 4 bedroom, 5 reception, 3 bathroom house, costing £815,000, two days after helping your lover to draft an email to his wife ending his marriage, is not exactly the act of a woman about to run off into the sunset.

Another suspicion is that by the time I discovered this four month affair, my ex may not have known the real name of this married woman who he had met on an internet dating website for single people. He had very easily and earnestly told me her name was Lilly Wong, and used this name in emails, at a time he was allegedly being truthful and confessing everything about the affair. This man is either even more of a dangerous snake of a liar or he completely changed, and I can go as far as to use the word “ruined” his life, for a woman from the internet, whose real name he didn’t even know. I wouldn’t know either of the options to bet on…anything is possible.

And how is my ex forging that new path and soaring those new heights he taunted me with wishing to do without me hampering his progress?

Has his life become so wonderfully amazing without me in it?

Has he found someone to swim in the sea with? Something he had taunted me with.

Does he wake up every morning with the biggest smiles on his face, a sense of purpose, a life well lived and the knowledge that ditching me and our marriage made him the happiest man alive?

Is his life filled with love, joy, music, laughter, sunshine, dinner parties, social interactions with his 14 Facebook friends? You’ve got to admire a man who defiantly stays on Facebook (after losing my family and friends) with 14 Facebook friends majority of whom are people he hasn’t seen in over 20 years. As one of his Facebook friends calls his account…”pathetic”.

Enough of my rambling rant. Hopefully letting it all out here will help ease some of the pain of this week.

Life must continue to move on with my changed circumstances.

I must continue to deal with the fact that the life plans have drastically changed because someone else choose to lie, deceive, betray, ultimately end a marriage with so much unnecessary pain and drama, and be woefully unaware that they behaved badly.

I will continue to work on my life.

I will grieve and get over my bad news and keep moving on.

I will continue to work on choosing to be happy, leaving the past firmly buried in the past and trying my best to forget and rebuild.

I will try and use those lemons to make some lemonade.

I will try. I will, I will.

0

Life is for Living! My best is yet to come…

I have not written in my diary since May.

I’m not entirely sure why as I have a lot to report and yet, I’m just quietly getting on with life.

Thank you to those of you who have been in touch privately and to all of you who continue to follow me, even with months of silence. xx

 

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Last week, a friend contacted me saying that she wanted to speak to someone who has been through a difficult divorce. My first thought reading her message was that this divorce thing has become an epidemic. I had only seen her two months ago at my party (see below). It looks like no one is immune from marriage breakdown or worse still, difficult ones.

I want to use this post to say to anyone who is going through a difficult relationship or marriage breakdown, bereavement or any sort of loss; this will hurt like nothing has ever hurt you.

You may feel the sort of emotional and even physical pain you have never felt before.

But the one thing that I can absolutely, hand on heart promise you, is that it will definitely get easier.

The end of my marriage was the most devastating thing that has ever happened to me. I felt debilitating emotional and physical pain, I did not even know were humanly possible to feel, let alone possible to survive.

Last year, June 5th, 2016, on what would have been my 12th wedding anniversary, I wrote my darkest post. That post caused a lot of upset, and reading it now, it still feels sad, but I felt the sort of somewhat detached sadness you feel reading about something that has happened to someone else. That is a massive growth.

Warning: may cause upset. For completion, you can read that post here, and its follow-up written just three days later.

This brings me to the main point that I would like to make. No matter how dark things may seem, even when you reach rock bottom like I did, things will definitely get better.

Last wedding anniversary, June 5th 2016, I wanted to die. I couldn’t see a way out from the emotional pain of my divorce, or the physical pain I was feeling.

A year later, June 5th, 2017, I genuinely did not even realise what day it was until I needed to check the date on some chicken, to put in the freezer. And even after I realised what day it was, I continued with my mundane tasks unperturbed.

Life feels like it has moved on and what better way to do so than to have a party?! 🙂

And so, in July, I had a belated birthday and divorce celebration party, putting an end to the whole sorry saga of the end of my marriage.

It was a truly magical night of music, food, cake, champagne, drinks, laughter and dancing into the early mornings in a marquee erected in the garden, complete with dancing floor, lights and smoke machine…why the hell not…:-)

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I was surrounded by good friends and wonderful family, my mum, my sisters, niece and nephews.

On the afternoon of my party, I had the surprise of my life when my little sister flew in from where she lives overseas to attend my party. All my family, including my 7 year old nephew, knew she was coming to my party, and they all managed to completely hide it from me.

I sobbed like a baby when I saw her, but they were tears of joy.

After the party, my home was filled with flowers from friends.

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The next day, I had the enviable task of opening a mountain of presents.

What a lucky girl I am.

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I guess the whole night can be summed up by one song…

I will Survive, which followed my speech. There was a frenzy defiance of loud singing, dancing, and me, singing along with a microphone…as you do. I have watched the video of this part of the night countless times – the powerful feat of survival.

I will survive.

I have survived.

I am surviving.

I’m not saying that my life is now a bed of roses or that there are not challenges, even sometimes on a daily basis.

I’m not saying that I don’t get moments when I feel waves of sadness, not only that my marriage ended but that it ended in a way that I cannot even cherish the thoughts of the years with my ex given that by his own words, he was online dating and looking “for a way out” throughout our 14.5 years relationship.

Of course I’m sad that the way my marriage ended means that there has been zero contact between my ex and I since November 2016, when we concluded the withdrawal of his ridiculous case for the Mac computer, we used to share.

Of course I feel sadness that my marriage ended as no one gets married intending it to fail.

I feel sadness that I invested 14.5 years of my short life on a man I cannot even text in an emergency, and yet, I have somehow managed to stay friendly with all other significant exes, including a violent, abusive ex, who had the grace to apologise sincerely for his actions.

Of course I feel sad that the last time I saw my ex, he excused all his bad behaviour as acting under “legal advisement” and blatantly did not recognise just how badly he had behaved, let alone deem it fit to render an apology for his actions.

But I am well adjusted, positive and I am not bitter about the past.

I do not need an apology from my ex to continue to rebuild my life nor do I need an explanation for why he really behaved like he did.

I’m not the first woman lied to, betrayed, hurt or devastated by a man she trusted implicitly, and I won’t be the last.

I am most definitely a better and stronger person than I was during my marriage. I recognise strengths and growths in my life that certainly were not there before.

I am also very excited and a little daunted about a new project that I start in exactly two weeks. Perhaps one day, when I can, I will write more about it. If it works, it will certainly be life changing. But however it pans out, I am very proud of myself for being brave enough to embark on a journey that would take me through uncharted and uncertain territories.

I am proud of myself for making things happen.

I am proud of myself for not allowing the end of my marriage to be the end of my dreams.

I am proud of myself…and it’s OK to remind myself of that fact.

And like my fabulous cake says, Life is For Living! The best is yet to come…

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4

Day 737 – Men Who Kill Their Wives

I haven’t written in a while.

I’m not entirely sure why.

Perhaps because I haven’t felt the need to lay bare all my innermost thoughts.

Perhaps because life has just been ticking on.

I don’t know why.

Today however, I feel compelled to write by the news that the partner of the writer Helen Bailey has been found guilty of her murder. This news has shocked me to the core and it is so very sad that this lady, who thought she had found her happy ending, after the 2011 death of her husband while they were on holiday in Barbados, will be so tragically killed by the widower she had met through her grief, for what seems to be for financial gain.

I read Helen’s story thinking, there but for the grace of God go I…

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Last week, I finally watched a TV drama I had recorded last year, called the Secret.

This is based on the true story of the deeply religious Irish dentist, Colin Howell, who in 1991, together with the married woman he was having an affair with, Hazel Stewart, another church member, conspired to kill both of their spouses, his wife Lesley, and mother of his four children, including a nine month old baby, and Trevor, the father of his lover’s two children, a boy and a girl.

They believed killing their spouses would allow them to live happily ever after.

They were wrong.

Colin and Hazel literally got away with murder as the police and coroners bought into their faked joint suicides for their spouses. Their sordid affair lasted a couple more years, before being ended by his lover. Such was her guilt after the deaths, that they would even have consensual sex with her gassed on his dentist’s chair, so that he could have his way with her, without her being consumed with guilt.

10 years after the murders, this dentist, confessed to his second wife, a mother of two, with whom he went on to have five more children, about the murders. She chose to keep quiet and went on to have four more children with this murderer, to add to the one child they had together at the time.

Nearly 20 years after the murders, Colin voluntarily confessed to the police after believing that God was punishing him following the death of his first son Matt, and being swindled out of around £350,000. He had previously had “signs” that had convinced him that God had forgiven him for the murders.

He had admitted being haunted by his wife calling the name of 5 year old Matt as he strangled her.

He also voluntarily confessed to sexually assaulting several patients while they were under anaesthetics.

He was sentenced to 21 years in prison after pleading guilty to the murders.

But for his confessions, these murders would never have been discovered.

His lover Hazel who pleaded not guilty, was later found guilty of both murders and sentenced to 18 years.

His second wife who had chosen to keep quiet about her murderous husband, escaped prosecution. She moved back to the US, where she was originally from.

Some men kill.

Some men kill their wives. 

Women kill too.

And while I admit that this post might seem like possibly the biggest admission that I have made in this blog, I firmly believe that I could easily have joined the statistics of the many women (and men) who have been killed by their supposedly loving spouses or partners, who found the idea of murder, more palatable than divorce or merely ending a relationship.

As my marriage disintegrated in 2015, my ex husband would make countless comments about killing me.

I was distressed by these comments and he would say he was merely “joking”.

He said on three occasions that it was a shame I was on a diet as he was no longer cooking for me and therefore, could not poison me.

At the last minute, he changed travel plans on our last holiday over Easter 2015 to Milan, supposedly to work on our marriage when unbeknown to me, he was sending his lover £70 flowers and expensive chocolates. He chose to drive to the airport, instead of taking a taxi, and when I queried why, given as we would always take taxis to airports, he referred to a story about a man who had killed his wife by carefully crashing their car, having removed her seatbelt, just beforehand. He insisted he was joking.

His several “jokes” about killing me and how my death would be easier than divorce, were such that before travelling to Milan, I had written a long email to my sister referencing all his comments and the dates they were made, and giving her our travel details, something I had never done before. I wrote that if anything happened to me in Milan, she should hand my email over to the police.

I had felt very unsafe with this man and I was resolved, like I said in that email, that after Milan, I would have to decide whether my marriage was worth saving given all the “jokes” about my death.

The seriousness of my email to my sister was such that she expected me to be checking in with my family frequently, during that trip. On one occasion when she hadn’t heard from me for a few hours, because I was out and about and didn’t have internet or whatsapp access, she had been worried enough to have rung my hotel several times, leaving messages for me to make urgent contact, as well as shared her concerns with another sister.

In Milan, my ex husband would “joke” about pushing me from the top of the Duomo Cathedral. He refused to climb to the top on his own, when I was unable to explore with him which was unusual as he wouldn’t normally object to exploring on his own.

Perhaps more telling was the one night in Milan, when I was violently sick all night, throwing up and with serious diarrhoea, while my ex husband slept very peacefully beside me. This happened the only time I had eaten or drunk anything bought solely by my ex in my absence. That night, he had brought some latte back to the hotel for both of us and yet, I was the only one who had been so violently ill.

I have no doubt whatsoever that my ex had tried to poison me on that day.

As our marriage crumbled during that holiday, my ex insisted on taking me out shopping, going from street to street, all very carefully mapped out by him.

It was a most bizarre day when he insisted on buying anything I as much as looked at. Several handbags including an expensive Prada bag, several sandals and shoes including Jimmy Choo shoes, expensive Jo Malone perfumes, expensive Acqua di Parma toiletries and all sorts of unneeded vulgar spending.

I have no doubt whatsoever as I took photos of the ridiculous shopping bags through my tears, that these were my ex’s defence of how could I have killed my wife? I love my wife. Can’t you see all the things that I bought her?

Four days after our return from Milan, on a Sunday, my ex insisted that Sunday morning on visiting the seaside, instead of a hike he had planned. He “joked” several times about pushing me from the pier into the sea to drown given that I can’t really swim.

After he left our former home, I would find a knife inside my ex husband’s drawer on his side of the beside table, of the bed we slept together.

When I asked him what a knife was doing inside his bedside table, and sent him a picture of the knife, he lied and insisted that he had never had a knife in the drawer that he used exclusively at the time.

This is a long post with all sorts of serious comments but my aim isn’t to depress myself and all my readers.

I describe my ex husband as “evil”. That ugly word is not a word I use lightly.

I do not believe that this man has always been “evil”.

I still believe that he went through and might still be going through, some sort of mental breakdown.

But the person who I strongly believed wanted to kill me and who did all the heartbreaking things during our divorce is an “evil” man capable of anything, including cold blooded murder.

I am not without blame as I should have gotten him out of my life the very first time he “joked” about killing me, let alone the countless references and the seemingly well thought out scenariors he painted, as to how he might have killed me.

I should have reported his comments immediately to the police.

I should have immediately gone to the police and been tested on return to the UK or even in Milan, on the night I firmly believe he tried to poison me.

But to be fair to myself, at the time, I was not aware of the lengths this man could go through, or just how evil, he truly is/was.

When I read these stories of men and women, who haven’t survived being murdered by their nearest, closest and most trusted spouses, I thank God that I came out of my marriage with my life.

I thank God that my mum and siblings do not have to spend their lives mourning me and wondering whether my death was really an accident, as described, or murder.

I thank God for the gift of life.

May Helen and all the men and women like her, murdered by their spouses and partners, rest in perfect peace.

This is still a diet blog, and as such, I should really write about my diet.

This year has been full of ups and downs on the diet front but right now, I am on it. I’m not stressing about the fact that I wasn’t on it last week.

I fail, I restart and I keep going.

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

It’s been a very long time since my last post.

I have been extremely busy in the last couple of months and perhaps I will write more about all that sometime in the New Year. All I can say for now, is that I am so very proud of myself, and the success of a brainwave, which has not only given me immense satisfaction but also some much needed income.

As I take stock of the year that I have had, forgive me if I abandon all modesty, and say that I am so incredibly proud of myself and all that I have achieved this year.

Time means that this is only a short post to say thank you for all the love and support I’ve had from all of you this year, on this blog, the countless private emails I have received, and in all the ways some of you have engaged with me.

thank you

I also want to wish you all a wonderful Christmas and all the very best in the New Year.

For my Jewish readers, happy Hanukkah!

I will write more in the New Year but for now, I will bask in love, family, friendship and having a magical and happy Christmas.

Have a great time, whatever you’re doing and wherever you are.

Lots of love,

Belle xxx

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0

Day 633: Brexit Part 2 – An American Tragedy.

America? Seriously? President Trump? WTF.

The leader of the free world is a racist, sexist, bigot who makes fun of the disabled, people of colour, Muslims, a xenophobe, a scallywag, a cheat, a liar, an adulterer, a man who believes sexual assault and degradation of women is acceptable locker room talk, a self obsessed, selfish, self serving, despicable billionaire who has tapped into hate  and division to win the biggest office in the world.

What a sad day for humanity.

I want to order a big pizza and eat cake but what is the point of that? So, I shall stick to my diet.

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This article from the New Yorker says it all. Some extracts below. Click below to read more.

An American Tragedy

“The election of Donald Trump to the Presidency is nothing less than a tragedy for the American republic, a tragedy for the Constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism. Trump’s shocking victory, his ascension to the Presidency, is a sickening event in the history of the United States and liberal democracy. On January 20, 2017, we will bid farewell to the first African-American President—a man of integrity, dignity, and generous spirit—and witness the inauguration of a con who did little to spurn endorsement by forces of xenophobia and white supremacy. It is impossible to react to this moment with anything less than revulsion and profound anxiety.”

“There are, inevitably, miseries to come: an increasingly reactionary Supreme Court; an emboldened right-wing Congress; a President whose disdain for women and minorities, civil liberties and scientific fact, to say nothing of simple decency, has been repeatedly demonstrated. Trump is vulgarity unbounded, a knowledge-free national leader who will not only set markets tumbling but will strike fear into the hearts of the vulnerable, the weak, and, above all, the many varieties of Other whom he has so deeply insulted. The African-American Other. The Hispanic Other. The female Other. The Jewish and Muslim Other. The most hopeful way to look at this grievous event—and it’s a stretch—is that this election and the years to follow will be a test of the strength, or the fragility, of American institutions. It will be a test of our seriousness and resolve.”

 

2

Day 626: The Engagement Ring – All That Glitters Is not Gold

In my pre-divorce life, I was the most romantic person I knew.

Nothing gave me more pleasure than surprising my ex partner with romantic gestures, big, small and sometimes, outlandishly extravagant.

And as such, Valentine’s Day as stupidly commercialised as it is, was my thing.

Not necessarily going out to dinner with all the other doe-eyed lovers but making it a day to remember, cooking romantic meals at home, complete with typed menus and all sorts and of course, the gifts.

Like the picture below in 2014, when my ex came home to a three course meal, roses from the garden and champagne. For dessert, I had baked heart shaped chocolate cakes and heart shaped shortbread biscuits. I had also made strawberries dipped in melted chocolates and served with fresh mint.

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Now of course when I think of Valentine’s Day, I remember 2015.

My ex husband had come home from work around 3.30 am on Valentine’s day morning. I had cooed and sympathised with “my poor love” working all night. In the morning, we had exchanged gifts, his, as extravagant as always, including a Louboutin, which I had gushed was so totally me. I declared that it was one of the most thoughtful presents he had ever given me. He had worked that Saturday, and that evening, we had gone out to dinner at Hakkasan Mayfair, which used to be our favourite restaurant – so sacred, he took his mistress there.

I would later find taxi receipts that showed that he had not worked until the early morning that day, but had made the long taxi ride from his mistress’s marital home in Weybridge.

I would also later find receipts that showed that he had bought two of the much complimented Louboutin – one for me, and one for his mistress.

I digress.

And so, given Ms Romantic here, my ex husband knew that I would love the idea of being proposed to on Valentine’s Day. But he also found the whole day understandably, somewhat tacky.

That year, 2003, I had been expectant. We had been dating for two years. We were loved up and very happy. We had discussed marriage. I thought if he was going to propose, he would do it on that day. I even secretly bought two Valentine’s Day card. One addressed to my boyfriend and the other, to my fiance.

That Valentine’s day passed without a whisper of a proposal and I had lost hope but it had been a wonderful day nevertheless.

At one minute to midnight on Valentine’s day, after a wonderful, romantic evening where we had stuffed our faces with a 4 course meal, my ex wanted me to open a heart shaped Godiva chocolate. I was stuffed. I said no. He insisted. I finally opened this box of chocolate and inside was the most exquisite, beautiful ring.

It was one of the few occasions I was truly speechless.

Over the years, the engagement story regaled the tale of my ex husband proposing just before midnight, to give me the romantic Valentine’s Day proposal he knew I wanted but still far removed from the tackiness and cliche of a Valentine’s Day proposal, to satisfy him.

I wore and loved that sparkly ring with so much pleasure for 12 years, until last year happened when I cast it away, together with my wedding ring, into a box with all sorts of cheap jewellery.

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So…what does one do with an engagement ring that represented all that love, romance, hope and optimism for the future, when things go so terribly wrong?

I felt that I had four options:

  1. Wear the ring in a different hand;
  2. Pay a jeweller to convert it to a necklace;
  3. Keep it and gift it to one of my nieces; or
  4. Sell it.

I chose Option 4.

My ex had paid £3,250 in 2003 for this ring from Ernest Jones, plus another £100 for insurance, and I therefore expected that the diamond would have appreciated in 13 years. I had high hopes of getting some pennies for this much loved, beautiful, sparkly ring.

I couldn’t find the certificate but I was certain given the price paid and the beauty of the ring, that it was good quality, after all the ring was from Ernest Jones.

I fantasied that it was colour IF and clarity D, after all my ex liked good quality things and would have done his research about the 4Cs of diamond buying. Google gave me fantastic values for a 1.02 carat, round brilliant cut diamond with colour IF and clarity D.

My bubble that selling this ring might pay my mortgage for a few months was well and truly bursted when I finally found the certificate at the weekend.

I was stunned.

It was a poor quality diamond. 1.02 carat diamond set on yellow and white 18 carat gold. Colour J, Clarity P1. Several online websites gave me the abysmal amount to expect for the diamond.

Surely everyone knows about the 4Cs of diamonds? How did my ex pay such a ridiculous price for such poor diamond?

Shame on you Ernst Jones.

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On Monday, I continued my research by calling several diamond buyers in Hatton Gardens – the diamond capital of the UK. One told me that the most I would expect to sell, would be £800. Others told me that they would not buy because no one wants such poor quality diamond.

Another charming man, spent a long time on the phone advising me and suggested that I should not bring along the certificate if I came to see him or anyone else because with the card, no one would want to buy the diamond and if they did, the most I would get would be £650 to £800.

And so, yesterday, following my first mammogram near Harley Street, I set off to Hatton Gardens to try and sell my diamond engagement ring and wedding ring.

I also had a potential reputable buyer who after seeing photographs had declared she was “highly interested.”

The so called buyer offered me £200 for the engagement ring my ex paid £3,250 in 2003. 

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After the offer of £200, I went to several other shops in Hatton Gardens trying to flog the engagement and wedding rings. Quite a few buyers refused to buy because of the poor diamond quality.

One buyer finally offered me £625 for both rings. I decided to keep trying other shops.

One Asian man saw me, started asking me personal questions, including why I was selling. I told him that I was newly divorced. He said he respected me and the fact that I was a determined lady making the best of difficult circumstances. He was philosophical about life, saying that we die with nothing and have to help each other whenever we can.

He said that he felt drawn to me when he saw me and that something in him told him to help me out because everything in life isn’t about money.

He stated that he would offer me the price he would sell my diamond for and not the buying price.

I confess that I was cynical. I thought he might have perfected the gift of sweet talk. I knew the full potential price of the diamond ring. The only offers I had received were for £200 and £625. What could this man offer?

For whatever reason best known to this wonderfully kind man, he offered to buy my engagement and wedding ring for £1,400; more than double the best price that I had received on the day.

Me of little faith.

I am grateful to this stranger and I pray that he is rewarded a millionfold for his kindness and generosity especially as he had admitted that business had been slow in the last few months post Brexit.

“Diamond is not food. People don’t need diamond to eat. The economy is bad. No one is buying diamond.”

Yesterday, I also sold some scrap gold to the same man for £500. Once again, he had given me a much better price than what I was offered by every single other shop I had visited, including my so called buyer who had offered £235.

The scrap gold consisted of a broken gold necklace, 2 broken gold bracelets, one single gold earring (I couldn’t find its pair) and 1 pair of gold earrings I hadn’t worn in years which my ex’s mum had given me just before our wedding in 2004. I didn’t like the earrings and had only worn them once or twice. When I found them at the weekend, one was broken. 

I also had other glittering, sparkly “gold” jewellery that were revealed by the jeweller’s tests not to be real gold.

All that glitters is not gold.

Coming back home with £1,900 consisting of £1,300 cash and £600 cheque, I was very tired, cold, (I had been going up and down Hatton Garden in the cold and light rain), very emotional and wondering who this person was, who had gathered and sold unwanted broken gold jewellery, having researched the price of scrap gold, and who had researched the price of diamond, and had bettered her realistic estimates for both diamond and gold.

I am so proud of my little self.

And so today, I went to the bank to deposit £1,900 from jewellery that had been languishing in various boxes.

I am grateful to this divorce for opening my eyes to so many new things.