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Ancient Feet: 63 - Not Much Maturity

A domestic problem is resolved on a long walk from one side of England to the other.

Alan Nolan continues his unmissable account of a coast-to-coast trek with his mates.

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As a consequence of his early start, he had arrived at the Lion well before lunchtime. There had been little for him to do during the day but at least he felt safe. We commiserated with him and pondered whether he should report the incident to the police, but I think he just wanted to try and forget about it so we didn't ask him any more about it.

After catching up with Don's news, we finally went inside for a drink and to find out how England were doing in the Test. We had not heard anything all day and the television in the bar was simply showing re-runs of earlier play. Bad light had stopped play in London and there had been hardly any play during the afternoon. This was good news for England who just needed a draw. After a while, play was abandoned for the day with England, batting for the second time, holding a small lead but the final day's play was going to be crucial. If Australia could bowl England out cheaply, they still had a chance of winning the match and keeping the Ashes.

Tom and Joe arrived and were astonished to hear Don's story but pleased that he was safe and seemingly in good spirits now. After another drink, we made our way to our rooms and I was again sharing with Paul. We took it in turns to make use of the en-suite facilities and I went down to the bar whilst Paul took his turn. I was soon joined by Don, who looked far less anxious than earlier.

'I'm glad I've caught you on your own. I wanted to talk to you,' he said ominously, as I mentally dusted off my counselling manual once again.
'Last night's trauma made me realise exactly what I've got and I don't think I could cope without Jane. I didn't get much sleep and spent a lot of time thinking about what you said the other day and you were right. We needed to talk, so I phoned as soon as I got here,' he said.

'And?' I prompted.

'Well, I told her all about what happened last night first and she seemed genuinely concerned about me, so I took the plunge and told her I love her, just like you told me.'

'And?' I prompted again, not sure I wanted to know any more. If this had gone wrong, I would be in serious shit.

'She said she loves me too; more than I could ever know. All this time I've believed she was thinking I'm a failure and blaming me for the fact that she had to go back to work, when she's been reproaching herself,' he said.

'How come?' I asked.

'She's always been in charge of our joint finances and she thought I blamed her for not saving more when we were both working.'

'So,' I said, putting on my most sage expression, 'you've been reproaching yourself and, because you blamed yourself, you believed that Jane blamed you as well, which made you very defensive and prickly about any criticism, which was why you could never hold a sensible conversation about it.'

'Something like that,' he replied, with a regretful smirk.

'And,' I continued, exuding wisdom, now getting into this deep and thoughtful counselling stuff, 'at the same time, Jane was reproaching herself and, because she blamed herself, she believed that you blamed her as well, which made her defensive and prickly about any criticism, which was -why she could never hold a sensible conversation about it.'

'I think so,' he said.

'Not much maturity in your house, is there?' I concluded.


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