Told You So 8 – In the UK: The Birth Certificate, Border Agency, Police, Filing for Divorce, and Beyond
‘Life is complicated and not for the timid. It’s an experience that when it’s done, it will take us a while to get over it.’ – Garrison Keillor.
Christmas 2010: my Filipina princess and I are finally in the UK, staying as planned with my son, daughter-in-law and young grand-daughter. There are snow, festivities, invitations and some pleasurable anticipation as we make our plans and look forward to our life in one of the most beautiful parts of the UK.
This series of submissions has been longer than I anticipated when I started it. This instalment (possibly the last, but I doubt it) will bring the story right up to date. Careful readers may detect a change of tone in that I no longer seem quite so sympathetic to FP, and the reasons for that will become clear, but I try to remain as objective as possible.
I have outlined some of the problems I had in obtaining for FP a Cyprus Residence Certificate and an EEA Family (Entry) Permit from British High Commission in Nicosia. One area of officialdom I didn’t cover, and which seems significant with the benefit of hindsight, was our dealings with the Philippines Consulate in Nicosia. We made about six trips there (round trip of 200 km) and spent a fair bit in various fees. Half of these were to renew FP’s passport (they only last five years) and the others were to get various documents from the Phils stamped. The significant times (two visits) were to register our marriage with the Phils government. (This is where the Phils ‘single certificate’ comes in. All Filipinos/as are required under Phils law to register their marriage with the Phils authorities, wherever they take place. They are also required to obtain a Phils marriage licence prior to marriage but the Consul waived that for us as we were already married.) I wasn’t going to bother with this as it didn’t affect the worldwide legality of our marriage in CY (an EU and British Commonwealth country) but if we didn’t, the consul wouldn’t certify other documents and, she told us (correctly as it transpired), CY Immigration would not issue the Residence Certificate in the absence of proof that the marriage was registered. Evidence of a tightening-up in documentation checks and perhaps a growing recognition of the problem of fake and bigamous marriages.
The Phils Consul was (I believe) an American-Filipina married to a Greek or Greek Cypriot. She was young (maybe early 30s), tall, and spoke with a US accent. Not your typical Filipina, in other words. When we saw her she spoke to me at some length about the difficulties of foreigners living in the Phils, legal ownership of land there, etc., and about using the Phils government ‘e-census’ on-line service to obtain documents from the National Statistics Office (public records office) if necessary. At the time I didn’t think too much of it but thanked her and told her that I had no intention of buying property etc. in the Phils. I can only explain my failure to fully pick up properly on this at the time by saying that I was suffering from ‘bureaucracy fatigue’ and of course was still in the rosy glow of the early days of marriage. I mulled over her words later (and still do) and I believe that her words were intended as a warning. There are none so blind…
I’ve explained before that I married FP in haste because of her immigration status in CY. Stupid, I know, but as I explained to a correspondent it was only the ‘haste’ bit that was influenced. I remain convinced that had we had a more ‘normal’ longer courtship I would still have married her. I tried to do it right and we sat down and discussed and agreed our hopes and plans for the future. In particular I explained to her that I am not wealthy but ‘comfortable’ in my terms in that I have a guaranteed and index-linked pension which is sufficient to rent a reasonable house/apartment (I have no intention to buy again), run a car, pay the bills, buy what’s needed and provide enough so we didn’t have to think twice about going out for meals or a night out. We agreed that she would look for a job (and I may find something part-time) and contribute to the joint budget and have money over for herself and/or the family. We also agreed that she would be free to see her Filipina friends and I would continue to see a few close male friends in CY.
I should say here that FP is not afraid of hard work. In summer 2010 we both worked a building site in CY in 40+ temperatures for a couple of months. The pay was crap but better than nothing (there were plenty willing to do the job for less than us) and it was, in its way, fun. Later we both worked part-time in a complex cleaning the pool etc. The building site job gave her about €600 a month, the complex job about €400 a month. I continued to pay all the bills, shopping, etc., and encouraged her to save her earnings to build up some savings, which she did.
When I started this series of submissions I wasn’t going to go into the reasons why I filed for divorce. Now I feel justified in doing so. I know – from other submissions and from the experience of friends – that these may resonate with readers with experience of SEA princesses. Of course, I believed that mine was different – no I didn’t, I’m not that stupid, but I did think that we’d thrashed out all of these issues before we were married.
First, but not the most important, was money. Not demands for money to send home, these were few and far between and limited to Christmas, birthdays, etc., and were fairly minor. I made sure that she had money in her purse (generally this didn’t take more than €100 a month or so) so that although I paid for everything, she could, if she wanted, have a bit of cash to pay for drinks or something if she chose to when we were out.
As an aside here, I was surprised at how little money she sent home in view of her (at times) disposable income. I had assumed that before we met she sent home the bulk of her earnings. Now I’m not so sure.
The issue with money was profligate spending. Handbags, shoes and expensive cosmetics were favourite and I found it hard to believe that either back in the Phils or in her previous life in CY she was used to this level of luxury. As long as it was her money, no problem, or as long as I had spare cash I would spend it on occasion. What caused the problems was two-fold. First, as the cost of buying a car, buying her medical insurance, travelling to various agencies, etc. to get her papers mounted, she just could not accept that we needed to save money (or at least cut down on spending) to meet these costs – and the future costs of travelling to the UK, despite long and patient explanation. Second, we were planning to go to the UK as soon as we could and we would be limited to 20 kg of checked luggage each. Everything she could buy in CY was available in UK, usually substantially cheaper. There was no need and no point and to buy stuff in CY (I already knew that I would be selling some stuff on departure and giving away other stuff to friends). But it was hard to stop her, and the worst part was she would buy stuff for me – a €60 pair of shoes, shirts, jeans. Stuff I had no need of. Suffice to say that when we did leave CY the ‘excess baggage’ charge was substantial and it would have been cheaper to buy another ticket. Neither my explanations nor my showing her ‘on-line’ the prices in UK had much effect. The ‘working together for our future’ idea was not going to plan.
What caused this? I can only speculate, but I’ve come up with these ideas. Maybe her previous life was so crap that she was like a child in a sweetshop. Maybe she had no concept of budgeting or saving. Maybe it’s the usual SEA lady thing that Western men are always rich and even if they protest poverty they’ll always find some more money from somewhere. I think a big part of it was outside influence. CY can be a place of conspicuous spending where it’s common to see patriarchs in restaurants arguing over who will peel off notes from a big roll to pay the bill. Mercs are everywhere. I know a couple of Filipinas who would go to karaoke bars with their (married) CY boyfriends. The boyfriends would pay them more cash to get up and sing a song than the guy running the karaoke would earn for the night. But the biggest influence was Filipina ‘friends’. Even those in fairly dire financial straits themselves were keen to encourage the ‘Western men are wealthy men’ myth. Those who hooked up with ‘holiday millionaires’ or who were mia noi of wealthy Cypriots had their experiences to share. And there was my British friend, a genuinely wealthy man, who paid for all of his Filipina wife’s shopping and expenses and gave her a €70 phone card a week and €700 cash allowance a month. She may have been from very poor circumstances back in the Phils (she was) but in her circle she was Jackpot Queen. Whatever the reasons, there seemed little hope of getting what I think of as the ‘normal range’ of economic co-operation in a marriage partnership in place. (Since being in the UK and working in a minimum wage carer’s job I think she has more of an idea of reality).
Second, and more important and finally fatal to the marriage, was jealousy, suspicion and mistrust. On her part at first but the suspicion and mistrust rubbed off on me, and suspicion and mistrust is a killer in (almost) any marriage.
I was previously married for twenty-three years and have been divorced for ten. My ex-wife and I are good friends. I have had a number of girlfriends since, and have indulged in P4P. I have never cheated on a wife or a girlfriend and don’t intend to. Just my practice, and I expect the same from anyone with whom I am in a relationship. Although I have filed for divorce from my FP I still consider myself married until the divorce comes through and still wear my wedding ring. Just the way I am and I’m happy with it.
Before I met my FP I had a Filipina girlfriend in CY. When we broke up she was devastated and even stalked me for a while, telling me that her father had already bought a pig for the family wedding. I hope I didn’t lead her on (she wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, sadly) but I did my best to let her down gently. She can’t have been too heart-broken because within four weeks she married a guy from Finland. At a different time I had a Thai ‘girlfriend’ – I’ve written submissions about this – and this went wrong because of money, or more specifically my lack of enough of it. Maybe I’m a serial nutter but I know that I’m not the only reader of this site for whom SEA ladies (or is it our perception of them?) strike a special note.
My FP knew about my previous relationships – I had nothing to hide. I had introduced her to my small circle of friends and I was introduced to her by a Filipina who I thought was a trusted friend who had once stayed with me (in my spare bedroom, purely platonically) after the tragic sudden death of her fiancé, my friend. FP and I had talked about all this before we married.
Soon after the marriage, it started. If I announced that I was going out to meet a male friend for a beer to a pub FP and I also visited (nothing naughty about it) there’d be a tantrum. Explanations were futile and ultimately I’d agree she could come with me. So she would, and sit bored while we did what blokes do and drink beer and talk about nothing in particular. Then, when I was speaking on the telephone to my adult kids or my family in UK, I’d notice that she was always in earshot. If I caught up with them by e-mail she’d be hovering over my shoulder. I’ve condensed this quite a bit, it was much more of an invidious process. She wanted to go to church and I agreed to take her although I’m an atheist. The local RC services seemed to me to be more of a Filipina fashion show and cattle market than anything else and soon she decided she’d rather go to a happy-clappy church which met in a local hotel (and closer to her Methodist roots) where there were a dozen or so Filipinas. She liked me to go with her and show me off (though I’m not really ‘showing off’ material). Too slowly I realised (‘too soon we get old, too late we get smart’) that what was really happening was that she did not want to let me out of her sight (or hearing). Not being prepared or able to live like this I did the ‘right’ thing and we sat down and talked in an effort to sort this out.
Bear in mind that we had no language barrier (but the cultural barrier can be just as insurmountable) and we were not kids (I was 55, she was ten years younger). I am patient and not unused to talking to people in difficult circumstances (thirty years in the Old Bill teaches you something). And, of course, I had read and absorbed the collected wisdom of the Book of Stick, a considerable resource. I loved FP and wanted the marriage to succeed not on my terms necessarily but rather on terms on which we could agree.
Lofty but worthy ideals, you might think. I found out some useful stuff. E.g. I was in constant contact with my ‘ex-TGF’ and was not only sending her money but was planning any day to go to Thailand to be with her. ‘Ex-TGF’ is very beautiful (well, that bit’s true) so I couldn’t forget her. I had so badly treated my ex Filipina girlfriend that she would be forever heartbroken and never find her true love. Any time I went out on my own (or had unsupervised communications) I would be seeking a woman to take to bed. Oh, and the reason I didn’t want FP and I to have a child was because I had had a vasectomy. I didn’t spend enough money on FP because I was sending it to other women. I really couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I am actually quite a ‘good’ guy (and I can bring witnesses to testify to that, m’lud). Where did all this crap come from? How could I deal with it, and did I really want to? Like most people, being falsely accused really winds me up.
Well, the source was easy to find. It was a toxic, noxious, poisonous pool comprised of Filipina ‘friends’ (and I’m being objective and reasonable here). The same ‘friends’ I’d entertained, fed, driven places and (unbeknown to me and indirectly) I’d ‘lent’ money to via FP. The same ‘friends’ who stood up in their church with FP and spouted their crap of ‘love’ and ‘unity’, who smiled and hugged each other. (And, incidentally, including one or two ‘friends’ who, I later found, had effectively stuck the knife in between exTGF and I a couple of years before).
You may understand why I became somewhat cynical. A contemporaneous incident confirmed my cynicism. Two Filipina sisters were employed legally by a CY family running a restaurant. They were housemaids. Crap pay, crap conditions, crap accommodation, but they both had kids and a poor life in the Phils. They were also used as agricultural workers in the restaurant’s vegetable farm and as waitresses in the restaurant (not legal). They were caught for a second time by Immigration and due for deportation. Their employer did not want to pay them their outstanding salary and they really were in a poor state. The ‘happy-clappy’ church helped them by giving them capital to start a pig-rearing business back in the Phils. Where were their Filipina ‘friends’ in the week before they were deported, when they were vulnerable and needed a hand? Nowhere to be seen is the answer. FP was reluctant when I insisted that we pick them up, feed them, make sure they were ok, even give them a few small gifts to take home to their (very difficult) lives. I bought her an international phone card so she could keep in touch with them for a while after they went back, just for a bit of moral support perhaps. She never used it. She begrudged the small (less than £10) amount I paid for their ‘take-home’ gifts. She never spoke of them again, and neither did the Filipina ‘friends’. This, in my experience at least, is the reality when you peel away the outer layers of the Filipina ‘sisterhood’.
This happened in the ‘last days’ of FP and I in CY and you may ask why I persisted with the relationship (looking back, of course, so do I). I believed that our problems stemmed from the malevolent influence of Filipina ‘friends’. I also believed that life in CY was ‘artificial’ and I still hoped that once in UK in a more ‘normal’ life and conforming to the ‘norms’ we had spoken of and agreed on, things could work out. Yet again, I sat down with FP and gave her an ultimatum. I reminded her of what we’d agreed were our plans, explained what our financial situation was likely to be, what our life was probably to be like and gave her the choice. I offered to buy her a ticket to the Phils if that was what she wanted. She chose to come to the UK. OK, I thought, away from the toxic pool we can make this work.
Our plan seemed to me to be quite sensible and quite workable. My son and daughter-in-law and my baby grand-daughter lived in a big house in a small village. FP had oohed and ahhed over grand-daughter and really wanted to be ‘Lola’ (‘grandma’ in tagalog). We were made very welcome and the idea was that we would share the house costs and live as ‘house-mates’ for a few weeks while we decided where we wanted to live and where, potentially, the jobs were. That idea lasted for all of about 24 hours. Despite the welcome, FP was obviously not happy to the extent of becoming monosyllabic, refusing to sit in front of the fire, etc., just basically the worst nightmare, to the point of being quite rude. More talking only resulted in the outcome that she wanted ‘our own place’ and within a few days I’d found one. Quite a nice one too, I’d say (I’m still living here now), a new ‘executive town house’ with all the built-in stuff you’d expect. I furnished it well. Not boasting here, but one neighbour is the manager of the local M&S store (he drives a new Merc), the other the manager of a Tesco store (Audi). Better than I’d expected and I can only guess how it compares with FP’s home in the Phils. May be much worse, of course, but I doubt it.
Things seemed to go OK for a short time but then to my absolute horror (I thought I’d seen it all in my life but I was wrong) during the course of a minor argument (I can’t remember what about) FP accused me not only of having an affair with my daughter-in-law, but of being the father of my grand-daughter (an impossibility in time and geography. This accusation was flung not just once, but several times and not just in the heat of an argument but quite coldly. Now I understood why she didn’t want to follow the plan. This was just sick, and I couldn’t find any excuse or justification for it. Yes, I know I’m stupid and soft to even think of looking for one. I told my son and daughter in law of this. They weren’t surprised and had ‘picked up’ some sort of inkling of this at Christmas. Me, I was just bumbling along in stupid ignorance. Needless to say, they had no contact with FP after this came to light.
Now, belatedly, I come to the birth certificate, and to explain this I need to tell something of FP’s background as I understand it. Because this information comes from her, and because I am less than entirely trusting of her, I put it forward as a condensation of how she explained it over many conversations, some more reluctant than others.
FP comes from a ‘barangay’ (village) in the northern province in Nueva Vizcaya. Her family are influential, well connected, and own a farm, nice house, rice-fields, etc. Her father, now deceased, formerly lived near Manila and later went to work in the US for many years. He was there on a tourist visa and at one time had to scoot down to Mexico to avoid INS. He had at least one affair in the US but was good at sending money home.
FP’s mother is a retired school teacher. She is a stalwart of the village, was on the barangay committee as secretary to the ‘mayor’ or barangay chief, and is a leading light in the local Methodist church.
FP has an older brother who went to work in Singapore and other SEA countries in a senior position in a leading IT company. He now lives very comfortably in California with his Filipina wife (a nurse) and their children (confirmed). He is strangely reluctant to communicate with me or FP by e-mail and on the couple of occasions we’ve spoken by phone there’s not much information forthcoming or warmth felt.
FP went to the local college and achieved a bachelor’s degree in business, majoring in economics. She got a job in the local council offices. When she was 23 she gave birth to a son after she was ‘touched’ by a local man in unspecified circumstances.
The village is very traditional and was even more so at that time. ‘Dating’ was always chaperoned and brides were almost always virgins.
The father was from a nationally well-known and influential military family. He was at that time in the police force and is now a senior police officer (or so FP claims and he (if it is him) has confirmed on the phone to me). Before the baby was born (and presumably well before) there was a major village celebration of the happy couple coming together.
About six years after the baby was born, the father went off to a new partner who already had some children and had some by her. Later he went off with someone else and has children with her.
FP’s son’s father is still in touch with him, helps him financially and recently bought him a 4×4 truck.
FP has never been married.
That’s about it, if I remember it correctly.
The more astute (and less bored) may be wondering about the dichotomy of a large celebration in a very traditional and conservative village to celebrate the conception of an illegitimate child…
When we arrived in UK I decided it was time to get my will sorted out. After all, in addition to my two adult children and a grandchild I now had a wife and a step-son. I talked about this with FP. She was aware that if I died and we were married she would collect a pension worth at minimum £1100 a month net (I worried later about having told her that) but she found it hard to grasp the legalities of the whole situation. For example, she’d told me that the mother’s house and farm was half in her name. She wasn’t impressed when I suggested that if she died before me part of it, at least, might come to me. I have no idea how much money she has in the bank in the Phils but I do recall that on one visa form the figure of £16,000 was mentioned, and that would certainly be possible if she’d been remitting a large chunk of her earnings over the years.
As an aside, many Filipinas I’ve spoken to (and their husbands) don’t seem to have given the matter of a will any thought at all. From a UK (and probably other western countries) point of view, generally marriage or divorce nullifies any will previously made and this is something worth thinking about.
FP told me that as far as she was concerned she wanted anything she had to go to her son. I agreed, and told her that I would ensure that anything I had (not much, I assure you) would go to my children. You can tell how far the marriage was going down the pan by then.
Having spoken to my solicitor (an old school friend with whom I’d had many professional dealings over the years) we established that my first step was to get a copy of her son’s (my stepson’s) birth certificate. Bearing in mind the Phils Consul’s advice, I applied on-line to the e-census service. It cost me US$20. I told FP what I was doing and it didn’t go down well as you may imagine. The Filipina philosophy seems to be that you obtain papers as and when you need them for a particular purpose. Archives only cause trouble. And it’s always better to get papers from a trusted local source (preferably a family member) than some isolated government office where they may not understand the subtleties involved.
A little while later I got a reply from e-census – ‘no record of the birth on the national database’. OK, $20 chanced and lost, I thought. As it turned out it may have been the best $20 I ever spent.
FP now went into overdrive (she knew what I was doing) and in short order I received a long letter from her mother explaining why FP had not married the child’s father (basically FP’s father had blocked the marriage and when he finally agreed to it some years later the child’s father had found a new woman) so I had no need to worry. The same day FP ‘managed’ to get hold of the child’s father on the phone and I spoke to him ‘in his police office’. He also explained that FP had never married, there was no problem, and if I needed any documents from the Phils I could call him direct and he’d get them for me. Gosh, thanks very much.
Never one to resist over-egging a job, FP’s mother had enclosed with her letter a copy of the boy’s birth certificate. She’d been to the local provincial capital offices to get it. I resisted a request from FP to send a little money to cover the costs. Now I was a little happier. Although I may be stupid (and some readers of my submissions might think that I have already demonstrated that adequately) I was a Fraud Squad commander for ten years and I will look at a document as avidly as some Stick readers will look at a go-go dancer’s tits for signs of surgical enhancement. (Not that I won’t look at tits as well, but I may be more successful with documents.)
To continue the analogy, this birth certificate was about as good as enhanced nipples attached inside out. The child was shown as illegitimate, for sure, but his date of birth was a day out, the father’s occupation was wrong, FP’s date of birth was wrong and it was neither signed nor stamped by the local registration office. It was signed by the local midwife, who happened to be FP’s cousin. Well, at least I knew what I was dealing with, but I hadn’t really got much idea how to take this forward…
Until a week or so later when out of the blue came an official letter from NSO in the Phils, recorded delivery with all seals etc. intact. They had, after all, found a copy of the birth certificate and it was duly signed and certified. All of the details were correct, the child was legitimate, the date and place of the parents’ marriage was shown, I recognised the name of the person registering the marriage as a member of FP’s family, and it had the stamps, signatures and consecutive number in the official records. I managed to secret the letter and get it to a safe haven pending its delivery to my lawyer. Perhaps for the first time in the relationship I knew the truth.
After a couple of day’s thought, and armed with copies (the originals were safe) of the birth certificate I sat FP down and asked her for the truth. Never let it be said that SEA ladies can’t think fast – or can’t hold a bluff convincingly. I don’t know if they play poker (I know they like to gamble) but if they don’t they should. I’d got it all wrong, of course, the birth certificate her mother had sent was the real one, the other was a fake made up by someone, probably the uncle dead these many years, who felt sorry for the boy and didn’t want him to be brought up as illegitimate. In fact her mother was going to the local office and would soon send a letter to confirm that no marriage was registered. As for the big village party, well everybody was happy at the forthcoming birth even if the child was illegitimate.
Do you know the saddest thing about this whole sorry tale? If FP had been the woman I thought she was, if the whole jealousy/suspicion/mistrust thing could have been curbed (I think we could have sorted out the money issue) I would have kept my eyes shut and my mouth closed.
I went to see my lawyer. He confirmed what I thought. I had evidence that I was probably bigamously married which meant that the CY Residence Certificate application was probably false, which meant that the UK visa application was probably false, which meant that presentation to the Immigration Officer at the airport was false… I may not have known the facts at the time but now I did I could be guilty of various things not least of which could be conspiracy/aiding and abetting illegal immigration/residence, etc. There really was no choice and as far as I was concerned the marriage had gone tits up anyway.
Those who have seen the British TV real-life ‘Border Agency’ programmes will have seen the shots of vans at speed, pulling up outside a Chinese restaurant, wannabe cops in flak jackets piling out and half an hour later driving off with some hapless Chinese on a student visa who’s been caught working excess hours. After much fanfare, he’s released with a piece of paper and a travel warrant never to be seen again. Well, that was about it. After studying the papers for about a month I couldn’t find anything on which to base action. I smiled, no laughed out loud (but ironically), when I thought back to how I’d worried about any potential interview FP may have to go through with these bozos when we applied for her visa.
But this left me in rather a dilemma. I could apply through the courts for an annulment of the marriage in CY on the grounds that it was bigamous. But that would be lengthy, expensive, and UKBA had already declared that they couldn’t see anything wrong. Or, I could just apply for divorce in the UK (unreasonable behaviour – the allegation about me and my daughter-in-law was enough) and forget about any issue of previous marriage (which would mean it would have to go to High Court with barristers and all – which would bankrupt me).
14 July, I saw my lawyer and we discussed divorce. No other option. Some may not realise this but in the UK at least part of the petition for divorce is that because of the alleged behaviour (be it adultery, unreasonableness, etc.) the petitioner can no longer live with the respondent. In other words, one of you must move out. It would have to be me. I had family and friends locally, she had no-one, although she had recently started work in a local care/nursing home. So I collected her from work that afternoon, brought her home, made her a cup of tea and explained to her. ‘I cannot live with you any more, you are destroying my life with your behaviour. I have tried to fix it and I can’t. I have seen a lawyer and I am filing for a divorce. I will move out tomorrow’. Then I explained to her that for the time being she could continue to live in the house, I would pay the rent and the bills. She needed to make arrangements to find somewhere to live. If she could not find someone to give her a ride to work I would do so on a temporary basis. This was not an easy conversation and she obviously didn’t find it easy either (despite previous conversations) because she wandered off into the kitchen and reappeared with a dish which shattered against the wall. ‘That won’t help or change anything’ I said calmly, ‘we need to sit and talk and make this as easy as possible for both of us’. I wasn’t quite so calm a few seconds later when she reappeared from the kitchen with my best chef’s knife (I’d sharpened it earlier that day) which was quickly hurtling towards my chest. Luckily I instinctively brought up my left hand and that deflected the knife. Unfortunately it cut through the veins etc. on the back of my hand and the blood came quite freely. I remember being a bit concerned about the blood going onto the light coloured carpet in my rented house before going backwards through the doors into the garden. The stuff wouldn’t stop coming out and I grabbed my mobile phone which luckily was in my pocket and dialled ‘999’. Within a couple of minutes (there are some good things about living in the UK) there were two paramedics and two cops (all female) at the door. This certainly gave the neighbours something to talk about.
Treatment was applied to me, FP was taken off to the police station. Later, I was asked if I would agree to her being cautioned rather than charged. Yes, of course, I want to try and be reasonable, I only called because I was worried about dying from a bleed-out. And so, later she was released. She now has a criminal conviction for assault with a knife, I have a big bloody bandage, and her free lawyer has advised her (quite correctly) that as her name as well as mine is on the lease for the house she has every right to stay there. I spent the night on my sofa with the door barricaded. The next day I went to see my lawyer and we added this episode to the ‘unreasonable behaviour’. I moved out. My best chef’s knife is still in the police evidence room and I’m not sure if I want to reclaim it or not.
One of the problems I had is that I am renting this house from a friend. I have no wish that he should suffer financially because of all this and I wanted to resume living here (on my own) after the initial domestic problem was sorted out. Also, I remained convinced that despite all that had happened it was better to try and sort out the issues as amicably as possible at least until the divorce is finalised.
I was lucky in that I could stay at my brother’s house. FP had, as far as I knew, no friends to go to. She works at a local care home and there were some opportunities there.
Our landlord issued a ‘quit’ notice which meant that she / we had to leave the house by 30 September. In the meantime I paid the rent and utilities. On occasion I would pick her up and drive her to and from work (a round trip of 40 miles a day).
My lawyer received a request from hers. She has somehow found the most renowned anti-man lawyer in town and has, she said, paid a £500 retainer. Her lawyer asked whether I would be prepared to stall divorce proceedings until December in return for her promise not to claim financial support. Her lawyer is not so good. First, if she wanted to delay proceedings all she’d have to do would be to submit a defence. It wouldn’t be heard until January. Second, the promise re no financial claim is not enforceable. Third, if the ‘December’ date is connected to immigration issues it holds no significance. Under Immigration law because I have filed for divorce (i.e. the marriage has broken down) UKBA should withdraw her EEA permit and tell her to leave the UK. I don’t hold my breath and it would actually make the divorce more difficult if she was outside UK. What we actually responded with was an agreement to hold off until December if she vacated the house by 30 September. She did, so at least I’m back in the house I’m paying for.
So things have been on an even keel for the last few weeks. She told me that she was sharing a house/renting a room with another lady who worked at the nursing home. I met her a few times, gave her a ride a few days on her day off so she could go shopping and generally assisted as far as I could to ease her life here. I know that her main priority is to stay in the UK and earn and save money. I wrote a letter to the Care Home professional regulatory agency (and helped her to write one from herself) playing down the knife attack in an effort to help her keep her job. I’ll wait to December and pursue the divorce. I feel a little guilty about bringing her to the UK and it not working out…
Until today (31 October).
Today my niece was at my brother’s house (I was out working) from a lady. The lady had tracked down my brother’s address from going through FP’s papers and found that she (and I) use my brother’s address for bank etc. stuff (and have done since we were in CY). She drove past the address a few days ago, noted the business sign outside, found the number and called.
The basic details the caller gave my niece tallied exactly with the details she gave me later when I called her back (through her tears) and so I tend to believe her. They are these.
Sometime in late July or thereabouts, FP (a carer at a Nursing Home) started an affair with the handyman at the nursing home. He is 66, a local man. He is not married, but has been living with the lady caller for nine years. They have a five year old daughter with quite severe Down’s Syndrome.
On 21 August, the handyman had a flare-up argument with his partner, saying that he was not happy and that if he split from the partner he would want to keep the child.
On 25 August, the handyman told his partner that he had now found someone else he wanted to be with and that he wanted the partner to find somewhere else to live and move out. He wanted the daughter to remain with him because his new love would look after her.
On 17 September, the handyman and FP arrived at the house and slept in the ‘matrimonial bed’. The partner was relegated to the spare room. The following morning, FP encountered the partner and said ‘hello, pleased to meet you’. (Yes, that sounds like her, always polite).
On 30 September FP moved into the house with all her possessions and into the matrimonial bed. When the daughter wakes up, she gets into the bed with FP and the handyman.
I was, I can say, a little shocked to hear this. I’m using typical British understatement here. Do I believe it? Well, the details and the dates add up although I find it hard to visualise the situation. I’m going to meet this lady partner tomorrow and she tells me she has a full log of all of this stuff.
A couple of details I’ll add. A few days after I’d moved back into my house the doorbell rang in the late evening. It was FP and the handyman. She explained that they’d just come off shift, he’d given her a lift to town (some shops are open 24 hours) and she wanted to check for mail. I gave them a cup of coffee. No wonder the pathetic jerk was quiet and sheepish.
I’ve said that – trying to keep things harmonious – I’ve helped out FP by picking her up and taking her to the shopping centre. Last week was such an occasion and she bought various stuff for ‘her’ room in her female colleague’s house. One thing she wanted was a wooden towel rack. No problem, found one for her, £18. OK, she said, I’ll come back it next week after pay-day. It’s ok, I said, I’ll get it for you. I want to think that you’re comfortable in your room. (I’m just grateful I didn’t buy the microwave oven she was also after). This evening I asked the partner on the phone whether FP had come back with shopping. ‘Yes’ she said ‘they’re always out shopping’. (Yes, that sounds like her).
‘Did she buy a towel rack?’ I asked.
‘Yes’ she replied, ‘It’s in their bedroom’.
FP often calls me or sends me a text message, usual stuff like ‘I worry about you, are you eating properly, take care’, and I have to admit feeling proud that she’d found somewhere to live, was getting on with her career, etc., and I was prepared to help out to see her through. She called me tonight while I was writing this to say that she’s off tomorrow but has lots to do and could we meet later in the week, perhaps for lunch or dinner?
I am still reeling a bit to be honest, and I don’t know what to think. One thought is to get the evidence, see the lawyer and expedite the divorce on the grounds of adultery. On the other hand should I be reasonable and see this as her making her own independent way after I’d told her I was filing for divorce? But I can’t forgive or forget the deception which is continuing and my conclusion at this moment is that she is acting as badly as the worst Beach Road hooker. Worse, perhaps, because it looks as if she’s on course to destroy the lives of innocents.
Some time ago, I mentioned in an e-mail to Stick the belief that ‘Thais will do anything for money, Filipinas will do anything for papers’. I didn’t realise just how prescient this was.
Stick wrote a comment to my last submission about the train wreck to follow. I had no idea, when I read that comment earlier this evening, just what form that train wreck would take. And here I was, logging on to write about bumping into both a Filipina and a Thai girl while I was out on Saturday night in my small provincial town. That will have to wait.
The more you tell us about FP, the worse she sounds! With her deceit, willingness to sleep around and not just pulling a knife on you but actually trying to harm you – and let's be frank here, she could have killed you – this is one truly evil woman.
We all have different ways of handling things and I don't think it appropriate to tell someone else how to deal with the challenges they face, but I have to say you have showed amazing constraint and are much more gentlemanly than I could ever be.
I hate to appear to be fan of schadenfreude but this sub, and the whole series, has made compelling reading. I am reminded of how the (bar)girl done me wrong genre is the one I seem to enjoy the most!