“Your husband must sign.”
“Anything. Whatever they’re offering. He hasn’t got a leg to stand on.”
So that’s what happens when you consult a lawyer.
I had sent him the letter, accusing Shaun of everything: robbing the Bank of England, being rude to his mother, pulling wings off flies.
This was his educated legal response.
It was like sitting in class... and realising the teacher has completely misunderstood the Second Law of Thermodynamics and thinks gravity works upwards. (Ok, that may not be the 2nd L of TD, but you get the gist. Don’t quibble.)
Fat lot of use you are.
He’d obviously only read the letter once. I could have told him to read it four times because it gets clearer it’s a scam after the third, but I reasoned that if I had to tell my lawyer how to suck eggs it was probably going to be quite a messy relationship.
Lawyer Number One. Neighbour of our cousins.
It was Louis who came up with Lawyer Number Two. A contact via church.
Friends in Shaun’s employing church, also clergy, were going through a pretty rough ride at the same time as us, employed (or rather not, any more) at the theological college Wycliffe Hall. They had come across Lawyer Number Two during their own dispute, and were pretty unimpressed.
Presumably he was no good either.
How many lawyers can it take to change a light bulb? Several to mess it up, and one to sue all the rest...
At the beginning of February I received the call I’d been dreading since my column hadn’t run, for a week, before Christmas.
Recession. Can’t afford. Month’s notice.
Yeah right. You wrote a dud column, you dumbo: looking after everyone. One clinker in four years. But enough.
For the first time in all the time I’d known him, I considered hiding something from Shaun. He still wasn’t well. His confidence some depth below the floor. Now I had no income either. My weekly column had been bringing in more than Shaun’s stipend.
Staring destitution in the face wouldn’t help him get a job, would it?
So I waited for the post, which we’d been pinning all our hopes on for Shaun for half a year, to come and go. Which of course it did. Same Archdeacon of Cambridge.
By now we knew to expect nothing.
In the light of everything we were teetering on the brink of, my loss of income hardly seemed to register. I told him.
He barely shrugged.
It was then that I did the most irrational thing I’ve done in my life. Whilst knowing how irrational it was.
I don’t think I’ve ever ’fessed up to this to anyone before.
Presumably this is what sells more Lottery tickets than anything. Not idiotic hope. Not, as my brother says, statistical stupidity.
I just couldn’t think what else to do.
Serena once told me that if you are going to waste money on the Lottery you can increase your infinitesimal chance by some infinitesimal amount by buying them all at once. A hundred (strictly a hundred and four, obv) Lotto tickets in one weekend offer slightly better odds than two a week for a year.
I’m not very interested in statistics and I can’t remember why.
I wasn’t going to waste £100. That would be seriously dumb. If God wanted to save us through the National Lottery he could do it on a tenner just as easily.
So I shoved £10 in some fund or other which would notify me if I won. I knew I’d never get around to working out how to check my numbers. Out of this, I bought eight tickets.
I never expected to hear anything. I wouldn’t have been able to explain myself to my father if I had. He stopped voting Tory the day John Major brought it in and considers gambling economic prostitution.
I never did buy the last two tickets. Presumably I still have £2 on account.
Two months later, I thought of that wild gambling bid over and over again.
God does have a sense of humour.