Family information and experiences

Third Marriage 2015 to 2021 – Personal

So What Went Wrong this Time? I married a Psychopath..


Maria was born in 1961 and was brought up in Athens. To try to understand Maria Dolianitis, it is necessary to be aware of  the history and the mental state of this woman, who has suffered much illness in her life, had a problematic and abusive childhood, has had many psychological evaluations, and is also addicted to Cannabis. When I first met Maria I knew that she was very ill and had also been diagnosed with Lupus many years previously: she had to have stomach injections every day.   She also had a history of mental illness following the very difficult childhood in Athens.

I thought that I could make a real difference to her life and that I could protect her, and despite the language barrier, we could live happily together. Indeed, this was a reality for the early years of our relationship, but now I realise that too much damage had been done and that maybe she should have been committed to an asylum many years ago. 

Finally, I blame myself for being naive, too trusting and very stupid in ever getting involved.


This woman has major psychiatric problems, but I know now that she is also very smart at projecting herself as the innocent victim: nothing is ever her fault, and I am sure she can mislead most professional psychiatrists.  And of course she is in Greece and not England, and so later in the marriage when things turned sour, it was very difficult for me to defend myself and correct any untruths. I am not sure why she turned on me: all that I had done is to help her and her unpleasant family, and save her life on several occasions. She will twist any truth to her advantage: she will lie outright and has in her mind a totally different scenario to the reality.  I can now only conclude that she is too damaged as a person and loves only her son – I do not believe she ever loved me. I was like a father for her who could give her things and protect her. She has no idea or concept about what is necessary between two people in a life partnership. Once the money ran out, and she realised that as the reality, she left me.


I first met Maria in 2011/2012 when I was visiting from the UK. She was an attractive woman, and I was sorry for her because she had no money, and was living and working in Kefalas, Apokoronas in Crete. She was also very sick, and on one particular day in the morning – this was December 2012 – I saved her life for the first time.

I was staying at a rented Villa in Kefalas, and soon after I had first met Maria, she nearly died from a major blood outage: recognising that she was near death, I drove her to the nearby Vamos Health Centre in Apokoronas, where she was diagnosed as critically ill and needing emergency treatment. She was immediately taken by ambulance to Chania Hospital, where she spent many weeks in intensive care before being transferred first to Heraklion and then as a patient to Athens where she was near her family. 

She recovered in Athens, and because I was attracted to her and admired her fighting spirit and “will to live”, I invited her to Crete in May 2013 to stay with me for some weeks to recuperate.  

After this, our relationship grew, and although I had to return to the UK, and was still married at the time, I supported her financially from the UK so that she could afford her medication and could live independently. She had the use of a small apartment in Vamos provided by George Hadjodakis, her previous business partner in a well known bistro bar in Vamos called the Liakoto, which closed down in 2011.

Maria was addicted to Cannabis and has been so for many years since she suffered from Lupus and other debilitating illnesses: she told me that on medical advice, she began smoking Cannabis more than 20 years previously as it had a beneficial effect on her Lupus and reduced the symptoms associated with this condition. Although I realised it was technically against the Law to smoke Cannabis, there are medical exemptions, and besides, it is also a matter of common knowledge that many people in Greece have this habit. 

2013 – 2016

I gave up my life in the UK to be with Maria. We lived together first in my rented villa in Kefalas and then in Vamos for one year, and I helped her with – and provided finance for – a new creperie business in Vamos (Dollys shop) – which we hoped would be a success. Maria’s sister Eugenie and husband Dimitris had been invited to come to Crete and help run the new business.

In 2014 the shop was closed because Maria was too ill to continue to work and I looked after her and paid for all her medical bills.

In 2014  I was divorced in the UK from my English wife and received some money from the sale of our property in the UK which I planned to live on, with a new life together with Maria in Crete. 

After living in Vamos and then Douliana by renting, we moved to the present house in Kefalas in 2014 which was arranged by Stavros Stavroulakis, (who was later jailed in 2019 for drug related offences). 

We were married on May 31st 2015 at the house in Kefalas with a local civic ceremony – performed by the mayor from Vamos

In 2015, she was diagnosed as needing urgent major heart surgery: of course I paid for this and she had a replacement heart valve operation at the Onassiou hospital Athens in December 2015. For 3 months after this to March 2016 I found another property in Athens and nursed her to recovery myself. I had no help from any of her family or friends or her son. During this time, she had two chronic attacks of fever and was again close to death, but I looked after her and she recovered.

Because we needed to monitor carefully her INR (blood readings) so that the daily post operation medication could be correctly prescribed (normally a blood sample is taken and analysed which Maria found to be painful) I personally researched and bought a new INR reader machine from a German manufacturer, and my son flew from the UK to Athens to deliver this to us.

In April 2016 we returned to the house in Kefalas.

2016 – 2019

Up until this time (April 2016) the marriage was OK – I believe Maria had appreciated all that I had done for her. She had recovered and was now in good health – she only needed a regular daily supply of pills.

But soon after we had returned to Kefalas, the marriage became a disaster: she smoked a great deal of cannabis – which of course was paid for with my savings – and if she did not get the supply, and if everything was not done for her, she became extremely violent disruptive and psychopathic. There was no sex. She did not want to work or help in any way to bring income to the marriage.

In 2015/2016 I advised her to apply for an early State Pension which she was entitled to because of her illness previously – she did nothing about this until 2019 – when she understood that I had no more money after spending it on her, her cannabis addiction, supporting her family and being defrauded of some 55,000 euros by Stavroulakis and 25000 euros to one of her friends here in Kefalas – Manolis Karabinis – who had said he would make work for Maria in his Kafe Neo in Kefalas if we put money into his business. 

There were three other events which were costly and unnecessary and caused me great stress, which ultimately confirmed the breakdown of the marriage

Unwanted Puppies from Maria’s Son Marios
In September 2016 I agreed to help Maria’s son living in Athens, who had stupidly allowed his dog to have puppies: there were four puppies which I agreed to help look after ONLY for a short time until Marios and his mother found a new home for them. I did not want any dogs. I spent a great deal of money converting the house and garden to be “dog proof “. Maria and her son both lied and did nothing to re-home these dogs, and they caused a great deal of damage in the home in Kefalas, and now – after many vet bills and other expenses – they are still here. Maria did very little or nothing at all to help with these dogs from her son.

Accused of being Homosexual
At the same time in 2016 I had found a man from Syria – married to a Greek woman and living in Chania – who was very helpful to me for work I needed doing in the house and garden – rewiring, solar panel installation etc.. For some inexplicable reason, Maria became very jealous of Ibrahim from Syria because I spent time discussing with him the work needed and his family back in Syria (he spoke good English): she accused me of being “gay” and hated this Syrian so much that one day in the house she screamed abuse at him and ripped off her clothes in front of him, I was extremely embarrassed and angry and of course this ended the work with the Syrian.

Supporting Her Family
In December 2016 Maria’s sister and brother were living and working in Crete, and looking after her elderly mother and had been evicted from their apartment in Vamos because they had not paid any rent: I agreed that they should live with us which they did for four months: in April 2017 I arranged a home for them in Kefalas at a rental of 600 euros per month because it was not possible for us all to live together and with four dogs. It was agreed that they would pay me back but of course this never happened. For helping her mother and family, all I received from Maria was verbal abuse. Attachhed below is a copy of a letter I received from her Brother-in-Law in April 2017, Dimitris Galanis, and my emailed reply.

During 2017 Maria became more and more abusive to me and would shout for hours, stopping me from working sleeping or relaxing. she would attack me and break things, throw clothes out of the door, let all the dogs in the house and do everything she could to provoke me. I have photos and some video of this behaviour. I soon understood that the plan was to make me so angry that I would hit her so that she could call the police and make a charge against me. There were indeed a few “fights” but I tried always to subdue her and never to hit her. I had no-one to help me with this major problem and could not understand why she was doing this. I could only conclude that she needed psychiatric help which I tried to persuade her to take.

In June 2017 she burnt in front of me the original of the rental agreement for the Kefalas house and some other important papers she found on my desk. About the same time she threw on the floor and broke the expensive INR reader I had organised for her when we were in Athens and which she needed to monitor her health.

Attempted Suicide and the Nightmarish Aftermath

Some time later in 2017 Maria’s mother died: after some weeks in October 2017 Maria tried to kill herself. On that day she drank alcohol and over-dosed on her mother’s medication. I took her – with a mutual friend called Pari Franceskakis who lived in Vamos and was a witness to all that happened – to the Vamos Health centre where they tried to remove the alcohol and pills from her stomach.

All this time Maria was very abusive to the doctors and staff: they could do nothing for her and she was forcibly taken by ambulance to Chania hospital. I followed in the car – the time now was about 9 pm. After many hours – and much more abuse from Maria – the doctors took her out of the emergency ward to a bed in the corridor of the hospital – the time now was about 2 in the morning.

I asked the doctors what should now happen. and another doctor – who I believe was a psychologist – came and tried to talk with Maria. Again Maria was very abusive to her and the doctor could not discuss anything with her: I asked the doctor  what could be done and she told me that there were two choices: either Maria should be entered into the psychiatric hospital or she should go home since the danger to her life was now over.

Unfortunately for me, I made the wrong decision and decided to take her home because I still cared for her: in the car – on the main road – she started again to be abusive – screaming at me and opening the car window and passenger door and throwing things out of the car. She also tried to hit me and to actually kick me while I was driving – endangering our lives and other people on the road.

As soon as I could safely do so, I stopped the car close to Vamos – just outside Kalives and off the main road – and ejected her from the car. I then called the friend Pari in Vamos and asked her to please collect Maria because I could not safely take her any further. Luckily for us, Pari was a good friend and collected Maria in her car even though this was 3 in the morning: I had stopped to check Pari was coming before driving back to Kefalas, and when I saw her car on the road, I called her and asked that she take Maria to her home for the night. Unfortunately Maria did not want this and she was brought to Kefalas by Pari.

Time for a Psychiatrist.
After this episode, which Maria said that she did not remember, I told her that she needed psychiatric help urgently because this behaviour could not continue: she agreed and started to see a  psychologist/psychiatrist called Katarina working at the Vamos Health Centre, and for some time I helped by taking Maria to the Centre for what I hoped would be beneficial for her and our failed relationship.

Maria’s Plan to Involve the Police.
Unfortunately, nothing changed: the abuse to me from Maria continued throughout 2018. Some days would be ok and she would do the things around the house that you would expect from a wife: other days she would do absolutely nothing and repeat hours of verbal and physical abuse all with – now I understand – the aim of making my life miserable and trying to provoke me into hitting her so that she could call the police and file charges.

In October 2018 she disappeared from the house for one month and I understand now that she was in a woman’s sanctuary or shelter in Chania. I was only happy that she was not in Kefalas  Unfortunately she then wanted to return and there was nothing I could do to prevent this happening.

In May 2019 she filed a complaint about me with the police and I had to attend the police station in Vrisses.

Things continued to be very stressful for me in 2019 with the same behaviour from Maria, except that she did absolutely nothing to help, and used the house as as a hotel – sometimes not returning for a few days. Of course she had keys for the house, and I provided food and paid for her mobile phone and medical precriptions.  In April 2019 Stavroulakis cut electricity and water supplies to the house, which caused me  immense stress, and I needed Maria out of the house permanently.

Luckily for me, this has now happened and I will be issuing Divorce proceedings as soon as I am able to do so. 

email evidence 2017 -2018

The truth of the matter is that in this relationship, I was the victim of abuse and assault for many years as is evidenced in part by copies of the four emails below.

emails 1 to 3 were emails asking for help and sent to her brother-in-law Dimitris Galanis who lived nearby at the time.

email 4 was sent to her son Marios who had either been lied to by his mother or – more likely – was part of the conspiracy.

Of course I received no help from this dysfunctional and unpleasant family, which now I understand has never seen me as a member of the family, but only as someone who could provide financial help.

April 22nd 2017 @ 16:10 to Dimitris Galanis Brother in Law

Dear Dimitri,

Unfortunately, and as usual, you only hear or listen to one side of the story.

It is not my style and I do not think it is correct to involve family in personal issues –  Maria should not call you every time we have an argument. For your information, she tried to break many things last night (but did not burn any more contracts, thank God). I am the one with blood today and not Maria…. she has done nothing all day and is currently talking with Pari.

I do not believe I have to prove any more how much I love Maria – I think the last 3 years have shown that – but the truth is that I am not able to continue being responsible for trying to do everything for someone who appreciates nothing and tries to break everything good and constructive that I try to do. This is the behaviour of a spoilt and unpleasant child – not the behaviour of a wife – and this is my big problem with her and why I wanted her to see a psychologist for the sake of our relationship.  About how husbands and wives are supposed to be with each other – unfortunately I am sure the relationship was not discussed, which is the entire point for me of meeting with a psychologist…..why does she get so angry? why does she believe that it does not matter how bad a thing she does – and how many times – to her husband, but expects unconditional love and forgiveness for everything….

I am committed to our agreement – please do not let Maria try and give you any stress for this. Unlike my wife, I keep my promises and I will always wish and do the best for you and Evgenia.

Warm regards Richard

May 2nd 2017 @ 17:01 to Dimitris Galanis Brother in Law to Maria 

Hi Dimitri

Sorry to trouble you – thank you for last night. I am e-mailing you rather than phoning you because it is easier for us both I think.

The problem I have with Maria continues – now it is one week of continual screaming, and poison and abuse from her, making my jobs extremely difficult if not impossible, while of course she does nothing in the house, or for the dogs (unless she wants to do something of course). The plan for Maria I believe is the same as before – to try and get me so angry that she can run to the police and say that I hit her and what a bad man I am and how she was right all the time 🙁

Now I am a very bad person because we came to eat at Xaso Mari as if now I am stealing money from you because we did not pay!!!! Of course she is trying all the time to destroy any relationship and trust between me and the family – because now in her mind I am the “devil” and gay 🙁 

And why? – because I am not now doing whatever she wants.

The main problem for her now is Ibrahim – she is putting all the blame for our failing relationship on this man, and all the time I hear bullshit from Maria about how I had a homosexual relationship with this Syrian guy while she was in Athens last summer, while I was working very hard to get the house ready for four dogs,  Of course this is not true – I have never been gay and I am sure Ibrahim is not gay either. But the truth is of no importance to Maria. After months of continuous poison and lies, I started to protect myself from this abuse by agreeing with all the bullshit I heard. 

As I said in my previous e-mail, I really need some help from you and Nannie with Maria –  and I hope you will come tomorrow so we can all talk privately – including Maria of course. She has to know from you that she cannot play with peoples lives and businesses as she is doing – she needs to fix our relationship and the way to start is to stop all the poison – if she can.

Best wishes to you and Nanny

Richard xx

May 3rd 2017 @ 18:03 to Dimitris Galanis Brother in Law to Maria

Sorry to trouble you again – appreciate you have business. However, Maria has just broken/smashed the INR reader needed regularly for her tests – I have had abuse from her all day – I fear that without someone else talking with her, this situation is out of control 🙁

Richard xx (as you see from the previous e-mail, I had hoped for a meeting today..) I need help here.

August 7th 2018 @ 21:30 Extract from email to Marios Vlachos @ 

……On this day (October 2017), Manolis (Karabinakis) was at home here in the morning with us both, and we could see what Maria was doing – drinking alcohol and taking her mother’s pills. Your mother was past “reason” (more out of her mind than normal) and should probably under other circumstances have been taken to an asylum: ask Manolis.  In the afternoon I called Pari (Frantzeskakis) to come and help, and talk with your mother – Maria had taken something more, and we tried to make her drink salt in water to make her sick and evacuate the pills from the stomach (my idea). This was not enough though to prevent her losing coherence and I decided to take her to Vamos Health Centre, and Pari – as the good friend she is – came too even though she had other commitments. 

At the Vamos Health Centre, now some time in the late afternoon/early evening, they tried to get your mother to tell them exactly what she had taken without success: next they tried for several hours to make her  take voluntarily and then by force something which would clear her stomach – ask Pari

After this, they said that because Maria was such a difficult patient, and they could not be sure they had cleared the stomach, and because she was abusive, your mother was physically (i.e. not voluntarily) put into an Ambulance and taken to Chania hospital. Of course, she told me to “fuck off” etc as normal, but I followed the ambulance and was there by her bedside when they admitted her at about 9 p.m. (does this scenario  sound familiar to you?)

Many hours later – I was at her bedside all the time – at about 2 in the morning? – she was removed to a bed outside the original ward because she was out of danger, and I was told we were now waiting for the hospital psychologists to visit and assess her condition. When they came, your mother was unbelievably rude and it was clear that they did not want to keep her. I asked one of the female psychologists who spoke good English what options there were, as I thought she should stay in the hospital until she was fully recovered. The psychologist told me that  as your mother had no intention of staying in the hospital there were only two choices. The two choices were (1) Involve the police and get an order to have Maria forcibly taken to an area for mentally disturbed patients attempted suicides etc, or (2) to take her home.

By now it was 2 or 3 a.m.  I decided to take her home even though I dreaded the thought , because she was still manic.

On the main road from Chania, she started being extremely abusive and to throw things out of the car. This quickly turned to physical violence – she was hitting me as I drove the car. She could easily have killed us both. When I reached Kalives, and was coming up the hill to Vamos, she started kicking the steering wheel, kicked me in the face and kicking anything else reachable. I stopped the car, forced her out in the interests of our own safety, and then called Pari as I drove to Vamos, explained what had happened and where she was and asked her to please go and collect Maria from the spot.

Pari did that – for which I am very grateful – but that was not the end of the problem, because unfortunately Maria then wanted to come home to Kefalas and not stay with Pari as I had hoped for the rest of that night – I had had enough by then and had hoped I could have one or two hours to myself, but it was not to be.

The truth is Marios, you ungrateful unappreciative boy, that I loved your mother at the time and did everything I could, and she should really have been “committed” to an asylum for a period. Many husbands would have walked away after this one episode, let alone many other previous unpleasant experiences too many of which to list here.. 

I did not walk away or get her “committed” to an asylum – I gave her yet another chance to show me that this would never happen again. So many chances, so many disappointments ….

And after this, what bullshit did she tell you? And you believed it all???

You and your mother owe me a great deal Marios – I have saved her life two or three times and paid for a new heart, acted as unpaid and unappreciated nurse for 3 months in Athens after the operation – what a nightmare that was –  restored her health and suffered months of abuse – for which you care nothing. And you have always known the truth about your psychotic mother – are you secretly ashamed of her? Never can you repay me for what I have done for you both. My life with your mother has been a nightmare, and I now regret that I ever got involved with her.

It is unbelievable to me now how unloving and unlovable Maria is – maybe because the money has finished? 

You deserve each other.

The Ultimate Betrayal. How the Conspiracy to Defraud Began

Despite the violence and abuse I suffered from Maria for several years, I never hit her and any “injuries” she claims to have suffered in her attempt to discredit me were self inflicted.

It is now clear to me that the marriage was failing from 2016, and that her plan was then to constantly try to provoke me into hitting her so that she could call the police and cause trouble. I have personal videos and photos taken during this time as proof of her psychotic behaviour and the damage this woman caused to me and the house. 

As a result of this violence, and because I suspected that there was a link, I had told her that I would no longer support her Cannabis addiction

What is for me very difficult to accept is that I was the target in a conspiracy involving  three people – all connected by Cannabis. My own wife Maria, Manolis Karabinis and Stavros Stavroulakis. All three colluded together.

In 2017 and 2018 my wife attempted to embarrass me with lies of physical violence to the local police, and the plan presumably was that she thought that this would mean more money for her in any subsequent  divorce settlement.

When she knew that I had no more money in 2019, she left me and went to Athens, for which I was very grateful.

In 2017, Stavroulakis with the support of Maria eventually persuaded me to loan him 50,000 euros to support his Holiday Property Business. Again I now realise that there was never any intention to repay this money, but I am sure that Maria benefitted by receiving Cannabis from Stavroulakis as she had done from 2014.

In 2018, Maria and Manolis Karabinis devised a plan to defraud me of 25000 euros, which was to be used ostensibly to rebuild the Kefalas Kafeneio, supported by a legal agreement known as a KOIIN.sep. I realise now that Manolis never had any intention of repaying this money, and that some of the loans were used to supply cannabis to Maria.

Letter from Galanis
Letter from Galanis
Reply Galanis Aug2017
Reply Galanis Aug2017

Third Marriage 2015 to 2021 – Personal Read More »

My Son Russell Warren

Russell James Alexis Noble Warren

My son Russ was born on November 11th 1980: the name James was the name Rosie and I had chosen for his older brother, who unfortunately did not survive. It was also the name of my Grandfather on my mother’s side, and my second name. Russell and Alexis were names we both liked, although there was no-one in the family called Russell or Alexis. Noble was my father’s family name. There was no Proctor family name!

I was with Russ in my house in Ealing until he was 5 years old, and was very involved as a parent, doing many of the things that modern day parenting encourages – such as nappy changing etc.! As a boy, he was a quiet character, and could be difficult. And he loved Star Wars – I remember many toys based on characters in that film.

As explained previously, it was 2002 before we met up again as father and son, as he had spent most of his life in Yorkshire with Rosie’s family. The meeting in 2002 at his University, Royal Holloway, was thanks to Jenny – his girlfriend at the time – who persuaded Russ that he should “reach out” to his father.

Once we had re-united, I took both Russ and Jenny to meet my parents in Wiltshire, and we started seeing each other on a regular basis. I remember one family holiday in Crete together, where Michele and I took Russ and Jenny to stay in our favourite hotel, the Dolphin Bay.

Over the next seven years, post University, Russ first moved to Derbyshire with Jenny’s parents, until their relationship ended, and then returned to the London area in 2004 to work in sales with the HSBC as part of their Graduate scheme.

Russ was single at the time, and living in a small “bedsit” in Chiswick: unfortunately our Thames Village apartment was just not big enough, otherwise I would have suggested he come and live with us until he was “on his feet”

In 2009 I was able to offer him a job with my Telecoms Business, and  we started to spend more “father and son” time together with games of tennis at my local club in Richmond and a few beers at local pubs in Chiswick. Unfortunately I was not a Golf enthusiast which was a sport at which Russ excelled! It was very fulfilling for me to be able to discuss business matters with my son, and advise him where I could on “everyday” problems – such as repaying a large student loan.

In 2013, I had a few personal problems and had no choice but to “downsize” the company, which meant that Russ had to consider another career. I very much regretted the decision I had to make, but it was a choice between him and Liam Leckie, a loyal consultant with me for more than 15 years, and with a family to support.

However, I am proud to say that Russ rose to the challenge, and after several Account Manager posts with Technology companies, he is now an Indirect Sales Leader working at BMC

Since 2013, he has also met and married the lovely Jo, and they have three wonderful children, Noah, Mason and very recently Sofia-Rose. I know that they are very happy together  – and the large family includes Jo’s son Tyrell from a previous marriage.

My Son Russell Warren Read More »

Second Marriage

Michele Veronica West - 1987 to 2012

I should start by saying that Michele is still very much alive and well, and what follows is only in the “past” tense because they are my memories and recollections of our time together.

I am also well aware that we still share friends and connections, and it is not my intention to cause any rift or upset, or attempt to change the status quo: it is just an honest account as to why things did not work out after 25 years together.

In many ways, Michele was a completely opposite character to my first wife. She was working in London when I met her in 1985 and did not drink,  and was vivacious and amusing without being extravert. She was also extremely attractive with a great personality.

Michele was born in November 1948: her father George West was serving as an officer in the British Forces in 1946 at the time of the occupation of Palestine (now Israel). Her mother, Alice (Babs) was Jewish, originally from Vienna Austria, and was one of those who managed to escape from the concentration camps and make her way to Palestine – her own experiences would have made a great book. Babs worked in the same office as George, romance quickly followed, and he returned to the UK to marry her in approx 1947. They lived in Thames Village Chiswick. There was one younger brother, Peter, who was at the time we met, involved in the early stages of the computer software industry in the UK: he later became a US citizen and currently lives with his very attractive wife, Alice, in California with their family and his precious Mercedes (a “must have” status symbol for Peter!)

In 1985 Michele was working in London with her best friend and partner, Ana, and running a small printing and proof reading service for local businesses using their computer skills: I remember being impressed that the girls were in business, although I did also know that some of their clients were not the most reliable of payers, which led to cashflow problems. Some of their clients were “interesting” characters: I remember being introduced to one customer – Peter Jeffries, a Canadian – who was operating an investment fund called the “Growth Strategies Fund” which was administrated and run from a rented office in Grosvenor, and seemed to me to be a slightly “dodgy” enterprise.

At the time, my Insurance Brokerage – Noble Warren Investments Ltd – and Investment Management company – Jarretts Bond Management Ltd – were both doing well and operating out of 50 Maddox Street. I invited Michele over one evening ostensibly to discuss redecorating my offices, and the romance began.

Michele was living in rented accommodation which was actually one floor of a privately owned house in the London W1 area. There were issues with the “tenancy”. When I moved out of Sandall Road, I moved in with Michele and, after a short time, we decided to set up home together using the £5000 she would receive for vacating her rights of tenancy. The first property we bought was a 3 bedroom flat at Belvedere House, Kew Bridge Road for which I arranged the mortgage. Her parents were living close by in Thames Village, and I was impressed with the location of their property. I remember asking her parents to let me know as soon as any of the Thames Village properties with a river frontage came onto the market, and within a year, No. 56 Thames Village was available, and we moved in shortly afterwards. 

We were married at St Georges Church Hanover Square in October 1987, which was 100 yards from my office in Maddox Street. The reception was at the Westbury Mayfair Hotel and my best man was Chris Efstratiou. The honeymoon started with the Eurostar to Paris where we joined the Orient Express to spend some romantic days together in Venice, visiting Harry’s Bar and St Mark’s Square and enjoying together the normal tourist trips – in a Gondola, and a visit to the famous glass making factory.

I am detailing this only to show how important it was for me to demonstrate to Michele how much I appreciated her trust in me and to give her a honeymoon that she would always remember.  Unfortunately, she was not too well throughout the honeymoon, and to make matters worse, the trip back to the UK (Orient Express to Paris, and then Eurostar to Waterloo, London) coincided with the worst gales to hit the South East of England in living memory – October 19 1987.

We settled down to life together in Thames Village. Michele’s former business in London was closed, the main reason being that it was no longer viable, in that the rapid advance in computer programming meant that potential customers could now do the same job with their own office based computers. 

Our attention turned to raising a family, which was terribly important for Michele, and she had my full support. We tried unsuccessfuly for some years and in the early 1990s we turned to IVF treatment, visiting some of London’s top specialists, but without success.

Our life together in Chiswick was a comfortable one – we were both members of  the Riverside Club where there were all kinds of facilities including tennis, dance classes and a fully equipped gymnasium. Here we met and became great friends with Tony Haslam and his future wife Nona, who was formerly a solo dancer at the Royal Festival Ballet. Another great friendship started with Carlo Vagliasindi and his partner at the time, Bridget Hunt, both living in Richmond. Also Chris and Fiona Bevan and his brother Simon and wife Anne-Marie, and many other friends were made, who used the facilities at the Club, including my fellow tennis players – so social life was full and interesting!

Although Thames Village had more than its fair share of elederly residents, we were fortunate to have interesting and friendly neighbours immediately adjacent to us: in particular Nadine and Tony Darke-Partridge and Laurence and Jules York Moore.

Tony was a senior executive for Gillette, before it was taken over by Procter and Gamble and had his fair share of overseas postings, including some years in St Petersburg. Having a slightly unusual surname did result in some amusing postal delivery problems – perhaps the most amusing being a letter addressed to them both in Thames Village as Mr & Mrs Dank-Porridge! Both were very charming and generous and we visited each other on a regular basis.

Laurence is a qualified architect, and his wife Jules was closely involved with the BBC in a professional capacity as a makeup artist for many of the top shows. Both were charming and we socialised with them on many occasions, before they made the decision to move to Cornwall.

We also took regular holidays abroad – many to Crete. Our immediate family was complemented with white cats, that were raised from kittenhood. Michele was also an excellent cook and hostess, and all seemed to be going well, except for the bad news about having children.

In the late 1990s, disaster struck in the shape of a “double whammy” – the first being the forced closure of my insurance and investment businesses through changes in Financial Regulations, and the second being extremely high Bank interest rates, the combination of which eventually forced me into Bankruptcy. I have covered – or will be covering – the circumstances that led to this disaster in the Business section of this Blog. Luckily some years previously I had taken the precaution to transfer ownership of our Thames Village property into Michele’s name, thus avoiding a complete disaster. 

I had to abandon the offices in the West End and set up my new “office” in the spare bedroom at home. To her credit, Michele was supportive, and even helped me in selling tourist phonecard products in London, the first job I could find following the disaster. I will always remember the extreme generosity of her godparents, Vroni and Gunter, originally also from Austria, who provided a much needed non repayable “loan” of some £9000, the only people to help us financially.

After a few years, I was back “in business”, creating a small telecoms company, and from 2001 or thereabouts, things steadily improved. However, it was apparent to me that Michele was not particularly happy: she had tried her hand at a few things, including making woollen jumpers for private sale. She had always been interested in professional Make-up, Nutrition, Natural Remedies and Homeopathy, so she took a few courses, and started to try to attract customers.

When younger, Michele had played piano, was a talented singer and also had studied Acting and Performance at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. As we had an excellent “adult and further education college” a few miles away in Twickenham called the Richmond upon Thames College – I think it was circa 2003 or 2004 – I persuaded her to enrol in the college with me, and we started with singing classes. The College was a social hub for all kinds of talented amateurs interested in arts music drama and theatre, and we met many people who went on to become good friends of ours. One connection was Deirdre O’Kelly, our singing teacher at the time: her father, talented actor and singer, Fergus O’Kelly, was very much involved with  the Barnes Charity Players, now called the Barnes Community Players, who put on excellent amateur productions of plays and musicals. I found out that they were auditioning for one of their new productions and persuaded Michele to come with me to the audition. Although she was not successful at the time, and for that particular show, the “seed” was sown, and she went on to perform regularly in the shows that followed.

I mention this because I wanted Michele to have another “outlet” and so I pushed her out of her “comfort zone” so that some of her talents could be fulfilled and she would have more of an interesting life with more purpose. As it turned out, by being there, I also benefitted by becoming part of the same group, and we took part together in a number of shows and musical events for the next ten years.

So What Went Wrong?

In my opinion, there were three main reasons for my decision to break up our marriage.

No Children The first reason was our inability to have children together, which caused Michele much sadness: there is no doubt in my mind that she would have made an excellent mother and having children would have changed both our lives and our priorities: it would also have given Michele her desired main “role in life” as a mother. I am sure that if we had had children, we would not have divorced.

Disagreement over Finance When her mother died, Michele inherited a fair amount of capital: the amount happened to be approximately the same as the mortgage outstanding on our home. Over the years, it had been necessary for me to refinance – by way of increasing the mortgage – in order to support and grow the new telecom businesses. These various businesses were at the time doing reasonably well, but the monthly mortgage repayments were a significant part of our outgoings: the obvious thing from my perspective – and financial experience – was to repay the mortgage with the inherited capital, and I did not understand why this was a problem for Michele.

Trust and Support It had become increasingly obvious to me that Michele was relying on the opinion of “friends” rather than myself in many matters affecting our life together. For me, there was too little honesty or trust left in our relationship.

I also had my own problems in coming to terms with living out the rest of my life in the UK.

Although I had a comfortable lifestyle and many interests – both sporting and musical and amateur theatre – I yearned for a more sunny climate: my businesses could be run from anywhere with reliable internet available. So in approx 2010/2011 I decided to spend some months out of the UK: Crete was somewhere which we both knew well, and I started by renting a property there to “test the water” and to make sure that it was what I was looking for. Michele joined me on several occasions, but I knew her “heart was not in it” and that she wanted very much to remain in London with her friends and familiar lifestyle.

In 2012 I told Michele that as far as I was concerned, the marriage could not continue, and our divorce was finalised in November 2014. Michele received the majority of the proceeds of the sale of 56 Thames Village – a not inconsiderable amount.

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First Marriage

Rosemary Ann Proctor - 1976 to 1985

Rosie was my first wife, and mother to my only son, Russell.

Born in May 1946, her father Harry was senior partner at the law firm Hunt and Wrigley based at the time in Thirsk Yorkshire. The family home was a large house in Osmotherley, North Yorkshire, which was where we had our wedding reception in September 1976. Her family was comfortably well off, with holiday homes in nearby Filey and elsewhere. 

The wedding day was not auspicious as it poured with rain, threatening to destroy the marquees and other structures brought in for the occasion. My best man was Hugh Slater, a good friend from the King’s School Canterbury.

Rosie’s mother Miriam was a commanding presence, and used to getting her own way: Harry, on the other hand, loved the quiet life, and golf. Rosie had a younger brother Chris, who at the time was training to be a solicitor at the the Guildford Law College.

I first met Rosie in about 1972 at a party  held at the home of the O’Connor family in Hockley Essex. She was friends with a boy named Steve, who also happened to know Dianne – one of the O’Connor girls – and Steve was studying at the same Law College in Guildford as Rosie’s brother Chris.

My first impression of Rosie was that she enjoyed parties and alcohol, and was more “extravert” than I was used to seeing. She did not seem to have a job as such, but was financially independent with her own MG Midget sports car – she was actually a pretty good driver!

We got on well, and she later visited me in my cottage at Saham Hills in Norfolk. Our relationship of boyfriend/girlfriend was “on and off” and we separated for a year before re-uniting in 1975, as I was beginning to do rather well with Merchant Investors  as an insurance salesman.

I invited her to come with me on my annual sales convention to Crete in September 1975 – all expenses paid 5 star holiday – where she met the other leading salesmen and women from Merchant Investors. Shortly after this, we jointly decided (it was not a romantic “on one knee” moment with engagement ring to hand) to get married.

I did not tell my parents immediately – they were in Rhodesia at the time – preferring to tell them when we visited together in early 1976, but our surprise news was slightly overshadowed by the decision of my younger brother Robert to get married to Judith (from the same Merchant Investors connection) in Rhodesia at the same time on the same visit. From this marriage came my niece Camilla, who is now doing rather well as a Social Media professional.

Rosie was a very pretty girl, with a nice character, but she used alcohol as a way to emerge from her “shell”, and the resulting lack of inhibition many times caused problems. I was well aware of this, having witnessed it before, but thought that once we were married this would no longer be an issue. I believe that the problems that she had were a result of her mother’s controlling influence in her childhood – Miriam did not drink or smoke at all, but both her children did so, and sometimes to excess.

We started married life in a flat in Corfton Lodge, Ealing, West London and then moved to our first purchased property Rose Cottage in Neville Road Ealing, which was very close to the Pitshanger Lane Tennis Club (at the time they had grass courts, and we did sometimes play together) and not far from Hanger Lane Tube Station used for my daily commute to the City. By this time, there was an addition to the family in the shape of a crazy Red Setter male puppy called Gemini (Gemmy)

We planned to start a proper family as soon as possible – Rosie was in her 30s – and she became pregnant in 1978. Unfortunately, the baby boy (James) was premature at only six months and survived only three days in an incubator.  The autopsy confirmed jaundice and lung failure, owing to the premature birth, and I and Rosies’ parents were told privately by the doctors that it would be advisable for her to give up smoking and drinking before trying again.

To her credit, she did so, and Russell was born in November 1980, perfectly healthy.

We did not have any help with the baby , but we managed OK, and business was going well, so I “upgraded” our property to a large 4 bedroom detached house in Sandall Road, Ealing, which was more suited to a family.

Our main friends, with whom we socialised on many occasions were Chris and Jenny Efstratiou, working with Merchant Investors and lving in London (and later Oxford), and Ron Hollett and Daphne Roughead in Hampshire (and later Wiltshire). Daphne was Rosie’s best friend, and they had a son Chris who was a little older than Russ. Ron was a very talented Art Director working in London, and his passion was clay-pigeon shooting, a sport which he introduced to me, and we spent many hours in different parts of the South of England at various organised shoots – with prizes on offer often won by Ron!
Chris and Jenny Efstratiou had three children, Melissa, Marcus and Rowena, with Marcus about the same age as my son Russell.

So what went wrong?

In the next four years or so, life was comfortable financially, but Rosie seemed bored and not particularly happy, resulting in a return to smoking and drinking in the old style. She was not at all interested in getting some help or counselling for this, and was not particularly maternal.

There were frequent alcohol induced rows at home: after one episode at a friend’s house, which resulted in a violent altercation between us, I realised that I could not spend any more of my life in an environment which may have led to more violence, and that it would be better for all concerned – including my son – if I left the family home.

I realised that when I made this decision, legal custody of Russell would certainly go to Rosie, even if I portrayed her as an unfit mother, but I assumed – rightly – that she would return to Yorkshire and get the necessary help from her parents, and so Russell should be in good hands.

I left the family home taking only my car, some clothes and a few personal belongings. Once Rosie had left London in approx 1986 after selling Sandall Road, and keeping the proceeds ( some £100,000 plus) she returned to Yorkshire with Russell to live with her parents. She never married again, and died of (as I understand it) heart related causes in about 2015: I was not invited to attend the funeral.

After the separation and final divorce, she did everything possible to prevent me from contacting Russ, and whilst still in London, when I did take my son out for the day, it was obvious that she had poisoned his mind against his father to an unacceptable degree. On one occasion, my second wife Michele and I took Russ on a week’s holiday to Spain: it soon became apparent that he had very recently contracted measles, and of course we were not told in advance.

It took 15 years for Russ to re-establish contact – he was studying at the Royal University of Holloway  in Egham, not far from our home in Chiswick. I was happy to hear him say (in confidence) that he did not blame me for leaving Rosie, and by his own account, his life in Yorkshire was not ideal: I was not happy and I do very much regret, however, that I had missed out on the most important formative years of his life, when father and son would normally bond.heart

First Marriage Read More »

Family Homes 1962 to 1980

London Bath Bristol and Rhodesia

After returning to the UK with some capital, my parents invested wisely in some long lease London properties in Belgravia – first in Chester Row and then in Eaton Terrace – followed by Lyncombe Hill in Bath – and whilst living in the properties, they devoted their energies to improving, redecorating  and modernising each until they had enough money circa 1964/65 to buy my mother’s dream home – Acacia House, Chew Magna Near Bristol (in Somerset)

This was a large house with spacious cellars and many bedrooms, with it’s own grounds, and orchard, sloping down to the local small river. I remember the purchase price was £9000 and for my mother. this was what she had been waiting for since the end of the War – her own country house in the UK.

However, the dream was not to last. Money was still tight, and my father had secured a job in Bristol working for Harveys, and my mother had a job working as PR Officer for GB Brittons – a shoe manufacturer with a factory near Bristol. But she was not at all happy with her life at the time and had started drinking – to such an extent that she lost her job and was hospitalised for a period.

Following this experience, her sister Iris, who had also “upped sticks” to Africa with her family after her husband (Bam) had died – suggested that she come out to Rhodesia (later Zimbabwe) to recuperate. To cut a long story short – after a few months my mother told my father that if he wanted to see her again he would have to sell the house and come to Rhodesia – which he duly did in 1970 (or thereabouts).

Whilst I never lived in Rhodesia for long (my longest trip was 3 months) I did get to know and love the country, and I had the chance to make a number of trips because I was no longer in the RAF, and therefore in charge of my own destiny.

My parents now lived in Salisbury (now Harare), and did the same thing as they had done so successfully in London – “doing up” one house and then moving to another. My father managed to get another Pensions Department job (I know he falsified his age to qualify) and they were much better off financially with better facilities and servants than in Uganda, and my mother’s drinking was under control.

Rhodesia had a different climate to Uganda and had a different topography – with some highland areas. Like Uganda, it had Game Reserves and lakes and was a wonderful place to live if you enjoyed sporting activities and the outdoor life – which I did! Two of my cousins lived there at the time – Robin (Iris’ second son) and Jackie (daughter of my mother’s third sister Rita). Robin was in the property business and had a horse ranch just north of Salisbury, and Jackie was married to Chris Dunn, a local farmer and professional jockey. It was where I learnt to ride, which culminated in taking one of Robin’s racehorses (Brigadier was the name of the horse) round the local Salisbury race track at full gallop. I am certain that Health and Safety would not have approved, but I loved the experience.

In 1965, Rhodesia had declared UDI under Prime Minister Ian Smith against the wishes of the UK Government. In 1970, it declared itself a Republic. Whilst my parents were there and during my visits, there were incidents of insurgence and armed conflict: most of the “white” males were involved in the Army – and at least two of my previous colleagues at RAF CranwellIan Rodwell and Richard Calder 96 D – were actively involved in the Rhodesian Airforce.

I have many fond memories of Rhodesia, but with Independence in 1979/1980, my parents returned to the UK.

And that was the end of my life in Africa, although I have since visited or holidayed in South Africa and North Africa.

Family Homes 1962 to 1980 Read More »