I have been thinking recently about how we meet, collide and come together in this crazy world. Those occasions when space and time conspire and you meet a stranger for the first time, visit a new place or find yourself in circumstances that change what happens next. No doubt, the most significant meeting for me was when Mrs. D entered my life; and proceeded to turn it upside down. Nothing has been the same since. The changes are still happening, er, for the better, of course. I have to say that. She reads this.
Like many, we met by chance and our early tales include running away from angry lovers, lots of subterfuge and mad, unreserved passion. Being caught ‘in flagrante delicto’ in an old sports-car (an impressive feat of flexibility and creativity I might add) by the police was a particular highlight. Quite funny looking back (though it wasn’t at the time) and yet, I wouldn’t change a thing. Well, maybe one or two…and it would make a fun read if she’d let me write about our story, but not here and not now.
Because with every meeting there must be a corresponding farewell. This, ladies and gentlemen, will be the last Daring column for Citylife. Time for both the magazine and I to move on to new things. It’s been a blast writing for you, I’ve learnt a lot and hope I’ve made you smile occasionally over the last three-and-a-bit years. I know I’ve annoyed people too because the ‘hate’ mail is framed and displayed on my wall with pride. Mrs. D likes to point at it during arguments.
People have asked if the various stories about the Daring household are real. Of course they are. Well, embellished a little perhaps, to make them actually sound vaguely interesting. The article where my loving daughter tore me apart for writing about sex was, of course, all true. As is the description of Mrs. D which, as those of you who’ve met her will understand, required no exaggeration – and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Others were curious whether Phil Daring is my real name? Let’s just say, by paraphrasing an old ‘Morecambe & Wise’ sketch, all the letters are there but not necessarily in the right order, give or take one or two. Names had to be changed to protect the innocent, or as in my case, the guilty.
When I decided I wanted to be a writer, I’d not long left a well-paid, senior-management job with an American multi-national in Thailand. How we – you and I that is – met, in this case, was the financial melt-down of late 2008 and a new boss. Almost 50 and no longer enjoying my job, Mrs. D and I decided we’d do something different, using our savings to live on and try new things, take a few risks. A few have worked, others not, but unless you try you’ll never know.
Time will tell whether I achieve my goal but the last three years has seen some interesting family changes. D2 is turning into a beautiful young woman who fills her parents with pride every time we see her (and worry; as any father with teenage daughters can attest to, I remember being a teenage boy – couldn’t leave the bloody thing alone). Mrs. D has transitioned to being the main family breadwinner. I have every crossable bit of my anatomy still capable of crossing crossed that her latest business venture will be a success, keeping me in the manner to which I want to become accustomed. I’ve always fancied being an ex-pat wife. Live the dream.
Now for my last shameless plug: my first novel, ‘Daring to Move’ is nearly finished. Written over the past two or so years; it has been a humbling experience. The first editing was like being back at school; six-out-of-ten, must try harder, boy. It’s been rewritten four times, the duration getting longer and the motivation less but I do admit I’m pleased with the result, bearing no relation to my first schoolboy effort. Whilst there’s no danger of winning a Pulitzer Prize, it’s a light, humourous account of how the Daring family left the UK and moved to Asia. Available on Kindle soon and, with a fair wind and full sails, in bookshops not long after. I hope you will enjoy reading the tale as much as I have enjoyed writing it.
Well, that’s all, folks. I’d like to thank you for reading the columns, for the hate-mail, the waves of indifference, support and encouragement. It’s been a pleasure and I’ve enjoyed and been grateful for the opportunity from Pim and the Citylife team.
So until our paths cross again, farewell from the Darings.
(And don’t forget to buy my book, it’s really, really good. Still have a daughter to get through university you know…)