To the Manor born.  I try to hold onto my equilibrium as I read Penelope Keith’s comments in Country Life Magazine on people divorcing in their 50’s and 60’s. Her comments are reproduced in The Daily Mail:   

‘If only we could educate people to go on living together for longer. It’s all these single dwellings, all these women in their 50s and 60s who suddenly want their own space, to be their own people. To do what?’

Ms Keith is bemoaning the fact that in her Surrey village, property prices are out of most people’s reach.  She blames divorcing women.

One can only surmise that Ms Keith, or should we call her Mrs Keith doesn’t live in the real world.  She must think that women in their 50’s and 60’s who find themselves divorced do so in a tra la la fashion, gaily stepping into the shoes of singledom so that they can live in an often smaller home, away from all that they have known for the last 30 odd years.  Perhaps Ms (Sorry, Mrs) Keith thinks that divorce is a joyful thing, something to be relished and looked forward to in later years and that a bi-product of it is to inadvertently push up house prices in an area where I am sure her house is priced beyond the reach of many. 

Well, Ms Keith, if you would care to be a fly on the wall in one of our support groups, or workshops, you would in fact, see fairly quickly, that no-one chooses to be divorced or separated lightly, or without much thought often over many years. Or indeed, often those women that you see living in ‘single dwellings’ as you so lovingly call them, often find themselves separated against their will or choice by a husband who has chosen to look elsewhere.

Think again Ms Keith and perhaps after that you might just have a little empathy and dare I say it – understanding.