At the insistence of my husband — who is called Carol, named by his Europhile parents after King Carol of Romania — it had to be the largest in the village, and the garden grandly led down to the banks of the river.He revelled in the praise his friends piled on him for enjoying the perfect lifestyle — a stunning house and, of course, the icing on the cake, a nubile young wife. I watched with morbid fascination as my husband — sporting a pair of comfortable loose-fitting trousers, calf-length brown socks and his favourite Velcro-strapped sandals — strutted about our terrace like a bantam cockerel.We hadn’t had sex for over a decade, and it was highly unlikely we’d ever make love again.At 67, my husband had been seriously ill for the last ten years of our marriage.Not only was I working flat-out to make a career for myself in a foreign country so I could pay our bills, I was also providing round-the-clock care for Carol.His deteriorating health left me responsible for his most intimate needs. By now I was increasingly worried about our future. Would I have to give up my job and look after him permanently? The daily strain was unrelenting, and I was prematurely ageing.
I first met Carol back in 1982 when he was 47 and I was 25 and working for him at his sports shop in Tiverton, Devon.
From my hiding place behind the door, I was frozen with revulsion and disbelief.
Not only at my husband’s betrayal — but because our marriage was nothing like the one he had described in such prurient detail.
I hadn’t had much experience with men, and didn’t realise that our relationship was far from normal.
In 1995, when I was 38 and Carol 60, he was admitted to hospital for open-heart surgery.