Cobbett, Chartists and Alternative Simon

Somewhere out there, in a parallel universe, my alter ego, known as Alternative Simon, is sitting at his keyboard. He will be surrounded by books, sitting at a desk and will smile gently, secure in the knowledge of his successful career and healthy bank balance as he heads into retirement.

He will not be sitting at his dining table surrounded by clutter (including a pile of things that need throwing away) because he will have folders and shelves and no compulsion to hang on to things that “might come in handy”. He will definitely not be wondering how he ended up working in a shop part time and sneezing copiously.

He will almost certainly be a lecturer in history at a University of moderate reputation, with a specialisation in British Civil Disorder of the nineteenth century, a number of papers and possibly even a book with his name on it.

In turn, he will dream of his possible life in a University with ancient foundations (Cambridge by preference), with book-lined walls and a tweed jacket. If only, he will sigh, he had worked harder t school. The alternative Alternative Simon will be an expert on British Civil Disorder of the 19th Century, with books and TV spin-offs for Brandreth – the Nottingham Captain and Chartism – the Revolution That Never Was.

And, of course, the alternative Alternative Simon will sit there chewing his pen (none of them will be much good with technology) and wishing that he had followed the healthy outdoor farming life portrayed in the works of William Cobbett, whilst avoiding Cobbett’s more non-woke opinions. He may even dream, in the midst of the turbulent rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle of a successful historian, regret the succession of trophy wives and drug-fuelled orgies and wish that he could swap it all for one good woman and a sideline in writing poetry.

Well, you never know, it could all be true. The picture is from my first month of blogging and was the cake we had on the farm to celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary. We have just celebrated our 33rd. How the years fly by.

23 thoughts on “Cobbett, Chartists and Alternative Simon

  1. tootlepedal

    The one good woman makes up for a lot of lost dreams in my experience. In almost any alternative Tootlepedal life, I would be dead by now. Happy anniversary!

  2. Helen

    Happy anniversary!

    When my daughter was a tot, a 70 year-old said to me had been round the world three times but how he would much rather have been a father. He then said, ‘Children keep you poor and keep you young’.

    Anyway, academics with children are now worrying about their pensions, no doubt in part because of the tuition fees they feel they should pay to support them. So, no one really wins, do they?

    1. quercuscommunity Post author

      My Dad worked abroad a lot and felt the same about family. That’s partly why I worked for myself – plenty of flexibility for the kids, particularly as they became more involved in sport. I’d have loved more money and a decent pension but I liked the time with the kids too. Swings and roundabouts.

      1. Helen

        My internet dropped out, so you may get two replies for the price of one!

        Anyway, yes I’m with you. More money would be nice but you can’t take it to the grave with you.

  3. quercuscommunity Post author

    What, you and Bear and the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle? That probably falls into the Shakespeare’s Monkey category – write enough and some of it will be right. πŸ™‚

  4. Lavinia Ross

    The alternate universe might actually be just one of a multiverse. Just think of the possibilities! πŸ™‚

    Wishing you and Julia a happy 33rd Anniversary, and many more to come. Yes, those years do fly by all too quickly.

    1. quercuscommunity Post author

      Thank you. I feel we are starting to get the hang of marriage, but won’t get complacent yet.

      I’m off to think about the world where a thin Simon is lacing up his running shoes ready for a couple of training laps before some yoga . . .


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