Tag Archives: alternate lives

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.