Lewis Hulatt, Consultant solicitor with Major Family Law, Divorce and family law specialists, based in Surrey comments as follows:
Spoken in public to me by my wife, that reproach produced a great guffaw of laughter that filled the village hall, which at the time was completely full. It was a sell-out variety show in honour of ‘Battle of Britain weekend’ and in the theatrical sense, the line was by Nancy Astor to Winston Churchill, but a proportion of the audience knew that I was a local solicitor. Some also knew that ‘Nancy’ was my off-stage wife, so when she concluded a lively exchange with the threat that if I were her husband she would put poison in my coffee, my rejoinder that if she was my wife, I would drink it got an even bigger laugh. I was clearly alive, so it was an un-fulfilled politician’s promise, fitting for a Prime Minister, if not me.
The on-stage Winston and Nancy showed what can help a relationship survive: clear communication, shared interests, a sense of humour and a willingness to respond, rather than sulk.
For me, having the honour of playing the ‘Greatest Briton’ (as voted such by the public a mere year after my portrayal of him) was one of a number of stage appearances, but for my wife, playing Nancy Astor was her only foray onto the boards. However, she always helped me learn my lines for roles, which started with an Abbot in the Norman period and had a parabolic career arc including Geoffrey Chaucer, the Victorian Governor of a women’s prison and a digger of Tudor latrines. I ended up playing a haunted Edwardian brewer and his 21st Century counterpart, an unsavoury financial adviser who (allegedly) murders his Eastern-European au pair. My wife stood by me through it all – for richer, poorer, better or worse as the list of parts illustrates. I was supported in my preparation and perhaps most importantly reminded to speak clearly.
Although life and the law is full of uncertainty and each relationship breakdown unique, a good solicitor will listen and help evaluate the options. As a lawyer, I will probably not use the minimum number of words to explain, but I will do my best to be clear.
I still drink coffee…