When our sister returned to Wales from her Yorkshire visit she found that one of her cats had disappeared — afterwards it was thought by the family that a fox had taken her, when Jim Perrin described to us the dreadful sounds he had heard some nights before. (As of a cat fight, he said.) This would seem to be confirmed when he later wrote in West of how each evening he fed scraps from his caravan to a fox he had encouraged. Complete madness as Jac’s household had seven cats; eight, including his own — and with a tragic outcome. It is well known that a cat’s most lethal enemy is a fox; a surprising lacuna in Jim Perrin’s self-vaunted knowledge of nature…
* * * * *
While Jac had been away Jim Perrin had made an enormous bonfire, the ashes of which were over three yards in diameter. We will never know with certainty all that he consigned to the flames but the burnt remnants of a carved table leg were evident — this from an antique mahogany pedestal table — and a fine and elaborate Victorian headboard was also missing: they had belonged to our mother and Jac had brought them down to Wales.
As well as these pieces there had been in Jac’s house an old upholstered rocking chair which was a great favourite and much loved by her sons. Where was this chair?
At first when they asked Jim Perrin about it he feigned surprise, equivocated and denied any knowledge of its whereabouts. However, when they persisted he put forward spurious suggestions that ‘it might have been given away’ — or ‘be in one of the barns’ — ‘almost certainly’ the latter he then said with real conviction, and to back this up made great show of going into the main barn to search for it: and yet despite his best efforts he failed to produce the chair…
Finally, as we became insistent and would not let the subject drop, he went so far as to suggest to the boys’ aunt that Jac’s youngest son might have burnt it himself. ‘I would not be surprised if he had’, he said! As may be imagined she instantly dismissed the idea — and since only a few months earlier he had physically assaulted her nephew she was disinclined to consider anything he said about him, let alone that mean-minded slur.
However, Jim Perrin, when our sister was away in Yorkshire, and for reasons known only to himself, had made his fire and burnt, amongst whatever else, a favourite rocking chair and two extremely good pieces of furniture Jac had chosen from our mother’s effects. (Some months later Jac’s son found the charred wooden frame-work of this rocking chair, complete with its fire-scorched springs: they had been secreted in overgrown vegetation by a wall of the top barn… )
Why should he have taken upon himself this massive burning? It was a rather strange thing to have done? Possibly he thought he was ‘tidying up’? Or, were those things not to his taste? (Jac’s things actually.) We cannot say, but to call his action high-handed is surely not too strong? Did he have any idea how much the chair had meant to them, Jac’s sons whom he hated; or that he would be called to account for his injudicious behaviour? Whatever his motives his extraordinary burning of our sister’s furniture when she was away from home and had certainly not given her permission was a most obvious and extreme example of Jim Perrin’s controlling behaviour.
And, as well, do note how certain he was that he could convince us — bamboozle us — that he had no knowledge of the rocking chair; as a family and then individually, when he spoke to one of Jac’s sisters about her nephew and accused him of having destroyed it. This was ridiculous: Jac’s sons were not even at home at the time of his pyromaniac activities — nevertheless he unworthily planted this thought, obviously being aware and concerned that at some point the remains might be found. (They were of course, although after Jac had died and he had been obliged to leave.) So nasty and so deceitful… Jim Perrin is a very slippery individual indeed.
P.S. Since these details were posted someone who was also (unhappily) involved with Jim Perrin shared with us her similar experience of his disturbed and destructive ways and gave us an example of the damage which, in her absence, he had perpetrated on her own possessions