‘Melangell’ (JP?) commented on The Guardian Country Diary thread, 18/10/2010: ‘Set those diarists world-wandering a bit more often, I say, reporting back from wherever they like in the global village.’ This response was to a diary entry from Papua New Guinea which was posted by Mark Cocker (and close friend of Jim Perrin), an ornithologist with an international reputation whose diaries, since 1988, have been consistently outstanding: perhaps he had been there recently in the course of his research.
Was ‘Melangell’ (JP?) perhaps trying with this comment to exert some influence? It would certainly be to Jim Perrin’s advantage…
When we wrote to Chris Elliott, one of the editors, following an exchange of our own with ‘Melangell’ regarding comments s/he had made about us, jacssisters, and our sister — (which may still be seen on The Guardian comments thread: ‘Melangell’, 24/07/2010) — we received a reply which was unhelpful and partisan: it was clear to us that Chris Elliot favoured Jim Perrin. And it seems more than coincidental that Jim Perrin has succeeded in gaining some input into editorial decisions, as he has successfully extended his diary remit by writing, so far, thirteen of his entries from Ariège in the French Pyrénées — ‘The County Diarist for Wales’!
Jim Perrin, amongst all the other diarists, is the only one to have the honour, it could be said, of being designated specifically as representing an entire country.
We cannot imagine why readers of The Guardian are accepting this so meekly. Be they Welsh or not, living in Wales or exiled from their homeland — indeed anyone who loves Wales — surely they would prefer to be reading about this lovely country given, as things stand, they have only one diarist to rely on! Perhaps it is not too fanciful to imagine that all the diary entries are almost a spiritual life-line for many who are unable to live in the countryside, and for Jim Perrin to offer eleven (and, some have said, not inspiring) entries from Ariège is somewhat presumptuous. His much-vaunted expressions of love (for what is truly a most beautiful part of the British Isles) ring somewhat hollow when he has chosen, and been allowed, to write these diaries from France.
But, of course, we do realise that actually Ariège is a bolt-hole for Jim Perrin and we believe that he flits to France when feeling insecure and when, were he to remain in this country, he might well be brought to ground. However, we learned some time ago that Jim Perrin has again landed on his feet and is now living, and has been for a while, in Harlech, North Wales despite his on-going pretence that he lives in Ariège. Several people have contacted us with this information and the house, we are told, is detached, in its own grounds and with views over the sea… This is not generally known as he chooses to keep his whereabouts secret. (As was the case when he was living with our sister, Jac — see Jim Perrin takes to the hills.)
‘Secret’? Yes, because Jim Perrin is a Wanted Man; wanted by the authorities. ‘The Authorities’? Yes, formerly the CSA — the Child Support Agency, since renamed the Child Maintenance Service: the CMS. Now, as he did when he was at Jac’s house, although she had no knowledge of his finances nor of his parental obligations (he intentionally kept that information from her), he is completely ignoring and actively evading those authorities — and the financial responsibility which, both legally and morally, he has for his young children.
NB. (14/06/2014) Since the above was posted Jim Perrin has moved on; as has always been his pattern when there is any possibility that he will be discovered by this particular government department, and, we are told, he is spending much more of his time in Ariège. (Although, again a later note, he has jinked several times since we wrote the last ‘NB’, having lived with his current partner in rented accommodation and then in another house which she bought, and then selling up and moving yet again — so intent is he on avoiding the CMS.)
PS. Is it right that The Guardian newspaper should pay Jim Perrin ‘The Country Diarist for Wales’ for thirteen entries from France? If they wish to continue to support this author (although it is known that he is a man who refuses to support his own children), then at the least he should not be allowed the honour of his present title: ‘The Country Diarist for Wales’ — it is an insult to those who live in Wales…