There was one particularly disgraceful comment posted by ‘Melangell‘ in The Guardian, 24/07/2010 — which we feel needs a detailed response. Firstly may we make it clear that we believe the comment to be complete fabrication, as well as all the others by ‘Melangell’ on that thread, and was in our opinion written by Jim Perrin in an attempt to discredit us in the minds of the readers. Ref. our post A question of Identity.
This is the comment:
‘I lost any respect I had for your family when I overheard one of you, actually at the funeral, mocking a distraught Jim, for having spent everything he had on Jacquetta in her last couple of years. Some humanity there!’
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This is our explanation:
It is hardly believable that he should do so but shortly after our sister’s death, even before her funeral, Jim Perrin untruthfully told her children that it had been Jac’s ‘dying wish’ that he should take on the tenancy of their home. He explained that of course they would be most welcome to stay there… But then he added that ‘there would have to be changes around here; a régime change’ — these were the exact words he used.
Naturally the children did not believe him; and knowing the landlord had long ago told Jac that in the event of her death they could continue the tenancy, they balked at Jim Perrin’s suggestion. Whilst they made no immediate request that he should leave — indeed for a time the idea was mooted that he might stay, using the caravan as home rather than as his study — yet his behaviour in the ensuing days made it clear that no such compromise could be reached and they then asked him to leave after the funeral; although only as soon as he was conveniently able. And after all he had no right to stay there. This must have been a terrible blow as it was obvious he had fully expected, by manipulating the situation, to become the next tenancy holder…
Jac would never have said such a thing: to use the phrase, her ‘dying wish’, was a cynical ploy on Jim Perrin’s part, deliberately to influence them into accepting his will and his domination over them. Our sister dearly loved her children and they had lived there for over fifteen years. By this time she had made up her mind, and was making plans to end her ill-fated relationship. She had even discussed with us the possibility of renting out the caravan to Buddhists, as a retreat — which one of her friends was already doing. Jim Perrin’s ruse, to take over the house, was unspeakable and there was no way that Jac would have ‘wished’ it.
After his failure to convince them, he now realised he would not be taking over the tenancy as he had planned and that to leave was inevitable: incredibly, he then felt he was justified in asking our sister’s children to reimburse him for his expenditure since he had moved into the house and to exchange their mother’s vehicle for his. (A car of greater value than his own, younger and with less mileage!) Intensely distressed, Jac’s daughter told her ‘Welsh’ aunt about this conversation, and of how, overpowered by his forceful personality and his ‘logic’, they had nearly agreed — whereupon her aunt, hearing this and uneasy at the direction of events, went over to the house to see him and discuss the situation.
Jim Perrin explained to her that he ‘had spent everything he had on Jac’, (as, coincidentally, ‘Melangell’ had said!) telling her the details of all the money he ‘had laid out’; that he had ‘not enough to move on with’, and ‘if the children wished him to leave it was only fair that they should provide him with the funds to do so.’ We have since learned from others that this was stratagem Jim Perrin has used in the past at the breakdown of his relationships; negotiating his terms to be paid off, essentially…
To make his point he tried to give her a bundle of receipts which he asked her to look at and which he said were the proofs of what he claimed. She refused to accept it and on being pressed she again refused, telling him if he had loved our sister he should not be thinking in that way, or counting the cost of his love for her. Whilst she felt the greatest sympathy for him, she told him there was little they could do. How did he think, she asked, that Jac’s children, all young people, only one just starting working, part-time as a supply teacher and the other two still in full-time education, could possibly find the sort of money he was demanding? The figure of £3.000 — £4.000 was mentioned. Morally it was wrong. It was extortion: it was unconscionable.
She further told him she had felt it right to advise them they need not be made to feel they had any financial responsibility whatever towards him. For him to put such pressure on them, when with their youthful idealism and altruism they might have agreed, within only days of their mother’s death, and even before her funeral service, was entirely ignoble.
We knew that with the suicide of his son he had already suffered tragedy and it was a wretched time for all concerned, but what he was asking of the children was wholly inappropriate.
* * * * *
Jac’s ‘Suffolk’ sister was in America and flew back only in time for her funeral. Neither she, nor her ‘Yorkshire sister, knew anything at all about this latest development — of Jim Perrin asking the children for money, and the children themselves were not aware of the many details. It was the ‘Welsh’ sister to whom he had fully explained his financial situation!
And we ask, is it conceivable that Jac’s children, on the day of her funeral, would behave in the unfeeling way described by ‘Melangell’? That they would be ‘Mocking a distraught Jim’ — having just left the chapel? — within the grounds? — after the intense emotional service of farewell to their mother? And, grief-stricken as they were, is it likely that this indeed ever happened at all? Of course not: it is evident it was written with the purest spite, and in our opinion it was a sordid invention on the part of Jim Perrin.
On the other hand he, at the funeral, told anyone with whom he spoke ‘how badly he had been treated; kicked out and made homeless, and with no money because he had spent everything he had on Jac’. We know this because it was later reported to us by friends and mutual acquaintances who let us know what he had been saying.
The only member of ‘your family’, to whom ‘Melangell’ referred, who was aware of the details of Jim Perrin’s finances — as he had explained them to her at least — was Jac’s ‘Welsh’ sister. She had promised Jac (when she was first in hospital, and again just before she died) that she would do all she could to protect her children: Jac had expressed grave fears as to how Jim Perrin would treat them. Later, by advising and supporting them as she was able to do in the matter of the house tenancy and by engaging with him and defending them against his rapacity, she was honouring her promise to her sister to protect them.
This sister, as we have described, knew of all the circumstances which would lead to Jim Perrin leaving the house and was therefore the only ‘one of you’ to whom ‘Melangell’ could possibly have been referring.
However, and this finally demonstrates how glibly Jim Perrin is able to lie: because she had personal reasons for not attending, her ‘Welsh’ sister was not present that day, at Jac’s funeral…
* * * * *
It was a time of ineffable sadness for us all; a time which was also unsettled and lacking direction. That ‘Melangell’ (JP?) should have made the comment quoted above was surely not ‘mindful behaviour’ (one of Jim Perrin’s frequently used phrases) but pure malignance. (And: ‘she’ posted this comment retrospectively, after Jim Perrin’s West was published and he was busying himself — as ‘Melangell’ — puffing his book on that Guardian comments thread…)
We believe that it was a fabrication as we have said and whilst knowing it and not unduly troubled by it, yet we felt the imperative to show it for the venomous lie that it was; and that is why we have given this accurate account of the conversations which led to Jim Perrin leaving our sister’s house. We also believe that what we have written shows the virtual certainty that Jim Perrin was ‘Melangell’…
It is very sad indeed, in that it was, we believe, an example of how in extremis a bitter and disturbed mind might react. When equilibrium was, for the time, lost in the face of an almost insurmountable grief; when life had been devastated by the too early deaths of a son and a partner, and the way forward was dark.
But yet, on reflection, it was five years after the death of our sister (since when he has had several other relationships) that the words quoted in this post — and others equally nasty about our family, were posted by Jim Perrin on The Guardian thread using, as we believe, the alias ‘Melangell’. How his malice had festered…
Here is a postscript to this entry.