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  • Duncan Evans

There's No Papering Over The Cracks


When I purchased my house two years ago, I knew that regardless of how well it suited me, I needed to change it. My mortgage company told me so. Damp proof course, removal of carpets, skirting boards and almost two years later and other self imposed updates, removal of floor tiles throughout, move the doorways, new bathroom and kitchen (thank you Mark Franklin), new floors (thank you Paul Slater and Mark Franklin, again), and the majority of it put back together with the very generous time afforded by Phil Porteous. One thing I've learned is that I'm good at pulling things apart but not so good at putting them back together. The whole project has taken (is taking) probably 12-18 months longer than it would take the 'normal' person.


The latest part of the project now that downstairs has almost come together is to start on removing the wallpaper from the stairwell. Great job, but it has revealed the blooming, 'mahoosive' crack at the top of the stairs. How on earth does this relate to running marathons or my life? I was asked why I wanted to remove the wallpaper, clearly it was concealing a huge sin (sins)? The answer was that I wanted to show the cottage, warts and all. That's how I've tried to live my life for the last three years, to be me, no concealer, no make-up on Thursday (thanks Jess Glyne). Unfortunately, just as the wallpaper has revealed, the cracks are beginning to show and perhaps they are bigger than I first thought. At the turn of the year my perception of self was that I was well on the straight and narrow, someone I was proud of. If you've not guessed it, Duncan, you are not on the course you thought you were. This week has exposed more shortcomings. I proclaim that I am disorganised. Apparently empty words. I seem to be making poor decisions. Perhaps I am but it is not for lack of trying. I am clearly taking advantage of those closest to me (something I promised myself I would not do again). To those of you who feel like that, please accept my public apology, I have been a selfish man, sorry. Yet, what is more apparent to me is that I've just simply kept things to myself, to the last minute and then expected others to pick up the pieces. In five days time (Friday, 10th May 2019) I have chosen to put myself through the physical, mental and emotional turmoil of a soul searching endurance event but aimed at raising money for charity, Brathay Trust. To what end? What do I have left? At present the cracks are showing and I'm going to have to dig deep to get through this. It's not an injury, there's no handicap (extra weight) to carry but yet I feel burdened. By guilt? By shame? Nope, by myself. I'm angry that the job I enjoyed but was equally frustrated by came to an end, I'm frustrated that from all of the interviews I had I only felt competent to do one job and yet I struggle with a crisis of confidence on that one too.


I am frustrated that despite knowing I have to do the training I've not put as much effort in as I wanted to. It's a contradiction of thoughts and actions. The knowledge of what is needed but the practice of doing the opposite and so, I guess the cracks appear. Don't get me wrong, I've trained, I've stretched but it never feels like enough. The thanks I give, never feels like enough, the remorse I try to show, never feels like it is enough. I'm still sober but things seem little better than three years ago. The decisions I make and the behaviour I display is it still disingenuous? I felt that I was a better Dad for my children, yet according to a variety of sources, that's not quite the case. Really? Maybe I'm just trying too hard? Maybe I am ill? Perhaps a trip to the physician would be a good idea? Answers not required on postcards, I'll do what I think is right, when I've had a good sleep and thought about recent events. I need to remind myself that I'm not perfect and just to keep putting one foot in front of the other, one step is at least one step nearer to the goal I've set myself.


When I was a little boy I used to have a recurring dream, quite vivid: filmed in technicolour but without the lion roaring or the trailers at the beginning. The most vivid aspect of the dream was that I took a massive leap across a seemingly 'unjumpable' chasm. A little like trying to fling yourself across the Grand Canyon but everytime I woke, it was before touch down, before reaching the other side. Who knows whether I made it? At the moment the journey I'm on seems like I'm once again at the beginning of the run up to that huge gulf, that massive metaphorical fissure in my life. Luckily the crack in my wall up the stairs was not so large and could be filled with mortar, plaster and a tradesman's skill.


I know when I hit 'publish' anyone who chooses to read this will have opinions that I'm wallowing again, or appealing for pity, sympathy or help. That's not true, I don't want your help or advice, I know I'm struggling, I know I am going to struggle but I have faith that I will touch down on the other side and that through every hardship I place myself in, it only serves to help make me stronger. How about that for a leap of faith in myself?