"Little did I know when I was a young cub on the cusp of freedom that I was was in effect a lion at rest. I was fearless of the outcome of all I undertook and believed that I was one of those very few people on earth who would one day make it spin a bit more peaceably on an axis of love.
Then a mistaken first marriage seemed to sap the strength of this Samson and for over a decade my mane was mangy. Being unable to make happy the woman I had married whatever I did, I took all the misspent love I'd given her and instead lavished it on the two children of my marriage in abundance. An acrimonious divorce followed, along with over two years of not having any access or contact to my children, despite orders of court to the contrary.
It was during this period of exile from my sons James and Adam that I found new love and I began a period of my life which went from strength to strength, both in my personal and professional life. I became a successful children's writer and raised over £200,000 for charity through the profits on the sales from my books. Over the following twenty eight years my mane regrew ever more magnificent than before and three more children came into my life, William and Rebecca and my step son Matthew. My second marriage was good, but after the children had grown and left home, my wife decided that our relationship had also run its course and expressed her wish to end our union. We parted amicably and have remained on friendly terms ever since, enjoined in parental responsibility until we die by the mutual love of the children we parented.
Neither of my marriages were not ended by me and I would have gladly served out my time in each had I been given the opportunity. Having been dumped twice by the woman in my life, I made the decision not to be dumped again! Determined to have no more marriages behind me and being retired from work with both means and money to travel, over the next couple of years I roamed the country far and wide looking more for a new playmate as opposed to a soul mate. I changed my lady acquaintances a few times weekly. With two marriages behind me, one broken and the second lasting well past its 'sell by date', any thoughts of a third wife was a more distant possibility to me than joining the Liberal Party.
Over the next few years my life seemed filled with lust expended and miles travelled and I eventually started to become bored with the transient relationships experienced in the overnight stops between Lands End and John O'Groats. Just when I'd resigned myself to the remainder of my life as a bachelor, I came across my lioness, Sheila, whom I found among the heather on Haworth Moor looking for rich pickings. It was her combing of my mane again, her massaging of my ego, her stirring of my loins and the shining of her loving torch upon the reflective goodness in my soul which made me magnificent once more. Only she could see the beauty in an old lion about to fall asleep on its past life and prod its snoring pride into a mighty roar; it was only she who dared to wake its passion once more. I love you wildly my Monkey of the Chinese Year, my earthly angel, my eternal Valentine xxxxx." William Forde: February 14th, 2016.