With a name like Carl Wilkes, I should have expected this by the age of thirty-nine: a historical writer whose publisher's office has become his favourite room because he sees it so rarely, whose favourite odour is that of old stone rooms, who relaxes by exploring ruins that even the pensioners don't visit anymore. I regularly sit for hours in front of my aquarium of tiny tropical fish, occasionally with my daughter's puppy Boulder, more rarely with my baby daughter herself, snuggled up in a blanket. I would rather be travelling around the castles of Eastern Europe, or go sailing in the Channel, or do other things that my fitness, due to my only exercise (swimming lengths at the local pool, chasing Boulder around the garden), wouldn't allow. I'm the kind of person who lies awake at night worrying about sending his daughter to a good school, who's stolen the puppy's squeaky toy because it disturbs his writing. My biggest adventures are avoiding my wife's haircuts (which I dislike intensely), being presented with a mediaeval sword for the publication of a book, telling my daughter that the field camera's still broken so that she won't try to take pictures and break it again. I was last naked in front of my wife three months ago; the last person who said they loved me was my daughter as we left the hotel this morning. My greatest fear is having to tell my little girl that her mother and I are separating.
TEXT by Miranda Latham-Jackson + IMAGES by Trine Mangeres