Barry Haynes, a 53-year-old tax accountant from Shanklin, Isle of Wight, is currently into the 28th month of the least impressive burst of age-related existential angst ever recorded. This has already cost him so much, that his long-suffering wife Pamela has temporarily delayed plans to replace the cupboards in her kitchen.
‘Once I turned 50, I realised I was running out of time to live out the dreams I had as a young man,’ Haynes said. ‘Unfortunately, as I had always wanted to be an accountant, I never had many dreams to begin with and had forgotten what they were anyway, so it took a year to get going.’
In the month after his 51st birthday, Haynes abruptly traded in his 2006 Skoda Fabia, whose clutch would probably have gone within two years, for the more aerodynamic 2011 version, after finding a good second hand one on Exchange & Mart. ‘I’ve never been much bothered about cars and there’s no point in having a blood-red Ferrari when you get stuck behind the 80-year-olds pottering about at 25 on the B roads on the way to the Freshwater Onion Festival,’ he explained.
Eyebrows were further raised at the Sandown Bridge Club when Haynes stood for the Liberal Democrats at the county council elections last May: he came in a distant third behind the Tory and Whig candidates. They might have been even more shocked had they known that he had also Googled Marjorie Walker, his only girlfriend before marrying Pamela at the age of 23, and briefly considered contacting her until seeing that she was happily married to a quantity surveyor and living overseas in Hampshire.
‘I just hope he’s going to get over it soon,’ sighed Pamela. ‘Next thing you know, he’ll be calling in sick at work and vanishing off to Ventnor to watch a cricket match, he’s that wild and capricious at the moment.’
Barry, however, is unrepentant. ‘Pamela has always held me back, that’s why I’m making up for lost time. Well she can have her bloody kitchen cupboards, that model ship I’m making in the shed only cost £35, for heaven’s sake. And she had better not drag the bondage parties in Cowes every first Wednesday into this because they are nothing to do with it – I’ve been going to them since I was 32.’