Mary’s Log – More Thoughts On Men & Masks

One of the most confusing things amount men, something that I will never understand, is the mysterious ways in which they make up their mind on certain matters. I see it sometimes, behind Stevie’s eyes. When we are talking, usually about politics or religion, I’ll be trying to engage him in a discussion that will get him fired up, something I used to do when we were younger.

Although most marriage counsellors would probably frown on partners intentionally goading each other into conversations, its a practice that Steve and I have used for as long as I can remember. For better or worse, our relationship was built on a base of competitive conflict, a strange push-pull bond that always requires one of us to be prodding the other for attention.

It has been 3 months since Stevie was let go by his firm. Initially I was furious, not at Stevie, but his Father. It felt like too much of a coincidence. Within weeks of this strange man turning up on our front door, claiming to be Stevie’s long lost Father, he starts falling behind on his work and coming home later and later. Usually we can talk about anything, but now it felt like he was purposefully shutting out. By slowly changing his behavioural routine, he’d somehow managed to slip out of the circumference of my conscious life – now all that remained was his Father.

My feelings on Jorja have changed wholesale since my first entry in this logbook. At first he had appeared so dishevelled and hungry that I had automatically assumed that he was some kind of ancient confidence trickster looking to take advantage of my good-natured husband. Now, though, I see him for who he is, an honest if a little confused man, who puts the well being of our family far beyond his own. He’s a little cracked of course and still holds some strange obsessions with Conservatories and Kitchens but he’s also not adverse to trying out new things.

Today, for example, we both tried out the mask for blackhead removal. I’d seen it on some YouTube video a while ago and I guess I needed something to cheer myself up with.
You should have seen his face, all covered in this black goop, with his old eyes all popped out with amusement.

The longer he’s stayed here, the more open he’s become both with me and the kids. He started out at as a man, old in age but still mentally committed to his work but as the months have worn by, the affection for his new family has overtaken this ambition for material success. I wish I could say the same think about my Stevie.

In order to bring him back from the dark shadows that he has retired to, I’m going to need the help of his Father and his children. We need to remind him that he is more to us than simply a breadwinner; his job and status does not affect our love for him.

From Internal Mail Server 20934-DW2, TakeAll Designs, Ltd.

03/07/16 – Between 0845-1237

Jeanie SADDLE, Receptionist – Carol SITWELL, Assistant

receptionSADDLE//0845: Good mornin hun! How was your weekend, sorry I couldn’t get out of the house to see you yesterday – kids were playing up and Greg’s been busy all week with this weird case he’s been talking me through. Morning school run was a TOTAL nightmare, every Monday its always the same. Jodie won’t eat breakfast and Michael doesn’t want to wear socks. Anyway, how was your date? Tell me all! Also, your boss seemed a little bit ruffled this morning, usually takes the time to say hello, but I got the cold shoulder just now. Everything OK over there?

SITWELL//0906: Jeanie! I’m good, just stayed in last night anyway, recovering from an AWFUL date saturday night. Why do guys think its OK just to get blind drunk with a stranger, that’s my last one for a while I think. Your morning sounds fun! Mine are always so routine, only the cat here to feed and he always eats his breakfast. Yeah Senor Wilki has been a little off lately, maybe a little stressed? I know that some of his unfinished work’s recently been taken on by a Liverpool architecture firm. Don’t take it personally, anyway you’re a married woman, what would Greg say?!

SADDLE//1125Personal-Assistant-580x386: Mmmm…I’m hungry! Is it too early for lunch? You know I would take a drunken date, over another McDonalds out with the kids and Greg ANYDAY, hahaa. Maybe we can do a little life-style swap, when the summer holidays kick in, I could do with 6 weeks off! You know I think I saw a photo of those architects in last weeks trades, they are SO handsome, take me to Merseyside to the Architects Emporium haha! Well maybe we should grab Senor Wilki a coffee on the way back from…lunch, like right now?

espresso-002SITWELL//1211: God Jean, you are TERRIBLE. The big bosses could be reading these emails, what would they say about your base attraction to our competitors? You know what, I would kill for a husband like yours, so hard working and kind – love a man in uniform! With the things he must see in work, you think it would make him sour, but he always seems so sweet. But those kids, you can keep them, haha. OK, lunch in 20 mins? I think the boss could actually do with an espresso or two, I can’t tell for sure, but I think he’s fallen asleep at his desk again.

SADDLE//1237: Hahaaa, they know I’m just kidding around. TakeAll Designs have far and away the most handsome architects in the country…ahem. You know we joke, I really like that Greg brings his work back home, it means a lot to know that he values my opinion. I’m like that wife off Midsomer Murders, always providing fresh insights into a case! (You’ve never heard of the name Stufnasser have you?) I AM STARVING CAROL, lets go to Starbucks and grab Sleepy a coffee whilst we’re at it. Meet you out in the car park in 5!

Rivals in Allerton and a Return to Conservatories

eggThe time has come to return to my work. It has been decades since I have even thought about drawing up some designs; my mind has been awash with numbers and regrets – too clouded to function. After my great failure, I spent years in that caravan. Huddled in a mess of crumbs and papers, I had become a shadow of my former self. That was how I was, until I found my son. Before I took the caravan out of Jacksby-on-Crescent and moved here to this home. My family home.

It has been difficult adjusting to life here, amongst women and children. I’ve never spent much time with the latter, and my time spent with the former always felt marked with impending doom. The children’s cries are heard early in the morning, they do not wake me as I rise much earlier. Usually I’m up at 5, pottering around the kitchen taking measurements.

kitchenBy the time 7:30 rolls around, muffled whispers and sudden shouts begin to punctuate the peacefulness of the home. The children bundle into the kitchen with all the energy of a c
ouple of cocker spaniels. They haven’t eaten breakfast yet, but they still look wide-eyed and wired, keen for another day of rich experience. I’ve taken to preparing their morning meals now. It’s surprising how quickly they came to expect it. Little bowls of cereal, followed by egg and soldiers. With each bowl finished and plate scraped, comes a burp and a giggle – sounds of satisfaction.

My entrance into the family home has taken its toll on Mary, I can see that now. As the digits and the scones crumble away from my eyes, I’m starting to see the world the way it should be. Women and children and conservatories. The more mornings I spend in this kitchen, preparing breakfast, the more I realise that this space is too small. Mary needs space to make her dinners; the children should have a space to practise baking. That’s why I’m taking the measurements.

I’m trying to keep my project a secret, when the designs are finished I’ll show Estevez. He’s looking more dishevelled than ever, work must not be going well for him. My timing will have to be precise, caught at the wrong time and it may worsen his stress. Mary has also caught me eyeing up the counters and windows on a couple of occasions. I must learn to be more discrete in my actions.

conservatorySince my absence from the scene there have been some real innovations in the world of conservatories. One company I’ve found on the internet, Allerton Windows, have been doing some particularly striking work. Grand extensions, roof replacements and ostentatious orangeries abound and suddenly I feel a little intimidated. It matters not, I will start drawing soon. I will do what I can to help this new family of mine. Jorja Wilki is returning to conservatories.

Chief Constable Saddle’s Log

whiskeysReceived a strange letter today from a Dr. Stunfnassen. A psychiatric expert from the Institute for the Unwell in nearby Tree-side. I’m unfamiliar with the man himself, and have heard very little about the Institute. In fact, all I know of the Institute is what my predecessor told me. Old Jack Boothall, over an after-hours whiskey in the last days of his tenure as Chief, shooting the breeze and giving me some tips on my upcoming promotion. He seemed so pleased with himself, like he’d made it through a torrential rain shower without getting hit by a single drop. He’d certainly been successful in his reign, why shouldn’t he be satisfied with a job well done? When he slapped me on the shoulder that night, I could tell there was something more he wanted to say. As I helped him in to his cab, he wound the window down, the sour smell of Scotland drifted from his mouth.

“If you come across the Institute, that loony bin in Tree-side, just let them get on with it OK? It just makes it easier for everyone, alright Saddle?”

Waving him off that night, I remember being slightly confused with these last words. Still they meant so little at the time, that I dismissed those thoughts – until now.


Legal-ResearchProblems with traffic again today, heading into town. Something to do with sheep, as usual. I set a couple of the new boys out to fix the problem. Its been quiet here, nothing out of the ordinary. Just the slow string of minor anti-social behaviours and thefts that get mopped up by our good work force here. Its been so quiet here, in fact, that I’ve had some time to conduct a little research in to the Tree-side place. Turns out this isn’t the first time there’s been an escapee.

Six years or so ago, some guitar player, big name in his home of Portugal; broke loose and went on a wander. He was apparently obsessed with eating scones, locals found him going through bins outside the village bakery. Strange grids of numbers drawn on his skin. Something felt a little familiar about this. A genius, prodigy of his time – a slide into madness, followed by a stint in this Institute and then escape. What is it with these people and scones?

researchThe Institute is privately funded. That’s what the brief on the website says. The official party line: we take in extraordinarily talented individuals who have enough dough to get their wacky brains fixed. Extremely rich crazy people, being treated for unknown mental illnesses, by foreign sounding Doctors from a reclusive privately funded Institute. The ‘foreign sounding’ part probably isn’t very PC of me, but the whole things just smells fishy. I know we’re meant to be accepting and unbiased in the face of different nationalities but I’ve spent time living in continental Europe, as has my wife. I was discussing this case with her last night over dinner, and she said she’s never heard of the name ‘Stunfnassen’.


Last night’s revelation has confirmed what I already felt. There’s something not quite right going on at the Priory Tree-side Institute for the Unwell. Its more than just dodgy names and half-baked coincidences and whilst its quiet here, with the students away for the summer, I’m going to investigate. Old Jack was always good to me, and he seemed a fair man. But there was something about the lightness in his step as he left the office for the last time, not a care in the world – bone-dry after living through the flood. Well I don’t intend on hiding from the showers. This job isn’t always an easy one, sometimes you just can’t stay dry. There was a blue sky when I left the house today, but my wife handed my umbrella on the way out – you never know when a cloud could burst.clouds

A letter to the Chief Constable from Dr. Stunfnassen

Dr. Henrik Stunfnassen

Priory Tree-side Institute for the Unwell

Jacksby-on-Crescent Cambridgeshire

CM22 2FG

1st July, 2016

Chief Constable Saddle

Cambridge Police Station




Dear Chief Constable Saddle,

I write to you today with some concerning news, a patient of ours here at the Institute for the Unwell has gone missing. The reason why I send a letter, instead of calling is that this is no emergency. This letter is more a request for your vigilance and kindness than a call for a county wide manhunt. We here at the Institute specialise in the treatment of extraordinary individuals. In his time Jorja Wilkinson was a great designer and architect. He shaped and formed entire styles and movements, and proved very influential. However he could not keep up with his own success, cowed by his own popularity he retreated in to reclusion.

It is there that we found him, huddled in a strange caravan, lost and alone. A genius who had become entrapped by his own success, this is just the kind of patient we treat. Wonderfully talented artists, sports people – those with ill-defined psychological conditions but with enough money to avoid getting clinical help. We find them, take a small contribution from their considerable wealth and attempt to make them better, within the confines of our peaceful estate. Jorja was improving, through a dual method of positive reinforcement – sudoku and scones. Reigniting long dead synapses in his mind, logic puzzles rekindled the fire of genius inside his brain and scones for sustenance. He had long ceased to consume what we would deem a ‘normal’ diet, but scones he would consume, a dozen a day.

Our treatment, perhaps, brought him back to a previously unknown level of cognition. One day, when a nurse walked out to the fields to deliver his scones, the caravan was gone. The only breadcrumb trail we could follow was a virtual one. Using the residents’ computers, Jorja had been searching his own name, for tales of his success. However, what he found was something quite different. A son, with his name and a relatively successful architecture and design firm. We believe this is what he’s gone in search of. But all this may be in vain. The source of this information does not look like it can be trusted. The blog, having previously been owned by a fashion designer, has now been filled with strange diary entries and notes all seemingly connected. A Liverpool SEO & internet marketing company appears to be at the centre of all of this, but what they have to do with Jorga is beyond this psychiatrist.

All I ask of you is that you look out for him, for Estevez and his family. Jorga has no living son on record, but he has convinced himself that he has one. Likewise Estevez seems to want a Father figure more than anything, this unbridled desire could end badly. Above all, Jorga must be stopped from continuing his work. If he fails in reviving his design career it could well be the end of him and Estevez.

Yours Sincerely


Dr. Henrik Stunfnassen

Priory Tree-side Institute for the Unwell

Mary’s Log – A Wife’s Perspective


Stevie has been troubled lately. Work has not been consistent, and some clients are taking their time paying us for previous jobs. Our finances are still under control, his mind always on his work; he often thinks they are worse than they are simply because he doesn’t understand them like I do. He came home from the office today in an excitable mood, claiming that he’d found his Father. A phone call later and the man was on his way to our home, I hope this isn’t the beginning of another manic phase for my kind, compassionate husband.


The camper van is an old battered thing, God knows what the neighbours are thinking. Peeking out through the curtains, I get a glimpse of a huge bushy grey beard but nothing else. Stevie tells me the old man is shy, and that he is my Father-in-Law. He seems quite certain, despite not seeing any proof. He’s always wondered about his Father but has never looked for him, as long as the man means him no ill will I suppose there’s no harm. The children have always asked about their Grandfather and now they have one!


jorji caravanHaving spent an unbroken 48 hours inside that tiny caravan, I decided to rouse the old man parked in our drive today. There’s shyness and then there’s reclusive behaviour, and the latter is not healthy for anyone. Bringing him a cup of coffee, I knocked on the door – waiting a few minutes, I heard shambling and clattering from within the yellowing vehicle. Finally he emerged, the open door releasing a pungent smell of sour milk and stale cake. He looked confused, almost frightened. Taking him by the arm, I led him out of his makeshift house and into our home. Perhaps my heart is too kind.


Jorja is obsessed with our kitchen. Its still missing some cabinets and flooring, a work in progress you could say. He spent the whole of yesterday measuring up the MDF units, assessing the kitchen laminate wooden flooring for signs of wear and tear. A strange quirk no doubt, I told him we bought the whole thing from a company called Finsa. Between
recording measurements and sketching designs, he talks excitedly about extensions and conservatories. Never before have I seen a man so enamoured with domestic design and kitchen woodarchitecture, it really is quite endearing. Although his intent may well have been selfish to start with, I believe my kindness might have softened his heart. He has been lonely for a long time and now he has a home, and I’m pleased to have him here.


Estranged Father for Estevez

I have a Father, or so I am led to believe. A few weeks ago, I received a phone call from an elderly man who was overcome with excitement and optimism. He told me that an exciting new period of my life was about to begin, that my career was about to receive a much needed shot of creativity and that I would be coming in to a lot of money in the near future. This was good news, and I was more than willing to accept it as gospel. Recently my design firm had been struggling, with news of an upcoming recession on the horizon, new builds and redesigns were scarce. Business had been quiet this year and I was starting to worry that I might need to actively seek out other forms of income.

Father Jorja, acrylics, c. 2012
Grandfather Jorja, acrylics, c. 2012

Mary was doing marvellously well with the finances, being a creative type I’ve never had a head for them. Even with the kids’ uniforms, mortgage, bills and other such things; she still managed to find the time and money to make wonderfully

creative and delicious meals for us. Despite the worries of running the business, I can always relax in the company of my family; and now it appears that we have a new member to join us!

My Mother told me, when I was very young, that my Father was a cowardly artist who had abandoned her in her time of need. Once a promising young graphic

Marco, Mary and Maude in the garden c. 2010
Marco, Mary and Maude in the garden c. 2010

artist, in a time before the social acceptance of abortions, she was essentially forced into raising me alone and ostracised from the community. She loved me nonetheless, but never failed to impress on me the selfish nature of my erstwhile Father, and how I should be a good Dad to my children. She’s no longer with us now, so there’s no way to really prove that he is who he says he is (other than a DNA test which he refuses to take, due to a fear of hospitals). Despite her misgivings, I know my Mother was a good person who would’ve wanted her Grandchildren to know their Grandfather. That is why I have invited him to park his strange mobile home in our drive.

Mary does not approve. She peers through the curtains at him now as I write this, but she’s a patient and kind

woman, and will grow to love him. As will my sons, as will I. Estevez has a Daddy now to make a happy family, and he’s never been more excited.

New Son, New Business, New Life

Having recently come in to the possession of a brand new son, I am starting to feel like I have a new lease on life. For years, hidden away in my inner sanctum, surrounded by piles of completed sudoku books and covered in scone crumbs; I thought I had nothing. Little did I know that a son was growing, learning and building a future. Not just for himself, but for me too.

spanish estevez
Estevez Wilki c. 2016

At the tender age of 37, Estevez is still a little rambunctious and eager. Upon discovering his existence in the world of Architecture; I knew that he would need a steady hand to guide him through, what would be, a successful but perilous career. The world of interior art and design is a strange and dangerous one. Odd lascivious characters abound, beckoning the uninitiated into dark games of fantasy and desire. I remember my time spent at the London School of Design as if it were only yesterday. The end of the fifties were a time of rebirth and the Art Schools were starting to fill up with ambitious young men and women, eager to change the world.

Mrs. Wilki peeking c. 2016

That is how I met Estevez’ mother, apparently. He showed me a picture of her when I met him for coffee, last week. A pretty thing, a shame I couldn’t recall her. It matters little. What matters is that now, in the twilight of my years, I have a son to impress my experience and convictions of life upon. Every son needs his Father, especially during his thirties, a difficult time for many. Having been doing solid work for the past ten years, and receiving acclaim for a great deal of it, I would like to push him to the creative levels that I reached in my prime.

The sky is the limit for the two of us, together there is nothing that can stop us. Having lived life on the road for the past few years, it will be good to settle back down to a domestic style of life. Estevez has a wife and two children of his own to support, but I have already told him my thoughts on the place of family in a young Architect’s career; namely that one does not exist. The only way I could hit the stratospheric heights that I did, was without the familial distractions of the everyman. Something Estevez is all too aware of. My mobile home is now parked in his drive. As I write this, I see his queer wife peeking through the curtains with disdain. I recognise the look of fear in her eyes, she has leeched off my son’s greatness for long enough, it is time to set him free.