Chapter Nine - Finland 2013 to 2020
Our relationship ended after two and a half years; I was both sad and relieved. I loved her, and felt sorry she hadn’t managed to overcome her fears. Despite her unusual and somewhat untimely phobia, we had good times too. She had a great sense of humour and we shared a lot of laughs, and we went for walks or cycles into the forest, so she helped me to break my agoraphobic lifestyle.
I felt lonely after we had broken up, so I started Internet dating. I fell in love with a woman I met on a dating site before I had met her in person, which was once a notion I had only scoffed at, and she fell in love with me. She seemed like the woman I had often dreamed of. She was an artist, living on a derelict farm in the countryside, which I had always considered the perfect environment in which to live and work, so I thought I had found my soulmate. We even talked of getting married.
However; although we got on well when we met, it soon became clear there wasn’t any chemistry between us. I could hardly face going back to my flat though, so I asked if I could stay anyway, and to my surprise, she agreed.
The woman I fell in love with, before we met, and out of love with, once we had, lived in a large house, some fifty meters away from a smaller house where her seventy year old mother lived. She said I could live on the ground floor of the smaller house, since her mother only occupied the upper floor of the building. I knew the situation couldn’t go on for ever, so I decided to take it a day at a time and see how things went.
Things went very well. They were very kind. They knitted socks for me, and said it was no trouble doing my shopping because they went almost every day. I tried to balance their acts of kindness with my own, such as spending six weeks landscaping their garden and chopping tons of firewood.
I continued blogging. My blog’s statistics were through the ceiling, which reinforced a belief that PAM – both in its unadulterated form and the separated fantasy – together with a Letter to Facebook, and some other blogs, would drive the entire planet to revolution.
I even became concerned for my wellbeing. I thought I would be an easy target for assassins, living in the middle of nowhere, a few hours’ drive from the Russian border, so I slept with a knife under my pillow, even though I realised it would be of little use against someone armed with a gun. I voiced my fears through blogs, and by writing emails to journalists at The New York Times and the Helsingin Sanomat in Finland, from whom I received no replies.
At some point, when I believed my work was almost done, I wrote a short blog, which I assumed would act as a final push to encourage a global revolution;
The Revolution is drawing near!
Prepare for a bloodless battle of wit and reason!
My thoughts are not my own.
Your thoughts will not be your own.
Shortly after publishing the blog, my stats began to drop dramatically and I became disillusioned once again. Eventually, I realised the blogs were being hijacked.
I have lost track of the blogs I created; most of which were hijacked – A Revolution for Evolution, Martin Sharratt’s Online Diary, How to Change the World, and so forth – and they remained active if I tried to delete them; some until this day. I also remember posting links to the blogs and my book on social-networking sites in the city where I had encountered defamation, and sites like change.org and Facebook, but I can’t recall all of the sites I used.
During times of disillusionment, I felt I had done nothing but blaze a trail of insanity throughout the internet, and whenever faith in my quest reigned supreme; that I had to keep working, with the latter sentiment fueling a desire to write The Last Revolution – the first edition of which I published on Authonomy in 2013.
In the meantime, I was still getting on well with my girlfriend who never was, but I knew I was interfering with the relationship between her and her mother, who would leave whenever I turned up at her daughter’s house or wait until I had gone before she visited. I didn’t want to leave, but knew I would have to make my own space on the farm, if I were to stay, and allow them their privacy.
An old, tumbledown barn, of some seventy square meters, sat at the foot of their land. It was leaning heavily to one side, the roof had collapsed long ago, and the floor was entirely rotten. When I first saw it, I thought I would salvage as much good timber as I could before it toppled over, but after some overly optimistic speculation, I thought I would be able to rebuild it, so I asked if they would sell me the plot of land upon which it sat.
They said they wouldn’t, but they would rent the land to me for one euro a year, and I could have the barn because it was in such poor condition. We agreed I would pay for the materials and do all of the work, and the barn would belong half to them and half to me, once it had been rebuilt. They said they considered me a member of the family, and would like me to live there. I was overjoyed and moved by their generousity, and thought I had found a permanent home, at last.
So, I began working on the barn. It was a colossal project, which I funded through benefit money I managed to save, by eating frugally, and borrowing three thousand euros from my mother and five hundred from one of my daughters. And I managed to reduce timber costs considerably by using old timber from a derelict barn on a neighbouring farm.
Meanwhile, I was having a lot of bother on Authonomy. It seemed neither I nor The Last Revolution were being taken seriously, and some had taken offence when I published an emotive excerpt from PAM on a thread relating to true life stories. I sensed I should leave the site for some time and rethink my strategy to change the world, so I began working on the second version of The Last Revolution, which I published on my return to Authonomy in 2014.
During this time, the relationship between my girlfriend, who never was, and her mother, who I rarely saw, began to turn sour. To cut a long story short; although I asked on numerous occasions for a document stating they were renting me the land, and that half of the barn belonged to me, and half to them, they didn’t. After I had lived there for three years, and when the barn was fully restored and winter liveable, they evicted me, with only three weeks to find alternative accommodation. They said they didn’t want me to live there anymore; they had made a mistake.
I was granted free legal aid, and spoke with a lawyer, who said I might win the case, but I would have to pay court costs if I didn’t. So, I decided against taking legal action. Apart from the uncertainty of the case, I didn’t feel too good about taking an old woman and her daughter to court, and it would have caused my family and I anxiety too.
So, I lost everything. The only bill they were left with was for eight hundred euros, to a farmer for timber. So, they acquired a seventy square meter, fully insulated, double-glazed, winter-liveable barn for eight hundred euros, and worth some fifteen or twenty thousand, while I was left three thousand five hundred euros in debt, and living in a small, rented apartment after two months of homelessness.
Even though I lost the barn, the experience had the upside of allowing me to do physical exercise and be outside, so I’m grateful for the experience on some level. Anyway, I wonder what I was thinking; abandoning everything to live in middle of nowhere on a derelict farm, with an old woman and her somewhat troubled daughter as my only company. I know they must have regarded me as a troubled soul too, so I should have seen it coming, and I probably would have, if I had not been such a desperate, troubled soul. Although I don’t consider myself so lucky in life, I suppose I generate my own bad luck at times.
While I was living in the barn, Fat died. I was drawing a human skull on a design for an anti-war poster when mum called to tell me. As with so many events in my life, learning of his passing was enveloped within a strange surrealism, as though an other-worldly presence had participated in delivering the news.