A U.K. man got so tired of his wife’s incessant nagging that he decided he could not put up with her for one day longer. So he left his house and went to live in the woods — for 10 years.
Malcolm Applegate, 62, was married to his wife for three years before he decided enough was enough. He secretly left his home when his wife became increasingly angry at his long working hours.
“I was married to her for three years, but unfortunately it got too much,” said Applegate. “First of all I met her in Eastbourne and I married her in Birmingham. For three years it was alright, we got on with one another and the gardening got too much for her. She said, 'Why don't we have more time together?' I said, 'How can I? I have been recommended to people.' I just upped and left, I got fed up with her because we used to get so many arguments.”
The man, who worked as a gardener, then decided to make his way from his home town Birmingham to London. Along the way his bike got stolen, so he made half the three-week journey on foot.
“It took me three weeks to get back to London,” he said. “I didn't lock my bike up in Oxford and someone helped themselves to it, so I had to walk back from Oxford.”
Applegate then camped in thick woodland areas near Kingston, south west London, with two other people and worked as a gardener at a community center for the elderly. He also does a lot of odd jobs and uses his spare time to raise cash for homeless people.
Now, the harried gardener has decided to come out of hiding. Applegate has moved into the Emmaus Greenwich center, a homeless shelter, in Greenwich.
“I loved the job and I still love tending to gardens now. It wasn't until I got married that my life became increasingly unsettled. The more work I took on, the angrier my wife got — she didn't like me being out of the house for long periods of time,” he said. “The controlling behavior started to get out of hand and she demanded that I cut my hours. After a long time trying to stay in the marriage, I decided to leave for good. Without a word to anyone, not even family, I packed up and left. I went missing from them for 10 years.”
Applegate contacted his sister after a decade gone. She understandably thought he was dead and the two tearfully united when he found a new home.
“It had been a decade years since I'd last seen her, and in that time she had been to all of the Salvation Army hostels in the south trying to find me,” he said. “I wrote her a letter once I was settled in Greenwich and she phoned me up, in floods of tears. We now have a great relationship again.”
Banner/Thumbnail credit: Reuters/Shamil Zhumatov