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End is here for doomwatch pair
THE millennium bug has belatedly bitten a husband and wife who fled to Scotland to escape Y2K chaos, writes Stephen McGinty. Angela and Jeremy Perron's marriage has collapsed under the strain of stock- piling food and dire warnings of the millennial meltdown that never happened.
The couple were branded the "visitors from Planet Panic". She is a PR executive and he is a computer programmer who prophesied that 2000 would dawn to crashing computer networks and the accidental discharge of nuclear weapons. Now they are to divorce.
Angela Perron's desire to urge an indifferent public to hoard three weeks' supply of food and fuel took its toll on the couple. She became a high-profile media performer for newspapers and television, but her husband was more reluctant to step into the limelight.
The strains continued to grow when they were ridiculed in January after their gloomy predictions were proved wrong.
Now attempting to set up her own PR firm, Angela Perron said: "I regret spending so much of last year involved in the millennium bug issue, because it did take over my life.
"We're both guilty of not putting enough energy into repairing the problems there were in our relationship."
She still lives in the hillside cottage they renovated and stocked with medicines, water purification tablets and sacks of rice, but meets up with her husband to spend time with their children, Amber, 8, and Joseph, 4.
After their move in April 1998 from Neston in Wiltshire to near Forres in Moray, the couple learnt to hunt rabbits and chop wood for fuel. Then the wait began.
At the beginning of this year they announced that it was too soon to issue an all-clear, but the newspapers had already given their verdict. A national Sunday paper profiled them waking to January 1, the day they thought might not come. By last month their fears and their marriage had collapsed.
Briony Williams of the Y2K Community Action Network, a millennium bug pressure group, said of the break- up: "It is very sad. But I'm angry that the focus is on the Perrons and not the government's failure to provide us with adequate information."
-- Martin Thompson (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 16, 2000