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British father who fled Somerset after divorce left him suicidal re-emerges in SIBERIA where he has lived for last 20 years
His one sorrow is not knowing how to find his three children from his first marriage back in Exmoor
Michael Ware married a local girl in a Russian village three time-zones east of Moscow, with a population of just 15They now have three children together and work on a farm that is inaccessible for most of the yearHe is now known as Mikhail and locals cannot tell he is English – aside from his Royal Mail woollen hat
21:06 GMT, 11 December 2012
A British father who fled the country two decades ago after a bitter divorce left him suicidal has resurfaced – as a Siberian peasant.
Michael Ware, originally from Exmoor, chose a dramatic change of lifestyle when he went to live in the far-flung village of Dubinka, three time-zones east of Moscow.
Mr Ware, now 55, flew to Russia months after the fall of the Soviet Union and married a local girl, Tatiana, then 18.
Siberian family: Michael Ware, 55, wife Tatiana and children Veronika, 16, and Alexander, 18
Michael Ware's fellow villagers say they can no longer tell him apart from anyone else
Locals say they can no longer tell him apart from anyone else, but the farmer left one very important part of his life behind in Somerset – three children from his first marriage.
He said that missing his children was
his only sorrow about his life in a land where temperatures this week
are forecast to sink below -40C.
He adopted his new wife's son from a previous relationship, Nikolai, and they had two more children together – Alexander, 18, and Veronika, 16.
Now 19, Nikolai has just completed his conscription in the Russian army.
Mr Ware, known as Mikhail, has 40 sheep, 14 cows, ten hens and chickens, and two pigs, on the modest smallholding he runs with his wife. Some years, he has a horse for ploughing.
The village, population 15, lies 50km down an dirt track that is impassable for much of the year.
Isolated: Michael Ware, 55, lives in Siberia with Russian wife Tatiana in a tiny village that is inaccessible for most of the year
Part of the scenery: The remote village has only 15 inhabitants, who say they can no longer see any difference between themselves and the Englishman
New life: Mr Ware, pictured with Alexander and Veronika when they were younger, kept his Royal Mail woolly hat as one of the only vestiges of his life in England
Content: Mr Ware says he loves 'beautiful' Siberia for its long winter, mild summer and fresh air
'In winter, our day starts at 8am and ends at 11pm to midnight,' said Mr Ware. 'Shovelling snow, cutting firewood,
looking after the cows and and sheep, it takes all day. The only free
days I get are if I'm sick.'
Mr Ware adopted his second wife's son Nikolai from her first marriage. At 19 he has just completed his conscription in the Russian army
For years, he performed these tasks wearing his warm Royal Mail woollen hat, one of his few concessions to his British roots.
He insists he will stay in his cold paradise for the rest of his life, but says he remains British.
'I certainly have no regrets coming to
Siberia, not at all, though I would like to see my friends and family
more often,' he told the Siberian Times.
'There have been some hardships, but I'm happy here. Now Siberia is my home.
'It's beautiful, a long winter with lots
of sunshine and a nice mild summer.
'Plenty of clean fresh air. Many
beautiful places. It's just a pity that I don't have much time to visit
all of them. I went to the Altai Mountains and like them very much.
still haven't been to Lake Baikal but plan to go there soon.
'Nobody can change their own blood. I'll always be an Englishman.
Change of scene: It has now been 20 years since Mr Ware fled Exmoor for the far-flung village of Dubinka, three time-zones east of Moscow
Escape: The farmer, pictured on the road to Dubinka, says his only sorrow is that he has lost contact with his three children from his first marriage
'I haven't got (Russian) citizenship yet. Every five years I extend my residency permit.
'To get citizenship here I must pass an exam in Russian. Somehow, I can't learn the grammar.'
But he added: 'I have no information at all about my family I left in England.
'I tried to find something out about them on the Internet but failed. I don't even know what they look like now.'
A local babushka said: 'You can't tell him from the rest of us anymore'.
Did you know Mr Ware when he lived in Britain Email [email protected]