Editor’s letter: What would Davina do?

I’ll be honest, I’ve had better weeks. As I write this, my husband and I have been awake all night trying to dry out our flooded basement. And find the source of the flood. Three different ‘experts’ have visited us in the past 24 hours, and each of them has given a different theory on how to solve the problem (ranging from ‘This will take months and at least a bajillion pounds’ to ‘Hmmm, dunno really, weird one’ – so that’s great). 

While the drama unfolded, my teenage daughter sweated upstairs with some sort of flu virus. It occurred to me that I’ve been thinking for days I should change those sheets. About 9pm, I remembered the dog needed feeding. I was reminded of this because she turned up at my feet, splashing about in the dirty floodwater. So I’d need to bathe her before she jumped on my bed for the night. (At least someone would get to go to bed.) It was about this time I remembered that perhaps I too needed feeding, but even making a bit of dry toast felt like too much effort.

Worse things happen, to be sure. But every now and then, doesn’t it feel like everything and everyone is conspiring to make your every waking minute a trial? Which even to my mind sounded dramatic until the insurance company asked if we could just keep swimming and they’d get to us in about five more days. 

So it was a good piece of timely therapy for me, to read the interview we have in this issue with one of my secret mentors. Am I the only one who enlists women I admire, without their knowledge, to inspire me? Davina McCall is one such woman. You’ll have to excuse me while I – what is it the kids say? – indulge in a bit of ‘fangirling’ for a moment. Davina’s my favourite kind of human: hard-working, talented, funny as hell and, let’s face it, more resilient than a tank. She’s had success and its trappings. But as she tells writer Louise Gannon, she’s recently faced some of the toughest, and at times tragic, challenges life can throw at you. I’ve always found her to be someone who never takes the best of life for granted and, with quiet dignity, gets on with the business of handling the worst, too.So as I stood in my waterlogged basement, wondering how much a new washing machine would cost, it was Davina who had unwittingly made me realise this was just one irritating night. Not the end of the world. 

By the way, I’ll be cutting out and keeping this week’s YOU food special: the ‘one-tray’ recipes from The Quick Roasting Tin. They’re so quick and easy that, I think, if the basement floods again, I could teach the dog to rustle up one of them. 

Happy January, everyone! It can only get better, right?

Editor’s picks

A few things I’m coveting this week

Editor's letter 5 January 2020Sleek enough for work, chic enough for cocktails. Bag, £140, boden.co.uk

Editor's letter 5 January 2020 Menswear we can all wear. Jumper, £185, mgrivers.com

Editor's letter 5 January 2020 So happy that boilersuits have turned so pretty. Jumpsuit, £150, selected.com