Editor’s letter: Tea, crumpets… and a very British argument

This week, I hit one of those walls that happens to everyone during our pandemic struggles. We’ve all had those random moments, haven’t we, where just when you least expect it, everything gets to you a bit more than usual. You won’t be shocked to know that mine happened after I posted on Instagram, saying that, even from tomorrow, on our ‘Freedom Day’, I may still wear a mask in small or crowded or poorly ventilated places. To me it’s not that big a deal, but it’s something that may help others.

I know that to many, it really is a big deal – they got in touch with me to vent the full force of their indignation about me saying it’s not.

And that’s when it hit me: I am just so exhausted by our state of permanent fury. So. Much. Arguing. To mask or not to mask. To vaccinate or rage against it. To lockdown for ever or to cram every last body in Britain into Wembley Stadium. Good grief, it’s enough to make one miss all those rows about Brexit. At least we were often in the same room for those, and eating a roast dinner.

At this point, whatever our views are on all of the above, none of us is going to change our mind. So how about we give the shouting a temporary rest? If we must argue, I’ve drawn up a list of subjects I’d be absolutely delighted to debate with you.

  • The right way to hang your loo roll. Over = gold star! Smiley face sticker! Under = who raised you?
  • The laws of the dishwasher. No sharp knives. It blunts them. No saucepans. They never come out clean enough and they stop everything else getting a proper wash. Cutlery must be organised via category. NB: If you are one of those who always shirks unloading the dishwasher, you have no say on this topic.
  • How real women put on a bra. Half of my girlfriends think it’s just insane and juvenile that, at 51 years old, I can’t do it without swizzing the back to the front so I can see the clasps. The other half of my girlfriends are totally with me and think it’s pure witchery to be able to do the clasps with your hands behind your back. Weirdly, this conversation always gets emotions running high.
  • English breakfast tea. If it’s not a blazing shade of terracotta, then it’s not tea.
  • Earl Grey tea: you’re drinking a cup of boiled potpourri, not tea. Fight me.
  • Scones, pronounced ‘sconns’, are strictly jam on first, cream second.
  • Normal crumpets versus giant crumpets. YOU magazine’s deputy editor and I will never see eye to eye on this. I’m not going to give airtime to her lengthy sermon on why giant crumpets are the devil’s work because she’s wrong and pettiness is the name of today’s game.

Please join me in something that unites us all in Britain – putting real sweat and tears into the small stuff. No matter what our views on how to live through a pandemic, this is who we are.

Surely I can’t be the only one who would enjoy the distraction?

Editor’s picks

A few things I’m coveting this week

jumpsuitMy new favourite party piece. Jumpsuit, £59.99, zara.com

trayHow glamorous would afternoon tea look on this! Tray, £150, casa-carta.com

bagA real lust item. I can at least dream… Bag, £1,250, mulberry.com