Liz Jones: ‘In which I embarrass myself’

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. You remember that scene in the first Sex and the City film? The girls are on Carrie’s honeymoon in Mexico, and Charlotte, by mistake, ingests water in the
shower. Do you remember what happened? Do you?

This was me on Sunday afternoon. I arranged to meet the Rock Star for lunch at a country house hotel. He had finished some gigs and had a couple of days off. I booked a table. I had a bath, washed my hair, put on foundation and a Vivienne Westwood Pirates Tshirt I found on Ebay; the original I’d bought in 1981 ended up as a duster, something I regret to this day. He had once been a punk. I thought he’d appreciate the reference, but he didn’t mention what I was wearing.

Tom Peake at Meiklejohn

He was already at the table when I got there. The place was packed. A wedding.

‘Idiots,’ he said.

He ordered champagne. I had only taken 50 per cent of the collies as it was 30 degrees. They sat under the table in the shade. I poured a bottle of mineral water into a bowl. ‘That’s expensive,’ he said. Beautiful young women kept wafting past, taking selfies. ‘Shall we do one?’ I said.

‘I can take a picture of you,’ he said. ‘You look lovely. Young.’

I always think it strange when someone says I look young. But I suppose all those times I sat on Frinton beach as a child, shielded from a hurricane by a windbreak, wearing sun block and a product called Parasol which was supposed to stop your hair from ageing (didn’t prevent it turning grey, though), was worth it.

We ordered. I was starving, as I never eat before I meet a man. To me, a date is like swimming. A full tummy means you will get cramp and drown. Dear reader. I drowned. I gorged on my chips and salad. I felt a strange gurgling. Oh no. It’s happening! A scene from another romcom sprang to mind: Melissa McCarthy sitting in a sink. ‘Look away! Look away!’

Please remember this was the very same venue where Gracie did a runny poo in the bar, and I cleared it up with a linen napkin. It took years before a new manager took over and I was allowed back. And now this. This!

It is always useful to have dogs with you, as you can blame everything on them.

It was OK, until he said, ‘So, am I coming back to yours?’ My brain computed the logistics. ‘Um.’

‘You lead the way,’ I said. I was reminded of my estranged sister, who always got the giggles. One day we got off the school bus and she couldn’t help herself. From that moment on, her nickname was The Fountain. I miss her, our history, every single day.

I sidled up to the lectern to pay. I tried to stand by the lavender. Gracie was looking inquisitive. This is why I’m so tolerant that she is incontinent and has to sleep on nappy pads. ‘It comes to us all, Gracie,’ I whispered in her pointy ear.

I don’t understand why this happens when you are trying to impress a man. He’s not one to laugh it off. He still goes on about the time I sat on his loo and dyed it with my self-tan.

He got in his car and I said I would follow after I’d walked the dogs in the forest and did he have a disguise?

‘What?’

‘I don’t want people gossiping. My neighbour is nosy. The other day she said, “I heard you pop a cork in your garden.” It’s not like London, where no one cares if you spend every night dressed as Margaret Dumont in A Night at the Opera.’ He gave me a blank stare. Who doesn’t love the Marx Brothers?

‘It’s OK, I’ll go,’ he said and I wiped my brow.

Back home, I stood in the shower, put the washing machine on. I am, officially, Charlotte on Carrie’s honeymoon. I have turned into Gracie. But as Carrie said wisely, ‘You sh*t your pants this year. Maybe you’re done.’

Jones Moans…

What Liz Loathes This Week

  • Anyone who is cryptic. Just tell me!
  • You ask an employee when they’ll be at work and they say, ‘I am leaving shortly.’ Who do they think they are, Liz Truss?
  • Cyclists. Penny-pinching, smug b******s.
  • People who do a weekly food shop.

Read more from Liz Jones here