Liz Jones: ‘In which I have a very dirty weekend’

It’s interesting, isn’t it, how social media can lift or deaden a mood.

Take today, Sunday. I got up at 8am to move the horses out of the sun. My two horses and the two horses belonging to Nic, who works for me. I made their feeds, got them in, took off their fly rugs and masks, filled up their hay nets and water, then poo-picked the fields. This sounds easy. It isn’t. Pushing a barrow full of poo up a steep hill meant my arms were sweating. It’s a wonder I still have cellulite. On Saturday, I didn’t even have chance for a cup of coffee before the farrier arrived. Nic’s horse isn’t easy as he hates the farrier and always tries to kick him. Then, on Saturday evening, I spent an hour trying to catch her horse to get him into a pen I had built for him at a cost of £6,000. If he is out in the main paddocks for too long on grass, it will kill him.

Tom Peake at Meiklejohn

Back to Sunday. Having pushed barrows up the hill, I then crawled back to my home, which isn’t my Forever Home, it is my Home For Now. I tweeted my latest column, which meant that by mistake, as I try fruitlessly to have a digital detox on Sundays, I saw a tweet from Nic that said, ‘Today is about positive connections and happiness so I am going to take my mum to see Elvis tonight. Before that I am going to the beach with my dogs and my partner to blow the cobwebs away.’

I had to break the news to the Rock Star that I couldn’t make his concert on Sunday night. It’s the warm-up in front of 6,000 people, before the festival proper. It wasn’t just the prospect of three beds in the room he had booked for us – I can’t stay in a room with more than one bed; it’s not me being all Devil Wears Prada Miranda Priestly. It’s me not having a family. Never needing a family room. It’s like all those cookery programmes that shout, ‘Perfect for feeding friends and family!’ Oh, bugger off! – from someone who always eats solo with a plate on her knees while devouring Marcus Wareing’s Tales From a Kitchen Garden. I know. I’m a masochist.

I told him I couldn’t come to the concert as I couldn’t get a dog-sitter. I can’t take collies to a pop concert. Those giant sound excluders, like the ones Apple Martin wore for Live 8, just fall off their furry ears. Plus, the hotel said, ‘No dogs.’ As if it were Claridge’s. And, actually, Claridge’s allows dogs. Welcomes them. Worships them.

‘What about the woman who works for you?’ he said, reasonably.

‘She is off to Elvis, apparently. And a beach walk. With a slipped disc.’

The only thing I have in my diary to look forward to is getting my stuff out of storage on Monday, as it’s so expensive. My dear dead mum’s desk; I have her brass pot next to me now as I write – I found the stub of a pencil she used to write shopping lists in it. The 1920s French desk from Atelier Abigail Ahern that cost £4,000 but is too big to get through the front door of ‘my’ cottage; it will have to go in a garage for now, where it will rust and decay, a bit like me.

There are some things belonging to my landlady. Given my cottage is being sold, I don’t see why I should store her stuff. Shabby chic furniture. A shabby chic bed frame. I don’t do shabby chic. ‘What about my sofa bed?’ she asked me. ‘Gracie chewed it. It was worn and horrible.’ I hate sofa beds. All the dust and dirt in the springs. ‘It was very expensive.’

OK, I thought but didn’t say, how about you give me back the £59,000 I spent on your property, plus the cost of the chimney sweep?

I’m fumin’! as Car Share’s Kayleigh would say.


Jones Moans…

What Liz Loathes This Week

  • Grown women on boyfriends’ shoulders at festivals. Showy-offy and blocks my view.
  • Woman renting out her ‘forever home’ for £1,700 a month: ‘The biggest, loveliest, dual aspect sitting room will be locked, as all our furniture goes in there.’
  • Strimmers.
  • Holiday cottages, clearly dumps, that state, ‘No pets’. Or, ‘One small pet at an extra charge.’ How about, ‘No men over six foot’?

Read more from Liz Jones here