Liz Jones: ‘In which I’d love another wedding’

I wanted this week’s column to be about my mini break at the festival, staying with the Rock Star in the room overlooking the deer park where I was once ‘on top’. I’m wondering now what possessed me to do that! It’s the worst possible angle. I’ve seen myself on Zoom from below, and it’s not good. I soon learnt to put my laptop on six months’ worth of Vogue and bought a flattering ring light. I’m thinking of taking the light with me, getting someone to hold it in front of me wherever I go.

Abbey Lossing at handsomefrank.com

But the festival isn’t for a month or so. It’s strange to meet someone for the weekend, not having seen them naked since before lockdown. Like going from nought to 60 with the roof down. It’s too much. I will be shy, nervous. The only upshot is that he won’t have time to get on my nerves. He will be off practising (‘Rehearsing!’), so I will largely be left alone, which I prefer when with a boyfriend. I’m more prepared this time, having done the festival thing before. I’ve bought platform slides from Zara. Last time, I got marooned in the grass, as I was wearing heels.

So, I suggest a ‘dry run’.

‘OK,’ he said. ‘But are you talking about the fact you’re post-menopausal?’

Not funny. I really wish Davina McCall would keep quiet about some things. I’m slightly nervous already, talking to him today, on the Sunday when my column about my cottage – renovated by me, that has been put up for sale, crucially without me in it – is published. I was prepared for him to say, ‘I told you so…’ but he didn’t mention it.

I did, though, get an email from a movie star, whom I’ve met twice but correspond with often, who said she would ‘like to help IF I can. How much are you short of being able to buy it with your mortgage?’ I politely decline, of course. The movie star is a huge animal lover, which only goes to prove those are the best, most altruistic people of all.

An awful, unprompted thought enters my head. If I marry my ex, I won’t have to get a mortgage at all. Or work! He would LOVE me not to write for a living. My career is the thorn in his rather ample side. He’s always touring, so I would be alone for most of the time. Perfect!

I’d love another wedding, though I would do it right this time. Not for me the stress of hiring Babington House, assigning rooms (despite the fact my guests didn’t have to pay, they still had room envy, and moaned, and raided the mini bar). Choosing menus. Getting the people who do the flowers at the Vanity Fair Oscars party to do mine. Going for fittings. Wearing difficult shoes.

This time round, I would settle for a pub lunch with the dogs and a honeymoon expressly not in Seville, where the only thing to eat is dried ham (the one second of affection to wash over me for my new husband was when, in our finca, he made me coffee in a cafetière, but having never done anything so middle-class before, he pushed the plunger too hard and scalded his arm). Maybe a silent retreat just outside York, so I don’t have to talk to him. Perfect!

But what would I do if I didn’t write? I’ve done it every day since I was about six years old. As a teenager, I wrote and illustrated my own glossy magazine called Trendy. I’m like the person who wins MasterChef: they always dig out a photo of the winner as a toddler, wielding a wooden spoon. To stop writing would be like telling the blackbird, currently outside my window, to please stop singing. And I think if I did stop, he’d find me boring, like all his other wives.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. He doesn’t want to marry me. Turns out, even my husband claims he was forced into it. I couldn’t marry a man to get a home. I’m Lizzie Jones, not Bennet. I had another crushing rejection last week, relayed to me by my agent. Just as in the new TV series Ten Percent (ten per cent! Twenty, more like!), he tried to sugarcoat it. ‘It’s a No. But not a No No.’

I hope that when I do make it to the festival it’s a ‘Yes, Yes, Yes!’ But I’m not holding my breath. I’m seriously out of practice.

Read more of Liz’s diaries here