Liz Jones: ‘In which my laundry lets me down’

Don’t you hate it when you have finished arguing with someone and you forgot to bring up the most salient point?

David, despite being blocked, managed to email to say he was ‘distressed’ that I had talked on the podcast about the Dries van Noten dress he gave me being ‘size fat’. In my retaliation in this column last week (I didn’t reply to his email, thinking silence would wind him up), I forgot to point out that, actually, when I had gifted him a £1,000 iPhone PLUS ACCESSORIES at Christmas, all I got in return was a rude, curt: ‘I have sent it back to you. Look to yourself and your actions.’

Which makes ‘size fat’ pale into insignificance, dontcha think? At least I kept the Dries dress and wore it, even though it fell down and showed my poor darned nipples for all the world to see, as though I were a character in Conversations With Friends (dear God, isn’t the TV adaptation dreary? The chippy lover, upset she appears in a short story. Just don’t date a writer! Honestly, the parallels are uncanny).

Abbey Lossing at handsomefrank.com

Anyway. Forget about him. I have. Him and his white pepper mania. Yesterday, I met the Rock Star for lunch at the Talbot inn in Malton, the food capital of Yorkshire. They had made me book a table in the bar, although it turned out I was the only person in there. A large banner proclaimed at the entrance: ‘Think of us for your wedding’.

Don’t frighten him! Jesus.

I sat in the corner, surrounded by a carpet of collies.

He arrived. He didn’t say, ‘Did you hear the roar of my engine as I pulled up?’, which a previous date had done. One point! He didn’t tread on Missy. Two points! After pulling eight ears, he leaned over to peck me on the cheek. Mini chose that moment to jump up, so all he got was a mouthful of fur.

‘You’re not bald at all,’ he said, peering.

‘It’s growing back. You, on the other hand…’

‘Hahaha. Still not drinking?’

‘No, sadly.’

There was a lot of scraping of chairs on the wooden floor, then he squeezed himself in by the window. I noticed a toothbrush sticking out of his breast pocket. I patted him on the chest.

‘What are you doing?’

‘Checking to see if you packed floss.’

‘I thought I’d use yours.’ Sauce! The waitress turned up. She didn’t recognise him. Twenty years too young. Or even 30.

He put his hand on my arm. I felt a surge of affection wash over me. Until he said, ‘What’s that?’

Um. ‘It’s my relaxed sweater by NavyGrey in blush.’

‘No, that.’

I looked. There was an undissolved Fairy laundry tablet stuck to my sleeve.

I knew I should never have cut corners and machine-washed knitwear! Or, I should have done what I did when he surprised me with a visit when I lived in Swaledale and there was food down my front (it’s Yorkshire, not Islington): ‘Mini! Quick! Lick my sweater!’

It broke the ice, though. I quizzed him on his latest girlfriend, but he said he doesn’t want anything written about her. He did say, though, ‘It’s not great, dating someone so much younger.’

‘I hated it,’ I said, on a roll now. ‘Always being teased about the menopause, breaking a hip, treated like his mum, him calling me “old lady” in front of his friends. Having to pay for everything as he only had a Visa Electron card with nothing on it. Compensating for not being dead by showering him with gifts, even though he was morbidly obese, and short, and not successful.’

He snorted his fizzy water through his nose. I noticed his isn’t as straight as David’s but pushed the thought away as though it were the butter that came with the artisanal sourdough.

He got out his spectacles to peer at the menu. ‘Do you mind if I have lamb?’ he asked. ‘It seems local.’

David went veggie for me.

‘Of course not,’ I said, setting the feminist/animal rights movement back 50 years. ‘Just don’t expect to exchange any fluids.’

‘I’ll have the pea risotto.’

Read more of Liz’s diaries here