In which I’m ready for a new chapter…
Well, this is tricky. I’ve been told by my ‘advisors’ I can’t write about my financial situation, as HMRC and the Official Receiver pore over every word. Well, that’s two more readers! I should get a raise! I’m no longer ‘dating’ David (I use inverted commas, as dating is too strong for what we did: we mainly argued by text. David frequently professed his undying love for me while only digging deep enough in his pockets to buy me a dead poinsettia last Christmas), so I can’t write about him. I’ve been told I can’t write about my two rescued ponies, so they’ve gone into hiding; I’ve stuck wool on them so they look like sheep. I’ve been told my budget for pets is £20 a week, so I’ve decided they had better eat me. I am lonely and sad enough to be eaten by border collies, after all; it’s just a pity they’re not alsatians à la Bridget Jones, as that joke would have earned me £17 million (bitter? Moi?).
I wrote a couple of sentences in the paper the other week about my ex ex (ie, the one before David; I quite like the idea of having an ex ex; it makes me feel exotic, like the Duchess of Windsor, or Mini Puppy if she’d had puppies: they would have been Mini Mini Puppies), saying I made him go to the bar to order lunch so he could at least be helpful if he couldn’t be attractive, and that he needs to lose three stone, and received a strongly worded legal letter, so I can’t write about him either.
And so, every single bl**dy week (bar last week’s edition, when Christmas Day fell on a Sunday, which meant I got a day off for the first time in seven years), I have this great big yawning blank page. I’ve written about stumbling upon emails on my birthday from the dreaded Daphne to my husband arranging to meet him in New York; going on a £26,000 scuba-diving holiday on a remote island in Africa and discovering not just my husband’s infidelity with an intern but that I didn’t like the thought of all that water over my head; being snubbed by the other fashion journalists at the Dior show in Versailles and suffering from post-traumatic dress disorder; being proposed to at a restaurant in Paris by a man who was so arthritic kneeling he knocked over the water on the table next door; losing my beloved grey dog Hilda to stomach cancer that had spread to her liver and finding out that after 20 years of pilates, I’m still not strong enough to dig graves.
It’s strange, this writing business (I refuse to call it ‘confessional’ writing; when men do it, it’s just called brilliant and brave). I had lunch on Sunday with my friend Isobel. We went to Middleton Lodge in North Yorkshire, an oasis of candles and fire pits and lovely throws and a spa and a vegan menu; it was almost like being in Islington. It was the week before I lost my house. ‘I think I’m coping really well,’ I told her. ‘The worst thing I could have imagined has happened to me, and I am still functioning. You know how much I love my home. I hate going out as I get nervous about the journey home because I think I will die on the road in a fireball. And yet I have lost my house, and everything in it, and I am OK. I am grieving, but I am OK.’
‘I know,’ she said, trying to stop Grace Kelly – who was sitting next to her on the banquette, exactly like a person – from swallowing her yorkshire pudding whole. ‘You are amazing.’
I told her I think the reason is because I write about what happens to me. It’s not cathartic, exactly, but it places a mess upon a nice clean page, with a lovely drawing of someone who’s much better looking than I am. It makes it less real. It’s a prism. And because it’s on a nice, clean page, I can sort of believe it’s not really happening to me. At least it fills a page for another week. I’m still able to type, after all.
So, anyway, 2017 is the year I start again. From scratch. Things can only get better, can’t they?