I woke this morning to six inches of deep snow, so I took a photograph of the view from my office window: the ruins of an abbey and the lovely little church where I had booked to get married; I even got as far as requesting bell-ringers. And I posted the photo on Twitter.
I had about 200 likes and then, this afternoon, an email from the Mystery Man.
‘Saw your photo on Twitter.’ I didn’t even know he follows me. I certainly don’t follow him. ‘Given you won’t even tell me which junction you are off, I Google Earthed the photo and I think I’ve worked out where you are.’
So, of course, the photo is all about Him. Not, ‘How beautiful. Like a Christmas card.’ I couldn’t even lie, and say I’m in a hotel, as hotels are closed. It’s not that I want my home to remain anonymous because I am scared. He’s harmless. It is just I need ample warning to prepare for any unexpected visitors. Anyway, you know how you should never look back, only forwards? Because he sent this: ‘Make sure you put the diff-lock on your four-by-four.’
What is it about men that makes them think they can tell you something you already know. Such as…
- ‘Did you get the flagstones on your new floor sealed?’
- Sent a photo of my new kitchen: ‘That is what they call a butler sink.’
- ‘You do realise you will have to pay tax on your Big Brother earnings.’ (I never saw a penny. It all went to pay my tax bill.)
- ‘You won’t be able to work 14 hours a day in the office if we adopt a baby.’
- ‘You should never cook using that expensive extra virgin olive oil. Heat destroys the taste. It’s a waste of money.’
Then came proof men can be ‘jellyfish’, and make stinging comments just as efficiently and spitefully as women. (I actually think people who are completely unaware they are jellyfish are even worse than those who are
deliberately mean, viz the woman who called me up to ask for advice before doing a reality TV show. ‘Well,’ I said. ‘Make damn sure your boss gives you the go-ahead. I was sacked for doing Celebrity Big Brother.’ Her reply? ‘Are you sure that’s the reason you were sacked?’ Ouch.)
Anyway, this man, who had spent the morning looking at aerial photos on Google Earth instead of, ooh, I don’t know, emptying the dishwasher, typed: ‘It’s lovely you can see the cemetery from your bedroom. It’s a reminder life is short.’
Then he added: ‘I’d like to send you the vegan hamper, even if we have to postpone that picnic. That’s if you’ll give me your address.’
Instead of being grateful, I asked: ‘What’s in it?’
‘What do you mean, what’s in it?’ he asked.
‘Well. Is it worth it? As in, if I start seeing you again, giving you my valuable time, my pilates-honed body, my razor-sharp wit and, in your case, new-found and much needed fame, what’s in it for me? To continue the analogy, is the hamper full of kimchi, aubergines, mushrooms, things in a stack, all of which I hate. Or will it be worth my while to bother waiting in for a package then taking the box to the dump?’
You see, I have to admit here that the MM has been in my column before. I imagine when we stopped dating, given his lawyers sent me a cease and desist letter, even though I’d written his penis deserved not a column but indeed a whole novel, he felt as though a light had gone out. Much as he railed against being written about, he missed the notoriety, the challenge, the excitement. It’s as though he’s Martine McCutcheon, and he has been knocked down by a car, never to frequent Albert Square again. Life gets dull.
‘How about vegan sparkling wine? Hummus. Fruit and veg. They do a flavouring for tagine.’
‘I’ve stopped drinking.’
‘Look. I’m trying.’
‘Yes. You are. Very.’