The tweet that has most resonated with me during lockdown has been the following: ‘You know how you used to begin an email with, “Hi!”, and now it is Colin Firth as Mr Darcy, saying, “I trust you and your family are well.”’
Well, I’ve been feeling like a character in a Jane Austen novel for two weeks, waiting for P in Westcliff to reply to my email, which is galling as he was the one who got in touch with me in the first place. He emailed me!
So I took off my bonnet and corset, and texted him, as he had carefully put his mobile number at the bottom of his email reminding me we had once gone for a drink at Claridge’s, but I had rejected him for being too short despite the holiday home in France/Porsche/father who owns a big luxury brand. Oh, for the days when I was fussy!
He replied almost immediately! You see, fortune favours the bold.
‘I emailed you back twice, but I know how busy you must be! I opened YOU magazine on Sunday with some trepidation; thanks for not slaughtering me!’ He added a smiley face. I told him I hadn’t got his emails, so he sent them again.
‘Lovely Liz! It’s been a bad day… and then I got your reply! My mood changed instantly. Your hearing might have gone, but your memory is amazing! The Smack pub in Leigh-on-Sea, lol… yes, it’s still there. I don’t remember you ever writing about having any male friends. I’d like to put myself forward as potentially being one; I’m nice! Maybe you’d think about it after getting to know me better… and being column cannon fodder occasionally wouldn’t bother me either!’
His second email read: ‘Hello again, lovely person. My sleeping pattern is just ridiculous, so I thought I’d send a quick message; I always wish I’d said things in emails, conversations, etc that I hadn’t.
‘The first is that I am genuinely flattered and amazed that you remember me at all. I didn’t maintain contact after our second drink because in my insecure way I knew you didn’t want to meet in a romantic sense (unfortunately) and thought in my cynical way that you wanted information about [famous person here, who headed up his father’s luxury brand]. You didn’t, which confused me, and I didn’t have the confidence to contact you again.
‘I’ve lost track of all the animals that have come and gone, but hope you’re all looking after each other.
‘Goodnight Liz x’
We then texted a few times, and I suggested a luxury hotel in North Yorkshire to meet when lockdown eases – for lunch, in case you are getting any ideas. He shot back, saying he had just googled it, which is always a sign someone is keen. I told him I’d be happy to meet him at the Smack pub for a drink, too, one day, and he said that was way too downmarket for me. He clearly has no idea how far I’ve fallen.
Anyway, I remember the pub being on the seafront, down a steep cobbled lane. I rather lamely google it, look at the map of the seafront, then hobble down memory lane. The Peterboat pub! That rings a bell. I’d love to go back there, to a time when I had friends; I remember I had a crush on one of our gang, an aspiring actor*. I hadn’t yet left home and moved to London, and life seemed safe and full of possibilities.
It’s all fitting, really, as I’m currently engaged (!) in The Purge. That thing you do when you know it’s all over. In the bin go all of David’s gluten-free flours, Gaviscon and non-artisan tea bags. His hundreds and thousands! I’m giving Nic the blowtorch he gave me for Christmas**, along with a can of fuel. Do I look like someone who is ever going to make crème brûlée? No. It feels good to Purge. Like I’m making way for something new…
*Not that long after, my crush moved in with actress Joanne Whalley, who went on to marry Val Kilmer. Yes!
**David must have realised he was on the way out at Christmas, as I assigned him the dog towel, not one of my nice ones.
To contact Liz, tweet @LizJonesGoddess or visit lizjonesgoddess.com