Liz Jones’s Diary: In which I realise I’m actually happy

Someone keeps sending me gifts. Dog toys, mostly. Something they gnaw on to clean their teeth. Flashing lights for their collars. It can’t be the Mystery Man, as he doesn’t have my exact address, although I did once get a birthday card from a reader with only, ‘Liz Jones. Somewhere on Exmoor’ written on the envelope. P, the man who gave me a wallet and a three-wick candle, was only ever given my friend Isobel’s address in case he turned out to be a stalker*.

Abbey Lossing

The online suitor who promised he could take me to new heights in bed has gone quiet, probably because in response to his very long emails, I gave two-word answers. Then another man emailed me, who sounded really nice, and sane. Only 100 miles away, very fit, not sure how old but with grown-up sons. Then he sent me a picture of his house: a lovely garden, but the windows of the house had those very dark brown frames you always see on badly done barn conversions and I thought, nah. Couldn’t possibly date a man with windows like that. He then sent a photo of his villa in Spain, and while a lot of women would be thinking, ‘Ooh, a free holiday! Solvent!’ I was looking at the red roof tiles and thinking, ‘Oh no, it’s like one of those new complexes you see on A Place in the Sun.’ And that I prefer Italy. And hotels.

I went to dinner with a neighbour just before this latest lockdown, and we started talking about Nige, the photographer I have a crush on who lives in Australia. I said he’s probably with someone new. She said, ‘Yes, but she won’t be as interesting or dynamic and successful as you are.’

YOU magazine readers are really sweet. The programme he works on, Married at First Sight, is currently on E4, and they message me excitedly: ‘Liz! Turn on the TV! Just seen him, 24 minutes in! Very pleasing on the eye! Couldn’t see his left hand but he doesn’t look married!’

A reader in Sydney says she is going to find out more; my response to her message was exactly like Meg Ryan’s in Sleepless in Seattle: ‘Need recent photo.’ (Nic has just sent me a freeze-frame of the latest episode with the caption, ‘Look! No ring!’)

The good news is that I’ve given up drinking. I only started, on Millennium Eve, in a bid to be more confident. It was all very normal until I lost my house. Now that I’m on a more even keel, I feel the time is right to stop. I’ve ordered a bi-weekly fruit and vegetable box and started running.

It’s not in a bid to look dewy and toned if I ever make it to see Nige in Sydney, but because
I refuse to be defeated by the people who tried to destroy me in the past. People who were jealous, and wanted my money. Who would scream, ‘You’re going to leave everything to a cat home!’ And, when reminded how many holidays I took them on, including a stay in a gorgeous Georgian hotel in Bath, spat ungratefully, ‘That was only a weekend!’ Dear Lord, I bought my husband an expensive camera to take to India, and he used it to photograph his mistress in bed!

What prompted me to stop was what happened on the Friday after New Year. I was dizzy, and driving home I felt my face go numb (it’s always a bit numb, since the facelift), and then my arms and legs started to tingle. I had to sit in my car for an hour, the collies quizzical, until I felt strong enough to go indoors.

During that hour, I realised I didn’t want to leave my life. That, currently, despite everything, it’s lovely. Which is something I don’t think I’ve ever been able to say before…

*Poor Isobel