LIZ JONES’S DIARY: In which I try to return the ring

Grrrr!!! Gahhhaaahhha! David went to see the flat in Notting Hill that I was thinking of renting, but not with any good grace, viz: ‘I will view it for you, given you say I have no job.’

Abbey Lossing

He sent some photos. ‘Is that a washer-dryer?’ I said.

‘I didn’t ask.’

‘What’s the local area like?’

‘I don’t know, it was raining.’

Seriously? The flat was shabby anyway. For £3,000 a month (plus bills) you get the kitchen sink plonked in the corner of the sitting room. A tiny bedroom. No bath. I realise the reason I keep looking at properties on the internet is a form of escapism. I could join Electric House and meet friends! I could sip crémant on the balcony!

It’s never going to happen. I was so upset, I emailed him: ‘I don’t know why you’re being such an arse. You’re the man who can’t tidy a tiny flat before his girlfriend stays. The way you live really puts me off you.’

I’ve had no reply. A ‘sorry’ would be in order. Or, ‘I promise I will change.’

Anyway, so now I have The Engagement Ring Problem. I can’t post it to him as he’ll never bother returning it; it will sit on a sticky surface getting dusty. I guess it falls to me to tell the jeweller we have split up due to his inability to buy toilet tissue and hair conditioner, and get a refund.

So this morning I found the tiny box and drove back to the jeweller. ‘I would like to return this ring.’

‘Do you have the receipt?’

‘No, my boyfriend paid for it, obviously.’

‘We will need the receipt.’

‘But that means me contacting him and I don’t want to. He’s probably lost it anyway. Or eaten it or something.’ (She was too young to get the Fawlty Towers reference.)

‘But we can only refund on to the card that paid for it.’

‘I realise that. I don’t want the money. I just don’t want to ask him for anything. Can’t you call him?’

‘I will have to ask the owner. And we wouldn’t refund the same amount. It’s now second-hand, literally. And it’s been altered.’

I tell her to leave it. As I walk back to the car, I realise getting engaged, saying yes to the dress and to him, was as much a fantasy as the flat. There is no real man who adds something to my life; he’s like a ghost, barely there. I try to recall when I’ve been in a relationship and the man has been thoughtful. Several hours tick by. I can come up with only*…

1. On holiday in the Himalayas, our hosts gave me and my then husband a goodbye party. He later told me he’d asked them not to dress me in a sari, as I’m painfully shy and would hate the attention. I felt he was on my side. The sentiment was fleeting.

2. On our last Valentine’s Day together, my husband gave me red roses and chocolate. ‘Thanks,’ I said. ‘Now I will have to find a vase, and I leave for New York Fashion Week tomorrow, so what’s the point of flowers anyway? And are you trying to make me fat?’ We go-getters can be hard to please.

3. Um, I’m trying to think of more nice things. David makes chilli but adds chocolate, which I hate. He makes trifle but forgets to add the sponge. Playing Scrabble on Christmas Day, after a heated contest in which I lost, he realised he’d left several tiles in the box. On holiday in France, he went to get groceries but speeded in my new car, terrifying my friend Dawn. When I was 21, he would barge into my house with a chicken to roast and I didn’t turn a hair! I was thrilled just to see him. If he did that now, I’d roast him! His house back then was a building site, with no proper kitchen. When I met his ex at their son’s graduation, I asked how she put up with his mess when they started going out. ‘I was madly in love!’ she said.

That’s the difference. She got a child out of him, too. All I get is cystitis.

Ooh. Got a text! It’s from David, saying I can be lovely, but I can turn on a sixpence. No apology. Just asking me to leave him alone. I self-medicate watching Love Island.

* I’m sorry I’ve written a list.