Relationships are strange, aren’t they? Take mine. We have gone from me getting up an hour early so that I could glimpse from my bedroom window his back disappearing down the road as he walked to the tube (1983, when he lived next door to me in Brixton) to me sending him the following text: ‘Have you got a loose-bottomed cake tin?’ (December 2019). Ah, the romance.
I’m writing this at the beginning of December, while you are reading this having consumed the contents of a hippo-sized tin of Quality Street and are now feeling racked with remorse and thinking about enrolling in a pilates class/getting a tummy tuck (delete as appropriate, depending on how many purple ones with a hazelnut you consumed). The deal for him coming to Yorkshire for Christmas was that he would cook, wash up and stoke the fire while I walked the dogs and looked after the horses and took hot oily baths. Because Christmas hasn’t happened for me yet, I have no idea whether or not he…
- Turned up with a half-dead poinsettia and a head of yellowing broccoli.
- Smoked in the bathroom.
- Burned my Le Creuset which, like my womb, has never been used.
- Got drunk on absinthe and started swearing at me.
- Took someone else’s side over mine (Uber driver, ex-girlfriend). Dear men: never, ever take anyone else’s side over us. Just don’t do it.
- Stood outside smoking leaving Gracie the chewiest collie in the world unattended, which meant she chewed my £4,000 sofa.
- Lost another tooth
- Told me not to speak to him while he was scrambling eggs.
Let the fire go out.
All of the above he has, of course, done before; I actually uploaded a photo of the half-dead poinsettia online: the opposite of a boastful Instagram post. Therefore, I still haven’t decided whether or not to buy him a gift. Maybe something unisex, such as an oversized sweater, so that if he is naughty I can just keep it. (You see, women do think like this.) I haven’t got a Christmas tree as I can’t be bothered and he won’t notice whether there is one or not, as he only has eyes for me (strange, I know).
He has a cat in London (the subject of a very public custody battle when we – briefly – split up), which means he can only stay with me for three days. (I think all men should be allocated a cat they can’t leave for long.) I’ve made up with my best friend in the Yorkshire Dales, so plan to invite her for Christmas lunch so that she can talk to him (and they can both smoke outside) while I watch It’s a Wonderful Life. I don’t want to have to talk to a man for three days; this is why women have children, surely.
This year hasn’t been that great, if I’m honest. I fell off my horse and broke my ribs. I was evicted from my flat in London. Gracie had a slipped disc needing £7,000 of medical intervention. (She is not allowed to jump, so now has a ramp to get in and out of the car, which I have to assemble 15 times a day; I really don’t think she’s supposed to use it as a slide.) My laptop died. My fingers split with the cold. My oven stopped working. I had my hair cut into a bendy bob. I gained a new friend (A, you know who you are; thanks for the Bella Freud cushion), and lost a friend I’d known for over 20 years (not through death, but because she thought she recognised herself in a character in my upcoming novel).
But it wasn’t quite an annus horribilis, as the Queen would say. Not like 2014. And 2015. And 2016. And, oh yes, 2017 and 2018. The exciting news is that this morning I received a Happy Christmas email from the man I have fancied from afar for years, only two years after I emailed him seasonal good wishes when tipsy and egged on by my friend Helen. So could he be keen? What do we think? Two years isn’t that long. It took David 30 to pluck up the courage to text me.
An excellent year’s progress, as Bridget would say, and I’m sure you will all agree.
Feel free to contact Liz via lizjonesgoddess.com