Liz Jones’s Diary: ‘In which there’s a gifting mismatch’

So. The Christmas gift from the ex arrived. Do bear in mind I had just arranged for a brand new Apple iPhone 13, with case and charger, to be couriered to his home.

He promised his gift was engraved with his feelings for me.

Abbey Lossing at

I undid the package, trembling with anticipation. I broke a nail. Polystyrene balls went everywhere. Damn. Oh no! A David Linley brochure dropped out. Who wants something by a minor royal? A card. ‘Merry Christmas. Love X.’ A tiny box. Ooh, my first De Beers diamonds? Nope. A teeny tiny torch. A beribboned box. I undid it. It’s a box of matches! With the inscription Mea dea lux meae.

I google it. ‘The light that shines in the darkness?’ ‘My goddess of my light?’ Who knows? Who cares? It’s a box of matches! I gave him an Apple iPhone 13, with all the accessories – £1,000!

I’m fuming. I really did not believe, in three million years, anyone would top… 1. Forecourt gypsophila and a twig pencil (another ex). 2. A random DVD of Lost, not even a boxset (my now ex-husband, for whom I had bought a Rolex, car, Apple laptop, cashmere, holidays, black wedding suit made to measure on Savile Row as he was too fat for off the peg, a wedding band, a bicycle, fitness classes. I could go on).

I texted Nic, who had been quivering with excitement. ‘All that fuss!’ she said, adding: ‘And that is why he is an ex.’

Thank the Lord I cancelled the New Year’s Eve mini break in a high-end spa cottage in the Cotswolds. David Linley? He’s not even in line to the throne!

You know you are over a man not when you no longer read his horoscope. You know when you don’t bother to accurately translate his feelings for you.

On the day his iPhone package was due to be delivered, I let him have the one-hour time slot. As the time approached, I tracked it live. I was so excited, as it was such a brilliant, useful, expensive gift. I know I’ve been burnt so many times before, but I still love to give things to make people happy.

The allotted hour came and went. I saw it had been delivered. And then, nothing.

Nothing, nothing, nothing.

A normal person would type, ‘Got it, thanks!’

So I texted him. ‘Did you not get the parcel?’

Him: ‘Yes, thank you.’

Me: ‘Phew. I’ve been on tenterhooks!’

Him: ‘I’ve sent it back to you. Why? Look to yourself and your actions.’

What? I wanted him to have a phone in case he had a stroke and needed to dial 999. In case he broke down on the drive to the coast at Christmas.

I texted him: ‘What now?’

I’ve had no response since. I’m feeling discombobulated. I had been so excited. It seems whenever I do something nice, it backfires. On me. Does that mean he is not coming on the NYE spa cottage mini break*? What could possibly have happened in the interim?

In a Miranda Priestly Devil Wears Prada moment, I text Nic: ‘How do I block someone on text and email so they know they have been blocked?’

Why are men mad? Why did he text, having sent me matches in a box that looked like the ashes of someone who had died, with the inscription ‘You are the light of my life’, or some such, then return a lovely gift? I had wanted to repay him in some practical way for the £800 engagement ring he bought me two Christmases ago. I had tried to return it to the jeweller’s, but they said it had been used. It’s not a bleeding condom!

So many unanswered questions. I text Nic. Ever the professional. ‘OK. We can block him on text and email tomorrow live on the podcast. Am fuming!’

*Even though it is cancelled, he doesn’t yet know it’s cancelled. This is crucial.