Liz Jones’s di­ary

In which I weigh up liv­ing with David

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AS SOON AS DAVID got to Scot­land, he sent this: ‘ Hi, my dar­ling. Just ar­rived safely. Sun­day can’t come soon enough. Love you and miss you! x’

He re­turned on Sun­day evening. I’d made dauphi­noise pota­toes, pur­ple sprout­ing broc­coli and french beans. By some strange fluke it was ab­so­lutely de­li­cious. The next morn­ing, we went out for break­fast.

‘Why have you not been clean­ing your flat, or go­ing out?’ I asked him.

He looked away. ‘I missed you,’ he said, adding, ‘I think we should live to­gether.’

Blimey. One minute I’m call­ing the cops on him for steal­ing my cat, the next he’s say­ing he wants us to move in to­gether.

‘But where?’ I said, slip­ping Grace my veg­e­tar­ian sausage. ‘What would you do with your flat?’

Even as I was chew­ing, I knew that if we were ever to live to­gether, we would need some rules – a con­tract, even, like the one Chris­tian Grey gave to Anas­ta­sia… 1 No items of cloth­ing to be left on backs of chairs. 2 No smok­ing in the house. 3 No mov­ing around in bed at night, or cough­ing. No fold­ing of pil­lows.

4 No com­puter games; in­stead, why not read a novel? (I was of­fered a free mi­cro­der­mabra­sion treat­ment via email while we talked, the PR de­scrib­ing it as the ‘ Ben­jamin Button of fa­cials’. I laughed, told David. ‘ Who on earth is Ben­jamin Button?’ he said. Can I re­ally date a man who hasn’t read F Scott Fitzger­ald?)

5 No nu­dity. David ar­rived back from Scot­land with a pair of tar­tan py­ja­mas, which he promptly put on. ‘Why did you sud­denly de­cide to buy those?’ I asked him, hav­ing be­come used to the sight of him creep­ing, Gol­lum-fashion, both arms out in front of him, like Vir­gil Tracy, around the house. ‘I caught a glimpse of my­self in a mir­ror,’ he said. ‘But you’ve looked like that for ages,’ I replied.

6 He needs to show ini­tia­tive, rather than wait to be told what to do.

The next day, I’d thought about his weird pro­posal some more. ‘David. If I get a Lon­don flat, and you move in to make a mess, what ex­actly do I get out of the ar­range­ment?’ ‘Um. Me?’ I’m won­der­ing whether he wants to move in with me to save money. Have some­one on tap to do the laun­dry and the clean­ing. He seems un­able to com­plete the sim­plest task, like putting rub­bish in the bin bag in the dust­bin; he just piles it on top, so it spills. We are go­ing to view three properties to­mor­row. Each one has a tiny court­yard gar­den for the pup­pies.

We are just back. The drive from Lon­don took six hours. ‘You see,’ I told him. ‘This is what I do two, three times a week. I can­not do it any more.’

I was tear­ful, as the properties we’d seen – in Vic­to­ria Park, High­bury and Prim­rose Hill – while lovely, were heinously ex­pen­sive, and not a patch on my old Lon­don house. I know that I haven’t lost both my legs, but the 21-hour days are get­ting me down. I can’t spend the rest of my life on the M1. Now that I’ve lost my Ge­or­gian mini man­sion, with its mag­i­cal view of the Swale and the moun­tains and moor­land, the long, bor­ing, ex­haust­ing trek to get back up here sim­ply doesn’t seem worth it.

I’ve just emailed the es­tate agent about my favourite flat, which has a pretty pa­tio and is inches from the park. ‘I have two col­lies and a few cats. What is the pol­icy on pets?’

He emailed back: ‘No dogs or cats are al­lowed. Hope this helps.’

I have just taken the dogs for a walk near my rented house in York­shire, pick­ing up lit­ter on my way. An old wo­man leaned out of a win­dow and started scream­ing at me: ‘Go back! Get out!!!!!’

Whaa? ‘But it’s the path to a church. How do wor­ship­pers get in­side?’

‘They don’t!’ and she waved me away rudely, as though I were just an­other piece of rub­bish.

Some­how, my decade-long so­journ in the coun­try­side, an un­mit­i­gated dis­as­ter, must come to an end. The prob­lem is, I need to fig­ure out how to make it hap­pen…

I knew that if we were ever to live to­gether, we would need some rules

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