Liz Jones’s diary

In which the house-hunt con­tin­ues

Irish Daily Mail - YOU - - HEALTH -

DAVID LASTED A WHOLE WEEK with­out run­ning away; we only ar­gued once, which was after the woman shouted at me from her be­d­room win­dow to ‘Get out! Go back!’ with my dogs. It tipped me over the edge, was the fi­nal straw, and when I re­turned to tell him what had hap­pened, I was so up­set, heart pound­ing, un­able to breathe, I again brought up the fact he had taken the cat with­out telling me. ‘I can only apol­o­gise,’ he said. ‘What else do you want me to say?’

Later, as he was mak­ing din­ner, he said, ‘I re­ally do love you, you know.’ ‘Do you, re­ally?’ I asked, in­trigued. ‘Heart and soul.’ That must rank as the nicest thing any­one has said to me, ever. I could tell he re­ally meant it. How can he tell, with such cer­tainty? I’m like a tap with him: one minute I’m hot, a sec­ond later I’m cold. He said he wished he had mar­ried me in the 80s. ‘We’d have had so much fun,’ he said. ‘But would you have cheated on me as well?’ ‘Yes, prob­a­bly. I’m sure I would have. I was a he­do­nist. The grass was al­ways greener.’

He said all his friends re­alised his pain and suf­fer­ing when we split up the last time. ‘Did you tell them?’ ‘No, but they could tell. I wouldn’t go out.’ While he stayed with me, a friend was clean­ing his flat. She sent him an email: ‘I cleaned for 27½ hours. You have mice. I’m sorry to say I have never had to do so much dirty work in my en­tire life.’

I chal­lenged David about this. ‘She not only cleaned my flat, she tried to fix me up with a woman after you and I had bro­ken up. She in­vited her round, we had din­ner, and even though this woman was keen, I wasn’t in­ter­ested. I only want you.’

Isn’t it in­cred­i­ble? No mat­ter how dirty a man’s flat, how bro­ken down he is (David gave up on our one dog walk to­gether after about 100 yards, as he couldn’t walk; he had to go and sit in the car), how many inches he has al­lowed his eye­brows to sprout, how many holes in his T-shirts, he still has women lin­ing up to go out with him.

He left on Mon­day morn­ing to drive back to Lon­don. He took with him all the things he had bought that I will never eat: Tip­tree straw­berry jam, lemon curd, jam tarts, gluten-free cus­tard creams. He is al­ways amazed when he ar­rives at mine that the only items in the fridge are wa­ter and cof­fee beans. I’m al­ways amazed when I visit some­one who pleads poverty and their fridge is heav­ing.

I sent him to look at an­other prop­erty, this time in Is­ling­ton, over­look­ing the canal. I had been shy­ing away from Is­ling­ton, as when­ever I go there I start to cry, re­mem­ber­ing the florist on Up­per Street next to the church where I’d buy flow­ers ev­ery Fri­day; the Ital­ian deli off Canon­bury Square where I’d buy tomato sauce and sparkling wa­ter; Ate­lier Abi­gail Ah­ern, where I bought my 1920s desk*, a porce­lain chan­de­lier** and an an­cient club chair***; SCP, where I’d bought a mod­ernist leather sofa****, and the or­ganic pub, where my ex-hus­band Nir­pal and I would have din­ner ev­ery Fri­day night, as the house had just been cleaned and I didn’t al­low him to make a mess.

After the view­ing, David sent me a text. ‘The house is lovely.’ ‘Send me pho­tos!’ He man­aged that, in­cred­i­bly. There was cream car­pet ev­ery­where, an Aga, of all things (I cer­tainly don’t want to be re­minded of my ten years in the wilder­ness) and a mez­za­nine above the master be­d­room. I don’t do mez­za­nines. I texted him back. ‘It’s aw­ful.’ ‘Well, what is your taste?’ ‘You came to my lovely house! What are you, blind? Mar­ble fire­places. Oak floors. Beau­ti­ful bath­rooms. Re­claimed flag­stones from an an­cient church. A stain­less steel and mar­ble kitchen. Huge win­dows.’ ‘You’re never go­ing to get that again.’ I’m never go­ing to get that again. * Since sold at a huge loss on Ebay. ** Nir­pal walked into it and smashed it with his gi­ant head; he didn’t even pick up the pieces, he just left them on the beeswaxed floor. *** Since de­stroyed by the cats; they scratched it so much it be­came a set of springs and horse­hair. **** I was ill one day in Som­er­set, and Gra­cie, alone in the kitchen, chewed a hole in the seat to make a nest, which she pro­ceeded to curl up in.

David is al­ways amazed that the only items in my fridge are wa­ter and cof­fee beans

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