Liz Jones’s diary
In which the house-hunt continues
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