Liz Jones’s di­ary

In which our mini break is (al­most) a suc­cess

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WE HAD SO MUCH sex on our spa break in Mar­rakech, I kept telling David it was like be­ing on our hon­ey­moon. He was read­ing a book for once, so I didn’t have to try to en­gage him in con­ver­sa­tion. I felt like Sisy­phus, per­suad­ing him to talk. I’ve never met a man with less to say. By the la­goon one af­ter­noon, sip­ping my detox juice, hav­ing just ex­pe­ri­enced a Mas­sage Bien­heureux, which is a four-handed treat­ment us­ing bal­loons filled with hot water (David couldn’t have any more ham­mams as he was sun­burnt), I asked him to de­scribe me in one word. ‘Ex­pen­sive,’ he said. I nearly pushed him in the pool. ‘ Ex­pen­sive! How many free hol­i­days did all your hun­dreds of girl­friends take you on?’ ‘Um, none.’ ‘Ex­actly. How many chil­dren have I had and asked you to pay for? I ap­pre­ci­ate you pay­ing for din­ner in the Me­d­ina last night [we had got lost, even though David was un­der strict in­struc­tions to be the man for the day, which meant or­gan­is­ing ev­ery­thing, so he’d had to ask a young man for di­rec­tions; the young man led us to the restau­rant and charged David £20] but I have still bought you far more meals than you have bought me. Gifts. Mini-breaks.’ ‘I took you to Mi­lan,’ he said. ‘When?’ ‘For my son’s grad­u­a­tion!’ ‘I didn’t want to go! I’ve been to Mi­lan hun­dreds of times. It was for one night. I had to get up at 2am for the flight. I bought your ex-wife lunch in Corso Como. I paid for taxis to Gatwick and back. I went for you, not me!’

When he stayed with me in York­shire, af­ter the aborted sale of my 40-year col­lec­tion of Vogues, when I was wail­ing about be­ing un­able to pay my vet bill (the rea­son I was part­ing with my magazines), he did of­fer to set­tle it for me. ‘It could be a loan,’ he said. I re­fused but I had tac­ti­cally left the let­ter de­mand­ing pay­ment on my desk. Af­ter he’d re­turned to Lon­don, I called the vet and asked for a bal­ance. Some­where in the back of my mind was a sesame seed of hope that he had phoned the vet and paid it. But no. It was still just over a thou­sand pounds. I thought that be­ing in a cou­ple meant more than eat­ing pineap­ple on a water bed in a mar­ble spa suite with an open fire and a ter­race. It meant you helped each other. In good times and bad.

Back at the ho­tel, I con­tin­ued my regime of detox juice and re­lax­ation treat­ments. One af­ter­noon, I had a gut mas­sage: I hold all my anx­i­ety in my stom­ach, which I imag­ine is why I’ve al­ways suf­fered from an eat­ing dis­or­der: I can’t eat, as I am al­ready full, stuffed with self-doubt and fear. The re­flex­ol­o­gist told me that I’m brew­ing a kid­ney prob­lem. ‘Great,’ I told her. ‘I could do with some­thing fin­ish­ing me off.’ My com­plex post-trau­matic-stress dis­or­der means I care lit­tle what hap­pens to me.

Some­thing must have worked, though, as on our last day, I sug­gested we go on an ex­pe­di­tion to visit Yves Saint Lau­rent’s gar­dens: the Jardin Ma­jorelle. The old me would never have left the ho­tel grounds, not even ven­tured the few yards in a golf buggy (you are never re­ally on an ex­otic hol­i­day un­til you’ve been in a golf buggy) to the orig­i­nal ho­tel, the one opened in 1966, and where the Rolling Stones booked an en­tire floor. I wouldn’t even have sat round the pool where Ce­cil Beaton took those fa­mous pho­tos of Mick, re­clin­ing palely. As we wan­dered in Yves’ foot­steps, I en­ter­tained David with tales of what model Marie Helvin had told me about the de­signer, that he had pricked her skin with a pin by mis­take, and fainted at the sight of blood. How I had sat front row at his last show. But still David looked mis­er­able (we re­ally should have had his face ironed). ‘What’s wrong?’ I asked him.

‘It’s not what I ex­pected. Not much va­ri­ety. Just palm trees and cacti.’

Are all het­ero­sex­ual men like this? Or is it just him?

I thought be­ing a cou­ple meant more than eat­ing pineap­ple in a spa suite

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