LIZ JONES’S DI­ARY

In which we row about the mini-break bill

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IT WAS ALL go­ing so well. We set off for our mini-break in Devon in high spir­its, the pup­pies in the back. We fi­nally got to Dart­moor at 9.30pm. It was pouring with rain and misty. I felt op­ti­mistic. The ho­tel was re­ally a pub, and we were shown to our room: a dou­ble four-poster bed, a bath­room. It was fine though we were told, Fawlty Tow­ers fash­ion, ‘The restau­rant does ac­tu­ally close at 9pm.’ David hadn’t touched me once while we were in Lon­don, but I wasn’t wor­ried. We were both tired. The next day, we set off for lunch at The Pig at Combe. The coun­try­side was glo­ri­ous, and as we drove there, I felt con­tent, happy, even though de­spite the web­site trum­pet­ing how re­laxed The Pig is, I was told dogs are not al­lowed in­side the main house. ‘Could you leave them in the car?’ the wait­ress sug­gested. I gave up the habit of a life­time and just said, ‘Oh, OK. I sup­pose it’s dull and breezy.’

David or­dered me a glass of cham­pagne and I or­dered my favourite dish: stuffed cour­gette flow­ers, picked only mo­ments be­fore. He had three cour­ses, and Cam­pari and tonic. I’m sorry if this sounds like a restau­rant re­view: my point is that lunch cost £148. I paid. We then drove to Sid­mouth, where I took the dogs on the red sandy beach; David couldn’t walk so sat and waited for me, smok­ing. I told him tales of how I had hol­i­dayed here as a child and showed him the house at the top of the hill where my dad had rented a flat for a week. My poor mum still had to cook all our meals and but­ter rolls for the beach, which we ate, cow­er­ing, be­hind a wind­break.

David was quiet, which isn’t un­usual. But he didn’t laugh or hug me; I tried my best, ly­ing on the bed in Myla knick­ers, but to no avail. That night, the dogs clam­bered on to the bed as usual. David dis­ap­peared for a smoke, so I looked at his texts. Lots and lots to a male friend, ar­rang­ing to meet up and have cof­fee. When he re­turned, I was asleep, Gra­cie sprawled on his pil­low. ‘I can’t even get into f***ing bed!’ he shouted. He banged around, wak­ing me up, and put his pil­low on the sofa. ‘Why don’t you just laugh about it,’ I said. ‘You moan and pine for me, yet when you have me and the pup­pies, you are like a mime artist: mute. Why not just get her a bis­cuit?’

I didn’t let it bother me. I just didn’t care, and went straight to sleep. When we checked out the next day, it turned out the price for three nights wasn’t £295, as stated on Book­ing.com; as there were two peo­ple in the room, they charged me dou­ble. ‘You are not re­ally worth an ex­tra £100 a night,’ I told David; he thought I was jok­ing. The next day, I dropped him in Ex­eter so he could catch the train back to Lon­don. No sooner had I pulled away, than he was send­ing me texts, say­ing he was on the train, that it was ‘all fine his end’ and that I must text him when I get home safely. So why so mo­rose and silent when he is ac­tu­ally by my side? I puz­zled over this, then dis­missed the thought. I’d been en­chanted by Devon and started to think about mov­ing there. I got home eight hours later, went to bed and woke to a text from David, sent at 2am, full of plans and ex­cite­ment. I had told him of my new rule: I’m not go­ing to look at texts, emails or my phone on a Sun­day, so he’d writ­ten, ‘ You don’t have to read this till Mon­day!’ But I couldn’t help my­self. I replied: ‘That’s the most an­i­mated you’ve been in a week! Why were you so mono­syl­labic on our mini-break, so mis­er­able?’

‘Thanks,’ he replied. ‘I think you should stick to your rule of not us­ing your phone on Sun­days.’

I replied: ‘Oh, and you need to pay your half of the ho­tel, as they charged me dou­ble. You had a free meal at Moro. A free meal at Far­macy. A free meal at The Pig!’

‘Send me the de­tails and I will call them. I paid my way: din­ner at the Sad­dle Room, din­ner on our last night.’

‘Send you the de­tails? What am I, your PA? You stayed there! Find the de­tails your­self!’

So that was it. Our Devon mini-break ended in tears. My mum and dad never rowed over the bill. It wasn’t my fault, was it?

‘You need to pay your half of the ho­tel,’ I told him, ‘as they charged me dou­ble’

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