The Mail on Sunday - You - - Editor's Letter -

Not my best week. Se­ri­ously. What’s go­ing on? I was re­ally ner­vous on Mon­day. I just had a bad feel­ing in my gut. I had the same but­ter­flies when I was hand-graz­ing my res­cue race­horse Lizzie for the last time, when I had to fly to Canada for work. She had to be put down while I was away. I re­mem­ber learn­ing the fly­ing trapeze with Cirque du Soleil, wa­ter flow­ing out of my eyes and run­ning down my face. They thought I was afraid of heights. Nic thinks I’m in­tu­itive. One plus point, I sup­pose. I have one skill.

I’d been full of hope only last week. I’d had the dark sun dam­age on my skin lasered. I’d been to the den­tist. I’d had a patch test at the Ur­ban Re­treat. I felt ‘on the cusp’. This is go­ing to be my year. Yay!

And then, on Mon­day af­ter­noon, I re­ceived an email telling me I hadn’t got the TV se­ries I’d gone up for. I could hardly be­lieve it. I was per­fect for it! I was so up­set and an­gry and thwarted, I emailed the lit­er­ary agent I’d sent my novel to, way back last au­tumn. I had yet to hear his ver­dict, so I told him that, as a writer, it’s good to get feed­back: a ‘thank you for your man­u­script, safely re­ceived’, pos­si­bly fol­lowed a few weeks later by, ‘Hmm, I think it needs more this or that,’ or even a, ‘No. Go away. I hear Lidl is re­cruit­ing.’ Any­thing is bet­ter than a deaf­en­ing si­lence.

In re­sponse to my chas­ing email, I re­ceived this, by re­turn: ‘Apolo­gies. I didn’t think I was your agent; I thought I was just help­ing out and you were send­ing me ideas sort of FYI.’

Who sends, with great fear and trep­i­da­tion, a novel to an agent as an FYI? Does he re­alise how many hours a day it ac­tu­ally takes to write a novel? What’s wrong with all these dys­func­tional men? How do they get to be in po­si­tions of power over us?

I for­warded his email to Nic. ‘Seems to me he doesn’t like be­ing told off.’ Yup. Hit the rusty old nail on the head. But I’m start­ing to think I’ve been black­listed. And then, to cap it all, I got an email from David. Oh dear God, what now? More doooom?!

‘Hi. Sorry to read of your visit to an ear, nose and throat sur­geon. I hope it is noth­ing se­ri­ous and you are well. X’

So, he’s still stalk­ing me by read­ing this mag­a­zine. I replied, ‘No, I’m fine. I’m get­ting a hear­ing aid. The sur­geon said he has no idea how I have been able to func­tion. Should im­prove my life be­yond mea­sure.’

He replied: ‘That’s bril­liant news. Al­though it will be a shame that no one will have to shout some­thing dirty to you ever again. X’

You see. He’s mak­ing it sex­ual. His email is loaded with in­nu­endo. His email, and his con­cern, is all about him. Ping! An­other, say­ing he misses my dogs. ‘You’ve got your cat,’ I told him. I’m too busy for a boyfriend. Sex is just one more item on my to-do list. I doubt I will ever do it again.

But talk­ing of dogs, my big news is that, just over a year since los­ing Sam, I have an­other bor­der col­lie. Her name is Missy. She was found aban­doned on a farm in Ire­land as a puppy, and has lived for the past three years in an out­side ken­nel just off the M25. I saw her on the Wild at Heart Foun­da­tion web­site. While some women do Tin­der, I do an­i­mal res­cue sites. I swiped and went to fetch her, sight un­seen.

She’s even more mini than Mini, with anx­ious, bul­bous eyes. I’ve had her a few weeks now and she has yet to bark or wag her tail; oc­ca­sion­ally, when faced with Lily’s Kitchen dog food, her tail goes up and down, like a pump. She keeps star­ing at Mini, who is very jeal­ous, will­ing her to love her. She’s as good as gold – most res­cues are quiet, very licky and ea­ger to please at first to avoid be­ing re­homed; a bit like a man on those first few dates – apart from at 6am, when she starts can­ter­ing round my bed, her lit­tle black and white pointy face ap­pear­ing mo­men­tar­ily, for all the world as though she’s on a tram­po­line. David never did that.


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