‘Time spent with peo­ple is the best gift’

Liza Tar­buck talks to Prima about lov­ing her time of life, mak­ing her co­me­dian dad Jimmy laugh and be­ing dis­tracted by every­thing

Prima (UK) - - Welcome -

Ac­tress Liza Tar­buck counts her lucky Christ­mas stars

Ra­dio and TV per­son­al­ity Liza, 52, lives in north Lon­don. Her book, I An

Dis­tracted By Every­thing (Michael Joseph, £16.99), is out now.

Sim­ple plea­sures

I’m a vis­ual per­son, so when I started my book, it was very im­por­tant that it looked good. I was a His­tory of Art stu­dent, my taste is very broad and while I al­ways wanted to go to art school to ex­per­i­ment with every­thing, my sis­ter went to Chelsea, so I thought I’d best do some­thing else! I paint and draw all the time. The book has al­lowed me to come clean! I An Dis­tracted By Every­thing

is es­sen­tially the book I wanted to have – but which didn’t ex­ist. It’s a sort of an­nual for adults, for want of a bet­ter de­scrip­tion. It’s been com­pletely ab­sorb­ing putting it to­gether. I want it to be a good com­pan­ion, some­thing to amuse that you can keep com­ing back to.

One of my great plea­sures in life is to come up with ways of get­ting sto­ries out of my dad. I’ll de­scribe a sce­nario, tell him what car he is driv­ing, for ex­am­ple – he loves cars – and sug­gest who we bump into and he has to take it from there – and he’s off, telling a story. We’ve had some laughs re­mem­ber­ing things, but ac­tu­ally, there’s a new story al­most ev­ery day with my fam­ily. We’re a chatty gang.

We’re close as a fam­ily and al­ways have been. I’m not sure if it’s be­cause of hav­ing to share our dad be­cause of his job, but we do trea­sure get­ting to­gether. I go home a lot. Dad would love all of us to be there all of the time – Mum, too, but with caveats, ha ha! Dad’ll get us all there and then go and watch sport, just sit­ting there ear­wig­ging us all, and chip­ping in.

I love watch­ing Mum and Dad with each other. Mum laugh­ing at some­thing Dad has just said, or rais­ing a know­ing eye­brow. The rou­tine at home is deeply com­fort­ing. She and I love Face­time, even if it’s just to do the crossword to­gether. As a fam­ily, we moved into the house when I was four and I’m very lucky that I’ve still got that, that they’re still in the home we all grew up in. There’s a lot of suc­cour to be gained from that; it makes you feel very teth­ered. I’m the mid­dle child.

It’s quite a defin­ing char­ac­ter­is­tic, and when I look at my arse­nal of charms, I re­alise I’ve learned quite a lot from be­ing in that po­si­tion! Mid­dle chil­dren take a nat­u­ral role of be­ing the bridge, and an oc­ca­sional me­di­a­tor. It’s a use­ful qual­ity for life.

Christ­mas time

A few years ago, I went off to In­dia for Christ­mas with my ‘hus­bands’. They’re two of my old­est and best friends who are mar­ried to each other – and I’m their best man! They are ba­si­cally an­other part of my fam­ily.

I con­fess that I ab­so­lutely loved spend­ing Christ­mas sit­ting in a ham­mock look­ing at the Bay of Ben­gal! I thor­oughly en­joyed be­ing away. We were there for five weeks and it was an amaz­ing trip. We trav­elled round a lot. We were fools in love with In­dia. It war­ranted miss­ing a fam­ily Christ­mas.

Usu­ally, Christ­mas is at Tarby Tow­ers. We have open-house drinks in the morn­ing, with friends and neigh­bours. My sis­ter and brother have five kids be­tween them, rang­ing from five to mid-twenties. There are 13 of us when we sit down, plus any strays who get in­vited in.

When it comes to presents, giv­ing is the best bit. It’s hard buy­ing for peo­ple who al­ready have most of the stuff that they want. As sin­gle woman, I try to

go in for tick­ets for some­thing, or a mem­ber­ship. Buy­ing rub­bish an­noys me. It’s time spent with peo­ple that’s most im­por­tant. The best thing any­one can ever give me is a book.

I’m quite a good aun­tie and god­mother – firm but fair, with a bit of non­sense ev­ery so of­ten, and I’m good for

the odd ten­ner. My el­dest nephew knows how to charm me and will barter his skills. He comes and cleans my win­dows or saves me from dull jobs for a bit of re­mu­ner­a­tion!

Love & loss

My res­cue dog Wilf died

last year. He was 16 and had the life of Ri­ley. If I went away, I checked him into the Paw Sea­sons doggy ho­tel, or Mum and Dad had him with them. He was a very spe­cial dog and I felt his loss keenly. I re­ally miss our walks and the clar­ity that walk­ing him brought me.

I love books. I love Robin Hobb at the mo­ment. She’s slightly fan­tas­ti­cal, but she has a great way with words. One of her trilo­gies is so in­ter­twined with an­i­mals that it be­came my com­pan­ion when Wilf died. I found a lot of so­lace in her books.

Love and loss are bed­fel­lows, and un­der­stand­ing that con­trast is

an im­por­tant part of our lives. My ap­proach is to dwell on the pos­i­tives, en­joy as much as you can, and con­sider the things that you don’t. At the very least, it gives you the fo­cus to change.

My age and stage

Fifty is just an­other num­ber re­ally. I can never re­mem­ber my ex­act age be­cause the sea­sons have a ten­dency to whip by, but I love be­ing me now. I know who I am. One of the best things is the long-awaited recog­ni­tion of what women bring to the party.

I’m at a good place in my life.

I’m not mar­ried and I don’t have

a part­ner. When you’ve lived on your own for a long time, you get used to hav­ing a pleas­ant rou­tine. It doesn’t mean I don’t want that bro­ken. I en­joy male com­pany. I’ve got some crack­ing guys who look after me and I thrive on that, but it would be gor­geous to have one fab­u­lous fella to go out of my way to de­light.

There are lots of good things about

the menopause. Be­yond the nut­ti­ness that hap­pens ini­tially when your hor­mones are let­ting off like fire­works and sur­pris­ing you with their colours, you have to take a much greater in­ter­est in your health, which is a very good thing. You start to re-eval­u­ate every­thing from your point of view, be­come much more hon­est with your­self and slough off things that bring un­nec­es­sary drama.

Pass over the other side of that moun­tain and it’s lush, filled with fab­u­lous

new things. I have never felt so right in my life. Although I’m much less likely to mince my words.

I’m not try­ing to be rude, merely mov­ing the ac­tion on to get to the next good bit. When it comes to work, I’ve al­ways done the things that I want to do. I know my­self, I have an acute bore­dom thresh­old, so I need to fully in­vest in any job I do or I won’t en­joy it. That was an ac­tive choice back in my twenties: make hay when the sun shines, earn a few quid, and then when things come up that you’re not con­vinced by, you can say no… I say no a lot.

I love do­ing my ra­dio show. I want to be the best com­pany I can be, find that pool where we all feel part of the same tribe, with no anx­i­eties or overt judge­ments. Mu­sic is an im­por­tant part of that for me, and I spend hours work­ing out the playlists. I couldn't live with­out it.

My hob­bies in­clude trav­el­ling and art, be­ing quiet be­cause I talk too much, mak­ing things, mu­sic as­sem­bly, say­ing thank you, be­ing cu­ri­ous and vis­it­ing mates. Noth­ing is as fan­tas­tic as a day trip with a mate bun­dled in the car. Won­der­ful things get said when you’re one to one.

‘Noth­ing is as fan­tas­tic as a day trip with a mate bun­dled in the car’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.