Bry­ony’s get­ting wor­ried and Jane goes on a first date

The Sunday Telegraph - Stella - - CONTENTS -

Bry­ony Gor­don 38 Mar­ried to a very pa­tient hus­band Harry, and mother to Edie, five

Some­thing strange is hap­pen­ing. Not with the guinea pigs, though Harry and I are con­vinced they are plot­ting to over­throw us and lock us in their hutch. Not with my con­tin­ued com­mit­ment to cook­ing, though the fact I now cook five nights a week must have caused De­liv­eroo’s prof­its to plum­met. And not with Mum’s breath­less ac­counts of dates in cof­fee shops, as if she were a mil­len­nial liv­ing in east Lon­don and not a grand­mother in a Home County. No, the strange thing that is hap­pen­ing is some­thing that is not ac­tu­ally hap­pen­ing. Be­cause even though we are now well into De­cem­ber, Mum has not once men­tioned what we are do­ing for Christ­mas.

My mum loves Christ­mas. She is ob­sessed with or­gan­is­ing ev­ery last mo­ment of it, then cries un­der the stairs if the slight­est thing goes wrong (to wit: the in­fa­mous Christ­mas of 2015 when the power went and she dropped the tur­key on the kitchen floor, then Ru­fus ac­ci­den­tally up­ended the tres­tle ta­ble and with it all the posh red wine Dad had pro­vided). She takes it badly when­ever it is our turn to spend Christ­mas with Harry’s fam­ily, as if this was a per­sonal at­tack and not a nor­mal obli­ga­tion. (To be fair to Mum, she never had to go to her in-laws be­cause they didn’t cel­e­brate Christ­mas – and also be­cause they re­fused to talk to her for sev­eral years be­cause of re­li­gious dif­fer­ences. But that’s an­other col­umn en­tirely. In fact, that’s about 20 columns.)

I di­gress. My concern is that Mum seems to have for­got­ten Christ­mas. It’s as if she’s got fed up with hav­ing to do ev­ery­thing and so has de­cided to give the sub­ject the silent treat­ment in the hope that some­one else will take charge. But ev­ery time I call my sib­lings or my fa­ther, they fail to men­tion it too. Which means one of two things: they’re hop­ing I will take charge; or they’ve got some­thing planned and are hop­ing

I won’t be in­volved at all.

Jane Gor­don Age un­known Mother, grand­mother and 24/7 child­min­der

What on earth am I do­ing, I think to my­self as I sit down next to a strange man on a plump sofa in the lat­est cof­fee house to open in my na­tive town. Why, oh why, have I al­lowed my­self to go along with an­other one of my BFF Belle’s cun­ning (but kind) plans to find me ‘a po­ten­tial part­ner’?

The dif­fer­ence this time, though, is that I am not fac­ing this date-with-des­tiny alone be­cause sit­ting op­po­site me on an­other plump sofa in the part of the café that looks like a soft-fur­nish­ing show­room are Belle her­self and two other members of our book club.

To be fair to my BFF, it wasn’t her idea to have a group date, it was the brain­wave of Lucy (aka Back­pack­ing Granny), who sug­gested I might need backup when I met Ni­cholas, a re­tired 60-some­thing wid­ower Belle had found on­line.

The plan was hatched last week at a hi­lar­i­ous sup­per and, fu­elled by al­co­hol, I agreed. But now we are all here – Lucy mov­ing over to sit on the other side of Ni­cholas – I wish I wasn’t. Be­cause even with the sup­port of my book club (most of whom are hap­pily mar­ried), I am in­ca­pable of en­gag­ing in the flir­ta­tious chat­ter that is called for in these cir­cum­stances. Mean­while Lucy, mar­ried and di­vorced four times but cur­rently sin­gle, is of­fer­ing me a master­class in how to charm a mem­ber of the op­po­site sex. While

I sit with my arms crossed tightly in front of me, she has thrown one long leg tan­ta­lis­ingly over the other and is laugh­ing at ev­ery­thing Ni­cholas says. With Belle too at her mag­netic best (in a fetch­ingly fes­tive bright-red out­fit), it’s not sur­pris­ing that Ni­cholas looks as if his Christ­mas has come a cou­ple of weeks early.

In fact, I am not sure any of them no­tice when, on the pre­text of go­ing to the loo, I in­stead leave the build­ing. Half an hour later I get a What­sApp message from Belle telling me that ‘lovely’ Ni­cholas is join­ing our book club ‘so you will HAVE to see him again’. Will she never give up?

Mum takes it badly when­ever it is our turn to spend Christ­mas with Harry’s fam­ily

Iam in­ca­pable of en­gag­ing in the flir­ta­tious chat­ter that is called for

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.