Tuesday, 28 July 2009

The MP

I almost didn’t go to the garden party.

I tried to persuade the rest of the family that I had a headache but they all saw through it.
"It’s called ‘shame’ and you brought it on yourself so come and get it over with" said Sasha, clearly with great sympathy for her dear mother.

So I did go and actually, it was fun! The weather was glorious and Mr Actor didn’t seem to be there when we arrived so I relaxed quite quickly and got into the spirit of it all. Literally actually, as one of the neighbours provided free champagne cocktails for the first part of the afternoon and it would have been rude to say no……

For some reason, our local MP was in attendance. Although he does live in the neighbourhood he isn't in the immediate area so technically he shouldn’t have been there at all but I think he came as Errol’s guest, who is lives down the road and is something big in Westminster.

Anyway, the MP is short, fat and bald but I think he thinks he’s a bit of a babe magnet! To his credit he came out well in the whole MP expenses furore recently. According to the rules, he could have claimed for a second home but he chose not to. That aside, there is something quite sleazy about him. Maybe though, that’s just a required trait for MPs these days, I don’t know.

I know this guy quite well as to be fair to him again, he does attend lots of local events and works hard for his constituents. I got to know him a few years ago at one of our aftershow parties when the singing group had put on a bit of an extravaganza. He was very complimentary, said I had the voice of an angel, blah, blah. He was very entertaining and got a bit of a crowd round him as he recounted stories of Life At Westminster. Over the years, I’ve seen him at other events and he often comes to see our shows and he always heads straight over to say hello.

And that was the case on Saturday. We chatted for a bit and I laughed at his stories and he told me he was writing a book and asked if when it was done I would look after the publicity and I told him I would and to get in touch nearer the time and then suddenly he said, and admittedly he had drank quite a few of those champagne things, that he had always liked me!!

He was talking very loudly and kept going on about being entranced by my "heavenly smile and my twinkling eyes" and did I know how "absolutely gorgeous" I was and the effect I had on him since the first time he laid eyes on me. And as he slurred on, I realised that actually he was in fact very drunk and there was no where for me to escape to and I didn’t really know what to say and of course, at that moment, Mr Actor had to walk by ! He looked over and I’m sure he was shaking his head in vague disgust and I wasn't even doing anything !!

Fortunately, Ewan came to rescue me and the MP then told him what a lucky man he was to wake up to this "vision of pure beauty" every morning and then, his wife came from nowhere, took him by the arm and dragged him off without a word.

At that point two of my friends, Beth and Lisa came rushing over to find out what he had said because they too had just had the same treatment. I couldn’t work out whether I was relieved or disappointed!!

So, the question is - should I call The News Of The World …… ??!!

Friday, 24 July 2009

Garden Party

This weekend, it is our neighbourhood garden party. Every year, our street and the two on either side of us all get together in the locked, private communal garden that we all have access to at the end of our road. It’s a bit like the one in the film "Notting Hill" and there’s something about it being there just for us which makes an annual party quite a natural thing to have.

See, now I’ve started thinking about Matt again at the mention of "Notting Hill". He once told me that when he had watched it late one night, he was struck by how Elvis Costello’s "She" seemed to sum up how he felt about me and the next day he emailed me the lyrics that had struck him the most:

Who always seems so happy in a crowd
Whose eyes can be so private and so proud
No one's allowed to see them when they cry

May be the love that cannot hope to last
May come to me from shadows of the past
That I'll remember till the day I die

I'll take her laughter and her tears
And make them all my souvenirs
For where she goes I've got to be
The meaning of my life is

I remember my heart jumping when he sent me that email. Stupid git! He’s clearly not thinking that about me now, given that I haven’t heard from him since I sent that email ending things. That’s good and that’s right but it doesn’t mean I’m finding it easy. No, I need to put him out of my mind – I don’t want to start dwelling on him again.

So, back to the party. It really is a lovely way to catch up with everyone and meet new people who have moved in over the year. Everyone brings food and drink and there’s lots of local talent. We have a couple of bands and Sasha and myself even did a set one year. Plus there’s a stiltwaker, magician, juggler and face painter that entertains the kids which makes it a great family event and we’re usually blessed with great weather. The fact that most people pitch up each year show that it is a good event.

The thing is……last year I embarrassed myself a little!

You see, we have an actor who lives at the end of our road – just opposite the gardens in fact. He’s not a famous name, more a "I know the face" and he often plays corrupt police chiefs or the criminal Mr. Big. He’s got that kind of hangdog face that seems to work very well in those roles.

Anyway, I’ve always been most fascinated by him - I’ve got a real thing for actors – but he’s hardly acknowledged my existence even though our daughters go to the same school. Over the years, I’ve had the odd nod from him and very occasionally a smile and once he did actually say hello, I think. And I always giggle and generally go a bit silly so he passes by pretty quickly. I have to say that in the workplace I am not at all fazed by celebrity and never behave like this so I don’t know why I have never been able to string two words together in his company. Ewan thinks he’s a miserable sod who’s not worth the time of day and Sasha hates his daughter and so can’t understand why I’m so besotted with him and Kyle just thinks I’m weird, but then, he does anyway.

So, last year !

It was one of the only sunny days we had and so it’s fair to say that along with the sunbathing, a fair amount of Pimms had been consumed beforehand. I was probably already a bit merry by the time we arrived at the gardens! A little alcohol helps me lose my inhibitions and whereas some people don't like that, I don't mind giving up a certain level of self control.

Still more alcohol was then downed as I flitted from neighbour to neighbour chatting and laughing. And then, while I was with old Mr Evans from down the road who used to be a film cameraman in the old days and was regaling me with tales of how he used to regularly beat Omar Shariff at cards and what they used to get up to, The Actor joined us. I couldn’t believe it! And we all had a laugh and he seemed generally entertained by me and it was all going so well. And then we all wandered over to the drinks table with me now assured of my place as his "friend" until obviously, I ruined it all!

It wasn’t my fault! I reached for the red wine but somehow I missed, and knocked the bottle over and then watched in horror as a big crimson patch crept over the crotch of his cream chinos. And yes, I did that thing of trying to mop it up while he desperately tried to fend me off and away from his private area! It was awful. I couldn’t apologise enough but he stalked off back to his house as Mr Evans roared with laughter and I was as red as that spilt wine.

I haven’t even had a smile from him whenever I’ve seen him since. He hates me and now I’ve got to face him again tomorrow!

Needless to say, I won’t be drinking !!

Friday, 17 July 2009

A Day In The Life

As soon as my radio alarm goes off, I wake up quickly to turn it off. It used to take three hits of the snooze button when the radio was set to the mellifluous tones of John Humphreys on the Today programme but somehow, the dial found its way to some ghastly local radio station with a presenter who has the most awful voice and talks utter tripe and so I’m up as soon as possible to stop his dreadful diatribe.

I usually then pad down to the kitchen to make that all-important first cup of coffee for my husband and myself and after I’ve taken him his, I head onto the patio with mine and have five minutes or so in the fresh air. I do that throughout the year unless it’s raining and then I just look out at our garden through the window. I love it – it makes me feel peaceful and helps me set out my thoughts for the day ahead.

That luxury means that I then rush around getting ready, either while listening to Today or half-watching Breakfast TV just so that I know what’s happening in the world and can talk semi-intelligently on current affairs if the need arises. There’s usually some shouting involved as the kids take their time and husband chooses to enter the shower just as I am about to but eventually we’re all ready.

I can’t face breakfast so the husband sorts out something for him and the kids and then, one by one, we all set off for where we need to be.

Sometimes, I work from home or sometimes I head straight to an event or to a meeting with a client but mostly, I go to the office. I work in senior management for a major PR company and we can be involved in anything from small news conferences to major celebrity galas. It’s challenging work that’s always different and I get to meet a lot of interesting people. My day can be spent with clients or planning events or attending functions and it can be long. When I get in, my assistant usually gives me a wad of messages which is the first thing I get on with. Then, I find out where we are with the various projects we are working on, ready for a daily meeting we have around mid-morning when the teams report on their progress and where we allocate any new jobs that have come in. They’re a good bunch of people and there’s a lot of laughter. I don’t think I would have stayed there so long if that hadn’t been the case.

I’ll usually be besieged by runners through the day who keep plying me with coffee and the occasional muffin and/or cake. It’s most tiresome! If I’m not meeting a client for lunch, they’ll usually get me a sandwich or a salad which I’ll have at the desk although if it’s a nice day, I’ll sit in the park or take a walk by the river.

We’ve been encouraged to twitter by the big bosses but personally, it’s not for me. There are enough young things in the office who do it and use it for following stories but it’s a step too far for me. I do keep a personal blog which is as basic as it could possibly be, which just records what is happening in my life - no pictures, no gizmos, just words and they have proved to be most therapeutic. I tend to write that at home but I have been known to do it at work when it is quiet and I will often deal with personal emails there too, if I have the time.

If we have no evening functions, I try to leave work as early as possible so that I can spend time with the family who are often neglected when work is busy. My mother lives with us (she moved in after my father died ten years ago) and usually has a meal on the table for when we get back, which we sit down together to enjoy. That is a real luxury that I know I’m blessed to have. It’s so special to spend proper time together talking about our day. I have a teenage daughter and son who are both doing well in their respective schools and of who we are very proud.

The evenings for me are usually spent catching up with household chores and making sure the kids have what they need for the next day and then I’ll flop down in front of the TV with my husband. Often, he’ll wake me up as I’ll have fallen asleep on his shoulder, dribbling usually! Then, it’s up to bed where I’ll try to read for a bit but usually don’t make it through more than a couple of chapters before I’m asleep again.

My husband likes to sleep with his arms around me and that’s a nice way for me to drift off away from the world into the black comfort of sleep. Usually I sleep very well, very deeply. Sometimes though, I talk in my sleep and have often woken up to find him asking me questions! Going back to sleep takes a while then as I stress about all the things I might have just given away ……!

Wednesday, 8 July 2009


A few weeks ago one of the Sunday supplements featured quite a famous actress on their "A Day In The Life" page. I read it with interest because effectively .... I wrote it !

She had agreed with her agent that she would make herself available for the interview but when the magazine called her she couldn't face talking "so early in the morning" (I think it was about ten!) so she asked if they could send her the questions and she would then put something together and email it back to them. I think that's probably fairly standard practise as they didn't argue with her. Mind you, they wouldn't, as she can be quite formidable!

Anyway, she then rang me out of the blue and asked if I would "come round, dahling, because I'm sure you can help me with this wretched thing" ! I was quite surprised as even though I have met her on a number of occasions at various events where she always tells me she thinks I am "delightful company" and even though she has invited me to a couple of her soirees, and even though she has my number, she doesn't usually call me up.

Nevertheless, I went round and she was very entertaining. We sat in her beautiful country garden on the patio and I went through the list with her, writing down what she said and we came up with her "day" which I then typed out and emailed back to the magazine. She was most grateful but I still don't really know why she picked me to help her out. I was very flattered though and we then had a lovely afternoon. She told me about her colourful life including a few revelations about her relationship with her late husband and she also told me about a few issues that had been bothering her recently.

I'm always amazed that people choose to open up to me and I don’t know why. Maybe it's because I listen well. I think after talking to me, people feel their problems are more manageable even though I hardly say anything. I just offer lots of sympathy and some two-penny advice. At the end of the day, people just want someone to listen. I know I do .....but there isn't anyone.

Anyway, she sent me flowers the next day with a message telling me again how "delightful" I was and how we must get together soon. Needless to say I haven't heard from her since but it doesn't matter - I think she's fab.

I found the list of questions at the bottom of my bag this morning:

- when and how do you wake up
- what's the first thing you see when you draw the curtains
- what do you have for breakfast
- what do you usually do in the morning
- explain what job you have and the work you do through the day
- what do you do at lunchtime
- do you answer fan mail or personal emails or keep a diary or a blog or are you on any networking sites and do you twitter
- when do you see family
- does music feature in any part of your day
- what do you do for dinner
- how do you spend a typical evening
- do you have any hobbies that take time in your day, gardening, reading, etc
- when do you go to bed
- what are usually your last thoughts
- do you sleep well

I think I might do this myself .....

Tuesday, 7 July 2009


I'm watching the Michael Jackson memorial and sitting here blubbing away.

Not because I was a great fan and not because I'm moved by the service but because Jermaine Jackson just sang Smile and given how I have felt since I sent that email to Matt, it seemed as if he was singing it just for me:

Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it's breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll see the sun come shining through for you

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile.

I'll smile again tomorrow but tonight, I just want to keep on crying.

Monday, 6 July 2009

The Email

I have spent too long allowing Matt to affect how I feel. I notice that I tend to ruminate a lot on how depressed he has made me feel recently and I obsess a lot on the meaning of everything that has been said between us. I really need to direct my focus back to other things so I came to a decision this weekend. That I would come into work today and finish things. However, rather than call him, I took the coward's way and sent him this email:

Dear Matt,

Hope you're OK.

I'm guessing you're "grumpy" with me again. I suppose that's fair enough, but having given it some thought this weekend, it's not a situation I want to do anything about. In fact, I gave you the opportunity to bail out when we last talked about this but you chose not to for some reason - I wish you had.

You know, you've been a bit like a drug for me. I sort of wanted to stop this almost as soon as it began, but even though I tried, I wasn't able to! Suddenly though, and I know you feel the same, it's kind of wearing off and the answer is clearly just to end it now, once and for all. I suppose you have in effect anyway, haven't you, given that communication has been pretty non-existent lately. I'm not aware that I've ever been rude or unpleasant to you but your manner with me has felt a bit offhand lately to say the least.

I could allow you to go silent on me and just let it fade away but I didn't want to leave it with nothing meaningful said. The counsellor in me needs closure !!

And all I really wanted to say was..... thank you for the last few months. Your interest came as a complete surprise and made me feel fabulous for a while. You gave me a much needed boost to my self-confidence. I've lost two stone and I'm loving everyone telling me that I look great !! I do feel good now - alive again and ready to focus on other things in my life.

I know, if you're honest with yourself, that you agree with me. This was meant to be fun but it was only ever going to have a limited shelf life and now its draining for both of us - well it is for me, anyway. It really is best for us both to draw a defined line under this and get on. I'll always think fondly of you, Matt, regardless of what you think of me.

I guess that's it. God, I feel like I've just written War and Peace! If you ever need a friend to talk to I'll always be around, but for now I think it's best that we put a bit of distance between us...as you have started to do anyway.

Take care,


I felt so relieved after I sent it. About half an hour later, I got this reply:

I just got your email. It came as a shock but I can't and won't argue with anything you say.
You are so awesome. I haven't even scratched the surface of the person you are. I've never felt about anyone the way I feel about you and it won't be easy getting over this but maybe it's better than being "grumpy" all the time because I can't have the relationship I want with you.
Don't be angry with me. I've acted like an arse, I admit it.
I'll miss you.

I'm confused again now ......

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Here We Go Again

Matt is being grumpy and uncommunicative again. I know it's because I haven't seen him in a while but this is becoming a bit of a pattern.

It's ridiculous trying to talk to him when he's like this. He either grunts one word answers or takes issue with anything I say. For example, we were talking about Michael Jackson the other day, and I said I thought there had been a bit too much news coverage although it was probably warranted as he was known across the generations. I grew up with his music and my kids have always thought he was great and my mother loved his early stuff but went off him when he went "strange". In response, he said he never rated him and in fact, he was glad that the weirdo was dead and gone.

I was shocked by that, I have to admit. I said it wasn't a very nice thing to say and he sulkily said that it was his opinion and he didn't care what I thought. I realised then that there was no point continuing the conversation. We haven't spoken much since, apart from when he called to ask me to go round and I said I couldn't. That led to an abrupt end of the conversation!

It's very tiring and I just don't have the energy to plead with him to be nice or let him know that I'm affected by his behaviour, which I'm trying hard not to be.

I don't want to be made to feel guilty by him when I'm managing that emotion very well on my own. Anyway, I'm irritated now. I know I always say it but I do want to finish this. I'll see how it goes over the next few days.

In a way, I hope he carries on like this so that I can end it easily once and for all.