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LIZ JONES’S DIARY: In which a new chapter gets closer… and I cannot wait to turn the key in the lock


I have a friend* who, for the past 15 years, has sent me a Christmas card that says, without fail, ‘Next year will be YOUR YEAR!’

And it never has been. Not once. Family feuds, bankruptcy (not unrelated), a stalker, being sacked, three times!, the death of so many pets, my mum, three siblings. And, of course, losing my home. 

The grief I’ve experienced since losing my beautiful house, with its lawn stretching down to the river teeming with herons and kingfishers, has been as grave as any death.

I’ve always been a homebody. Sent on dangerous assignments (OK, I’m not Lee Miller, but it hasn’t all been talking to John Travolta at post-Oscar parties, sitting in Bruce Willis’s bath or dancing with Madonna in Paris), the thought I had a safe place to return to kept me sane. 

I grew up in a rented house, and I think that scarred me, even more deeply than my ill-advised breast reduction (I watched with horror the actor Liv Hewson on the Emmys red carpet last week. Liv has had ‘top’ surgery, which involves having the flesh removed from your breasts. I was influenced by Vogue and Elle to ‘top’ myself; seems young women these days still hate their bodies, the only difference is that they have been brainwashed in a different way).

Renting, as I have been doing for eight years, makes you feel as though you’re a member of the underclass. Such as the fact my disabled mum wasn’t given permission to install an accessible bath or shower, which meant that for decades her only recourse was a flannel. 

An elderly friend** said, the other day, when I mentioned children playing in her road, ‘Oh, that family are renters. The children are feral. Awful people.’

For the past eight years, I’ve been glued to programmes such as Selling Sunset and the Parisian Agency, torturing myself, thinking, ‘How on earth can they afford it?!’ The rich women are routinely ghastly, wanting to fill in the infinity pool to encourage teenagers to ‘read more’. 

Or the bottle blonde who snaps, ‘I didn’t come to St Tropez to look at a wall.’ Oh, and the footballer’s wife, of an £18 million London house: ‘It’s kind of dark.’ And, ‘The ceilings remind me of a hotel.’ 

If she’s so fussy, why does she own two ghastly leather chesterfields? Her goalie husband owns 300 pairs of sneakers. That’s a divorce right there. I admit, I used to be spoilt.

I once bought a ‘moustache’ French club chair from Nicole Farhi for £4,000. I would get annoyed if my Bang & Olufsen phones had the wrong room on the display.

I’m wondering if 15 years of hardship has changed me.  I’m much more grateful for any small comfort, such as socks without holes. I’m aghast that I once paid for a BMW on my debit card: £26,000. I took my sister and her son on a 25 grand holiday in Africa.

I would never do any of those things today. I don’t want to be the woman who says the kitchen is too narrow in somewhere that was once the home of E H Shepard. 

I’m too nervous to buy 12 rolls of Andrex instead of four. I received numerous angry emails from readers when I wrote that I hate people who do a weekly shop. Thing is, I’ve been too scared to plan for food tomorrow, let alone in six days’ time. So, I’ve learnt never, ever to allow anyone to treat me like a cash machine.

And do you know what? On Friday I exchanged contracts on my dream house: a beautiful vicarage with a stone staircase (I’m obsessed with them). It wasn’t a miracle, as it has taken blood, sweat, copious tears and the tireless efforts of a broker called Matthew, who refused to give up (matt@mnassociates.net: he really is a hero).

I am scared, of course. Have I made yet another mistake? I take possession of the keys soon. It’s a new chapter. A fresh start.

I cannot wait to turn the key in the lock. Will I, for the first time in a decade and a half, be truly happy? Or will I pick holes and pine for someone to share it with?

*And you thought I don’t have any.

**I have two!

Jones Moans… What Liz loathes this week 

  • Graters. How, when Nigella zests a lemon, does she manage to get it all to go in the pot? When I do it, the zest remains stuck in the grater while my nails become shorter.
  • Why is the hair on my head now silver, the hair on my chin jet black?
  • Ebay.

Conact Liz at lizjonesgoddess.com and stalk her @lizjonesgoddess



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