On Tuesday, just two days after my column about contacting the war reporter Hunk, who is now DIVORCED!, and him replying with a ‘Darling Girl’, was published, I received this from David. Please note, his previous missive had ended with the chilling, ‘Regards’.
‘I am going up to Scotland to visit Mum later this week. I am hoping it will be OK for me to pick up Prudence on my return journey, late next week, or maybe the weekend. Is any day more preferable to you, other than Friday, obviously? I don’t know how you would feel about this but would you like to have dinner with me that day? I would like that if you would.
I sent it to Nic, who replied, ‘Yeah. He’s s****ing himself about you getting in touch with the Hunk.’
The only thing in David’s favour is that he has managed to remember that my busiest day of the week is Friday, something my husband never mastered. I decided to ignore the invitation to dinner, just about stopped myself from writing, ‘Why, what’s changed?’, and sent this:
‘Hi. I almost brought her today as I am in London working but she was so cosy in her bed under the radiator I didn’t have the heart to uproot her again… Let me know when you are on the way south from Scotland. Any day except a Friday is fine.
I was indeed in London that day, but I’d had no intention of taking the cat. I will have to figure out an excuse as to why he’s not getting her back. If I go on the offensive now, he will just turn up, not only demanding where on earth she is (in a secret location, with Nic), but without giving me any notice.
Sometimes I think it would be easier to move house than to be permanently waxed, dyed and exfoliated. Take my teeth. I went to my dentist on Harley Street while in town, having to kill time before the off-peak train back up north, to discover during a routine check-up that my teeth are now ten years old and due to be upgraded, like a phone. Not my actual teeth, of course, but the veneers. I’d had them done after I moved into my lovely house in Islington, and felt I needed to smile more. Back then, the veneers cost £10,000. Today? £16,500. I can’t afford that! It’s insane!
I had some more bad news this week. I’d tried calling my sister in Australia for a year or so, to no avail. This is the sister who lost her son to leukaemia after a lifelong struggle a few years back, when he was just 21. Eventually, I managed to message her younger son, Tom, on Facebook, asking what on earth is going on. Tom, like his brother, went to film school. When Nick was sick, and making a documentary about dying, he was visited and mentored by Hugh Jackman, which goes to show that not all male movie stars are bad.
Tom replied with a long email, telling me that his mum has been in hospital for a year, has been told that she might well never walk again (is it arthritis, what? He didn’t say), is waiting for more surgery, which keeps being delayed, and that he is the only person who visits her: ‘For friends read: none.’ She is a technophobe (she doesn’t even wear glasses, despite being as blind as a bat), so has no mobile phone.
When Tom was in his teens he lost his brother. Now he is a carer. I can’t even bear to think about what my sister has lost. She tells Tom she would rather be dead than spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair. And I think I have problems. I really have to find a way to get to Sydney this year. Maybe I can combine it with meeting the Hunk in a hotel room on an atoll en route. But, with a hot date in the offing, I’d have to fly business, as in economy I tend to puff up. The fare is probably about three new teeth.