LIZ JONES’S DIARY: The dreaded Devon wedding, part 2
He’d crossed out ‘David’ on the place card and written his name
It wasn’t my best couple of days. Having had my face-lift outed over pre-wedding drinks at the Saunton Sands Wellness Spa, I got back to my little hotel on Friday night to find a piece of paper on the floor of my room. What would I like to pre-order for breakfast the next day?
How do I know what I want to eat the next day? I’m on a mini-break; I don’t want to fill in forms and tick boxes! It is a hotel. I will see how the mood takes me. Isn’t this the whole point of hotels? How hard is it to rustle up some porridge for breakfast?
I rang reception. Never a good idea.
‘Well, it just makes it easier for us,’ the woman said.
‘What are you running? Fawlty Towers? Can you at least bring me a cafetiere of coffee at 9am?’ I reckoned that since I was going to be wearing Hervé Léger (the famous ‘bandage’ dress; ironic, as if you can fit inside one of these babies, you’ll never need plastic surgery), breakfast wasn’t a good idea anyway.
‘There is coffee in your room.’
‘I’ve not drunk instant coffee since 1972. And even then, it was under duress.’
The wedding itself – after I’d showered in the tiny plastic shower, using dolly-sized Imperial Leather (why is no one in my life ever generous?) – was fine. The church was lovely. Everyone was really friendly, though I can’t help wondering why women carry their work bags (scuffed, far too big) at a wedding, but then I think I’ve probably spent too many years at the coalface of high-end fashion.
I didn’t dare ask if the champagne was vegan, as I was worried I’d be lynched. At the reception I discovered that I was sitting next to Mildly Famous Man – who I’d met at the drinks party the night before. I think he might have done some discreet swapping of place cards. Then I noticed he’d simply crossed out the word ‘David’ on the card next to me, and written his name and a smiley face.
‘You look tearful,’ he said.
‘Yes, well. Being in the West Country – it’s full of pagans, seriously – reminds me where it all went wrong,’ I told him. ‘Flashbacks.’ I was emboldened by the champagne, on top of the lack of porridge. The vegan wedding breakfast option turned out to be a stack of aubergines.
So I told him what happened when my life fell apart. (It’s too long to go into here, sorry.) ‘That’s terrible,’ he said. ‘Has David helped you?’ ‘Well, he refuses to do up his flat, or clean it, or buy lightbulbs, so I can’t stay there. I was given notice from my London flat; moving out cost me a fortune. My laptop broke; I might have spilled crémant on it. David ruined our mini-break in the New Forest, and he still hasn’t paid me back.’
‘I read about that,’ he said.
I think I actually crashed my forehead on to the lovely white linen tablecloth, making a smudge, like a moth. I hate people knowing everything about me. It’s like being in Sainsbury’s in a thong and really bad lighting. Seriously, I am more exposed than any of the young women on Love Island.
‘Why are you still in contact with him? Why do you put up with it?’
I replied that I fell in love with him at first sight, and I am still hoping he will come good. That I don’t want the drama to end.
We had to stop talking for the speeches. I was reminded of a wedding I went to with my then husband Nirpal. The groom had handmade a book of poems about his love for his bride, which he then proceeded to read out loud to her and us. I’d turned to Nirpal and hissed crossly, ‘Why didn’t you do that for me when we got married?’
And he’d replied, ‘Think yourself lucky. The groom has had sex with other men.’
So no one’s life is perfect, even if it looks that way from the outside.