My heightened state of anxiety these days, though, I am going to put down to a whole new phobia – Googleaphobia. Because no matter what happens to me, my friends, or in the world at large, I am onto Google to investigate further, and now I live in fear of what I am going to find there.
On my first day in the small village school (we had moved from Newport for my father’s job), Mum sent me off in a psychedelic crimplene mini dress and a cow bell round my neck. She was a Sixties mother. Alas, Coity had barely caught up with the end of the Second World War. Actually, make that the Wars of the Roses.
Our favorite was Steph’s, in Dean Street, run by the very flamboyant Steph. I was also a member of the Groucho Club, a few doors down, and we would retire there for early evening drinks when we had exhausted all conversation with whomever we descended upon at Steph’s (we once enjoyed a very jolly five-hour lunch with Tony Blackburn).
I thought with Covid we might see a return to the traditional dinner party, albeit with only the people in whose bubble you were allowed to be, but there’s been none of it. Even when the weather turned cold and outdoor dining was the only option, people preferred to don gloves and scarves and watch their hands sticking like Super Glue to a cold champagne glass rather than eat at home.
This was not the body that lifted me up to Georgie in his budgerigar’s cage, saying “Night, night, Georgie;” nor the hands that held my clammy forehead over the toilet bowl when I was sick. Dad was slipping away to a place he had not yet been, and I was helpless to pull him back.
Sex is difficult enough to negotiate, both emotionally and physically (not to mention the post-coital laundry), without having to bring sums into the equation.
Having bought it for such a ridiculous price and also feeling it held a certain sentimental value, I could not bear to part with it. Renting a second little home for us both seemed, strangely, like the more cost-effective option.
The problem with all three volumes is that they make sex sound so… well, nice. Of course, it can be (Netflix’s Bridgerton makes that all too apparent), but where are the sections titled ‘What to do when he’s shagging your best friend,’ or ‘What to do when he’s so tiny, you need sat nav to find it?’
What stays? What goes? How do you decide? Do you go with sentimental value, or the ones you are most likely to open again?
It is the most wonderful present I have ever received: so breathtakingly thoughtful, and lovingly put together by Kim, who Mum adored (as do I).