Liz Jones’s Diary: In which my hopes get dashed… again

Liz Jones’s Diary: In which my hopes get dashed… again


Sunday afternoon. It’s been a bit of a bad week. Some worrying news, which I will tell you about when I’m allowed and either it has passed or I am tipped into uncertainty.

I have two coping mechanisms. One is to search properties on the websites of The Modern House (modern houses) and Inigo (old houses), and imagine how happy I would be if only I lived in one of them.

‘I know I said I like being single, but that was only until I got him’

We all know home ownership can be a lie. When I had my mini mansion in the Dales, I was frozen as I couldn’t afford to heat it: £800 a month just for Flogas! I would spend six hours weeding the drive. But still, I do believe if only I could have a lovely home with a courtyard garden I will be happy.

My second coping mechanism is to imagine what my life will be like if Nigel the photographer, who lives in Australia, comes back to the UK now that he is divorced and his daughters have grown up.

Out of all the men (three and a half) who have crossed my path, he was the most perfect. We clicked. We chatted for hours when we first met on assignment in Bali. He was manly but thoughtful: he would google a vegan restaurant nearby, whereas He Who Has Been Blocked would, when I arrived after a 250-mile drive, present a store-bought ready meal. He Who Has Been Blocked once ordered an Indian takeaway and placed a prawn on my plate. I nearly threw up. Every time he did something bad, or undermined me, or said something to deliberately upset me – ‘Pastry is so much better with lard’ or ‘You didn’t always look beautiful on Celebrity Big Brother’ – he would smirk, as if it was funny.

Anyway, if Nigel came back to the UK, back to Fleet Street, we would get married. He would love my animals, the Yorkshire Dales. He once told me he found Sydney too overlooked. Claustrophobic. ‘I’m trapped, aren’t I?’ he said in the back of a 4×4. But I was too shy, too unsure, too plagued with self-doubt, probably not extreme bikini waxed enough to have flirted back or read between the lines.

Against my better judgment, bored on a Sunday afternoon (bored isn’t the same as not being busy; I’ve just spent six hours looking after the horses, as Nic is still off sick), I looked at his ex-wife’s Twitter feed. She had written a piece about how she had never allowed her daughters to get a dog.

Then she wrote: ‘This summer something miraculous happened. Their dad [Nigel!] and his partner [!] got a puppy. Even better, they were going away for ten days and needed the girls to look after it.’

OK, put aside for a moment his ex-wife calls a dog ‘it’. And note that Nigel has ‘a partner’. And not only do they now have a puppy, but they are going away for ten days. Where are they going? And what for? Why? What does she look like and how old is she?

I feel as though someone has punctured my rubber ring and I am sinking. I know I said I like being single, but that was only until I got Nigel.

All I have now are property websites. I have nothing else to keep me going. To think about at 3am when I’m gripped by terror, unable to sleep. I let him slip through my fingers. Or maybe that’s a pipe dream, too. He was never remotely interested and has never given me a second thought.

I’ve been inhaling Extraordinary Escapes on Channel 4 with Sandi Toksvig. Incredible homes let out by their owners. And I can’t help thinking: how do people find the money to own and convert and furnish these places? I’ve been at the top of my profession for 40 years and I own: two bath towels and two hand towels. All a bit frayed.

And how did this mystery woman snag Nigel? How? How do they do it?

I need a drink.

Contact Liz at and stalk her @lizjonesgoddess 

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