Sunday, 29 November 2009


An old – and I mean positively ancient – friend of mine just lost his wife after 45 years. They’d worked and lived together 24/7 and her sudden death came as an agonizing blow.

When I spoke to him immediately after it happened, the first thing he did was to come on to me. We’d always enjoyed a bit of a flirt and I liked him well enough, but there was no way I was going to show interest in such sensitive circumstances, apart from which he’s far too old for me (72!) and I never fancied him anyway.

Days after the poor woman was barely cold in her grave, the bereaved husband was on the internet seeking solace. He complained about early-onset loneliness, the hollow emptiness of his house, the terror of climbing the stairs to bed each night and not finding her there. Those of us who’ve suffered human loss of any sort can certainly relate to that.

His sons, grandchildren, business colleagues and friends could not console him. He needed another woman! And fast! Enter Ms Russia. Oh how we groaned . . .

Don’t you realise what she wants? said one. She’s hardly after you for your looks, said another. This is disrespectful to J’s memory, said a third. Give yourself time to grieve, said a fourth. No fool like an old fool! they all said in unison.

The trouble is, emotionally, men are not strong. Especially men who’ve been looked after all their lives – washing and ironing done, food on the table, children reared and packed off into the world. OK, I know they have to bring home the bacon and provide the means, but a widowed woman is a very different animal to a widowed man.

And so Mr. T started dating Ms Russia long-distance and became hooked. Late night conversations soon became intimate and revelatory as they do without the naked exposure of eye-to-eye contact. In fairness, she’s no spring chicken, but life in the West is a great draw and she soon professed undying love.

They met in the summer, planned their future in the autumn, and get married this winter. Poor J hasn’t been gone six months - no wonder some of his kids have disowned him and his friends are saying: “Good on ya, mate” to his face and screwing their fingers into their temples behind his back.

But is he so wrong? Should he have waited? Come to terms with his loss, let time be the healer and all those other platitudes we’re told to suffer. Aren’t we all just looking for love (maybe in all the wrong places) but grateful anyway for whatever form it takes?

He says she’s saved him - if it hadn’t been for her, he’d have topped himself. And if, as he reckons, he only has 10 or 15 years left, why should he spent them in misery and pain if there’s a woman out there willing to spend them with him?

I take my hat off to a man who’s recognized his weaknesses and pro-activated himself a happier future even if society disapproves. I wish them both joy. If they’ve found something in each other that no one else can provide, then good luck to them.

As the Beatles sang: All you need is love . . .

Friday, 20 November 2009


My best friend’s gone off to Cuba and I’m feeling a bit spare. I could have gone with her but the time isn’t right as I have ‘stuff’ going on and am also deeply immersed in writing my next novel.

I’m also more than slightly susceptible to anyone who ‘purrs’ at night. Had she committed this most cardinal of all sins and disturbed my precious sleep, I would have had to kill her. Then I would have lost my best friend and my freedom which would have been stupid on both counts.

You see we normally speak every morning to talk about last night and every night to talk about the day ahead. So in her absence, I’ll just have to talk to you instead.

The question I’m posing, after a recent date, is: how much sex is too much sex? And do men ever actually think they’ve had enough? I don’t mean in the post-orgasmic afterglow when they’re either fast asleep or trying to figure out how soon they can leave without seeming rude, but in general terms like: there’s no one special in my life at the moment, so I’ll just switch off until someone comes along. I’m guessing the answer is NO.

Some women can go for months or even years without sex and it doesn’t bother them in the slightest. There’s always the faithful Lapin who loves one unconditionally but with great passion and goes back in its box when one’s had one’s fill.

Women don’t deploy an ‘every seven second’ mechanism whereby whatever they’re doing, they’re also having a mental wank at the same time. When my mind is otherwise occupied, the part of my brain that controls desire cruises on neutral. It’s only when someone comes along and rings my bells that it cranks back into gear again.

I don’t think men have that neutral facility. It’s a design fault, like the one
G-d made when he put the definitive female pulse point in a place inaccessible to the male organ just when it’s needed the most. (Again. . . Hail O Rabbit! – I love thee well!)

Despite our neutral ability, there have also been times when a lover, whoever he may be, has satisfied me sufficiently that the first thought that enters my head is: Thank you very much, you can go home now. I don’t much like room or bed-sharing, which is another reason why I’m writing this in London as opposed to Cuba!

Although I’m partial to a morning cuddle, I haven’t worked out a polite way of asking said lover to piss off and go and sleep in the other room. but to please creep back in when he thinks I’m ready for him next morning.

Had I been discussing all this with my absent friend, she would by now have voiced an opinion, shared some stories and made me laugh. Us girls always enjoy commenting on each other's love lives - it’s aural voyeurism or auralism, if that’s a word, and if it’s not, I’ve just invented it.

So there you have it. Random thoughts. Must go now. I’m trying to organise an End of Year Party for 30 people to include champagne, canap├ęs, a buffet brunch and Hollywood musical film show on a very tight budget. Any suggestions would be gratefully accepted!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009


“So this date you’ve got tonight – are you going to take her home with you?” my girlfriend asked.

“Absolutely” I answered with conviction.

“And later – are you going to go to bed with her?”

“Yes I am,” I said equally confidently. “I can’t guarantee we’ll have sex but I’m definitely going to sleep with her.”

Let me explain: last Monday night, I took myself off to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden to see my favourite ballet Mayerling. It was a late decision, the house was sold out but I managed to acquire the one last decent seat in the house.

I felt rather brave attending such an illustrious occasion on my own but I really wanted to see Carlos Acosta performing in the role and you don't get him prancing about at the local Odeon.

I had a few apprehensions about entering the enormous Vilar Floral Hall bar by myself during the two 20 minute intervals and had I been completely wussy about it, I could have simply stayed in my seat. I was, however, determined to enjoy the whole experience and so I did.

Mayerling was a feast for all the senses - not many people could choreograph a story about a syphilitic, morphine-addicted womanising Crown Prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire who died in a suicide pact with one of his mistresses and make it entertaining, but the late, great Kenneth Macmillan certainly managed to.

While I was sipping my glass of champagne and enjoying my cashew nuts, a couple of men looked at me and smiled. A couple of women looked at me then looked away again. I didn’t care. I was dressed up to the nine and half weeks and I’d paid the price of my ticket.

And now I’ve fought the fear and done it anyway, I’ll never be afraid of going to the theatre, cinema or away on holiday on my own ever again.

Another evening concerned a young gentleman I’ve been texting for some time with whom I finally made a date to cook with only to have him cancel at the last minute ‘due to illness’.

The date was rescheduled, duly confirmed, a menu decided upon, the shopping done and guess what? The little f*cker cancelled again - ‘called away on business’ or so he said!

What is it with some blokes that they just feel they can just fiddle around with your agenda when all you’d really like them to do is fiddle around with you?

Anyway, nothing lost. I called in my first reserve and had a thoroughly enjoyable evening eating all the delicious goodies and watching TV on the sofa. And then we went to bed.

Learning to Love Yourself is Truly the Greatest Love of All!