Sunday, 21 October 2012

A night of mishaps

Apparently you're not supposed to use matches with the no-mess gas log fire, although there's absolutely nothing on it to tell you and, honestly, it's lucky Lily's away at school because it could have been a lot worse.

It's all remote-controlled and self-igniting, says Sophia when she calls in to find out if everything is OK and I tell her everything is fine except for a yellowy patch on the seagrass matting where I've treated a poo stain with bleach and the fact that the no-mess gas log fire has blown up.

'The thing is,' I explain, 'I was dying of hypothermia and I'd spent about half an hour pointing the remote at it and pressing the buttons, but it didn't self-ignite. So I just thought I'd give it a little helping hand with a lit match - and honestly, there ought to be a warning, because I nearly lost my little helping hand in the process. Not to mention my eyebrows and what's left of my eyelashes.'

'Eliza,' warns Sophia in her calm-but-gritted-teeth way. 'Have you read the instruction sheet I left you?'

Hmmm. What instruction sheet would that be?

Well honestly, we don't have gas in the country. People don't seem to realise that when you've lived out of town for two years it takes a while to get back into the fast pace of city life. These people with their push-button urban ways. She's lucky I didn't have any firelighters.

The thing is, it was late and wet and cold and I'd just been standing on a street corner followed by a Sex and The City moment. Not what you're thinking. In fact I'd been at a thrilling 50th birthday party in an underground bar full of beautiful people, except I couldn't hear what anybody said and they couldn't hear me either, which wasn't surprising since I'd gone hoarse in the time it took me to drink the complimentary cocktail.

A woman spotted me clutching my throat and beckoned me up to street level, where dozens of non-smokers were huddled under an awning with the smokers, having conversations.

'I went up to the DJ and complained,' said the woman, clutching my arm. 'I said, you're playing all the wrong music and it's too loud. We're in our 40s and 50s here! We want Fleetwood Mac! We want ELO!'

I'd smiled supportively and backed away, just as a taxi was whizzing through a puddle.

Honestly, London!


  1. I know what you need, Eliza. A nice semi in the suburbs!

  2. Much as I love your house, I hope you're not suggesting I live south of the river?????!!!!

  3. Nothing wrong with South Chelsea Eliza!!