Party Lines

Daisy Waugh eavesdrops on the chattering classes

It’s all fine. Thank God. One hears these horror stories but no, fingers crossed…

Ha! Lucky you! We’ve got absolute bloody Red Code Famished Road Alert going down at Elgin Terrace. I’m not joking.

I mean, we’re making cut backs here and there. Obviously. But who isn’t, these days?

That’s right! We’re all broke now, aren’t we? It’s the new – broke is the new… Hedge fund! Or something. Ha ha. Does that make sense?

Not sure.

Anyway, we’ve got creditcrunchitis so bad at Elgin Terrace, I’m making my own jam!

Are you really?

I made so much of the stuff, I’ve had to give half to Isobel. She’s sending 40 jars of my mango fig’n’saffron conserve all the way home to the Philippines, bless her! And I’ve still got another God knows how many pots I don’t know what to do with. Perhaps I could palm a few off on – er…

Maria. Sadly Maria’s left us. After five wonderful years. She’s gone home.

NO! Why?

Well – we thought long and hard. And then we woke up one morning and we thought how liberating it would be to have our house to ourselves again. Now the kids are older… Besides, poor Maria – she hasn’t seen her children in three years…

You wonder how they do it…

So – you know. We’re very sad, because we adored her. She was one of the family. But we’re very happy, too. We’re happy for Maria because she gets to see her children; and ecstatically happy for us, as a family, because – well – we’re a family again.

That’s terrific!

And I know it sounds silly but I’m just so enjoying doing things around the house. Getting down and dirty with that dishwasher! I love it.

How wonderful!

Makes one feel incredibly…connected. Grounded.

I bet.

So I do all the ironing now. You can’t get me away from my ironing board! It’s terribly, terribly therapeutic…

Well, MY new thing is to utterly REFUSE to buy cheap clothes any more. Ever. Don’t you think quality not quantity? Very thrifty! Plus, it’s so much greener.

Absolutely. That was exactly our thinking vis the house. With Maria gone, it’s only the four of us, so there’s no excuse, environmentally, to be heating such a whopping place.


And then we thought – well, at that point why not try a whole new part of London?

How brilliant!

So it’s goodbye Kensington. Hello…Acton. Which is wonderful because the little state schools are fabulous. And of course it’s so close to the motorway…

HOW…LOVELY!…Lucky you! And free schools, too! The mind boggles!

Well, why don’t you join us?

Mm?… Oh, if only…

Underrated: Abroad

The ravenous longing for the infinite possibilities of “otherwhere”

The king of cakes

"Yuletide revels were designed to see you through the dark days — and how dark they seem today"