Bridget Jones's diary

Saturday 3 February

9st 4lbs (monstrous splurging body); cigarettes 31 (bad); alcohol units 6 (v bad); number of correct lottery numbers 2 (continuing good work).

Dreading birthday on Tuesday, especially since have inadvertently invited 19 people round to supper.

Sunday 4 February

Hurray. Whole new perspective on birthday. Taking as my guru Child Bride Sarah Cook and Husband Musa Before His Arrest (keen on the inseparable headline names in manner of Mainly Zulu Inkatha and Liver Wife) am feeling happy and serene.

Realise suffering Thirties Panic, worrying that flat was too small to entertain 19, that could not be bothered to spend birthday cooking and that I would rather dress up and be taken to posh restaurant by sex god with enormous gold credit card was shallow and wrong. Instead am going to think of my friends as a huge, warm Turkish family.

"In England I felt ugly, but here I feel beautiful and loved," said 13- year-old Essex Girl Sarah. Exactly right. Our culture is too obsessed with outward appearance, age and status. Love is what matters. The 19 people are my friends - they want to be welcomed into my home to celebrate with affection ad simple homely fare, not to make judgements. Am going to cook shepherd's pie for them all - British home cooking. It will be a marvellous warm, Third World-style ethnic family party.

Monday 5 February

Have decided to serve the shepherd's pie with char-grilled Belgian endive salad, Roquefort lardons and frizzled chorizo to add a fashionable touch (have not tried before but sure it will be easy), followed by individual Grand Marnier souffles. V much looking forward to the birthday. Bet I will become known as brilliant cook and hostess.

Tuesday 6 February - Birthday

9st 5lbs; cigarettes 42*; alcohol units 9*; calories 4,295*; Instants 12*; *(if can't splash out on birthday, when can?).

6.30pm Cannot go on. Have just stepped in a pan of mashed potato in new kitten-heel black suede shoes from Pied-a-Terre (Pied a Potato, more like), forgetting that kitchen floor and surfaces were covered in pans of mince and mashed potato. It is already 6.30 and have to go out to Cullen's for Grand Marnier souffle ingredients and other forgotten items. Oh my god - suddenly remembered tube of contraceptive jelly might be on side of wash basin. Must also hide storage jars with embarrassingly unhip squirrel design. And put hideous Kenyan carving gift from Woney on display.

Schedule:

6.30 Go to shop.

6.45 Return for forgotten groceries.

6.45-7pm Prepare Grand Marnier souffles. Actually, think will have a little taste of Grand Marnier now. It's my birthday, after all.

7.05-7.10 Mmm. Grand Marnier delicious. Check plates and cutlery for tell-tale signs of sluttish washing up, and arrange in attractive fan shape. Ah, must buy napkins, also (or is it serviettes? cannot remember which one is common).

7.10-7.20 Tidy up and move furniture to sides of room.

7.20-7.30 Make frisse lardon frizzled chorizo thing. Which leaves a clear half-hour to get ready, so no need to panic. Must have a fag.

Aargh. It's quarter to seven. How did that happen? Aargh.

7.15 Damn. Just got back from shop and realise have forgotten butter.

7.35 Shit, shit, shit. The shepherd's pie is still in pans all over the kitchen floor and have not yet washed hair.

7.40 Oh my god. Just looked for milk and realised have left the carrier bag behind with the eggs in. That means ... oh god and the olive oil ... so cannot do frizzy salad.

7.40 Hmm. Best plan, surely, is to get into the bath with a glass of champagne then get ready. At least if I look nice I can carry on cooking when everyone is here and maybe can get Tom to go out for the missing ingredients.

7.55 Aargh. Doorbell. Am in bra and pants with wet hair. Pie is all over the floor. Suddenly hate the guests. Have had to slave for two days while they all swan in demanding food like cuckoos. Feel like opening door and shouting, "Oh, go to hell."

2am Feeling v emotional. At door were Magda, Tom, Shazzer and Jude with bottle of champagne and extra-large box of Milk Tray. They said to hurry up and get ready and when I had dried hair and dressed they had cleaned up all the kitchen and thrown away the shepherd's pie. It turned out Magda had booked a big table at 192 and told everyone to go there instead of my flat, and there they all were, waiting with presents, and said they were going to buy me dinner. Magda said they had had a weird, almost spooky sixth sense that the Grand Marnier souffle and frizzled lardon thing was not going to work out. It was so lovely I started to cry. Love the friends. Better than extended Turkish family in weird headscarves any day.

Must be less neurotic in future and stop dreading things.

Wednesday 7 February

Oh god, cannot bear it. Only a week to go till Valentine's Day humiliation. Toy with idea of flirting energetically with anyone I think might be induced to send me a card, but dismiss as immoral. Will just have to take total indignity on the chin. Bet child bride Sarah gets a sodding Valentine card. Humph. Have suddenly totally gone off 13-year-old Essex girl Sarah. Has already got husband - though in prison - at 13, while I have not even got boyfriend at my age.

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