Saturday 15 July

8st 12lb, cigarettes 23, alcohol units 6. Minutes spent looking at brochure 52 (bizarre, in spite of actually being on mini-break).


Humph. By Wednesday, Daniel was so sick of me obsessing about the mini- break that he refused to look at any more brochures. How could he expect me not to be excited? For once we were going to enjoy the heatwave, instead of watching the cricket with the curtains drawn. Why is it that men have not learnt to choose holidays from brochures yet, in the way that many of them have learnt to cook or sew? The responsibility was hideous. Wovingham Hall seemed ideal - tasteful without being over-formal, with four-posters, a lake and even a fitness centre not to go in, but what if Daniel didn't like it?

In fact, he decided the place was "nouveau" from the moment we arrived because there were three Rolls-Royces parked outside, one of them yellow. I was fighting a sinking realisation that it was suddenly freezing cold and I had packed for 90-degree heat as follows: swimsuits 2, bikinis 1; long floaty white dress; Elizabeth Hurley ladybird motif sundress; 1 pair trailer-park-trash pink jelly mules; 1 tea-rose pink suede mini-dress; silk teddy; bras, pants (various). There was a crack of thunder as I teetered, shivering, after Daniel to find the foyer stuffed with bridesmaids and men in cream suits and discover that we were the only guests staying in the hotel who were not in the wedding party.

"Chuh. Isn't it dreadful what's happening in Srebrenica," I chattered maniacally to try and put our problems in proportion. "To be honest, I never feel I've quite pinned down what's going on in Bosnia. I thought the Bosnians were the ones in Sarajevo and the Serbs were attacking them, so who are the Bosnian Serbs?"

"Well, if you spent less time reading brochures and more time reading the papers, you might know," smirked Daniel.

"So what is going on?" I said, in a pathetic manner which instantly annoyed me, practically putting my head on one side and sticking my forefinger in my mouth.

"God, look at that bridesmaid's ..." said Daniel.

Suddenly I had the unmistakable feeling that Daniel was trying to change the subject.

"Are the Bosnian Serbs the same lot who were attacking Sarajevo?" I asked.


"Whose territory is Srebrenica in, then?"

"Srebrenica is a safe area," said Daniel in deeply patronising tones.

"So how come the people from the safe area were attacking before?" I said.

"Shut up," said Daniel.

"Just tell me if the Bosnians in Srebrenica are the same lot as the ones in Sarajevo."

"Muslims," said Daniel triumphantly.

"Serbian or Bosnian?"

"Look, will you shut up."

"You don't know what's going on in Bosnia, either."

"I do."

"You don't."

"I do."

At this point the commissionaire, who was dressed in knickerbockers, white socks, patent buckled shoes, a frock coat and a powdered wig, leant over and said: "I think you'll find the former inhabitants of Srebrenica and of Sarajevo are Bosnian Muslims, sir," adding pointedly, "Will you be requiring a newspaper in the morning at all?" I swear to God, I thought Daniel was going to hit him. I found myself stroking his arm, murmuring,"OK now, easy, easy," as if he was a racehorse with rabies.


Having spent so long imagining lying by lakes in hot sun wearing a long floaty dress, I ended up blue with cold in a rowing boat with one of the hotel bath towels wrapped round me. Eventually, we gave up to retire to our room for a hot bath and Lemsip, discovering en route that another couple were to be sharing the vast dining-room with us that evening - half of which was a girl called Eileen whom Daniel had slept with twice, inadvertently bitten dangerously hard on the breast and never spoken to since.

As I emerged from my bath, Daniel was lying on the bed giggling. "I've got a new diet for you," he said. "So you do think I'm fat?" I said. "OK, that's it," he said. "It's very simple. All you do is not eat any food which you have to pay for. So at the start of the diet you're a bit porky and no one takes you out to dinner. Then you lose weight and get a bit leggy and shag-me hippy and people start taking you out to dinner. So then you put a few pounds on, the invitations tail off and you start losing weight again.

"Daniel!" I exploded. That's the most appalling sexist, fattist, cynical thing I've ever heard.

"Oh, don't be absurd, Bridget," he said. "It's the logical extension of what you really think. I keep telling you nobody wants legs like a stick insect. They want a bottom they can park a bike in and balance a pint of beer on."

I was torn between a gross image of myself with a bicycle parked in my bottom and a pint of beer balanced on it, fury at Daniel for his blatantly provocative sexism and an awful suspicion that he might be right about my concept of my body in relation to men.

"I'll just pop the telly on," said Daniel, taking advantage of my temporary speechlessness to press the remote control button and moving towards the curtains, which were those thick hotel ones with blackout lining. Seconds later, the room was in complete darkness apart from the flickering light of the cricket, Daniel had lit a fag and was calling down to room service for six cans of Fosters.

"Do you want anything, Bridge?" he said, "Cream tea, maybe? I'll pay."