Thursday 11 July

9st (bad) cigarettes 5 (g); alcohol units 3 (excellent) cappuccinos 6 (poor); calories 1,200.

Only 10 days to go till Thailand holiday and escape from pressures of Jude's wedding to Vile Richard. Shazzer and I are torn like tug-of-love children between Jude who wants us in puff-sleeve pastels and Vile Richard who wants everyone in "simple Chanel suits" (ugh). Although agnostic, find self praying to God not to let Jude marry Vile Richard, not just because he will ruin her life but because do not want to appear looking like summer pudding.

Friday 12 July

Blimey. Message from Mark Darcy inviting me to dinner party. Have had no flirtatious contact since he and I snogged passionately at party six weeks ago. Subsequent dinner date (euphemism for nod in direction of Mcdonald's followed by dash for bedroom) was then arranged, but when Mark came round I was drying my hair and did not hear the doorbell, leading us both to think we had stood each other up. Dinner party invite, therefore, was massive conciliatory breakthrough. Opportunity to prove self as woman of substance. Rang Jude excitedly. Her reaction, however, was disappointing. "Oh God," she said, and burst into loud sobs. "What?" I said, gabbling. "I know his friends are a bit scary but I'm going to practise some opinions and ... "

"It's so, so horrible," she wailed. It turns out sodding Vile Richard told her he was so freaked out by the prospect of marriage (his suggestion) that he had been obliged to start an affair with a 22-year-old market research woman for aerosol deodorants. Torn between awed delight at unexpected presence and obliging nature of God, guilt at ruining Jude's wedding plans and relief about the puff-sleeved pastels. Without a thought for myself and my anecdote practise, I declared a state of emergency called Shazzer and went out for Silk Cut, Chardonnay and calories.

"I just feel so bloody old and redundant," sobbed Jude, looking as usual like Winona Ryder crossed with Pamela Anderson. "What's the point of trying to be independent and educated if it just puts men off, and all they want is young flesh."

"We don't educate ourselves for men," growled Shazzer. "We do it to empower ourselves, so we are not just sexual chattels."

"But I want to be a sexual chattel as well," wailed Jude. "I'm going to be a singleton till the end of my days. I feel such a fool."

"It's him that's the fool," I said, tucking into a bag of Fun-Sized Lion Bars. "Look at Nelson Mandela. Nobody thinks he's a fool because Winnie went off with young men behind his back and she used to murder them as well."

"Er, Bridge," said Shazzer. "I don't think the crowds cheering Nelson Mandela today were there because he was a singleton. I think it was more to do with the role he played in ending the apartheid regime."

At that point my mother burst into the flat. "What's going on, Darling," she said, starting to open and shut the cupboards. "Where do you keep your hook and eyes?"

We tried to explain Jude's problem to Mum. "Is he very rich or something?" she said. "I mean life's very hard for a woman, and, really, unless a man is making it easier, what on earth is the point? If a man ever gave me the slightest trouble, I just washed him straight out of my hair."

"But he's sleeping with a ... " sobbed Jude.

"Oh don't be silly, Darling. They'll sleep with anything they find - it's like babies putting things in their mouths, or Bridget. If I were you girls, I'd get myself out to a dance. Anyway, must whizz. I've got a date with a Coroner! A Coroner! Imagine!"

Tuesday 16 July

Oh God. Dinner party was nightmare. Full of high-powered lawyers full of opinions on everything. (Can never see point of trying to convince everyone your opinion is right. Why on earth should it be, out of all the opinions in the world?) One particular one called Arabella was obviously after Mark.

"I don't mind the Royal family being there as long as they do it out of their own money," I ventured.

"Oh how absurd," said Arabella. "Own money! It was historically tithed from the taxpayer."

"That's not strictly true," said another lawyer woman.

"How do you know?" snapped Arabella.

"I studied history"



"Who taught you?"


Arabella gave a snort through her nose.

By the time the main course came I hadn't said a single word for 45 minutes. "Melvyn!", "Salmaaaaaaaan!", "Magical Realism" swam the voices around me. Eventually, I teetered out (stupid, though attractive shoes) into the corridor under the guise of going to the loo and stood there reeling, resolving to study more and furnish my mind. Just then the door from the living room opened. It was Mark Darcy. He closed it quickly behind him.

"Are you all right?" he said, hurrying towards me.

"I'm stupid, Stupid," I said, glowering at him, "Stupid."

He leaned towards me breathing unsteadily. Then we started kissing each other, desperately, passionately. Just then Arabella appeared.

"That's typical of a man, isn't it Mark?" she hissed. "You don't want anything to challenge you, just a young thing in a short skirt without an opinion in her head to make you feel big."

"I am not young," I said, indignantly. "And I have a degree from Bangor University." Had made Mark Darcy feel big, though. Was not arguing with the evidence there, no matter who taught me. V. confused re: feminist role.

Got home to message from Jude. "I'm back with Richard. Don't forget the dress fitting on Thursday!!"