Friday 3 May

9st 3, alcohol units 3 (excellent), cigarettes 12 (continuing good work), calories 2,255 (vg). 1471 calls to see if Mark Darcy has rung: 24 (poor)

Oh God. Another sodding bank holiday. It is all very well for people with functional lives and relationships but for everyone else it is worse than Christmas, making you feel a complete failure for not enjoying yourself in a nuclear family - mopping up sick and playing auto-bingo in traffic jams in an estate car, gulping mouthfuls of chlorinated water in a climatically controlled holiday dome, or getting all the family together to pave over the lawn. Cannot even go to my parents as my mother had remortgaged the house and given all Daddy's and her friends' savings to her time-share conman Portuguese lover whom she ran off with to Albufeira.

Dad and I spent most of last Saturday night in the police station while she was being questioned. Eventually we heard a voice approaching along the corridor Yes I'm on TV every morning! ... Of course! Who shall I put it to? Oh you naughty man. Do you know I've been dying to try on that...."

"Oh there you are, Daddy," she said, appearing round the corner wearing a policeman's helmet. "Is the car outside? - I'm dying to get the kettle on. Did Una remember the plants?"

"Have you walked free?" I said.

"Oh don't be silly, darling. Walked free! I don't know!" said Mum rolling her eyes at the senior detective. The way he was blushing, I wouldn't have been in the least surprised if she'd got herself off by giving him sexual favours.

"So what happened?" I said, when Dad had finished putting all her suitcases, hats, and straw donkey ("Isn't it super?") in the boot of the Sierra. I was determined she wasn't going to brazen this one out, sweep it straight under the carpet and start patronising us again.

"Just a silly misunderstanding, darling. Has someone been smoking in this car?"

"What about everyone's money, mother," I said dangerously. "What about the time-share?"

"Durr! It was just some silly, daft problem with the planning permission. They can be very corrupt, the Portuguese authorities. It's all backhanders and banshee like Nelson Mandela. So Julio's just paid all the deposits back. We had a super holiday, actually! The weather was very mixed, but....

"Where is Julio?" I said, suspiciously.

"Stayed in Portugal, darling to sort everything." "What about my house?" said Dad.

"Don't be silly, Daddy." she trilled, "There's nothing wrong with the house." Unfortunately for Mum, however, when we got back to the "Little Orchards" all the locks had been changed, so we had to go back to Una and Geoffrey's.

"Oof - do you know, Una, I'm so exhausted, I'm going to have to go straight up to bed," said Mum after one look at the resentful faces and wilting cold-cut collation.

The phone rang for Dad..

"That was Mark Darcy," said Dad when he came back. My heart leapt as I tried to control my features. "He's in Albufeira. Apparently some sort of deal's been done with the filthy wop and they've recovered some of the money. I think Little Orchards may be saved...."

At this a loud cheer went up! and Geoffrey launched into "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow." I waited for Una to make some remark about me and Mark but none was forthcoming. Typical. The minute I decide I like Mark Darcy, they all immediately stop trying to fix me up with him.


1471 calls to see if Mark has rung: 14 (bad). No of 1471 calls revealing it was Tom who rang: 14.

Thank God, only one more day of bank holiday hell to go. Have spent the entire weekend planning to go to the gym and being rung up by Tom who has bought a new slimline portable phone. Hoped it was Mark Darcy every single time. Hate people ringing from portable phones interrupting you by bellowing over-excitedly with a blow-by-blow account of the traffic conditions on the Westway when you are quietly minding your business trying to decide which leotard will go nicely with your trainers.

Ooh, telephone. Maybe it's Mark Darcy.

Humph. Tom again, asking me if I would like to become a lesbian then we can have a baby as a gay man-lesbian couple and go to Centre Parcs on bank holidays like all the normal people. Next he said, "Have you got my portable phone?" Apparently he left it on my table yesterday night when we were reading the papers.

Later: Humph. Worked out I must have thrown the slimline phone away with the papers, but unfortunately I could not remember which dustbin they were in. Ended up with me standing by the dustbins while Tom rang his phone up so I could work out which one it was in. Was just standing outside waiting when a voice said, "Bridget." Legs turned to jelly. It was Mark Darcy, looking all suntanned and sexy from his Portuguese mercy dash.

"What are you doing out here?" he said, smiling tenderly.

"Just getting some air," I said gaily, and but that moment one of the dustbins started to ring, and for some reason instead of ignoring it or explaining I panicked said, "Ah that'll be for me," and started trying to find the phone in the dustbin, at which Mark Darcy looked completely terrified, said, "Anyway I was just passing, I'll give your dustbin a ring sometime soon," jumped into his car and roared away.

Oh God. As long as my friends and relatives persist in being such liabilities I will never get a boyfriend to spend bank holidays with.