Bridget Jones's diary

Friday 12 January 9st 3 (vg). Alcohol units 3 (vg). Cigarettes 32 (vv bad). Calories 1,800 (g). Instants 4 (fair).

Am going to change life: stop smoking entirely and form functional relationship with adult man: poss. former boyfriend Peter, with whom had functional relationship for seven years until finished with him for heartfelt agonising reasons can no longer remember, precipitating 18-month wind-down, repeatedly chucking each other then getting back together.

Arrived at office 30 seconds late to find meeting had already begun. Cunningly folded coat into bundle and crossed room nonchalantly as if had been there hours and merely photocopying urgent printed matter. Richard Finch squelched into a seven-piece suit and already shouting at everyone.

"Bridget," he bellowed, "you're bleedin' late again. Get me a pregnant woman to give birth on camera wearing shackles. And an Aids victim.".

"W-what?" I stammered.

"An Aids victim. Get them to be ill on camera wearing the shackles."

"You're not supposed to call them `victims', right?" droned Patchouli, homing in on the key issue like a frighteningly accurate Gulf war missile.

When the meeting was over I slumped crazily at my desk and reached for the Silk Cut, at which point Patchouli launched into an uproarious coughing attack so I withdrew - even though ours is a smoking office - to the Smoking Room, where we must sit around a plastic urn full of butt ends as if worshipping them. It is only a matter of time till we are made to eat them.

Having talked Richard down to vox pops with housewives on shackled-prison- birth issue, I was sent, as complex revenge for his loss of ground, to do it in Doncaster, and simultaneously prise sexual fantasies about Princess Anne from unemployed men. Stressed-out and shaking on return, I headed for the "Smoking Carriage", which turned out to be Monstrous Pig-Sty where smokers huddled, miserable and defiant. It is no longer possible for smokers to live in dignity, instead they are forced to skulk in the slimy underbelly of existence. Would not have been in least surprised if carriage had mysteriously been shunted off into siding, never to be seen again. Maybe privatised rail firms will start running Smoking Trains and villagers will shake their fists and throw stones at them as they pass, terrifying their children with tales of fire-breathing freaks within.

Anyway, all that is in the past. Have just left message for Peter. Did not smoke when was with Peter. Peter is surely Answer.

Saturday 13 January

9st 2 (vg). Alcohol units 5. Cigarettes 32 (bad).

8.30am. Still have not had fag. VG.

8.35am. No fags all day. Excellent.

8.40am. Wonder if anything nice has come in post.

8.45am. Ugh. Hateful document from Social Security Agency asking for pounds 1,452. What? How can this be? Have to get pounds 1,452. Oh God, need fag to calm nerves. Mustn't. Mustn't.

8.47am. Just had fag. But no-smoking day does not start officially till have got dressed.

11.15am. Peter has not rung back. Am repulsive to all men now, even Peter.

11.30am. Why oh why did I give my mother the key to my flat?

"What on earth are you doing, silly?" she trilled, bursting in carrying an armful of two-pieces wrapped in polythene. I was actually trying to weigh out 100 grams of porridge for my breakfast using a bar of Cadbury's Whole Nut (all the brass weights for my scales are in ounces - and the only thing I could find that weighed exactly 100g was the Whole Nut).

"Guess what, darling. Elaine has invited you to their Silver Wedding!" she said, opening and closing cupboards as I stood in my nightie trying to wipe the mascara from under my eyes.

My mind went blank. BrianandElaine? ColinandElaine? Elaine-married-to- Gordon-who-used-to-be-head-of-Tarmacadam-in-Kettering Elaine?

"She thought it might be nice to have one or two young'uns there to keep Mark company."

MalcolmandElaine. Begetters of the insufferable Mark Darcy. I thought he had been dismissed by Mum as the Satanic Rudeman from Hades for refusing to get off with me at Una's Turkey Curry Buffet.

"Apparently he told Elaine he thought you were very attractive."

"Mum, it is wrong to lie."

"Well, I'm sure that's what he meant, darling."

"What-did-he-say?" I hissed, dangerously, being in such an insecure mood that I had to know the exact extent of my universal repulsiveness so I knew what I was dealing with.

"Well, the word he actually used, darling, was `bizarre'. But that's lovely, isn't it, `bizarre'? Anyway, you can ask him about it at the Silver Wedding."

Grrr. Felt so bad when Mum skipped off in Country Casuals fuchsia to have lunch with Julio that smoked five Silk Cut in row.

Never mind. Sunday is VG day to give up smoking.

Sunday 14 January

8pm. No fags all day. Am iron woman. Will go to bed soon then have done it.

8.45pm. No-smoking policy in tatters. Peter finally rang.

"Hi, Bee," (we used to call each other Bee and Waspy). "I was going to ring you anyway. I've got some good news. I'm getting married."

Scales seemed to fall from my stomach, leaving it open to the air and pain like a tooth with toothache. Exes should never, never go out with other people or get married but must remain celibate to the end of their days in order to provide you with a mental fallback position. Have just smoked entire packet of Silk Cut as act of existential despair.