Saturday 6 May

9st 5, alcohol units 6, cigarettes 25, calories 3,800 (celebrating end of rationing), Instants 2

Feel strangely unhappy about VE day fever. In fact, "left out" might be the expression I am groping towards. I do not have any grandpas. Dad has got all worked up about a party being hosted in the Alconburys' garden at which, for unexplained reasons, he will be tossing pancakes. Mum is going back to the street she was brought up in in Cheltenham for a whale meat fritter party, probably with her Portuguese Lothario. (Thank God she didn't run off with a German.) None of my friends are organising anything. It would seem embarrassingly enthusiastic and all wrong, somehow, suggesting a positive approach to life, or that we were trying creepily to annex something that was nothing to do with us. I mean, I probably wasn't even an egg when the war ended. I was just nothing - while they were all fighting and making jam out of carrots or whatever they did.

I hate this idea for some reason and toy with calling Mum to see whether she had started her periods when the war ended. Do eggs get produced one at a time, I wonder, or are they stored from birth in micro-form until they are activated? Could I have somehow sensed the end of the war as a stored egg? If only I had a grandpa, I could have got in on the whole thing under the guise of being nice to him. Oh sod it, I am going to go shopping.

7pm. The heat has made my body double its size, I swear. I am never going in a communal changing-room again. I got a dress stuck under my arms in Warehouse while trying to lift it off and ended up lurching around with inside-out fabric instead of a head, tugging at it with my arms in the air, rippling stomach and thighs on full display to the assembled sniggering 15-year-olds. When I tried to pull the stupid dress down and get out of it the other way it got stuck on my hips.

I hate changing-rooms. Everyone stares sneakily at each other's bodies but no one ever meets anyone's eye, and there are always those girls who know that they look fantastic in everything and dance around beaming, swinging their hair and doing model poses in the mirror saying, "Does it make me look fat?" to their obligatory obese friend, who looks like a water buffalo in everything.

It was a disaster of a trip, anyway. One must only ever shop when one has no money and no need to get anything (when everything you see will be perfect) and never, as I did this afternoon, when you absolutely have to buy something that day.

The trip to Prague - suggested by Daniel for this weekend - was subsequently never mentioned again. When it got to Wednesday, I mumblingly brought it up, feeling bizarrely ashamed for doing so. As if it wasn't him who had suggested it; as if it wasn't peculiar behaviour to invite someone to come to Prague in eight days' time, have them accept, then never mention it again. As if I was a total sad-act to have failed telepathically to realise that he'd gone off the idea, and then been so goatishly inconsiderate as to make him feel uncomfortable by bringing it up. " Oh God, yah I'd forgotten about that. When was it supposed to be?" he snapped, as if I was a nagging ex-wife trying to get him to take the children to the water slides. "Look, I can't this weekend. I'm completely snowed under."

"Fine," I said, walking off with my nose in the air, then dived for the ladies' loo and slumped on to the seat in shock, staring at the door crazily with one eye. Later that afternoon, he asked me to come to some agent's summer party in a marquee on the river next Tuesday night. Wanting to be happy rather than sad, I accepted - then realised I had nothing to wear.

I still have nothing to wear. The answer to shopping, I know, is simply to buy a few choice items from DKNY, Nicole Farhi, Joseph; but the prices so terrify me that I go scuttling back to Warehouse and Miss Selfridge, rejoicing in a host of dresses at £34.99, get them stuck on my head, then buy things from Marks and Spencer because I don't have to try them on, can take them back later and at least I've bought something.

I have now come home with four things, all of them unsuitable and unflattering. One will be left behind the bedroom chair in an M&S bag for two years. The other three will be exchanged for credit notes from chain stores that I will then lose. I have thus wasted £119, which would have been enough to buy something really nice from Nicole Farhi - like, er, a T-shirt.

It is all a punishment, I realise, for being obsessed by shopping in a shallow, materialistic way instead of wearing the same rayon frock all summer and painting a line down the back of my legs; also for failing to join in the VE Day celebrations. Maybe I should ring Tom and get a lovely party together for Monday. Is it possible to have a kitsch, ironic VE day party - like for the Royal Wedding? No, you see, it isn't - you can't be ironic about dead people. And then there's the problem of flags - half of Tom's friends used to be in the Anti-Nazi League and would think the presence of Union Jacks meant we were expecting skinheads. I wonder what would have happened if our generation had had a war? Maybe we would be a bit less mad. Ah well, time for a little drinky.

Comments