Builder boyfriend

Real life | 7 July 2016

‘Of course, there will be no air quality now,’ said a friend, shaking her head over my support for Brexit. ‘You what?’ ‘Air quality,’ she said. ‘Or green belt. Or Sites of Special Scientific Interest, preserving the countryside and wildlife… All those really good EU regulations have all gone now.’ ‘What on earth are you talking about?’ I started to feel exasperated, inwardly thinking, ‘Uh-oh, here goes another friendship…’ ‘All those EU regulations safeguarding everything. All gone. No more air-quality rules. No more SSSIs.’ ‘So you’re saying Brexiteers have ruined the air now, are you? That’s where we are up to with the scaremongering? No more air now we’re out

Real life | 31 December 2015

‘Sadly, the world is filled with apathy,’ said my friend, as we looked at our sad little list of conscripts to the cause of fighting left-wing lunacy in our local neighbourhood. He’s right. But I can’t help feeling, as I enter another year of what will surely turn out to be non-stop trouble, that a bit of apathy would do me good. My problem is I suffer from the reverse of apathy. I’m too bothered by everything. I can’t stop objecting. I need to sit back and learn how not to give a damn. The apathetic masses must have much lower blood pressure than me. And a lot more friends.

Real life | 14 May 2015

The ‘I’m Voting For Chuka’ posters in my rich neighbours’ front windows pushed me over the edge. There is nothing so likely to galvanise one’s inner Tory than the sight of the biggest, poshest houses in the neighbourhood displaying left-wing conceitedness. ‘Of course they’re voting Labour, they’re the only ones who can afford to,’ said the builder (boy)friend, who had popped round to my house for supper. I know, I know. It’s confusing. But we are always going to be on-off, so everyone is going to just have to deal with it. And he is a beacon of common sense at election time, I can tell you. Just the sort

Real life | 23 April 2015

As a wise person once said (or if they didn’t, they should have), there is only one thing worse than being wrong and that is being right. I always get peevish when I win. After being told I had triumphed in my three-year phantom car crash battle, I started to feel survivor guilt. It was all very well for me, embroiling myself in a gargantuan struggle for justice following a low-velocity car prang. I factor time into my schedule to wage war on the world. I complain about life for a living, so far as anyone can. But what about all those other poor motorists who are well adjusted people

Farewell, Cobham — oh flat, boring, lovely Cobham; hello, Dorking

Farewell then, Cobham. You were the place I ran to when the metropolis became too much, and urban life overwhelmed me. You were to me a shining beacon of blandness in an otherwise frighteningly exotic world. I loved you and held you in mythical esteem. In times of disappointment, I yearned for you every bit as much as Margo Leadbetter did. ‘Cydney! We’re moving to Cobham!’ I would shout at the spaniel whenever Lambeth Council did something Marxist, which was often. We didn’t ever quite move to Cobham, but we kept the horses there. For nearly 15 years, this gave us a bolthole down the A3 to escape to, from

The impossibility of ordering the right-sized salad

People don’t listen. It’s a relatively new thing. People used to listen, to varying degrees. You had your good listeners and you had your bad listeners. Now people just don’t listen at all. I was in the pizza joint in Balham with the builder boyfriend. The waitress was standing at the table with her pad, the builder and I told her which pizza we wanted and then I said, ‘Oh, and can we have one mixed salad and one rocket salad.’ ‘One small salad and one large salad,’ she said. I looked back down at the menu. ‘No. Sorry,’ I said, ‘I mean, can we have one mixed salad, and

The pleasures of being a boring old unmarried couple

The problem with not getting married, I am increasingly realising, is that you cannot get divorced. There is no mechanism for separating when you are simply co-romancing with someone. The builder boyfriend and I are not even cohabiting. We simply pop round to each other’s houses as the fancy takes us. Not that I am complaining, necessarily. After a lot of stops and starts we are currently rather happy. And this is all very fine and dandy. But every now and then a dread panic grips my heart and I think, ‘Hang on a minute. What if I ever want to get out?’ We’ve been together on and off for

Should I report my boyfriend to the police?

Driving along in the car, listening to the radio news, the boyfriend turned to me and said he thought the Michael Fabricant row a very strange one. Fabricant was being pilloried for having tweeted that he could never go on television with Yasmin Alibhai-Brown because he might ‘end up punching her in the throat’, but my man said he didn’t see what the fuss was about. ‘After all,’ he said, ‘I feel like punching you about 50 times a day.’ Reader, be assured, he was joking. Victims’ groups, hold your horses while I explain. My beloved was pretending to have punching urges for the purposes of humour. Do you see?

Melissa Kite’s inventory of life (the ex-boyfriends’ possessions they left behind)

Emmylou Harris and the McGarrigle sisters wrote a song called ‘All I left Behind’. My version is called ‘All They Left Behind’ and is a sort of inventory of my life, according to the items left in my flat when relationships have ended. Tea cups from Tim, a coffee bean grinder from Jim, T-shirts from Francesco, and a goose-down pillow from Ed. It doesn’t scan very well, but I’m sure Emmylou could make something of it. Some might call it sad that my romantic history comes down to the reverse of a wedding list. But actually, it’s not that sad. The bean grinder is terrific, although, to be strictly accurate,

Melissa Kite: I really didn’t mean what I said to my boyfriend while he was in the bath

The builder boyfriend and I have had a terrible row. In the heat of the moment, I said something truly awful to him that may have done irreparable damage. It wasn’t entirely my fault. I haven’t been sleeping. And when I haven’t been sleeping I become irrational. Fine, I become more irrational. Suddenly, the other night, I fell asleep while lying on the sofa watching CSI Special Victims Unit. The overcomplicated plot acted like a powerful anaesthesia and I found myself drifting into precisely the sort of deep, blessed sleep I have been craving for months. Before I drifted off, I had asked the builder to run me a bath.

Melissa Kite — after nearly 40 years of riding, all I know is: horses are horses. They are not people

Natural horsemanship has a lot to answer for. After a cross country event the other day, I rode back to my trailer to find the two women parked next to me doing some very strange things as they loaded their horse. One woman led the pony up the ramp quite efficiently, flicking it with the rope to stop it hesitating and then shut it inside. Whereupon her friend shouted: ‘No! Get him back off, quickly!’ And she lowered the ramp, untied the pony and pushed him back down the ramp. ‘He’s got to choose to load,’ said the woman, who I now noticed was a little hair-brained looking. ‘He’s got