Sunday 31st July

9st 4; alcohol units 6 (but state of emergency); cigarettes 9 (better); calories 5,824 (poor).

2.30pm. Inauspicious start to Sunday. Awakened at this ungodly hour by mother, in newly traditional concerned, caring mode.

"Oh hello, darling. Just ringing to make sure you're safe."

Grrr. This is my mother's latest excuse for ringing me up at all times of day or night to gibberish on about people I've never heard of.

"I'm fine, thank you," I muttered, blinking in the unexpected light of early afternoon.

"Oh thank goodness, darling. Anyway, guess what? Daddy and I are just back from Una and Geoffrey's Brunchtime Karaoke. I mean, as Una says, you have to carry on as normal, don't you? Because otherwise the bombers will have won. Anyway, Mavis Enderbury was there with Malcolm and - guess what? - Julie's just had her th..."

There was a figurative screeching of tyres: rather as in Tom and Jerry cartoon when Jerry disappears into hole in the skirting board and Tom realises he is about to splat into wall.


"Nothing, darling. Anyway. Any news from Mark?"

I flinched. Five days ago, after three months apart, Mark Darcy and I had not-back-together shag: sort of thing that could happen to anyone when all deferred successes, irritations, disappointments etc of former relationship have retreated enough to re-reveal things you actually liked and fancied about each other. (Though obviously they have not retreated that far, as have not heard from him since.)

"Julie Enderbury's just had her what?" I growled.

"Oh nothing, darling. She just had her third... but what I was really ringing to say was..."

"Why are you avoiding the subject. Of Julie Enderbury's third?"

"I'm not avoiding the subject, darling, it's just you know..." she gabbled. "Anyway, lots of people have wonderful lives without them. I mean, Jean Earnshaw and her husband Alan - you know, he was Earnshaw's Tiles? - had a fabulous time. Of course they married late in life so they couldn't have children, but they went all over doing Worldwide Travel. They used to go on two cruises a year."

A horrifying realisation lurched in me. Have reached the age when even own mother has given up passive aggressively encouraging me to have children - " Tick-tock, tick-tock! Can't put it off forever, you know" - and instead is tiptoeing round the subject as if avoiding bringing on suicidal thoughts in a maiden aunt.

3.15pm. Look. Reason do not have children is that am modern career woman who has made choices. Must look on bright side. At least thongs have gone out of fashion. Am going out again to calm down.

4pm. Not calmed down. Canal is normally pleasant, tranquil place - apart from occasional dead body - with tweety birds, leaves etc... Suddenly, however, inflatable speedboat shot past with four marines in, pointing submachine guns at bushes. Felt lurch in stomach such as am getting used to when a loud helicopter appears overhead or sirens and police cars racing in one direction: panicky realisation that we're really in a war, coupled with pride at how well am personally handling the crisis. Not entirely sure where pride comes from as have not exactly done anything except resolving to take trainers to work when wearing unsuitable shoes. But still.

4.30pm. Oh dear. Really wanted a little baby to love: though not, obviously, weekend nanny to shag ex-husband, if had ex-husband. Seems too cruel: almost as if we women have been punished for having careers by not being allowed to be loved and have children. In years to come eggs will be frozen and none of this will go on anymore. We are just trapped as the lost, childless generation.

Trouble is, having children was always something I wanted to do, but not for about three years. Still do in a way... Am going out again to clear head.

4.55pm. Gaah! Just opened door and shot back in. Entire street was full of pregnant women, all walking calmly in one direction. Is vision from God to punish me for being selfish career woman: all part of weird multi-faceted current Apocalypse: tornadoes in Birmingham, bombers plotting in stylish Notting Hill health clubs, pregnant multitudes in street. Next thing, cows will be falling from the sky, horses born with eight legs and... oh goody, telephone.

5.10pm. Was Shazzer. Explained about Apocalypse.

"OK. The pregnant women: what are they wearing?"

I inched to the window. "They've gone." I gasped. "But they were there, Shaz. It was real."

"Hasn't that Ashanti Studio just opened near you? I bet you just witnessed four o'clock Pregnancy Yoga on the way to their class."

"Oh," I said.

"You've got to get out of the house. You're becoming obsessive and insane. Why don't we all go to the Electric."

"But what if Daniel Cleaver's in there?"

"Listen, Bridge," snarled Shazzer, "You've got to get over both of your fuckwitted exes. Mark Darcy is an emotional withholder to a degree which verges on the sadistic and Daniel is just a straightforward man-whore."


"Anyway, as they're both in their forties now, they're about to go through what we went through when we hit our thirties, and start panicking about losing their sexual power. Fuckwittage becomes a luxury you can't afford when your hair's falling out, your stomach's hanging over your trousers - and if you try it on with your 19-year-old secretary she tells you you're a dirty old man."

"You really think so?" I said, brightening.

Upshot is Jude, Shazzer and I are going to meet in the Electric. If Daniel is there I shall coolly ignore him. We are not going to have chardonnay, just tea, then go for walk on Heath. Actually, is v.g. idea to get fresh air and exercise.

11.45pm. OhGoresworblurrygoofun. As Daniel segis plenof time. Also dun wan baby anyway. Is spoil fun. Oops.

Monday 1st August

8am. In bathroom. Gaaah! Gaaah! Have accidentally shagged Daniel. Is trail of black lacy underwear and clothes from living room to bedroom. Daniel is naked in self's bed. Am desperate prostitute and ex-whore (not in sense of former whore, but ex-boyfriend whore, if see what mean). Calm and poised. Gaaah!