On the list

I’m not sure what to make of the news that Debenhams is setting up divorce lists, as a trendy alternative to wedding lists. I imagine the idea is that the newly separated can get friends to chip in and buy them a replacement for the toaster abandoned when they scarpered from the marital home.


stacksI suppose it’s great that people want to be so upfront about their changed status, and that they want their friends to be involved as they embark on a new phase of life. I just know that, in the immediate aftermath of my split from Mr X, there was no way I could have breezed into Debenhams to look at individual egg poachers or pots of tea for one, then urge my friends to cough up for them. For one thing, I felt too ashamed about the ending of my marriage – I had stood up in front of those people (and my husband) and promised them all I was staying until death did us part, and I had turned out to be a liar. Another consideration is that quite a lot of the ‘friends’ would have been happier to strap explosives around my tummy with duct tape and set light to the fuse than to have bought me a new pedal bin (yes, I left mine behind. Apparently everyone does. To this day, my rubbish goes into an old bucket). These ‘friends’, I hasten to add, were ‘his’  rather than ‘mine’. During the marriage, I had thought of them as ‘ours’ but it wasn’t long into the legal process before all our chums divided just as neatly as they had, once upon a time, in the church, taking seats on either the bride’s side, or the groom’s.

Chattels are the last thing you think of in the full throes of a bitter divorce. They are, however, something you will return to later on. I still have pangs about our wedding china (probably more so because a friend has the same china, which I considered terribly posh and she uses it – ouch – as her everyday service. Now that really hurts). But hell, in the end, it’s just plates. I don’t think, after getting everyone to buy the stuff in good faith all those years ago, I could really turn round now and say, well actually, I’d like the same again, but maybe in a different colour. Or could I? Royal Worcester does do Howard Blue in green ….

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