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.
I 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 ….