Diary of an Unsmug Married

By: Polly James



(Or most of it, anyway. Mum didn’t give me this diary until my birthday. I think she got it in the sale.)


Max has only gone and organised a surprise party for my so-called ‘big’ birthday tonight. I bet that counts as grounds for divorce. I could cheerfully kill him anyway, even though he tries to make up for it by bringing me breakfast in bed.

‘You’d better eat fast, Molly,’ he says. ‘And you’ll have to leave opening your presents until tonight, otherwise we’ll both be late for work. We must have had a power cut while we were asleep – the time on the alarm clock’s out by miles.’

‘What is wrong with you two?’ says Connie, coming into the room uninvited, and – even worse – followed by Josh. ‘You must be the only people in the universe who don’t use your phones to wake you up. Apart from geriatrics, of course.’

‘They’re nearly geriatric themselves,’ says Josh, whose opinion no one asked. ‘Especially you, Mum, as now you’re another year older.’

That’s not half as funny as he and Connie appear to think it is, and I’d disinherit the pair of them if I owned anything worth inheriting. As I don’t, I decide I’d better rise above the provocation and get ready for work instead. I leave Connie and Josh fighting over what’s left of my breakfast, which seems to involve fencing with slices of bacon.

It’s only when I arrive at work that I realise that I am wearing exactly what I will still be wearing when my stupid party starts, as soon as I get home again: an un-ironed dress, to match my equally un-ironed face. And I’ve left my make-up at home! This evening’s doomed to be a disaster, before it’s begun.

I just hope, for Max’s sake, that he’s at least had the sense not to invite anyone younger than me … including our children.


Bloody hell, my head hurts. Thank God I’d already arranged to take today off as holiday, so at least I can lie around on the sofa this morning, groaning intermittently. I am never drinking gin again.

Last night was as horrendous as predicted, and now Max is sulking because I didn’t look surprised enough when I came home from work to find my birthday party in full swing. So far, I’ve managed to refrain from pointing out that his decision to tell me about it in advance may have diminished the element of surprise somewhat – but I did mention that an astonished expression would be a lot easier to fake if I’d had Botox like Annoying Ellen from next door.

Why the hell did Max have to invite her? She seemed quite nice when she first moved in, a few weeks ago, after her divorce came through – but before I’d downed my first gin, she’d already started swanning around announcing to all and sundry how much she loves sex, and how all she wants for her birthday is a man with a big you-know-what.

Every male in the room immediately began to salivate at this bloody nonsense, presumably imagining his particular appendage as Ellen’s saviour, while we wives became ever-more invisible and murderous, particularly me. I have gone right off Ellen; and gin. Not to mention birthday surprises.


So there’s to be a ConDemfn1 Coalition, and the hung Parliament is finally over – a missed opportunity, if ever I saw one. I’d quite like to have hung a few MPs myself, starting with The Boss, aka Andrew Sinclair. He’s still the MP for Lichford East, by some miracle, not that he seems grateful for that.

He spends the whole day driving Greg and me nuts, shouting about why ‘that idiot’ Gordyfn2 didn’t resign sooner, to ‘save the situation’, and moaning about the Labour Party being relegated to Her Majesty’s Official Opposition.fn3

We can’t see what difference that’ll make – or not to Andrew, anyway – given that he’s been voting against his own party for the last decade at least. That’s probably why he didn’t lose his seat, though he puts it down to the Just for Men he applied in the run-up to polling day. I doubt he’s right, seeing as his new ‘hair’ looks as if it’s been painted on, but Andrew says it proved a much bigger asset than Gordon Brown’s ‘satanic smile’.

Greg and I don’t argue with him, as we’re just relieved that we still have jobs, for what they’re worth – which is a lot, according to The Boss. Apparently, the country can’t run without MPs’ staff, ‘especially not those promoted to senior caseworkerfn4 in a moment of weakness’ (i.e. me).

‘So we’ll have no more self-indulgent holidays taken to get over birthday hangovers, Molly,’ he says at lunchtime today. ‘All hands are needed on deck from now on – at all times – for The Fightback.’

Andrew is on his way out of the office when he makes this last statement – en route to his favourite watering hole – so I ask him how he can afford to take time off. He doesn’t have an answer to that.


I’ve been so busy planning Ellen’s murder in my head all day (ever since she waved to me and Max this morning, while wearing very little) that now I’ve smoked a bloody cigarette, without realising I was doing it. So that’s my post-birthday no-smoking resolution up in smoke.