Monday, 7 September 2009

Liz Jones On Exmoor

JOURNALIST Liz Jones has been causing a bit of a furore in these parts. You may have read about the London-based writer who, following her divorce, upped sticks and moved to Exmoor.

This fashionista vegan, who never goes on a date without having a Brazilian wax and dressing head to toe in designer gear, moved from her Islington home to a farmhouse bang in the middle of hunting, shooting and fishing country.

Still, that was her choice and, despite the stereotypes of inbred and insular locals, we do make people welcome down here. In fact, one of her neighbours took around a pot of jam when Liz moved in - and then had the door shut in her face because she was busy with a photo shoot. She's so convinced she's ended up on a film set of Deliverance that all attempts at friendliness are firmly rebuffed. She then proceeds to write scathingly in her Sunday newspaper column about the local people. We're all toothless, chew on straw and dine out on chicken in a basket.

So here's Liz, installed in her farmhouse, on which she spends hundreds of thousands of pounds  trying to turn into a facsimile of an Islington home, complaining bitterly when things don't quite work out as planned.

She upsets everyone by writing about the awfulness of everything and everyone in her weekly newspaper column. To add insult to injury, she has now written a book about her experiences. To give you a flavour of the woman, here's an excerpt: "My Manolos sink into the ground. "What's that ghastly brown stuff?" I shriek. "It's mud," says the estate agent. "Well it wasn't in the photos you sent me," I snap. I enter the farmhouse. It's freezing. "Where's the switch for the under-floor heating?"

I've decided to get my own back - not by shooting at her postbox as some locals did recently but by moving into her old house in Islington. It'll go something like this...

"What, no silage pit?" I ask the estate agent as he shows me around a five-storey town house.

"Sorry, we don't have silage pits in London," he replies.

I look around in vain for a Wicker Man in the back garden. "How do you appease the Harvest Gods?" He smiles nervously. No matter.

There's some kind of strange stainless steel kitchen arrangement. That'll have to go. I'll get my friend Norm up from Devon to whack in a few pine units; I know he's got some knocking around in his shed.

The floors are wooden - WOODEN for goodness sake! Haven't these people heard of carpet? I stare at a blank space on the wall, wondering what I could put there.

"The previous owners had a wall hanging, woven from the pubic hair of Amazonian indians in that spot," the estate agent tells me. I stare at him in horror and think longingly of my lovely watercolour landscapes painted by Auntie Doris. Or there's that mounted fish or the deer antlers, they would look just right.

He opens the bathroom door with a flourish. "It's a wet room," he says proudly. Wet? No one told me about damp in the house. Another job for Norm. I've had my eye on a lovely avocado suite he ripped out of a house five years ago. They're really rare, apparently, and you can't get suites in avocado - or brown for that matter and how practical a colour is that in a bathroom? - for love or money these days.

"Can't you just see a Philippe Starck bed in here?" he asks as he opens a bedroom door. Philippe Starck? Who's he when he's at home? If my bed was good enough for Grandma then it's good enough for me.

I turn my attention to the neighbourhood. "Where can I go shooting?" He looks puzzled. "You know, bang, bang with a rifle?" He runs his fingers around his shirt collar and gulps. "I believe you need to go further east if you want to join a gang although I believe knives are more popular than guns in those parts."

Gangs? Knives? What is the man wittering on about? Do they throw knives at pheasants and rabbits? How primitive.

"And the nearest pub?"

"There's a lovely little Greek taverna just down the road."

"No, no. A pub," I say impatiently. "Where you can get a nice prawn cocktail, scampi in a basket and rum baba." He shakes his head.

"Where's the nearest Oxfam shop?"

"I'm not sure there's one near here. Did you want to donate some items?"

"Donate items? Is he mad! This jacket with rolled up sleeves and floor length tweed skirt didn't jump off the shelf in Marks and Sparks, you know. I haven't bought anything new in 20 years, not even my knickers. A few stains never did anyone any harm.

Islington isn't quite what I imagined. Never mind, as soon as I move in I can write insultingly and with appalling snobbery about how awful the area and its people are. Then I can turn it all into a book, sell it and make a fortune.

Then I might even buy my next cardi in Peacocks.







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15 comments:

Jay said...

Hahaha ... Great stuff! I would definitely be harassing that snob if she moved into my redneck town.

And, I can probably find a nice Velvet Elvis painting to give you as a housewarming gift in your new home. It will add a little class to the place. ;-)

Wine and Words said...

What a piece of work, that Liz. I love how you turned it around. So pointing. But I think I would prefer pot shots at the mailbox!

Akelamalu said...

LOL you could beat her hands down in a slanging match ! Why doesn't she just move back to 'civilisation' silly cow!

rachel said...

Ho ho, very amusing. I don't know who Liz Jones is, but she sounds nasty. I'm going to post about a (lovely warm and welcoming) Scottish B&B I stayed in last week that had decor you'd like for that house in Islington, including a crocheted loo roll cover.

laurie said...

i don't know who liz jones is, so this is probably a silly question, but ... could she be being ironic?

she does indeed sound nasty. so nasty that it's hard to believe she means it. but i have no idea.

Tracey said...

Love it!!

do you know what i'd do to the snooty piece.. put some dog poo in a bag, shove it through her letterbox alight!! then when she stamps on it in panic as it lands on her door mat blazing.. she gets covered in the lovely pungent stuff ;-)

jobs a goodun hahaha

herschelian said...

Anyone who read her statement that although she keeps hens she would never eat their eggs as it would be "vaguely cannibalistic" will have realised that she is more than a bit nuts...she maybe a clever journalist, but she doesn't seem to understand people at all. She is vegan, anorexic, with a huge superiority complex, and I suspect that deep down she is a lonely and unhappy woman.

Now she moans that her mailbox has been shot at "with a bullet" and she is distressed that the locals don't like her and she says she is frightened that they intend her harm. Diddums. Nobody is out to get her, I suspect her mailbox was used for airgun target practice by some local lads -( bullets my a*se!)they certainly use road signs for that purpose. Still they may have achieved something, she may scuttle back to her natural territory in Upper Street N1.

Jennysmith said...

The old bag! And there was me feeling for her isolation. Always thought that vile husband was an absolute git. But that doesn't justify her patronising country life.

It always seemed to me like relocating in the country was like a toy or novelty to her.

Good blog xxx

The Green Stone Woman said...

People like her have no business moving to the country and then trying to citify their surroundings and expecting the local population to adapt to her program and lifestyle. Too bad she is there, but is it just a whim? She'll probably move away when the novelty has worn off. I mean, she didn't even have the decency to accept a jar of homemade jam...

Milla said...

great blog - came here from elizabethm. Have you read ExmoorJane on Liz Jones. She even got onto Woman's Hour on the back of it! Am I starting to feel sorry for Liz J? Nah.

curmudgeon said...

BWAH!!! You inbred knuckledraggers clearly fail to understand the woman and her needs!




Yes, I'm being sarcastic.

Flowerpot said...

Loved it, Table! That woman is something else - Liz I mean. I've been reading of her exploits - not the column but about her column. She sounds seriously a) deranged and b) incapable of making friends.

Maria said...

Oh, you are one wicked scamp...

The Woman who Can said...

Oh I love it! Sadly for her, I've never heard of her, but I read you - who's the winner there then?

Bed and breakfast Exmoor said...

I don't think she is as bad as everyone makes out. There are a lot of complications especially with old buildings, building regulations and unreliable builders. Although I can see why she riles others.