Magazine article The Spectator

Green Wife

Magazine article The Spectator

Green Wife

Article excerpt

'Hello Barbara, ' Emma says as she hauls the Hoover in through the front door. I can't disguise my confusion. 'As in Tom and Barbara. You know, from The Good Life.' I don't get it, at first. I still think of myself as this London chick -- well, probably old broiler would be more accurate. But definitely a little bit urban and sophisticated. I can hold my own at a media dinner on Madison Avenue -- at least I'm sure I could, if I hadn't given up flying. Our house has all sorts of cool stuff in it. Hasn't it?

I look around. There are sheets and pants hanging from a makeshift drying rack in the hall, which has seen heavy action since we gave up the tumble dryer last year. Across the way, a junior thicket of broad beans seems to have sprouted in the spot where I've always planned to spend afternoons reading on Granny's old Corbu recliner. I can't even see my desk for papers, photographs and old copies of the Ecologist waiting to be filed.

'I wish, ' I say wryly, thinking of Felicity Kendal's enviable bum. I'm about to explain how far we are from keeping a pig when I get a whiff of about-to-be burnt bread and rush into the kitchen to save my sunflower and flaxseed spelt loaf from the oven. It's not burnt, but also not exactly risen. And it seems to be stuck to the side of the pan, for some reason. Perhaps hemp oil -- which I used instead of olive, in a desperate attempt to infiltrate some Omega 3s, 6s and 9s into our diets -- isn't up to much in the anti-stick department?

It's been about five years since we last ate fish, and I'm worried that Notty's concentration in class may be suffering from our determination to save world fish stocks. …

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