Sorry I’ve been so rubbish at blogging recently, friends. I’ve been all over the shop. Paris, Devon, Cornwall (where an extraordinarily badly-dressed man tried to make me join his cult) and also, as you will see from photo, getting on down with Turkish Bronze Medal wrestlers at the Clapham Grand. Yeah, you heard. The Clapham effing Grand. YEAH!
I finally made it there after ten years in London. And it was mega. My friends and I, wearing Mexican moustaches and faces of furious intensity, tore up that multicoloured dancefloor for a good, heroic forty five minutes (before we were sidelined by bumping and grinding people, snoggers, men in checked shirts, drunk girls showing off their bum cheeks. The usuals.) I’m glad I went. It was brilliant. I was there celebrating the hen of my wonderful friend Annie and watching her perform Meatloaf’s bat out of hell on that dancefloor – with such raw passion and force as I have never seen – was one of the defining moments of my year so far.
So, I would love to talk about how, during the last few weeks, I drank trendy cocktails at secret parlours in Paris, or how I went to exclusive dinners at the country houses of Michelin-starred chefs in Devon. But in reality I seem to have spent most of my time being caught naked by cleaners.
It started in Paris, where I was doing some work and staying with my friend Marge who you may remember from my terribly embarrassing encounter with teenagers and a dodgy bikini line.
Marge left for work on my first morning, warning me that the cleaner would arrive at 10am. The cleaner still hadn’t arrived by 11.30am and I’d kind of given up on her. Which is why I made the regrettable decision to dart naked across Marge’s flat (I can’t remember why I wasn’t wearing any clothes at 11.30am, by the way) to go into her utility room and get the washing out of the machine. I knew it was a stupid move because if, by any remote chance, the cleaning lady turned up, I would be trapped. There is a very long walk from the utility room back to the guest bedroom in Marge’s apartment. It is not one you would want to do naked, in front of a baffled French stranger.
Obviously, just as I opened the washing machine, the cleaning lady arrived. I froze. I was naked as the day I was born. To my right were a few tea towels, to my left the door, which poor cleaning lady might walk through at any moment.
SHIT, I whispered. Were I able to speak in French I could turn this into a very funny moment in which I asked the cleaning lady to kindly close her eyes as I ran past, naked. Oh and PS hi, I’m Lucy, Marge’s friend. It’d all be really fun and silly. Maybe.
But since learning Spanish I have lost the ability to speak French, even though I used to be able to. Now all that happens when I try to speak French is that a stream of Spanish comes out in a heavy French accent. It’s appalling.
So option one was not viable.
Option 2 involved streaking across the flat, yelling loudly, and hoping that the cleaning lady would leave, shocked.
I opted against this. It could scar her for life. And as I said, it’s a very long run. By the time I’d reached the safety of the guest bedroom she’d probably have regained her senses and called the police.
And so I shoved on some of Marge’s clothes, still wet from the washing machine, and marched out of the utility room.
“Bonjour!” I trilled gaily. The woman looked surprised and slightly terrified. She said quite a few things to me in French as I tried to slide unobtrusively across Marge’s gigantic flat, bra-less, clothes inside out and still dripping water because there’s something wrong with Marge’s washing machine. I had no idea what she was saying so just kept smiling and saying ‘oui’ in comforting tones. All I know is that she looked more and more upset.
I made it to the bedroom and discovered that Marge’s shorts, which I had shoved on in two seconds, were back to front and not done up at the back.
Dark times for Marge’s cleaner. I regret this incident immensely.
The next time it was my own cleaner, a lovely lady from Bulgaria. I am still suffering terrible middle class guilt for having a cleaner but without one my relationship with The Man would not be sustainable. And so we have Sofia.
Now, many years ago, my best friends from school and I went to a wedding and (obviously) got quite drunk at the reception, which was in a hotel called The Bear. The Bear is great because they have a massive great big stuffed bear who stands at the doorway with a tray of champagne when there’s a wedding on. Then he’s moved to the main lobby where he stands, surrounded by wood-panelled walls and well-upholstered furniture.
My two friends and I, giggling in the toilet at around 11pm, decided it would be funny to take photos of each other ‘Bare by the Bear.’
I’m afraid to say that we then removed our gear and, one by one, we stood next to the bear, stark bollock naked, posing for each others’ cameras. Let me make clear that someone could have walked in at any moment. It was a disgrace. A photo of each of us remains in my collection, naked as the day we were born. Bare by the Bear.
On a recent search for school photos for my friend’s amazing hen weekend in Marrakech, I found these very same photographs and got them out of the box with the intention of scanning them and emailing them to my two partners in crime. I knew it would make them laugh so much they would probably explode.
But the joke, as ever, was on me. I didn’t scan them, instead I left them on my writing desk where they were quickly obscured by piles of research notes.
Sofia came to tidy the desk up one fated afternoon the other week and chanced upon this collection of horror. I actually heard her gasp and so sauntered past to see what was going on. And there it was, now on the top of a pile of papers on my writing desk. A 7″x5″ photograph of Lucy Robinson in a posh wedding hat, high heels and basically nothing else.
Sofia was in the corner of the room, ostensibly hovering the rug but probably having a breakdown. When I let her out of the flat neither of us could look the other in the eye. I’m praying she will come back but will not blame her if she doesn’t.
The final part of this terrible trilogy happened last week when I went down to Devon to stay at The Man’s parents’ house. He is now back from his long trip working abroad and we’d decided to go camping in the west country.
His parents were away on the day that we set off so I got up and wandered naked into the sitting room to meditate. I meditate every morning and it’s actually quite nice to do it in the buff. You feel a bit more holy and hippy-like.
I was about ten minutes in when I heard a key in the front door. And here’s my error: I ignored it. I KNEW his parents were in Italy so I just presumed my ears were deceiving me.
But they weren’t, were they. The door then opened. And my God, I went from zen to sixty in literally one second. I sprinted back to the bedroom quicker than you can say ‘Oooh, her bum isn’t quite as firm as it used to be…”
Not quickly enough though. The Man’s parents’ poor cleaner, a very nice local lady – who I may well see again – saw me meditating NAKED and then sprinting NAKED into the guest bedroom. No-one looks good when they sprint naked. Least of all me. Especially after an odd night’s sleep which has left me withBonnie Tyler hair.
So it’s been a bad time for me and a far worse time for the poor women who clean the houses I’ve been staying at. I don’t even know what to say.
I suppose ‘sorry’ would be a good place to start.