Jealousy is terribly unattractive, obviously pointless, leaves a sour taste in the mouth and the Gin Blossoms wrote a cool song about it that used to be our Getting Ready To Go Out anthem.
I try very hard not to succumb but certain things tip me over the edge. Like the perfect winter boot on someone else. Or ordering the wrong dish from the menu and watching the right dish whizz under my nose to the person opposite me. Little things are safe to be envious of. Big things lead straight to ruin. By big things I mean popping over to someone’s stately home for a spot of silver service lunch and a turn around their walled garden. Which is what I did last week after a friend suggested I meet her stately friend for some advice on developing my B&B empire. After several wrong turns I eventually found a majestic tree lined drive, neat fields of lambs either side and glimpses of a couple of shepherds huts through the trees. I crunched on to the gravel forecourt and instantly lost my heart to a truly stunning house of stature and intent. The Friend of a Friend bounded down the steps to greet me, practical in a quilted gilet, trug over arm, Labrador at heel. Honestly. She was marvellous, generous with her time and advice and shushed my mortified stammering at how poles apart our businesses were. We toured the holiday let estate cottages beautifully decorated with a coastal edge, put heads around shepherds huts with pot bellied log burners, collected pastel shaded eggs from the picture perfect hens and waved at the gardener, the never ending log pile and the tennis court. By the time I was shown the linen room (a cupboard just isn’t big enough) I had to stifle an inappropriate sob and stop myself chaining my leg to the radiator (cast iron of course). I headed back down the drive with lame promises of a reciprocal visit and a million mental notes on upping the B&B ante. And there it was, BOOF, right between the ribs, a big fat punch of jealousy. I am going to hell in a handcart…or shepherds hut.