Hot House

Thanks, but no thanks

Thanks giving in Highgate

Remember nightmare mother from Lyra’s prep, Talitha? Yoga influencer? I thought Lyra leaving the school might put her off the scent (she and Will had an excruciating masked flirtation after Covid), but no.

Here we are, years later, and she “reached out” in October. Which means only one thing. We are due one of Talitha’s Thanksgiving Dinners.

We had to do this in 2021, so I already know I will be sick with envy at her flat — it’s in Highgate, so she keeps wanging on about The Heath and swimming in the minging ponds, while I try not to cry about the amazing lighting, kitchen extension, bathrooms etc. Too sick with envy to eat, in fact, which is fine as the only thing more disgusting than a Thanksgiving dinner is one of Talitha’s vegan Thanksgiving dinners.

But the real kicker is that between the tofu turkey and the dairy-free, weirdly metallic-tasting coconut pumpkin pie (vom) we are required to sit in a circle and take turns saying — out loud — what we would like to give thanks for. I mean, come on! I already see a therapist, and a couples therapist, why must an already crap dinner party turn into group therapy?

In 2021 I remember Will saying something about how grateful he was to finally be able to see everyone without their masks, and Talitha clearly melting, while I wanted to shoot him. And I had to mumble something about how it was nice to go to a socially-distanced opera (it wasn’t).

Anyway, we’re going to have to dig really deep this year, because I have a massive list of things I am not grateful for, and an almost non-existent list of #blessings. May I please vent the former? Thank you.

✖ Will’s panic over impending VAT on school fees. Literally his only topic of conversation. He’s going to try to talk about The Cost Of Living in public, next. Which, in Will’s world, is the fact that I put a moratorium on orders from Mr Porter (give up, you will never look cool, DH), and that his bonus this year was the same as last year.

✖ My secret night panics over VAT on school fees. Even though it’s actually the grandparents that pay them. But what if this “tax on the one per cent of kids” proves too much for the Boomers. Then what? Are we literally looking at Camden School For Girls?

✖ Weird damp patch in utility room. Which I’m convinced smells like soda bread. Not in a good way.

✖ Labour won’t get in, will they? Sorry, still on the VAT on school fees panic.

✖ Mice. Again. What’s the point of the sodding cat if we still have mice?

✖ My personal trainer has decided to go and become a doula. What am I meant to do? Have another effing baby? According to Will this is actually not a bad idea because apparently families with “multiple children” at private schools get some kind of tax break on the VAT. I literally cannot understand how this man works in finance. Has he forgotten how much a baby costs? At least we now know where Hector’s dyscalculia originates.

Basically, I don’t have much to give when it comes to the gratitude announcements. The new fillers I’ve just had in my temples? Genius, but not to be shared. Fact that children going to university is a year closer? Makes me sound like a bitch. Wait — got it. I really fancy the Rentokil man. LOL. And these mice really aren’t going anywhere. #Blessed.

This article is taken from the November 2023 issue of The Critic. To get the full magazine why not subscribe? Right now we’re offering five issues for just £10.

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