Virginia Barton

13 October 2017: Pot & Kettle, Round 2

13 October 2017


“Have you noticed what a lot of weight Zandra is carrying around these days?”

“No, she looks just the same to me.”

Implying shut up, I’m reading the paper and don’t wish to be disturbed.

“But you must have noticed, she used to be such a skinny little thing.”

Women often refer to other women slimmer than themselves as skinny, as if they were verging on anorexia.

“I always thought she had a rather good figure.” BH knew that would shut me up.


Trouble was, my friend Mags had just come to collect four pairs of new trousers that didn’t fit — okay, that wouldn’t do up.

“I will have to measure you” said Mags,”pull up your shirt”.

“How much?”

“You don’t want to know. Forty inches.”

It’s one thing not to have a waistline anymore, but quite another to be told that what’s left of it measures 40 inches.

“But that’s only eleven inches off my height which makes me almost square! Let’s make it thirty eight and I’ll diet madly before you come again.”

Mags smiled up her sleeve.

Oh Vanity.


The weight seems to have shifted into a lumpish sack under the rib cage. Posture is largely to blame. Come to think of it, Zandra is not only as slim as a reed but stick straight with it. She is also, most galling of all, slightly older than I am.

Was I always a sloucher? I blame the computer – I’ll blame anything rather than self.


We’ve been here before: BH, me and daughter – the latter suffering from a surfeit of ice-cream in Bologna where she spent a year learning Italian; BH was just too big and I yearned to be a size 12.

We decided on the I Love New York Diet because it guaranteed a weight loss of 10lbs in a week. It was pretty brutal for ice-cream junkies, boozers and chocoholics, but we did it with almost no deviations. Skimmed milk in tea was out: the author had no idea about English tea drinkers.

BH lost 13lbs but then he was the fattest. We girls were almost on target. I remember one particular Wednesday when lunch consisted of cottage cheese. The “permitted snacks” (instead of Kit Kats, doughnuts or Jaffa cakes) were either carrot or celery sticks or a spoonful of sesame seeds. (Had we gone on to The I Love New York Eating Holiday we might have maintained the habit of restraint. We didn’t and BH and I are as round as ever.)


“The more of you the better.” Says BH kindly, when I moan yet again about putting on weight.






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