While researching Gwyneth Paltrow’s vagina candle for an article for this newspaper, I learnt that she has a house manager.
Not a butler, because it’s not Downton Abbey, but better, because he does all her lifemin. “He’s so incredible,” Gwyneth told a breathless New York Times. “He helps me with everything.” His name is Jeffrey, and I want one.
I don’t care about any of the fancy-schmancy nonsense associated with high- net worth individuals and their ridiculous lives, but goddammit I want a house manager. I want a Jeffrey.
That way I would not be running around my house hours before I leave for a month to a remote ascetic ashram in India to chantOm four hours a day, screaming that I can’t find my hammock and why does nobody ever pick a towel off the floor and who took my USB charger and didn’t put it back.
Writing lists for everyone, then remembering that my favourite child, the dog, can’t read. Frantically doing last- minute online banking, digitally robbing Peter to pay Paul, so that the kidults will have enough money to keep themselves in pot noodle and alcopops in my absence.
Worrying that nobody will eat the massive pile of spinach and kale in the salad tray and I will return to a liquefying green life-form lurking in the back of the fridge and my so-called dependents will have scurvy from a month of Deliveroo.
Also worrying about the mouse who has been nibbling the avocados in the fruit bowl, while ignoring the mouse euthanasia kit carefully placed alongside it.
The little bastard prefers my avocados. Where is the lodger’s unemployed cat, who lives here rent-free and spends its days lying on a radiator, shedding? Where is he, Jeffrey?
More Post-Its for the lodger, the one who seems entirely unfamiliar with even the simplest domestic appliance. Drawing diagrams about how to put rinse aid in the dishwasher and sticking stern post it's on the tumble drier that say in giant letters ‘no trainers’, because if anything breaks down, there is no wifi where I am going, and if there is, I will pretend otherwise.
Instead, I leave lists of phone numbers to cover every kind of breakdown except my own imminent one, and plaster Post-Its on every plant in the house – ‘water me’ – like some kind of basketcase Alice fallen down a rabbit hole of lifemin.
More lists about which bin to wheel out on which day. Jeffrey, where the hell are you? People think luxury is having a pastry chef or a plastic surgeon on speed dial, but it’s not.
It’s having someone who will sidle up to you as you tear clumps of hair from your skull, overwhelmed and defeated by all the stupid, boring, niggly crap that clogs up your daily life, and whisper, don’t worry, I’ll sort it.
This, my friends, is the only kind of luxury worth having.