Somehow, some of that over-aspirational perfectionism still sticks with me. So when we invite friends round for supper, it's not enough to prepare a meal. I want the food to be delicious, the house to be spotless, the garden manicured, the planters over-flowing with flowers, the kitchen clean and tidy and me, relaxed and unstressed in some "little number" that I happen to have found at a local flea market for a song.
Needless-to-say real life's not like that, even with Tod's sterling help. It's a miracle if I've managed to shower and get changed by the time our first guests arrive and I'm usually hot and bothered in the kitchen with still wet hair, peeling the spuds and wondering if the burnt sauce can be rescued.
The problem is, anything less than Superwoman perfection can feel like a failure. And it's only afterwards that I realise that perhaps we all did enjoy ourselves, even if the paving round the swimming pool (which nobody could see anyway from where they were sitting on the terrace with their drinks) did need weeding and cleaning.
It took a friend to remind me of Leonard Cohen's words ...
"Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything,
That's how the light gets in."
Thanks N. And yes, we did have a good time.