Digested week: home schooling has turned me into an anti-fractioner | Lucy Mangan


A new week dawns and fresh madness breaks upon us. Sex and the City is to be relaunched as a 10-part limited series under the title Just Like That – without the legendary sex goddess Samantha Jones. Think The Beatles without John. Jaffa Cakes without the smashing orangey bit. A pair of Louboutins without the scarlet sole. For the scarlet soul of the show she surely was.

The rest of the quartet were, at best, a labour of love for viewers. Linchpin Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) was an exhausting mass of neuroses and learned helplessness distilled into one tiny, starving, designer-clad frame, Charlotte (Kirsten Davies) was seven parts idiot, and Miranda (Cynthia Nixon)was a ballbreaker who morphed into a self-sabotaging overthinker who was only allowed to get her man (Steve, also seven parts idiot) when production had finally worked out what to do with her hair. Samantha (Kim Cattrall) strode with a blessedly unshakeable confidence through every scene, like a penis-seeking missile, offering expert relief not just to any male (and occasionally female) genitals in the vicinity but to viewers too.

A longstanding animus between Cattrall and Parker is thought to be behind Cattrall’s refusal to get onboard the new outing. But without her, as Carrie (almost) said at the beginning of every column that somehow kept her in Blahniks and her brownstone, I cannot help but wonder if there’s really any point.

On the other hand, if someone would like to remake Schitt’s Creek for me without the mayor, a character so viscerally repellent that I have to watch with a bucket by my feet, let the record show that I am very much in the market for that.


Victoria and David Beckham are building a lake in lockdown at their £6m Cotswolds home, while I – in, for the avoidance of doubt, my non-£6m, non-Cotswolds home – am trying to understand improper fractions and the various manipulations thereof, thanks to home-fecking-schooling.

I thought that I was getting used to the punishing necessity of having to believe six impossible things before breakfast. Today’s gamut, for example, ran from “contracted suppliers of £30 lunch parcels to impoverished children furnishing forth £5 of food per time in the form of carrot stumps, single halves of tomatoes and tuna portions literally packed into the little bags banks use to keep coins in, via Trump’s name found carved on to an endangered manatee’s back, to the government delaying any sort of testing of airport travellers for another week, a year into a pandemic.

But the idea that fifteen-sevenths can or should ever be a thing, let alone that they can or should ever be multiplied or divided by nine-fifths or their ilk, is utterly beyond me and I will have no part in it. If we do live in a post-fact world as some insist, let us at least embrace an anti-vulgar fraction movement as well as anti-vaxxers.

Wimbourne model town
Look! Brexit didn’t make Britain small! It made Britons bigger! Biggerer than ever before! Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA


The UK wakes up to the news that we have officially passed the 100,000 Covid deaths milestone and that across the pond a gorilla in a zoo has tested positive for the virus.

A lightening of spirits and possibly a brief pause in the packing of survival kits and plotting of routes on Ordnance Survey maps (no point relying on Google Maps when the grid goes down, my non-prepper friends!) to the remoter reaches of the Welsh valleys and Scottish Highlands was occasioned in the afternoon, however, when the news came that Donald Trump had been impeached. Again.

A small reassertion of justice by itself, of course, but it does also point the way – if you squint really hard – to some possible future reckoning for our own government. Let’s research the law regarding manslaughter in our bunkers and prepare our opening speeches, in case there are any people left to prosecute or principles left to defend by the time we re-emerge.


Since smashing my ankle to bits just before Christmas, I have been living a mini-lockdown within the macro one. Limited by having the upper body strength of Silly String, my walker (not even crutches! I’m risible!) and I have travelled no further than the loo and bed for three weeks.

But today liberation dawned with the arrival of my knee scooter. It looks like a little trike and does exactly what it says on the tin. You put the knee of your bad leg on the seat, grab a firm hold of the handlebars and scoot with the other leg. The whole world opens up in an instant. I can roll anywhere on the ground floor in an instant. I can stand safely, balanced on knee and foot, and make a cup of coffee and even, I suspect, a basic meal. I can even – get this – leave the house. I mean, I’m not going to, obviously, because of all the coughing gorillas I assume are filling the streets by now, but it’s nice to know that I could if I had to.

And of course the lifting of one set of restrictions naturally raises the hope that one day the burden of the other will lift too. One dose of vaccination, then the other, one cautious but determined step at a time, and we will all walk freely once more.

Workers' party congress in Pyongyang
The Workers’ party agrees – Colin is the best Bridgerton brother. Photograph: KCNA/Reuters


I don’t know, I don’t know – can a metaphor be writ too large? Try this one for size: Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner’s security detail have apparently had to be rented a $3,000-a-month apartment just for its bathroom facilities after the couple refused to let them use any of the six lavatories in their Washington DC mansion.

I know – for the lesser Trumps to go out on an actual toilet story is almost too good, it’s almost too much. But it’s true. For a while, the Secret Service agents made do with portable toilets and trips to Mike Pence’s and Barack Obama’s homes. But it was eventually decided that the taxpayer would have to stump up in order to provide a reliable relief station for the people who were supposed to be available to protect the couple 24/7 rather than scurrying around begging for basic sanitation rights.

Final proof, if it were ever needed, that the rich are different and that Alexander Knox was right – the more they have, the less they’re worth. The Trumps alone have clogged the system long enough. Flush the lot.


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