For as long as I can remember, I've hated being photographed. My best friend couldn't claim I'm photogenic (my passport was once returned to me at Customs with the words 'I'd change that, it's doing you no favours'): let's just say there's a reason this blog is illustrated by a picture of a road.
So when Grazia magazine said they wanted to shoot me for an article I'd written about what it was like giving up my Proper Job, I just hoped it would all be over quickly. What follows, folks, is the truth about what it takes to turn a haggard old crone into the Grazia-fied stranger in this week's edition. And no, the lovely mac is not really mine. Sob.
That one oh-so-natural picture took a team of five (photographer, photographer's assistant, stylist, makeup artist, shoot stylist) half a day to create. They arrived, trailing two rails of clothes and a high street's worth of shoes, just as the builders were fitting a new door to replace the one wrecked in the burglary. I think it's fair to say ruralshire builders are not used to the fashion world.
Nor, I'm fairly certain, were the sensible matrons out walking their dogs nearby who rounded a corner to find me poncing across the river meadows in (borrowed) designer labels trailed by the full Grazia entourage, with the makeup artist dashing forward every five seconds to top up my lipgloss, while I tried vainly to look as if I was just out for a stroll.
Freddie was a little confused ('Why are we going for a walk but not walking anywhere?'). The dog let itself down by licking the camera. And the lovely Paul & Joe dress didn't quite zip up my non-model back: thank God for that mac, really.
Still, the end result is about the only photograph I've ever seen of me that I quite sort of like. The bad news is that left to my own devices, I look absolutely nothing like it.
Oh, and my son keeps asking loudly in public places when 'the makeup lady is coming to do you again'....