Women’s lists help keep the world running smoothly

14 August 2017 2:00PM

The Duchess of Cambridge has appointed a new private secretary.

As a rule, the lives of the royals hold very little interest for me, except for my constant need to send Prince George some jeans, joggers and T-shirts featuring monsters sticking their tongues out. (The child is always in sensible shorts and a checked shirt; there’s time to dress like that when he is 42.)

Anyway, this new appointment of a ‘Girl Friday’ did set me thinking about the sheer joy of having someone to make your life run smoothly.

Living around here, most women’s right-hand woman is also known as their mother.

For those of us who aren’t royalty, a celebrity or rolling in cash, the only person we can count on when we need something done in the next hour is our mams.

(Men usually don’t count, as they have to be told more than twice, rarely make a list and need to be exhaustively walked through buying birthday cards, gifts for five-year-old girls or how to book a hair appointment to “tidy up my roots and put some extra blondes in”.)

Whether it is picking up your kids or a parcel, doing extra loads of washing when your machine breaks down or tracking down someone whose cousin is really good at wallpapering, these long-suffering mothers simply roll their eyes with the words “I’ll pay you when I see you” ringing in their ears.

In a short straw poll of women, all of us would sell part of our souls for a personal assistant.

If we win the National Lottery, one of the first things we would all do is hire someone to sort our stuff. Not for yachts and private jets, we just want a person to lift life’s tedium and grind from our shoulders.

And one of the reasons we would choose a ‘right-hand woman’ is because, as a general rule, females love a list.

This may make us sound like a dull breed, but without a list the world would probably stop turning and households everywhere would run out of toilet rolls, kitchen foil and Lemsips.

No self-respecting woman scoffs at a list; they are too essential to our sanity.

We do have fantasies of tearing up lists and running screaming into the distance without any idea of where the hell we are going, but we know this will never happen.

Civilisations would ultimately crumble if a woman didn’t plan ahead.

I was once with a group of women when one of them admitted to not making lists, saying the words out loud “I just wing most of it”.

There was a deafening silence as we all looked at her with a mixture of envy, disdain and pity.

She’s the one in the supermarket, we thought, who is there throwing items into her trolley willy nilly, no meal planning whatsoever.

It was like we were in the presence of an alien; we were unsure how to proceed with a woman who goes on holiday for two weeks and hasn’t made a list.

But I know this: if she runs out of sunscreen and clean underwear on day five, she only has herself to blame.

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