Hope springs eternal

Tulips from AmsterdamWhat could warm your cockles during the interminable wait for summer more than two lovely friends standing on your doorstep on a sunny Friday morning, offering bunches of bright, spring flowers and the promise of a couple of hours of coffee, catching up and laughter?

Andrea's flowersOver warm, buttery croissants, cake, biscuits and bowls (or should I say bowels) of prunes and apricots, we covered a range of topics from university fees, a feeble attempt at politics, the merits of cranberry juice when you have cystitis (just to be clear, none of us have), children, root canal treatment and spa days.

All was going swimmingly until we broached the elephant in the room that is ever present when women of a certain age meet – that is how we’re coping (or not) with getting and indeed, looking older.  It’s fair to say that all three of us waved goodbye to our thirties a while ago and aren’t always entirely satisfied with what our forties has sprung upon us.  From greying hair to increasingly thinning skin under eyes to strange dents appearing around the mouth which can no longer be passed off as cute dimples, my friend had the right idea when she announced that life would be a lot simpler if we didn’t have mirrors.   We talked about expensive skin products, caffeine-infused shampoos and catching sight of ourselves in a shop window and for a split second wondering who on earth that stranger staring back at us is.

After my friends had gone home (I think we ended the morning on a high note) and I cleared away the dishes, I continued to ponder the great experience versus looks debate and couldn’t help remembering something that happened to me last year……

One balmy, summer’s evening, my friend Laura and I decided to go out for a quiet drink in our village.  Now when we get together, there is never any such thing and I always know that a messy night is calling when Laura starts the evening with ‘I need to make it a cheap one tonight’.  Sure enough, come last orders, we found ourselves bundled into a taxi, heading into town with about twenty pounds between us (another sign that we think we’re still twenty).

As it was such a lovely evening and I was sporting a bit of a summer-glow, I’d decided to wear a long, flowing tawny-coloured dress (I nearly said beige but I’ll save that for my eighties) with a split at the side which meant that when I sat down, quite a bit of my leg was on show (not always a good thing but it was summer and the vodkas were going down extremely well so what the heck).  I have no idea why but we ended up in quite possibly one of the biggest dives in Christendom; Yates’s Wine Lodge.

Suddenly, I didn’t just feel my age, I felt like someone was going to hand me a zimmer-frame to get my decrepit body to the bar.  My dress took on the look of something that an Edwardian lady might wear, my make-up felt dated and my gold ‘grecian’ sandals clearly needed an extra ten centimetres adding to the heel.  Everyone looked SO young!

At this point, you might think that I’m going to tell you about an incident that occurred that completely made me realise that age is immaterial and that I need to stop worrying so much about how I look and how out of place I sometimes feel on nights out.  Well sorry dear reader but I’m going to tell you about the extremely drunken young lady who stood swaying from side to side next to our table before projectile vomiting all up my leg and through the gaps in my sandals.  You remember that split in the dress I was telling you about………

But that wasn’t even the worst part of the evening!  As we decided to call it a night and headed off for a taxi, stale vomit and all, we found ourselves having to walk past a group of about ten young lads who looked to be about eighteen or so.

‘Ayup, here come the old birds’, one of them shouted, ‘shouldn’t you be tucked up in bed with a Horlicks?’

And do you know what?  I think he had a point.  After I’d given him short shrift and Laura had managed to calm me down, I couldn’t help thinking that this particular night would have been far more enjoyable if we’d stayed in the village, staggered home with a bag of chips and ended the proceedings with a hot milky drink.

But I’m not giving in!  I’m just going to make sure I go to places where the age group is closer to, if not older, than mine.  Take last week for instance, I spent a lovely couple of hours sitting on the bench at the village Cemetery……..


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