When my parents decided that we would move to the UK when I was but a blossoming ‘tween, one of the (many) propaganda stories they hinted at (along with the acquisition of a pony, our own stables and a chuckling brook round the back) was that many young Brits-by-the-sea enjoyed “beachcombing” as a very suitable pastime. (I expect that these badass individuals spent the rest of their time modelling cabled sweaters on knitting patterns … just saying). The allure of a metal detector may or may not have been mentioned at this time but even at the advanced age of 13 I realized that this was severely uncool and was just not going to happen on my watch. Continue reading
It’s a well-known writing exercise to think of a common household object, (shoes for example) and just dwell on it until memories and associations begin to present themselves and the words begin to flow. To this end, I’ve been thinking about violets – many different kinds – and I’m surprised and kind of delighted that I have so many diverse feelings around a flower which is often considered boring and supermarket- frumpy.
Such misplaced snobbery must be addressed. Continue reading
When I was a young woman just starting out in the working world, I often worked with “older” women whom I looked down upon for being perpetually cynical, negative and hard-boiled. Often they were also the kind of women who might sit on stools at the bar in their fifties, sharing limericks (and possibly Tequila) with sailors. As a confident newlywed, I once admitted at work that my new husband and I had opted not to have a television at all.
“Ha!” one of them snorted. “I give you 6 months!”
Since I felt infinitely superior in my own lofty, more evolved sphere, I was able to let this kind of low remark pass but I remember thinking privately I will never become like them.
I don’t think I have, exactly; but post-divorce, much older now, I see the whole thing with a different lens, fully appreciating the loss of a soft, golden innocence, the piercing sadness of betrayal and the kind of resentment that can form hard, sharp crystals in the heart. Continue reading
I cannot imagine the following anecdote ever happening now, (especially when I consider the many superior ‘Yummy Mummies’ I often encounter) but back in the day, one of my own mother’s favourite go-to activities to amuse me (in a pinch) was the privilege of reorganizing her handbag for her.
I know, I know; but I really liked doing it and felt important knowing that I had been entrusted with such an intimate and grown-up task.
Once I had corralled together all the rumpled tissues that were still scented with Chanel No.5 and helped myself to a stick of Wrigley’s spearmint gum, I moved on to the trio of lipsticks found in one of the pockets. The trio seldom varied and obviously, I tried each one (this goes without saying) but I assessed the packaging first, deciding which was the most elegant, the slimmest, the most bejeweled.
The names were also of great import to me and I think I can safely say, that I trace back my fascination for getting just the right name for a colour (something my friends universally tease me about even now, asking what colour their dress is and then saying “Oh, come ON – aren’t you going to say Electric Tomato or Cant-Elope with Me” etc.etc.).
Maybe I should have been in marketing for OPI nail polish – we just don’t know — but I can say with some conviction that it all began with these few lipsticks found in the scented depths of my mum’s purse. Continue reading