Thursday, 24 September 2015

The Change

They say it happens to all of us sooner or later. It's just that you can never quite believe it will really happen to you.

You try to ignore the early signs. The disconcerting weight gain that means old favourites no longer fit and old styles no longer suit. The loss of interest in cherished pastimes; the hours of wakefulness while the household sleeps.

Then come the secret stashes of comfort food, exhausted afternoons behind closed curtains. There's the apathy, the anger, the addiction to soaps in the need for escapism.

What keeps you going are the highs. The sudden flaming enthusiasms, companionable shopping trips, heart-to-hearts in the bedroom and, always underlying, that intoxicating sense of possibility.

The change of life is a frightening thing. It requires total adjustment of everything you took for granted. You have to rethink the way you communicate, the way you think, where and when and how you go. You know the future depends on how you cope with it. It's a balancing act between holding out and letting go, speaking or silence, cosseting or independence.

What they don't so often tell you is that, in its vividness and unpredictability, it's glorious. And today it happened to me.  For the first time, I have become the mother of a teenager!

Happy birthday to my no-longer-little girl.




Thursday, 17 September 2015

Wild Life

Lately I've been counting the days till Tuesdays. Tuesday is usually the only night in the week that I get to go out. To put the bins out. Those three minutes inhaling the darkness and feeling the damp pavement through my slippers remind me of the nocturnal life that exists beyond my sofa rug.

Yes, Tuesday nights have tided me over pretty effectively these last ten years. But last week, when I realised my bedtime had inched forward to 9.30pm, I wondered whether I should Get Out More.

It's not that I don't live a life of vigour and adventure:





It's just that my fast living usually involves waterproofing and never takes place under cover of darkness. After 16 years of marriage I feel I deserve more.

It was surprisingly easy to arrange the assignation and the church hall seemed to the most convenient place to do it. Unsure of the dress code for untamed nightlife, I borrowed the school shoes my son has grown out of and some sinuous lycra from my daughter.

'Big booty!' exclaimed a voice as I crept into the dimly lit chamber. I was disconcerted when I realised I was required to take my full-length Turpin off before the excitement could begin. At this point I didn't even know their name. Shyly I disrobed. I felt naked out at night without a wheelie bin in my arms.

I'd prepared some small talk, just to break the ice as we got to know each other, but the stranger didn't bother with preliminaries. Down on the floor I was, on all fours, trying to gyrate my behind in rhythm with theirs. I studied the stained parquet on which I'd so recently played church bingo and tried to think of England.

Then they had me up again, thrusting my stiff hips at them and massaging my cotton contours. 'Big, big booty!' cried the voice and I began to worry about bladder control.

By the end of that rendez-vous my thighs throbbed from unaccustomed demands and I was aflame. I think I could acquire a taste for nightlife, but next time I'll leave my thermal vest off  before attempting Zumba!