This past week has been a week of lasts. My last Friday night as a twentysomething, my last Sunday lie-in as a twentysomething, my last painful Monday morning wake-up as a twentysomething…. In case it isn’t slap-you-in-the-face obvious, this week I turn 30.
I am surprisingly not too tormented about the looming age milestone that many a woman has had a meltdown over. And I do wonder if now might be the time to stop panicking when I get asked for ID at the checkout when buying Burgundy… The wine. Not the place. Unfortunately.
As a child, I was one of the lucky ones. A birthday in half term, no school guaranteed, and one whole lazy day of presents and playing with them.
As an adult, it sucks.
Everywhere I go, I find myself amidst a crowd of little people. I am not saying I don’t like children, but I am perhaps one of those adults that only likes (and adores) the ones I know or am related to.
So, suggestions for child-avoiding, 30th-birthday-worthy weekday activities during half terms are most welcome. Answers on a postcard, please.
This time four days ago I was being kissed by the sunshine and caressed by silence. Today I am nuzzled by rain drops, sirens, children screaming and adults complaining. Goodbye Spanish campo, hello my old friend London.
Having just returned to the city from a holiday, it has taken me a moment to become accustomed to the sheer amount of souls I am once again surrounded by. It has also taken me a moment to become reacquainted with the types of souls this city is filled with…
While strolling down the aisle of a supermarket yesterday I decided, what with it being Sunday and the last official day of my holiday, I would see off two weeks of indulgent face-stuffing with a gooey cream cake.
As I perused the pastries I saw a pair of podgy fingers reaching for a chocolate lacquered choux bun; someone else had plumped for the same snack selection, although it appeared her decision needed a much more rapid wish fulfilment than mine. The bun was not her pick for the trolley, it was a mere little something to amuse her loose lips whilst she chose what she really wanted: a chunky Victoria sponge oozing with fresh cream and strawberry jam.
Now I am sure that her honest nature had her taking the empty cake box to the till with her to pay for her in store treat, but time and time again when I see these supermarket munchers, grazing on the stock as they shop, I wonder why. Perhaps they are safeguarding against that impending apocalypse that might just stop them from enjoying that box of Coco Pops the following morning. Or perhaps they can only prevail over the weekly food shop if there are tummy loving perks on the way round. It’s the ones that don’t close their mouths that are the worst. Munching on buns whilst in the middle of the supermarket, the congealed butter and cream swirling around their tongue and slapping against their cheeks.
I wonder if they’ll ID me after I’ve drunk the whole bottle of Vodka in my basket on my next grocery shop…
My Sunday was spent grappling with 3 hours and 58 minutes of film history.
As the sun was lost to the horizon and the light disappeared from the room, my tenacity was finally greeted with the line I had been waiting for. Eight of the most iconic words to be written since The Lumière brothers started this crazy craze known as filmmaking.
3 hours and 58 minutes of my Sunday afternoon spent and what did I learn?
Scarlett O’Hara is an imbecile.
Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.
I can’t remember exactly when I first started saying “one day”. I know I was very young. And I know I said it a lot. I also know that I say it as much now as I ever did then.
I am the dreamer of the family with her head in the clouds. I’ve grown accustomed to that face some people pull when I mention my plans for “one day”. Back then I made my aunt buy me an extra large sketchbook so I could map out the plans for my future abode. These days I lose minutes to the dark side that is daydreams and living in reverie.
Lucky for me while chasing my one-days I’ve found a partner in crime. Amidst seven years of citing one-days to each other, we almost didn’t realise when we were in the middle of a one-day moment last week.
Last Wednesday was a lucky day. The boy and I attended Wimbledon for the first time (the ultimate tennis event for those of you who aren’t into watching two people smash a ball around a court).
We sat munching our lunch and hiding from the rain in the corridors beneath Court 1, lamenting for the day we would be relishing in VIP treatment and swapping the overpriced ham sandwiches for the three course lunch whipped up by Michel Roux just a few doors down at The Gatsby Club.
As the usual two little words tumbled off my tongue I had an epiphany. I might “one day” be sitting pretty beside the privileged of Wimbledon, but I was also sat slap-bang right in the middle of a one-day moment right now, a moment I had dreamed of since I first found myself roaring at the TV screen alongside a nation of Tim Henman supporters in the 90s.
That said, I shall forever be a dreamer.
Without dreams, I wouldn’t have found myself back at Wimbledon again yesterday within touching distance of the almighty Roger Federer. In that front row seat the silence was palpable, the sounds were magnified and for that moment in time, the grass was a green as it was ever going to get.
I’ll always chase the “one days”, but thanks to this week, I will also remember to stop and smell the rosy aroma of those that are happening right now.
Embracing the Odd.
I was often told that if I wanted to be a writer I would need to grow a thick skin.
My papery epidermis has taken a tear or two over the past couple of years, but a comment I received last week was to prove to be my biggest test yet.
It is never nice to be told your work isn’t good. So far, I haven’t yet come across too many unhelpful comments, and most of what I am told is justified, even if I am a little reluctant at first to admit it.
Last week I was given some feedback in relation to a freelance job I was bidding for. The company had asked if I would write a trial piece for them, which is industry code for “we want you to write something for free even though we can see a huge portfolio of your work online.”
I obliged, and it was within an evaluation of this piece (which came from an anonymous ‘evaluator’ that hid behind the name of the company) that I found this pearl of wisdom…
“Your words seemed odd.”
Baffled by the buckets of brilliance that it must have taken to come up with that little whip-smart nugget, I didn’t quite know what to say.
It took the strength of a superhuman not to reply with an equally insightful observation such as “your face is odd”, but instead I printed it out and I pinned it on my pinboard.
Over the past few years, I have started to embrace my eccentricities. So if it shines through my words I’m afraid it’s just the mark of someone who’s becoming a bit more comfortable in their skin… which, funnily enough, is getting ever thicker.
I have reached the age where weddings and babies are a common occurrence amongst my friends, and so for the second time this year I find myself organising a ‘hen do’.
Whilst emailing prospective ‘hens’ my brain started to whirl and wonder, why the hell am I referred to as a ‘hen’?
The groom and his boisterous group of roisterers get to be called stags.
It made me think.
I want to be a sodding stag. A stag makes a great first impression. A stag is powerful. It’s proud. It’s got integrity, it’s got poise and it demands respect.
But as I paused for thought I asked myself, what is the point in lusting after unoriginality? Why set my sights on what the men have got?
So I have decided to go one better. I’m going with something magical, something mystifying, something that’s got grace and vigour by the bucketload, but is also shrouded in a superhuman, supernatural strength that no one can ever quite put their finger on.
When I get married, I’m having a fricking Unicorn Do.
Much like my Monday pondering, The Daily Post is asking what sparks our ideas this week. This post was inspired by my whirring brain and a couple of the many eclectic treasures I have hidden around my home.
You will have to excuse my meandering mind again today. As I was laid face down on a surgeon’s table this morning, I couldn’t help but wish I was sat on the riverside bench that the boy and I had perched on just 20 hours previously with two portions of chips and a can of Dr. Pepper. I’ve always loved what we Brits can do with a potato, but I hadn’t sampled the magic for at least six months.
So as I studied the speckles of a blue vinyl floor, I started reminiscing about chips…
I was a fussy eater until I was around 25 years old. As a kid, I was often left sitting at the dinner table long after everyone else had finished, staring at a plate filled with greens.
I would long for a portion of fries.
My Dad used to tell me I’d turn into a chip. I used to think it wouldn’t be as bad as turning into a cauliflower or a piece of broccoli. At least I could be a supermodel skinny fry with a French accent.
The burly fire fighters of London Town may be the knights of the city when it comes to burning buildings, but they’re also somewhat of a blessing with regards to the little things in life; that is, the little things that aren’t made for the introduction of little lives.
In the last year the London Fire Brigade has had to rescue over 1,500 toddlers, rug rats and teeny boppers from sticky situations, including (what I assumed was just an urban myth) several cases of Head vs. Railing. Other awkward objects included toy trains, toilet seats and traffic cones.
And all these heroic measures have crescendoed to the cool tune of a quarter of a million pounds… But perhaps Darwin would’ve just left them to it?
To the left of me a man peeled the last of his clothing from his tough tanned skin and stretched as though he’d been hankering for this freedom his entire life. To my right sat a group of women in their 60’s, ordering drinks and leaning over tables of tapas, skimming the food with unclad body parts that gravity had got the better of.
Gill told us the nudist beach existed just past the painted cliff face. The one that was brandished with a no swimwear sign. The one that we weren’t planning on passing. Apparently the nudists had spread their wings and decided their sandy quarters needed to stretch further afield.
Whilst sipping on my tinto de verano I noticed I wasn’t the only one in need of some refreshment, and that’s when I first noticed a perplexing point about nudists…
Being perhaps an ignoramus in thought, I had assumed that with the removal of one’s clothes in public came a certain adaptation in relation to one’s bodily movements. I was proved wrong when I noticed a beachgoer rummaging through his cooler box for quite some time, facing away from where I sat, bent from the waist up…
Nudism, you have not won me over.
When I was younger I used to be told I had a heart of stone. I would sit in front of a weepy film seemingly unaffected whilst the rest of my family whimpered into their Kleenex.
Perhaps this is why I am excessively empathetic as an adult.
Take the American drama, 24 for example. I would put a spoiler alert here but I don’t believe that there is anyone as archaic as me when it comes to catching up with Jack Bauer’s latest exploits. I am still just ploughing my way through series six.
Mid way through series five I was presented with a heart wrenching moment whereby the loveable chubby office geek -one who provoked the sympathetic head tilt every time he opened his mouth and uttered a mumbled sentence- met his premature end. He realised his demise just moments before it happened, his podgy little face uttering his best friend’s name as he collapsed on the floor amid a pile of brown polyester. My heart bled for this moment, I could not get over it. The image of his face would disrupt my thoughts for the next 24 hours and I would be relentlessly reminded as to how horrible this unreality actually was.
I seem to be plagued with taking fictional moments into my heart and letting them pluck at my strings until they snap. If I had a choice, I wouldn’t have it restrung.