Archive | October, 2017

Age of the Dirt Dweller 

27 Oct

I’ve reached the stage of life when women are usually referred to as being of a “certain age”. Another phrase also comes, increasingly, to mind: “age appropriate”. I’ve ​always admired those women who seem to take great relish in growing older, who find the advancing years give them a sense of liberation. They say what they really want to and dress however they damn-well like. Then again there are women like Audrey Hepburn who age with such grace, dignity and wisdom they are an inspiration. I know I’m not either of these two stereotypes.

I aspire to be Audrey but, in fact, I’m probably nearer the aging starlets who seem to fill the pages of those ghastly magazine and tabloids with shock pictures of weight gain and plastic surgery gone wrong. Who doesn’t understand, men as well as women, the horror of watching your body change, hair turn grey and/or fall out, face sag? The image of youth is everywhere while only those who surprise us with how well they seem to have aged are admiringly remarked upon.

I’m not saying anything new here, of course, and I’d like to think there is a movement for change although I don’t really believe it. And I haven’t even mentioned how the body’s failings and increasing weaknesses ​impact on life and plans for the future. No, I only mention all this because it is so relevant to me at the moment.

Returning to the “real” world after time on the boat is always something of a shock. How truly remarkable British supermarkets are is always a delight and how easily we can access them, piling a week’s worth of shopping into the boot of the car to transport straight to the door and into huge fridges and freezers. But these same supermarkets are also the first to confront me with rails of clothes. And full length rear view mirrors. None of this seemed to matter on the boat where a discrete sarong was all that was required.

I thoroughly dislike most of the clothes deemed fashionable at the moment but it’s not only the vile colours, fabrics, patterns and frills. I know they won’t suit me. Leggings and skinny jeans were not meant to be worn with saggy bums. More expensive shops have better fabrics and sometimes a looser fit, yet when coupled with the 70’s patterns they just scream “old lady” to me. It seems I’m expected to wear the same thing my mother did when she was ten years younger. None of this will ever look good to my eyes. Age appropriate is the best I can do.

The other aspect of returning to the world of the land dweller is how it affects that obsession of mine – my hair. While deprived of hair dryer and straighteners the priorities were enough hot water to wash it in and long enough for it to dry naturally. All I had to do otherwise was tie it up and put a hat on. Restraining it is what mattered.

I’m now confronted with the increased length, the exposed grey roots and that particular shade of orange that coloured hair takes on when exposed to sun. I find that I resent the time it takes to wash, dry and style just to still be piled up onto my head because I’ve grown accustomed to having my neck cool. Life is just too short.

I begrudge the expense of the never ending colouring and highlighting to hide the real me. So my hair is turning grey. Is that really something I should be ashamed of somehow? And just who exactly am I kidding? Let’s face it, that shock when someone who looks twenty from the back and is nearer seventy when they turn around is not attractive. There you have it again, it’s not age appropriate anymore​.

I want to wear my hair any damn well way I like, yet I want to look dignified and attractive, not be a laughing stock. My roots are well and truly exposed and I’m never going to colour them again. I want to have it all chopped off. Are all these wants even compatible? I’m going to have to explain all this somehow to the hairdresser when I get Spain. They’ll need to be a damn genius.

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End of Season 

6 Oct

 We’ve bought Desi into the marina for the end of season jobs. Not that I’ll be doing many of them, I’ll head home and leave the messy bits to Neil. We’d stayed out as long as we could this time but I confess to the usual pleasure of returning to our berth. No sooner was the lazy line on and I was heading for the shower. And a hair wash. Ah, yes, oodles of shampoo, oodles of conditioner and oodles and oodles of hot water and all without having to clean the entire room.

My revelling in ample hot water, shore power and flushing toilets does, however, mask what a wonderful time we’ve had over the last few weeks. The weather has been pretty much perfect, give or take an occasional shower, which has meant lots of walks in beautiful places, discovering paths we didn’t know existed. It has also gradually become quieter and quieter. The chartered boats are now few, tripper boats almost empty (or filled with singing Greek pensioners!) and we haven’t seen a single flotilla for at least a fortnight.

To be frank, our faith in spending time in the Ionian has been renewed. Blissful days at anchor in uncrowded picturesque bays were alternated with favourite resorts, Desi effortlessly tied to the quay. And there you have it: peaceful and relaxing with minimal stress. But it’s time to leave before half-term brings the final onslaught and everywhere shuts down. On to the next adventure.