Posted by Tania Kindersley.
Sometimes, age does teach you things. Sometimes, it teaches you bugger all, but that is another story. One of my very, very small, but quite true lessons is:
Quite often, things are not as bad as you think they will be.
You see? It’s like I am channelling Confucius. I should write a book.
What I mean is that quite often I dread something I must do. I put it off, even though I know procrastination is the work of Satan. The more I put it off, the more it grows into a three act opera in the amphitheatre of my own head. Then, finally, sweating blood and bullets, I get it together to do the damn thing, and it’s nothing like as bad as I thought.
I had this the other day with my library books. (You see the glittering life of daredevil and high drama that I lead?) They were late, I had renewed them more than once, and there was one I could not locate. I had run mad visions in my head of the librarians saying: ENOUGH. They would surely drum me out of the covenant, and I should never be able to borrow books in this town again.
Of course, nothing even remotely like that happened. The lovely librarian appeared to be delighted to see me. We had a delightful chat. I paid my fine, apologised, got the errant book renewed, and went home and ate some toast and marmalade.
It could not have been nicer or more ordinary, in the very best sense of that word.
This morning, I had another similar reminder. I had, for complicated and top secret reasons, to go and have my photograph taken. I loathe having my photograph taken. I suppose it’s a stupid vanity thing. I vaguely think I look slightly presentable; then I see a picture of myself and it’s more Ena Sharples than Annette Bening. Then I hate myself for minding, because I know that kind of thing is not important. Cheekbones and skin tone count for nothing. What matters in life is that you have the secret of a really good chicken soup, or can make people laugh, or fight the good fight against moral relativism.
Anyway, I was late; I could put it off no longer. I marched crossly down to my sister’s house, to the Younger Niece and her camera. I was excessively grumpy about the whole thing.
In the end, it was the most fun. The Niece was brilliant with the camera, shrieked with laughter the whole time, and paid me an excess of compliments. She has the trick of that; of saying the kindest and most delightful things.
I had a chat with the Sister and the Brother-in-law, who was busy monitoring the Norwegian weather reports. We have a party on Friday, and need the good weather, and apparently the Norwegians are the most accurate, when it comes to Scotland. The Brother was making a dauphinoise, still wearing his hat.
‘I love that hat,’ I said.
‘Sometimes I sleep in it,’ he said.
(It is a brightly coloured, intricately patterned beanie.)
I went home and looked at the pictures, and they weren’t bad at all. I am forty-four, and I’ve been round the block a bit. I’m never going to get that shine of youth back, and that’s all right. And anyway, as long as I can still make soup, it really does not matter one little bit.
Poured with rain all day today, so here are some pictures from the last few days, when the clouds lifted:
The special blinky eyes:
And the wild smiling:
No hill today; it is hiding in the cloud.