Jaqui's Daily Blog

Girlhood, a Long Walk and the 16 / 61 Principle

Today I became A Girl.


It wasn't difficult. It didn’t involve painful injections of Botox, or a face-lift or even a casual swish about with an air-brush. Moreover it only cost £10 and this modest outlay will allow me a whole year of Girlhood. When it comes to rolling back the years, it has a lot to recommend it.


“The Girls” is an organisation for women of a certain age. As in, women who are not exactly “girls” anymore.  Today My Friend Eleanor (who has been a girl for simply ages) took me to meet Eve, the Chief Girl, to see if I would be a suitable addition to the Girly Gang. We sat in Eve’s beautiful back garden where I gently, but firmly, fought off the attentions of her dog, Hendrix, while filling in all my details and paying up my £10 annual subscription.  Presumably the fact that I had My Friend Eleanor to vouch for me was proof enough of my suitability to become a Girl as Eve did not ask me any difficult questions querying my motivation or testing my computer skills.  Eve gave me a list of instructions for accessing the Girls’ website and that was it: I am now, officially, A Girl.


The thing is, I felt like a girl, even before I became one.  Why is it that, however old we become, we still think of ourselves as being in the first flush of youth?  Unless we are six years old, of course, when we will tell everyone we are “nearly seven.” Or 99, when we will tell everyone we are “nearly a hundred.”  It’s a long time since I was six and a good few years to go till I reach 99 (God willing!) so for the present I will be like everyone else and feel younger in my head than I do in my legs.


Ah, my legs! This morning I set off with four other Girls for the monthly Seafront Stroll.  I think I told you about the last one, a month ago. I am hoping I won’t repeat myself – especially as this is a sign of age and now that I am A Girl memory lapses and repetition should be A Thing of the Past. Last month we were all swaddled up in woolly hats, scarves and gloves in a bid to fend off the bitter cold. How different it was today, with a warm sunshine to put a girlish spring into our steps. Thanks to the sunshine, we were able to sit outside the Bluebird Cafe, where we stopped for elevenses, and again at the Seahorse Cafe where we ate our lunch.  It felt just like summer.


On the way back, My Friend Eleanor introduced me to the Principle of 16/61.  Keep reading, won’t you, because I think you will like this one.  We were walking behind a couple who both looked quite young – except that the woman was using a stick.  When we overtook them and saw them in close-up, it turned out that they were not young at all but quite old and (in the case of the fella) somewhat grey and grizzled. It was a classic example, My Friend Eleanor said, of the 16 / 61 Principle – where someone looks 16 from the back view and 61 from the front. Men with pony-tails and women with long hair flicked up at the ends tend to be classic examples of 16 / 61.


Now we don’t have that many mirrors in our house. I am not sure if this demonstrates a praise-worthy lack of vanity or a less-than-praise-worthy lack of attention to basic grooming.  It means that I don’t know what I look like from the back and tend to avoid studying my front view except when I’m cleaning my teeth. For all I know I, too, am a classic example of the 16 / 61 principle.  It’s not something you ask other people, is it? 


There is every possibility that tomorrow I will be hobbling about like an Old Woman as a consequence of today’s long walk. My legs are already complaining that I am not as young as I like to think I am.  I am refusing to listen to them, spoil-sports that they are. After all, am I or am I not a fully-paid up Girl At Heart?


The Oldest Grand-daughter is sixteen today. Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen!  And yes, I can confirm that she looks 16 from every angle....

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Latest comments

23.04 | 20:15

lovely and heartwarming - an inspiration to us all x

09.03 | 12:07

Love this story told as ever beautifully.x

10.11 | 21:31

What a super account of a special event. I loved meeting you last night and seeing your creation come together. I’m so pleased you got so much from the activity

07.09 | 13:17

I have broad shoulders x

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