The Youngest of the Darling Daughters is adamant that I need to spend lots of money on myself. She will brook no arguments nor will she take “no” for an answer. There is nobody quite as determined as my youngest
daughter when she puts her mind to it.
I point out that just the other day I bought myself the rather lovely royal blue blouse on which she has just complimented
me - but she retorts that spending £3.99 in the Guild Care charity shop simply doesn't count.
She marches me around Marks & Spencer's, plucking
dresses from this rack and that rack until she has a veritable arm-full. If not, indeed, both arms-full. I can tell she is a Woman On A Mission. Is it not less than two weeks, she reminds me, until the Double Celebration when Family and friends will gather
at her house to mark my 70th birthday and my granddaughter, Hazel Bagel’s 18th? Has she not completely remodelled her back garden, planted hanging baskets and purchased trendy garden furniture in honour of the occasion? The least I can do, she doesn't
actually say but is probably thinking, is to Dress For The Occasion.
Her sister, the Middle of the Darling Daughters, has bought Hazel a stunning new dress to
wear for her party. I am shown a photo on the mobile phone, and she looks predictably beautiful. And so very grown-up…
You may be surprised when I tell
you that Operation Shopping isn't our main reason for being in Whiteley. In fact we are here for another kind of operation altogether - my second cataract surgery in under six months. But, hey, why spoil a Jolly Outing with a Darling Daughter when we can have
a bit of fun before we turn to Matters More Serious.
As I parade in each dress in turn for my daughter’s kindly appraisal, she takes a quick photo
on her phone and sends it winging off to the Middle of the Darling Daughters whom we long ago appointed as our official Style Guru. Back come the comments, thick and fast; it looks as if it won't be difficult to spend, spend, spend..
One of the dresses we have carried to the changing room made me laugh just to look at it in all its multi-coloured glory. It's like The Jungle Book, I say, albeit with those full sleeves which are
all the fashion these days. My daughter can hear me giggling out loud as I pull it over my head behind the curtain, then, as I emerge, in all my Jungle Glory, we both collapse in gales of laughter.
And yet. And yet…
“You know, it actually doesn't look that bad,” we tell each other.
“I think I like it…” I say, “It's, kind of, fun and frivolous.” And therefore ideal, I tell myself, silently, for one who feels more like seventeen
It is, it is true, very colourful. It is also quite short and almost certainly far too young for one who has reached the Great Age of three score
years and ten. Which is why I throw caution to the winds and buy it.
Come the Double Celebration, my granddaughter will look grown-up and glamorous - and
very, very beautiful. I, for my part, - always provided I don't chicken out at the last minute - will pretend I am young again and dress accordingly. In full Jungle Book mode.
I will, of course, need somebody to play Tarzan to my Jane.
I haven't plucked up the courage to broach the subject with Mr B as yet…