I have often thought that I would make an excellent hairdresser.
Not in terms of washing, cutting, styling, colouring, blow-drying
or any of the other skills a hairdresser has to learn, you understand. Indeed, my Foursome will surely testify to the Horrors of Hair Wash Night when they were littl’uns. No, I am thinking of the ability to make a meaningful contribution to any and every
conversation carried out in the salon, whoever the customer, whatever the topic. I am really, really good at this. Though I say so myself as shouldn’t, as my dear Mum would surely have chided me.
When I was a Working Gal, all those nearly seven years ago, before I cantered off the corporate carousel and into retirement, I used to listen to the Today programme on Radio 4 on my journey into work. That jourrney only took
a quarter of an hour or so (depending on the traffic) but in that short time I would invariably gather a few conversation points which I could trot out in even the earliest of morning meetings. I did occasionally have to engineer a turn in the conversation
underway, particularly if it involved football or rugby , but this simply added a frisson of excitement to the challenge. I would recommend it as a simple, but effective, ploy to ensure you are not left on the sidelines.
Yesterday in the hairdressing salon, I proved my point by managing to engage in several conversations at once, covering topics as diverse as local elections, the National Health Service and the importance
of catching chicken pox when you are young. I niftily avoided getting drawn into politics by telling the story of having to attend a General Election Count in May 1997, the day after the birth of my first granddaughter 22 years ago. I’d been up all night
the night before, welcoming the family’s new arrival - the first of a new generation for us - and by the time the final Election results were through in the early hours of the Friday morning, I was beyond sleep. I drove home as the sun rose in the sky
and thought about New Beginnings - though the situation at Number 10, while seen as historic by many, was not the new beginning I was thinking of.
had insights to offer on the National Health Service, bearing in mind recent experience - but I have an aversion to spinning tales about “my operation”. I did, however, have a couple of good stories to relate courtesy of two of the porters I met
when I was in hospital. One had discovered her true vocation as a paramedic, through pushing patients in wheelchairs twixt ward and the X-ray department while the other explained that his induction had involved spending a month in the post room. By the time
he had completed his month, he knew his way round the entire hospital site.
As for chicken pox, well I drew from the History of our Family to tell the story
of how My Foursome all caught chicken pox, one after the other, during what I termed the Chicken Pox Summer. Even my six month old baby son caught the “spotty pox” as his sisters termed it.
This is what comes of living to a Great Age - one has a treasure trove of memories to draw upon in order to keep up a conversation over the scissors and the hair dryer. Yes, indeed, if I were a hairdresser, clients would flock
to my salon just for the chat.
Though not, Mr B reminds me, for my hairdressing skills. He is flatly refusing to allow me to wield clippers on his head, despite
everyone telling him / me that there’s nothing to it. It’s fine, as it happens, because the Lovely Kay, who helps me keep my house in order, has volunteered to keep his hair in order too. He trusts her implicitly.
I wonder why he has no confidence in me? Could it be because he thinks I’ll chat too much while I’m clipping?