This birthday girl is young at heart but in bed by 10pm

Lynne Graphic 18/2

Lynne Graphic 18/2 - Credit: Archant

‘So, what would you like for your birthday, Lynne?”

The question sets off a small tic in my eye. All those years as a child when I frittered away my life wishing I was older, I could have been glorying in being six and seven. But instead, I wished I was a grown-up and able to do such wonderful things as being strong enough to handle a ten-pin bowling ball. And being tall enough to see the whole array of confectionery on the sweet counter in Woolworths.

Suddenly I am 58, rarely go ten-pin bowling and Woolworths is gone from the high street.

But would I want to be younger? I don’t want to look younger. The lines on my face are, as they say, the lines of wisdom and experience... yes, ok, maybe no-one needs that much experience or wisdom. As for my body, a boob lift might recover a few degrees of angle but what’s the point of that (no pun intended)? A reconditioning job on an old chassis isn’t going to make me work better.

I have a very happy relationship with friends my own age. Plus, there are the members of local social groups and branches of the WI who allow me to come along to their meetings and vent my frustrations about the unwanted bristles on my chin and small bladder problems brought on by excessive sneezing or laughing. They offer me sympathy, a cup of tea and, in the case of Chelmondiston WI, last week, two slices of cake. They could see my need.

It was brought on by Shrove Tuesday, which caught me unawares this year. It’s usually in half term so I blame the schools for the fact I had to give up chocolate a week earlier than I had expected. Cadbury’s Twirls now come to me in the night and dance in my dreams.

The Chelmo ladies’ homemade coffee and walnut sponge and fruit loaf went some way to shoring up my sugar levels as I entered the chocolate desert of Lent.

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It was just as well I was given sustenance as I don’t often venture into the countryside at night. Dark, isn’t it? With no street lamps to guide me to the village hall from the car park across the road, I had to wait for passing car headlamps to illuminate the kerb. I walked along the footpath with one foot on the grass verge so that I didn’t veer off and lose myself. But apart from senior moments with streetlights, I am content to be in harmony with my chronology.

I am fine with looking lived-in. I’m not after a younger man (which will come as an enormous relief to younger men). The thought of having to participate in the social lives and fashions of the less aged appals me.

For a start, what are you to do when your date turns up with his trousers slung somewhere between groin and upper thigh level, showing off the elasticated waistband of Calvin Klein boxers?

Instinct dictates that jeans surely cannot be comfortable when they over-expose the gluteus maximus (aka builder’s bum). Should the cougar (woman who dates younger men) always carry a belt in her handbag in case her boyf needs to keep up his trousers?

Her perfect night on the town (generalisation follows): Book restaurant table for 7.30pm (if I eat too late I get indigestion), enjoy a small glass of Prosecco, go home at 10pm, watch telly. Have a cup of coffee, go to bed. He stays downstairs and plays Angry Birds on his iphone.

His perfect night on the town (generalisation follows): Head to a bar at 10pm, have a few pints. Head to another bar. Have a few drinks. Head to another bar. Have a few drinks. Head to a kebab emporium, purchase something made of meat that has previously been rotating on a giant skewer and devour hungrily. Go home at 3am.

By now, his ageing girlfriend is in dire straits having consumed six and a half pints of lime and soda with limited access to cloakrooms. As a result, she hasn’t dared to laugh at any of his jokes. She would be bored because conversation is almost impossible in people and music-filled bars and she is way too old to put up with prolonged ear-nibbling or whatever it is that young people do to show affection these days.

With her seven-year-old Sagem 501 pay-as-you-go phone, a quick-fire text message exchange of pleasantries is not an option and so she stands and smiles and tries to look winsome while wishing she was curled up on the sofa watching telly. She would even consider watching Match of the Day if she was guaranteed a comfy chair.

So, where was I? “What would you like for your birthday, Lynne?” repeats my husband.

“A torch,” I decide. Now I would be able to visit the night-time streets of darkest East Anglia and see where I’m going.

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