Guess who I bumped into while walking Tottie in the park. Sylvester! Remember he was the guy who I clocked in Borders, before it closed its doors for ever-the one who was off places to talk about crop circles and who had a girl friend who was producing films for the BBC. Well, there is no longer a girlfriend, which is very exciting, as it could be that the Universe is gently shunting us together. Mind he was looking pretty miserable as he sat on the bench in the shadow of the most gorgeous chestnut, the candles of which I noticed were fully erect. But who wants a man in mourning? I waved and went bouncing up and he tapped the seat and said ‘sit down and have a chat’, which is what I did.
The thing I like about Sylvester is that he asks me questions about myself and listens to the answers, as if he’s interested. This is a quality that seems to be in short supply these days, what with everyone hell bent on lassooing their entitlement. In the last few weeks I’ve spent time with a selection of men-something believe me I’m grateful for- but it was very noticeable that they wanted only to talk about themselves or to ponder their own thoughts and opinions, using me as a sounding board.
Dr Henck, my analyst, said that I needed a twelve step program around men. By this I think he meant that I need to take my power back, choose to spend time with men who were not abusive in any way, and have fun rather than intense exchanges. I was thinking about that this morning, looking at the chestnut candles and listening to my voice recall travels in India when my life started turning 360 degrees on itself.
Walking back home I reflected,as I often do, on ageing. Like Joanna Lumley heading up the Nile to its very source, I am bravely hacking my way through the mangroves and getting my welli boots stuck in the sinking mud. But the important thing is that I am still excited by the adventure of going where I’ve never been before. I love the messiness of the unknown. You never know what you might find, a spider chewing its way through a water snake, or contentment at the side of Lake Maggiore with a George Clooney lookalike.
A part of me would like to retire from adventuring and till the soil, Candide-like, in my own back garden. Another part wishes to have tumbles in exotic undergrowths and act in age- inappropriate ways with someone who appreciates experience and wit over tone and texture. I gave Sylvester my telephone number and told him to call if he wanted to be fed or have a companion to go to the cinema. I didn’t mention anything relating to chestnut candles. I’m not an easy lay but I do say yay to life while I’ve still got own my teeth and hair.
On the way home I found a garter in the gutter. Picking it up I saw it was quite pretty, with frills and a little navy bow. Thinking it might be a sign, I brought it home and stuck it in the washing machine. The label says ‘Ann Summers Keep Away from Fire’. If all else fails it will make an ideal neck trim for an old lady’s dress.