How to Eat a Fig

Twice a week I climb into my little green 2CV van and head across town to Robert’s dance studio for an hour’s workout. This  generally involves leg waving on my back  but sometimes we stand in a line behind Robert and follow his moves, while watching ourselves in a large wall mirror. I have been doing this for four years now and I love it. Robert has a moody taste in music. He gets to choose and when I arrive I never know whether it’s going to be Faure , Jim Hall’s jazz guitar, samba or didgeridoo. I really don’t mind. I just know that whatever we do and whatever we do it to, afterwards I skip down the steps back to the car. It took a whole year before my body could do that skip. Maybe this is why Mimi said to me a couple of weeks ago, “Mumsie, you seem to be ageing backwards.” I really liked hearing that. I feel great and for the first time in my life I can’t remember when I last felt really ill. Exercise and curiosity, should you be asking what the answer is.

 I gaze at a Victorian hand painted plate(pennies from a thrift shop) on which are placed four perfect aubergine-coloured figs. It surprises me that in all my long life, I’ve never come across raw figs, ripe and ready to eat and I don’t know what to do with them. So I google ‘how to eat a fig’ and find pages of helpful advice. I love living at this time-curiosity has never been so easily satisfied. The gist seems to be:  split it in half or tear it or pop it whole into your mouth.

 I’ll leave you to guess which one does it for me.

This afternoon while walking Tottie in the park, I came across another curiosity. I could hear a cacophany of birdsong coming from the largest tree in sight. I couldn’t see any movement, so I clapped my hands and there above my head I was treated to an aerial display of great beauty. Hundreds of small birds rose as one and after creating a selection of rapidly changing patterns, flew back into the tree. I couldn’t tell you what sort of birds they were, other than to say they were small ( as I didn’t have my glasses with me). But I felt privileged to have witnessed what I suspect is their warm up for a long flight south.  A Bird Assembly. Nature is preparing for the great change of season and soon it will be wool and hats and scarves for me. I’ve extracted the boots from the back of the cupboard and I’m sad to say that the over the knee black leather pair have come to the end of the road. i’ll try again tomorrow but the struggle to get them on strains an old war wound and I might have to let them move on to another.

Some years ago I let my faux leopard skin coat move on because I hadn’t worn it for a few years. A few weeks later I was standing behind a young girl in a cinema queue and was much impressed by the combination of leopard skin and purple boa she has styled. She looked fabulous and I of course told her so. It was only when she had shyly turned away, that I realised that it was actually my coat that she was wearing. It looked so much better on her, I didn’t feel the least bit sorry I’d let it go. What goes around comes around indeed. Moving on and letting go are lessons given as gifts of time. Why worry, I’m off to scoff a fig.


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