Saturday 29 January 2011


When I asked my inner voice for a title for the idea I had in mind, the answer came up "reconciliation". As you may have gathered, I am very reliant on my inner voice. This time, though, it may well have produced a compromise. "Acceptance" may well have done better. To what am I reconciled, you may ask - I hope you are asking. Let me give you an example. As a wedding present, (before you were born, since you ask), we were given a twelve piece dinner service. At that time, dinner parties were what one did with one's friends. There were even fashions in menus. Avocado filled with prawns was one: grilled grapefruit another, in the starter catalogue. In my circle was a particularly delicious dish we called 'blanquette de veau'. I have sometimes tried to make it since. It turns out brown instead of the pale beige it was back in the day. I did actually confront the butcher, who explained that forced, milk-fed calves were no longer comme il faut, or politically correct, in current parlance, and that was why I could no longer produce a milky blanquette. Quite right, too. I choke at the image, so thoughtlessly out of awareness at the time. Back to the dinner service. It was/is Danish in origin. The design has been discontinued so, irreplaceable. Having had a number of people to a party celebrating the Winter Solstice, (because it isn't going to get any darker, silly),I was in a position to use and therefore check just about every piece. To my sadness, I found that almost every category had a piece with a chip or, even, a piece broken. I really did fell sad, and angry, too, that, over the years, others had handled the plates, suffered accidents and never told me. This lasted a good few hours until I found myself, without conscious contribution, thinking, "Ah well, 'they' will just have to inherit a set of ten". This is what I mean by reconciliation. I mean accepting what is and not having to spend the rest of my life on the telephone or on the internet trying to track down replacements. My inner 40-year-old would have brooked no such possibility. Twelve pieces or nothing: indisputable.

I was disproportionately delighted with that relief of burden; the feeling of moving on, literally lighter in the breathing department, knowing that ten could equal twelve in the inheritance stakes. I am finding it harder to respond similarly to the question of my hair. Does the phrase "flax on a distaff" mean anything to you? Picture a pole with strands of bleached cotton hanging lankly down from it. Now you get it, except the cotton is not bleached but faded mud. Where there was bounce and curl there is now droop and cling. In other words, my hair has lost its mojo. I was vain about it. I passed it on to one of my young. He is beginning to betray that trust. He is still curling and bouncing but he has sacked some of it from on top and more from the front sides. The man who cuts it - mine, that is - insists there is no problem. This holds me back from the steep climb to reconciliation. I need to get there, face up to him and tell him to cut it as he would cut straight lank hair and pass me my bonnet. The fact that I am 'D' shaped has, however, reached the summit. Only I and a few medics know the truth about my shape. While not affording quite the same liberation as did the china service, my shape is in a place of passive acceptance, that is, somewhere between rebellion and reconciliation. Passive acceptance: the typical Libran compromise, not reconciled, not rebelling but on a fence half way up the mountain of liberation. Prynhawn da.

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