It's all very well for you youngsters, but keeping warm is not that easy for those of us in the eighth decade. During a drawer clear-out I came across some stockings. There is no way I could bear to be bare between stocking top and knicker bottom, now, but I don't remember even noticing the gap when I wore stockings half a lifetime ago, before tights were invented. This is the longest winter I can recall and I am both getting used to it and getting tired of it. The aforementioned gap is covered by long-johns. Just in case they are called something else in Mountview, California, I should explain that long-johns are like the underwear our Victorian male forebears wore, up to the waist and down to the ankle. They can be made from wool and do the job of a tight but rather better. One wears socks over the feet, since you ask. (As it happens, in the 'adapting to age' process, I have had to give up wearing tights because arthritic fingers don't do a good enough job of peeling them on) That arrangement necessitates wearing trousers to disguise this particular adaptation. Further, one is wearing rather more items underneath the top cover so that dressing and undressing takes longer. Meeting certain natural needs also takes longer. By the time this and that have been pulled down and pulled back up again, if one is out there in the town, the queue for the facility is reaching unmanageable proportions. The answer is, don't wait for the last minute but allow time both for the off and on and for the queue. I have taken to wearing one of my few jumpers with a highish neck every day. This means a late night hand wash and an early morning rush for the iron although the black dog is still doing its best to keep me in bed at all costs.
As it happens, it is actually a hungry tabby cat that gets me up. She stands on top of me with escalating meows until I give in and shrug the covers off. Yesterday, there was a variation. She hit me. Her claws were sheathed but it was a slap on the face just the same. Her solution is to spend her life glued to one of two radiators. There is no room for me or I'd join her like a shot. Confession: the heating is timed to go off between noon and four o'clock when I am usually out. These freezing days I leave it on so that my dear friend's radiator retains its friendly warmth without interuption. I know, I know, the planet must be saved but the best I can do is to have a bad conscience but go on trying to keep me and my loved- one warm. I have a sheep-skin jacket; another breech of political correctness in itself. It is forty years old and orange, which was fine when I was also forty, but I am not too sure of the propriety of an elderly lady, stick in hand, rolling over the snow and ice in a bright orange wrapping with the collar askew because a handbag has to be slung across the chest to free up the hands for balance duty and that disturbs the lay of the collar. When I catch a glimpse of myself in a shop window there is a temptation to turn myself in to a witch and disappear in a puff of smoke. Everyone I know has taken off - no, silly, not the layers I talked about above: gone away - so, Dear Reader, you are the only one I can complain to. But enough is enough and if you don't hear from Liz for a while it's because the meows and the smacks have failed and she is lodged in her bed for the duration. Bore da