Age before beauty or pearls before swine?

Rain was forecast. Earlier in the week, thunderstorms were forecast for today but, as time went on, meteorologists started to hedge their bets. Maybe they’d been overexcited. It would rain, certainly, but the flash floods thing, eh, maybe not. All the same, I didn’t water the pots or the vegetables last night (apart from the heliotrope earlier on, which were flagging in the heat. I wasn’t sure they’d last until rain came) in the hope that I wouldn’t need to this morning.

Bit of rain. Fine. Enough to keep Wince the Gardener from coming at 9, though there was no more than drizzle later.

Drizzle is a splendidly British word, isn’t it? Whatever language has *lots* of words for snow, we have them for rain. We’re experts on rain, anything from mist to downpour. It’s a ‘love to hate’ thing, perhaps.

Wink and I went out to lunch – our lunch club. I’ve been going there for well over thirty years, introduced by my mother. The average age has always been about ten years older than mine. That’s fine, I have friends of all ages, or I used to. I don’t suppose I have many friends younger than mid-thirties now and only a few of those. I don’t mind being old, but it’s a pity that the boundaries close in. Anyway, we picked up Lilian on the way – by arrangement, of course, I don’t mean that we happened upon her by the roadside. Lilian lived with her sister Jo for over thirty years until Jo died, two days before Christmas. She had a mild stroke, caught Covid in hospital and it took her out. Apart from a visit to the optician, it was the first time that Lilian had been out, so it was pretty brave of her.

Lilian said that they’d both always declared they’d never live together, even though they lived next door to each other, but then they fell in love with a house in the perfect location that neither of them could afford on her own. Wink and I were silent.

Lilian was always very funny about their entertaining arrangements. As I said, they lived in adjoining houses. So, when they had friends round, they combined the evening. Started at Jo’s, moved into Lilian’s for dinner, back to Jo’s for coffee and chat afterwards. Leaving Lilian with the washing up next morning. She told the tale well.

On the way home today, she remarked on how everyone had aged, not having seen anyone for a year and a half. Yes, it’s true. Mind you, added Lilian, I used to wear makeup every day, even if I was just doing housework and now I don’t bother. Yes, I said. It’s true. I was halfway down the drive when I realised I’d forgotten to put in my contact lens, so I wore glasses instead. Time was, I’d have gone back, even if it made me late by two minutes.

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