Thursday, 3 March 2011

Today is my birthday...


Argh! Not even 7 o’clock yet. Hate it when I wake up at crack of dawn. Close eyes and try to get back to sleep.


Trouble is, I can’t drift off for fear of embarrassing bedwetting incident. 


Beep-beep-beep. I scrabble for the switch. Wish we could get Radio 4 in this valley. Not that waking up to John Humphreys haranguing some MP was much better. I’m going to have to get up. It’s a race with gravity once I’m vertical. I pull open the door, trying not to catch my shoulder on the latch as I stumble through. I hasten unsteadily down the spiral staircase, hanging on to the railings in case I should miss my footing and end up like Laura Ashley.

While I’m sitting on the loo, Dusty comes into the bathroom and looks at me intently. She is quivering with what I take to be adoration. I smile at her and fondle a velvet ear. ‘Hello Dusty Do.’

She opens her mouth into a deep yawn, letting out a little yelpy sound, and then does her downward dog stretch, first onto her front paws with her bottom in the air, and then stretching up at the front with her legs out at the back. She is the most marvellous example. I must get back to doing my salutes to the sun.

Electric toothbrush whirring and mouth foaming, I go to the cupboard where the dog food is kept. Dusty is doing little springy half-leaps of anticipation. She gulps down her breakfast, snorting like a pig with its nose in the trough.

‘Not attractive,’ I mumble, and a rivulet of white foam trickles down the side of my mouth. Licking her lips, Dusty follows me back into the bathroom, her tail wagging and bottom wiggling with anticipation of the walk that she hopes will come sooner rather than later.

I splash my face with cold water and squint at myself in the mirror. God, my eyes. Not that I can see them very clearly without my glasses, but there’s a newfound Grand Canyon effect going on all around them. I move my head up and down to avoid the patches where the silver has come off the mirror. I’m beginning to look like a scratchcard.

My eyes ping open with a jolt of remembrance. Oh my God! Today I am 50. Fifty. Five decades. All gone, just like that. Three score years and ten. 70 - 50  = 20. Only 20 of my allotted years left! And they’re all the worst ones! Looking and feeling increasingly decrepit. Until finally the battered wreckage slips beneath the seas, never to rise again.  

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