They say that women of a certain age discover either God or gardening. What a choice. Why not fast cars or even faster men? Diamonds or sexy underwear? Lying around reading Elle eating chocolates all day and/or telephone sex with Colin Firth?
For me I think God is out of the question. I grew up exposed to the hypocrisies of Catholicism on one side and a lovely protestant vicar on the other; neither of them really inspired me. In terms of my character I think I am more Jewish than anything else, but we have no Jewish blood in the family. My sun salutes take me closer to Budda.
I once had a pleasant experience gardening. I was heavily pregnant and couldn’t sleep due to the heat. I went out into the garden and started pulling up weeds under a full moon, it was very satisfying. I also thought it would make a good book title: Gardening by Moonlight.
Yesterday I went to water our oleander, wisteria and new vines at the Mazet. The new vines are just showing their first tiny baby leaves, which is actually quite an exciting sight. I was surprised by how happy it made me. I suppose it’s the new life that make is so fascinating, rather like growing a baby, but less cumbersome and better for your figure.
But there is a big difference between gazing at a few vines and really getting into gardening. I can’t see myself getting the bug, at least not yet. But maybe I haven’t yet reached that certain age.
Talking of age, my parents-in-law came for dinner last night and at one stage Leonardo looked at my mother-in-law (a very elegant seventy-year-old lady who looks at least 10 years younger) and said: “You’re old.” Instinctively I told him not to be nasty to granny. But here’s the question; why is old nasty? If he’d said “you’re young” everyone would have loved it.
What’s wrong with being old? Is it because we drift into God or gardening people hate it so much?
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2007