Letting go

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 I hope this article from Judith Stafford makes you laugh out loud too!

When we pop over to the Languedoc for a week or two, we fly courtesy of Mr Michael O’Ver-your-luggage-allowance, who permits me to bring one pair of pants and a handkerchief. So, when we are planning a longer sojourn and therefore driving, I get very excited about the capaciousness of a car boot. It ALL goes in:

Vests, tops and T-shirts – long sleeved for chilly evenings, short sleeved for when bingo wings are tanned (and therefore invisible), large for covering bottom, stretchy for covering everything else.

Dresses – long and floaty for Isadora Duncan moments, short for fooling myself I can still get away with it.

Skirts – short (see above), ankle length, mid length……..all areas covered. A trouser and a tight – you have to consider every eventuality. Knickers for all occasions, bras, bikinis, sarongs, wraps, scarves, shawls, peshwari nans.

Bags, baskets, clutches and rucksacks, oh and the shoes…….high heeled, kitten heeled, wedges, flats, flip flops. Those for walking in, those impossible to walk in, leopard skin, sparkly, shiny and sequinned.

I do a Supermarket Sweep of Wilkinson’s and pack lotions and potions into every orifice. Of the car. Sun stuff, hair stuff, skin stuff, smelly stuff, more stuff in case the other stuff runs out.

When we arrive at the house, after fighting through the cobwebs and when the dusters and bleach have been put away, I unpack it all into the enormous wardrobe that had to come in through the bedroom window, with the brocanteur balancing on the kitchen roof. I fill drawers, baskets, tastefully sourced boxes and cartons.

And there it all stays until the day we leave.

The truth of the matter is, that after a few days here I sink into a style stupor, a fashion flop, a costume coma. Maybe it’s the heat, the pace of life, or the 3 bottles of wine with dinner – I don’t know. But it’s really as much as I can do to drag one leg after the other in to a pair of bikini bottoms. For a visit to the shops, for the sake of decency I’ll pull on a crumpled, comfy frock, probably stained from yesterday’s gazpacho, and some flaccid flip flops.

For a night out I do make a bit more effort, it’s true. An almost clean, loose dress that won’t show the VPL, bulging more with each dish of cassoulet. I might even risk a smear of red lipstick and then I look like a film star!

Not so much Scarlett Johansen. I’m thinking more Heath Ledger as the Joker in Batman.

Well, make up just runs off you doesn’t it? Mascara ends up like Alice Cooper watching “Titanic”.

And who wants to sit there sweating and grappling with a hair dryer for half an hour, when it eats into precious apero time? A comb through with a bit of lard and we’re good to go. As for depilatory cream……fuggedaboudit.

My girlfriends at home would be horrified that I’ve let myself go in this way. They’ve got this vision of me prancing round in the South of France in black a linen Jigsaw sundress one minute, a crisp Zara Breton top and white shorts the next. They must never know the truth.

The final stage will be that one day I’ll just go down to the market and buy a nylon housecoat with a pair of fluffy slippers and live in those. The husband can purchase some of the ubiquitous blue overalls and a cloth cap. (He’s Northern so will probably feel quite at home anyway.) Then neither of us will have to bother getting either dressed or undressed ever again. I can shuffle along the road, pause on street corners to look bewildered for a while and then shuffle back again. It will save an awful lot of time and money and I’ll never have to smuggle extra clothes (by wearing multiple layers) past Mr O’Ver-Ten-Kilos again!