Sunday, September 2, 2012

Ankle Boots and A Pink Shirt . . .

A Very Good Read

It caught me and
I liked it very much.
I inquired,
 "Blog friend"
"I like your piece"
She said yes,
I could pass it on
Better yet,
here is her site.
Welcome to
welsh hills again



The electric jolt of the city
Even the most confirmed country dweller needs an injection of city energy every now and then. Today I went into Manchester for lunch with an old friend. Sometimes going into the city overwhelms me for a while with its noise and dirt and crowds, and it takes a few hours for me to stop gawping at the traffic like a country bumpkin. You wouldn't think I had lived and worked in Manchester and London for years. Seven years up here on the hillside has created a world, internal as well as external, which is green and quiet and empty of rubbish and crowds and noise. But today for some reason I just slipped right into city mode like an otter into water.

It helped that the city was quiet this morning. I caught a bus into the centre after Ian dropped me off. At home in North Wales we walk or we go in the car. Public transport is thin on the ground in the country. It was a pleasant surprise to sit on a bus and watch the university buildings pass by. In a very few weeks they will be heaving with students, the confident returners and the new ones, wet behind the ears and loud and skittish with nerves, but for now the buildings are quiet, the cafes and refectories empty and gleaming behind their plate glass windows.

I had a couple of hours to spend before meeting my friend for lunch so I wandered slowly along the streets which were once one of my stamping grounds. I stopped for a coffee, not because I particularly wanted a drink but because of the luxury of sitting quietly with a newspaper watching people go by, with no jobs in the house or garden calling me as they do at home. If they were calling I was much too far away to hear.

I like Manchester. Manchester and London are my cities: cities in which I have lived and worked at different times for over twenty years; cities that I really know and feel at home in. London has that extraordinary energy and complexity and is probably my first love but Manchester is funny and lively, gritty and cosmopolitan at the same time. It is also a great size. It has all the interesting shops you would find in London but everything is within a walk. This is to exclude the horrors of the Trafford Centre, a huge synthetic temple to Mammon which I hate and avoid like the plague.

So I wandered about and I bought some black ankle boots and a linen shirt of startling pink. I gawped at the window of Harvey Nicolls and dawdled in East. I am not a shopper, certainly not a recreational shopper. I like to go in knowing what I want, find it, buy it and exit at speed. That worked beautifully because I had spent so long people watching in the coffee shop that I didn't have long to shop.

I didn't walk far but one thing that did surprise me was the proliferation of businesses offering all sorts of forms of beauty treatments: tanning shops, nail bars, places offering teeth whitening and botox and dermal fillers and chemical peels. I am sure they have mushroomed over the last couple of years. Don't get me wrong. I am not a Puritan. I dye my hair and have done for years. I haven't been seen without mascara since the early days of the last century (well maybe a slight exaggeration but you know what I mean). But I think it has to be a bad thing to be so obsessed with how we look. If you feel that you are what you look like, you are on a hiding to nothing. We will age and lose our looks, however botoxed and peeled and teeth whitened and tanned we are. Let it go, let it go. We are not "worth it" despite what the adverts proclaim. Look ageing in the face, maybe with a quick sideways glance so as not to go insane, and buy a pink shirt. Do not set yourself up to fail by buying into the whole idea that you can be forever young. Nuts. I had my time and a very good time I had too. Every generation must give way to the next and the navel gazing which accompanies all this obsession with how we look doesn't help people to live well. Whoops, that came out of nowhere at speed! Sorry! Gets down off soapbox.

I met my friend at Cafe Istanbul on Bridge Street. We had a long, leisurely lunch where we ranged over everything from the porridge effect achieved by our upper arms, through post graduate psychology courses, growing mushrooms, the boomerang generation which brings adult children back home to live, the Paralympics and the delights and demands of families.

Thank you Manchester and thank you S for a lovely day.

to ankle boots and a startling pink shirt
a welsh hills photograph


snowwhite said...

Oh, you had a delightful day having lunch with your friend.
I live in Nara which is a rather rural area. Whenever I go to a big city like Osaka or Kyoto, I am overwhelmed by the crowd and the speed, but they are attractive for a temporary visitor like me.
Have a nice week.

Elaine said...

A fabulous piece - thank you for posting it, Lynne.

I read it from the point of view of a country mouse who occasionally visits a very small market town (my equivalent of London/Manchester, it is all a matter of perspective)and sees the same things happening there.

I'll nip across and visit her blog.

Jill said...

Lovely piece!

laura.forestdreams:) said...

when i first read the title of this post...
i kept thinking
"title of a ZZ Top song"!!!

thanks Lynne, for sharing that post of your friend' was good.

every generation changes. makes changes. it seems so much emphasis now, is put on LOOKS...outward appearance. making people feel out of place for growing old, huh?! we need to be comfortable with who we are. BE who we are. wear those boots & pink shirt proudly Lynne's friend 'welsh hills'!!
(as they say, growing old is not for sissies! haha)

At Home in English Valley said...

Hi Lynne, I like how your friend writes...We saw with her eyes and also looked into her heart. A great combination.
Hope you're having a great holiday. Love, Penny

TexWisGirl said...

she sounds like a wise one. :)

~from my front porch in the mountains~ said...

Love this! More?

Have a great day :)
xo, misha

missy said...

What a nice piece..Thanks for sharing..

Barb said...

Nice piece. I can forego the fillers, botox, facelifts, etc. i, do, however really want to have a peel....gets the dead skin and hair off face. That's my limit though.

Must say I can't embrace the gray hair quite yet!

Silvia C said...

Beautiful post! It's my first visit to your blog and I am delighted of what I've found. I remember someone saying about an older lady that "she had the peace of belonging in her own time". I turned 52 this year but I've come to terms with getting older.Being the best and happiest I can be with what I have is my true goal.
Once again, thanks for this very inspiring post.

Lisa Sall - Sall's Country Life said...

Hi Lynne! That is a good read, she really knows how to put words on a page!! Thanks for the welcome home. Now it's time for a lot of catching up! Wish I could just sit and visit blogs all day, but work is piling up!
I love your new routine of 30 minutes every day (boy,do I need that!) If I don't do something quick, it'll be another winter and another 30 pounds YIkes!! Love your little doggy patiently waiting for your return! Have a great week!

Rain said...

Hi Lynne! Usually I'm a picture -not word reader post person!? Did you get that?!!! But I really enjoyed reading this post-tks!!!
Rain :)

eileeninmd said...

Lovely post and an enjoyable read! Lynne, thanks for sharing!

Lynn said...

Your friend is an excellent writer tying in two journeys at once. Most enjoyable read, Lynne. Thank you for posting it.

Kerin said...

Oh, I'm so looking forward to 4:00 am tomorrow.
My sweet hubby will be on his way to work, and I'm going to sit down and read this post!
What a treat it will be :)

See you tomorrow ...


Kerin said...

Hi Lynne..
What a delightful read.
I love the part about people watching.... always entertaining!

I'm so glad you posted this.
I'm going over to see the link too.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend.. full of fun, and happy endings.


Thistle Cove Farm said...

My Granddaddy's people came from the Welsh coal mines to work in the Appalachian coal mines. Visiting Wales is on my to-do list; thank you for this beautiful piece, Lynne. As well for the link, I'm going to visit now.

ArtMuseDog and Carol said...

Lovely post ~ I agree ~ aging is part of life and I am what I am ~ Had a good life and having a good life ~ So glad you had a good lunch with your friend ~ (A Creative Harbor)

ps. thanks for 'visiting' ~ looking forward to seeing more of you ~ ^_^