Lockdown life has given me more than enough time to tackle the big issue in my life, namely why is my face getting so wrinkly? Ok, I am nearly 55, so I have to accept the odd crease, but having spent hours, and I mean hours, studying the complexions of every woman in her fifties who posts on Instagram, I have come to the conclusion my crevices are pretty deep.
It was not until last year that I actually realised that I had any wrinkles at all. My eyesight got so bad that I could not apply mascara without wearing my glasses. Having poked my eye out too many times with the mascara wand I decided to invest in a large magnifying mirror. Big mistake, in one quick glance I had aged 30 years. In fact, the sight was so depressing that I keep the mirror draped with a face cloth when I am not using it.
Over the past few years Britain has become obsessed with baking. However, this has come at a time when I thought my baking days were over. When the kids were young, I spent hours if not days, making novelty birthday cakes. In my cake career I made horses, dogs, footballs, dinosaurs, Telly Tubbies, lawnmowers (that year was a challenge) to name but a few. Whilst the end results were ok it took me a further two days to scrape the fondant icing off every kitchen surface and get the food colouring off my nails. In my kids’ school nipping into Tesco‘s and buying a cartoon cake was not an option.
One of my favourite pastimes is, and always has been, online shopping. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I ventured into a clothes shop. Why drive to a shopping centre, pay for parking, and spend hours trundling around the fashion department of John Lewis when it is all there online in the comfort of your own home?
I can scan the entire fashion offering of John Lewis in 30 minutes. Whereas it would take me a good few hours on the shop floor. I also have a phobia of changing rooms. There is just too much faff.
You have 27 items over your arm, and you are told that you can only take 5 in at a time. This means that after every 5 failed frock tries you have to wrap yourself, in your undies, in the changing room curtain whilst shouting ‘Please can I have another 5?’ Besides, the lighting and mirrors in the cubicles have been cruelly designed to make you look at your worst from every angle. You can go in feeling quite body-confident and come out vowing to take up HIIT training and eat spinach.
No, these days are long gone for me. I much prefer to get a lorry load of garments delivered, so I can try them on in the safety of my own bedroom whilst watching ‘MasterChef,’ and with the lighting sufficiently dimmed to soften flesh folds and cellulite.
This hobby/addiction has always amused me, but in these Corona Days it is vital. I need to buy so many pyjamas online these days. The problem is that Husband is now working from home. For the first time, he is aware of just how MANY deliveries are left in the porch every day.
Yesterday he went for a run and actually couldn’t get in through the front door on his return. Sadly, Ian from myHermes, Steve from DPD and Joe from UPS are not chatting these days. They just ring the bell and ‘drop’. We did have such a social thing going.
Last month Husband and I were in Costa Coffee when this gorgeous, lean, stubbly, young man bounded in. He saw me and said ‘Hi Jayne, how are the dogs? See you next week!’ before winking and heading to the counter. To which Husband said, ‘Who the Hell is he?’ He seemed both relieved and terrified when I explained that he was the UPS delivery driver; relieved that he was just the delivery driver and terrified that I had enough deliveries to be his best friend.
My little game really is out in the open now. I do hasten to add that I do return 97% of all the clothes I order. This means I am also very friendly with the lovely Rahul in the Post Office…
Follow me on Instagram at @hownottohaveamidlifecrisis
When I was travelling around Asia last year, I wrote my blog to amuse myself whilst living in some very remote locations. If people read it that was lovely, but that wasn’t my main motivation for writing. I am now writing my blog whilst living in a, soon to be, very remote location called ‘Home’ in a Surrey village. If people read it that is lovely, but that isn’t my main motivation for writing, my sanity is.
Only a few weeks ago I was merely aware of something called the Coronavirus which originated from bats sold in a market in a far-off city in China beginning with ‘W’. Now the ‘C’ Word is on my doorstep and I am frantically trying to keep it out. Do follow me over the next few weeks as I try to put a vaguely humorous and somewhat irreverent slant on life as we will soon know it. Hopefully you won’t have to read this for too long. If it does stretch into many months the content will be non-existent and any attempts at humour will have long gone.
I have everything I need; one toilet roll, a large bar of Galaxy, a coffee and a year’s supply of E-cigarettes. I’m ready….
Follow me on Instagram, if you can bear it @hownottohaveamidlifecrisis
My first few days in Kathmandu have been a challenge. When I arrived at the hostel (compound) I was surprised to see that the walls were topped with razor wire and there were huge metal gates. Foolishly I thought these were to keep the volunteers safe, but soon realised they were to stop us escaping.
I had paid extra for a private room as I did not want to spend every morning surrounded by nubile 20 year olds in thongs, making me feel even more depressed about the toll age and gravity have taken on my body.
My quarters are separate from the rest of the house and it appears that the last thing to live here had 4 legs. Someone must have shooed it out and threw a mattress on the floor hours before I arrived. The only other thing in the room is a bookcase off a skip. Why the hell do I need a bookcase? A wardrobe would have been good.
A large padlock secures the door and I was advised to padlock myself in at night. I do this but then lie awake worrying that my iPhone, which is attached essentially to 2 live wires sticking out of the wall, might burst into flames. I would be totally buggered as the window only opens 6 inches ‘for my security’. These are my thoughts as I lie in bed trying to drift off, when I am bored of squashing giant beetles by torch light.
The rest of the group, as one would expect, are mainly gap year students, full of youthful optimism, wanting to see the world and doing the Nepal Trip. I am the only English person, but fortunately English is the spoken language in the hostel.
At the introductory meeting I jokingly introduced myself as the ‘Gappy Granny’. Big mistake. I have nothing against Chinese people per se, apart from the giant mobile phones, excessive use of selfie sticks and appalling dress sense. However, one particularly annoying Chinese girl, Xo Siang Ho, really hacks me off. Every time she sees me she says ‘Hilo Garpee Grawnee.’ I swear if she says it again I will poke her in the eye with a chopstick. Or I might just strangle her with her Huawei headphones,
The other person of note (or not) is an extremely dull German called Jorg. I know that a nation that prides itself on ‘precision engineering’ is not going to be full of people you want to go down the pub with on a Friday night, but this guy is a particularly fine specimen.
He is 46, single (I wonder why)? And a software engineer (exactly). He drones on incessantly in a thick Germanic accent about how he comes to Nepal every year ‘to find himself.’ If he hasn’t found himself by now perhaps he should consider going back home and jumping under an Audi on the Autobahn, to put us all out of our misery.
This week has been a Cultural Immersion Week (initiation by fire) on the way of life here, before I am let loose on my class on Monday. As well as trying to learn some Nepali (impossible), I have witnessed abject poverty, but also the immense pride and contentment of the Nepalese people. One wise old man said to me ‘we expect little, so are happy with little, whereas you Westerners expect so much and are never happy with what you have.’ So true…
Well, this is a first…. I have actually walked past the enticing windows of Hobbs and Jigsaw and I have ended up in……. Millets camping store! Yes, really! This place is so alien to me, I might as well be in a Hoover factory.
The last time I ventured in here I had to get Daughter a tent for a festival. I selected a bargain £25 pop-up tent which blew away at 3am on the first night of her trip. This meant she spent the next 2 nights sharing a tent with her best friend and best friend’s boyfriend. The downside was that she learnt way too much about her mate’s sex life. The upside was that she has never had any desire to go to a festival again.
So, I have my list: ‘sleeping bag, mosquito net, water bottle, head torch etc’, but worst of all…. SANDALS. I have an aversion to any sandals with Velcro straps normally seen at country pubs and at Gatwick Airport in summer, in the check-in queue for Switzerland.
They are normally accompanied by socks and trousers with detachable legs. Sorry, I just can’t do that. I really do want to blend in on this trip and not look like the Middle-Aged Suburban Misfit, but there are some bridges I just cannot cross, and wearing Merrell sandals is one.
In fact, I have huge problems with the entire wardrobe requirement for this venture. I am Jayne Webb with the silk shirt, skinny jeans and loafers and this signature look does not, and never, will include amorphic sack-like baggy attire.
The dress code reads ‘shoulders and knees must be covered at all times.’ This would not be a problem here in winter, a good quality cashmere coat can do that stylishly, but in 30°C heat and 80% humidity, I am going to have to adopt a whole new look.
The ‘Glamourous Granny Look’ with long floaty skirts, linen blouses and chinos. And, it gets worse. Normally when westerners go to Goa, Sri Lanka and the Maldives they stay in resorts where Western dress codes apply, but I am staying with the Muslim natives and women swim in ‘Burkinis’. I Googled this word and was utterly horrified.
The Burkini swimwear model actually had a complete hijab headdress on as well! Suddenly my fear of looking ridiculous was replaced by fears of actually drowning, as the tails of my headdress got caught in some speed boat propellers. Fortunately, I worked out that this addition was because she was a Muslim model.
Anyway, I have come up with a solution. I am going surfing. By that I mean I have bought a cool pair of multi-coloured surfing leggings and a coordinating Lycra rash vest. No one said it had to be black….