Evidence that even at her age Fran is still experiencing rites of passage
It's a very different teeth-cleaning experience - not unpleasant, but odd nonetheless - so I'm not recommending it and it'll teach me to wear my glasses in the bathroom.
Is 57 still middle-aged, or am I sliding inexorably towards the autumn of my life? How long until I experience the rite of passage that is washing my hair with body butter or trying to apply shampoo to the hard skin on my feet?
A more significant rite of passage recently was my trip to Northern Spain with my daughter and her partner. It's over 20 years since I've flown so I was nervous and, after listening to various horror stories about imploding ears, had 49 fruit-flavoured boiled sweets in my hand luggage. As the plane lifted off the runway at Gatwick, I sucked the sweet as though trying to extract its soul, my cheeks falling in like sinkholes, but my ears were fine.
So, I threw away 48 sweets on my return to the UK as they had all stuck together in one sugary mass and, as big as my mouth is, and as much as I love sugar, that would have proved a challenge and limited conversation all that day.
In Spain: another rite of passage. I climbed 132 steep steps to the top of a bell tower. This was predominantly as revenge on the Spanish clerk selling the tickets. He'd asked my daughter a question, nodding towards me. I didn't understand all the words but knew he was asking her 'Is this your mother? Are you sure she won't die? Shall I have an ambulance and helicopter on speed-dial?'
Never before, either, have I sat in a sunny Spanish town square for hours at a time, completing crosswords, reading novels, and nibbling the free tortilla that comes with the wine.
This compensated for the near-seizure I had climbing 132 steps just to get my own back on a Spanish clerk.
|Fran and her daughter in front of their recycling pile|