Things my mother has taught me


On how to shop:

A gal needs two great shopping companions; fate and destiny. When dithering over a purchase, put it to the back of the rail and walk away. Then come back in a few hours (exact time is proportional to how much or little you are dithering), and if said item is still there in your size, it is meant to be. You must buy it or spend the rest of your life weeping gently in front of your wardrobe.

However, if it has gone then it clearly wasn’t The One and you must move on, free from resentment, full of purse and happy in the knowledge that someone else now has the problem of trying to match shoes to such a tricky hem length.

Also, nothing can ever be bought unless you can first name at least three items already in your wardrobe that it could be worn with. This has saved me from a fate worse than jeggings on more than one occasion.

On how to contribute to society:

Always vote. Vote because of the suffragettes, and vote because so many other people in the world can’t. Vote even if you are uncertain or unbothered, because otherwise only those with absolute views will be represented – which isn’t representative at all.

On household maintenance:

Dust adds character. And, to borrow from Quentin Crisp, after four years it doesn’t get any worse.

On ageing:

Even numbers sound older than odd numbers, to the extent that bigger odd numbers sound younger than smaller even numbers. So, 27 somehow sounds younger than 26, and 73 is preferable to 72.  

Also, you know you are getting old when the Blue Peter presenters start to look young.

On holidays:

The perfect way to spend the first night of any holiday is eating fish and chips, sitting on a harbour wall, dangling one’s legs towards the sea. The fish and chips can be swapped for pasties or ice cream if necessary; it is the dangling that matters the most.

On mealtimes:

Any time that could commonly have ’12’ in its name is a feasible lunchtime. Meaning 11:35am, AKA “25 to 12”, is a perfectly respectable time to eat a sandwich.

On music:

Bob Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone is the best song ever written. This has been presented simply as fact since I was about eight, and I’ve never found cause to question it.

On marital bliss:

The smaller and cheaper the wedding, the longer the marriage will be. Probably. Britney’s Las Vegas one notwithstanding.

On life:

Things really do happen for a reason. Even if you can’t see it now, or in a month, or in a year, you will eventually look back and realise it was all for the best. In the meantime, have a cup of tea. Or some wine.

And one from my Granny...

On the first day at a new school or new job:

Just find out where the toilets are, and how to get out. The rest can wait.