29 June 2012

Come Lift Me Up Where I Belong

I can state categorically that I will never have a facelift. Lack of finance aside, I know that I will never want one, as I know I will never want to join the National Front or to buy a Rolls Royce. Tastes differ; what suits me will probably come across an an appalling lack of maintenance to others. I'm not about to sneer at women diligently saving up for their next bit of cosmetic surgery. I am somewhat worried, however, by the increasingly high standards of youthful appearance deemed desirable for women (and men, too, probably). How far am I prepared to go to preserve, or even 'improve' my ageing skin? Well, currently it's as far as a shelf in the nearest branch of John Lewis (middle-class vanity at work here) where I buy a mid-price pot of face cream that makes a relatively modest claim: it says it will 'replace lost moisture and help protect your skin'. I don't actually believe this cream does anything more radical than to ease that post-wash tight-as-a-drum feeling, but I'm fallible enough, and vain enough, to hedge my bets. 

22 June 2012

Fir or Fur

Today's observation comes of being, myself, d'un certain age. The neck: it's hard not to notice your neck; it is, after all, in such very close proximity to your head. All too obvious, then, to register the fact that your neck acquires, over the years, an increasingly stringy and even bark-like appearance. This in turn can lead to a greater dependence on scarves and turtlenecks for those of sensitive temperament. I'd like to take this mild comparison between neck and tree a little further. The human and the arboreal both have heart and sap, after all, and it feels appropriate that the outer most layer is a good indication of age.  Similarly, a core sample can provide evidence about what sort of conditions you've survived over the years- those major events in life will have had a real impact on flesh and bone. At this point in time, I'm even wondering if I'd be prepared to go in for a little tree surgery. (Perhaps not such a great analogy after all.)

8 June 2012

Height of Fashion

'Height', according to my Oxford English Reference Dictionary, is 'the measurement from base to top or (of a standing person) from head to foot'. As it happens, from base to top, I measure 5'4", which is very close to the average height for a British female. This statistic of averageness comes from a handbook of anthropometric and strength measurements compiled in 2002 by ergonomists at the University of Nottingham on behalf of the Department for Trade and Industry, and intended for the use of product designers and the like. Well, things must have changed in the last ten years. I haven't shrunk, but I'm no longer average. I'm short, very short. And how do I know this? Because I've never bought a pair of jeans that I didn't have to trim by at least 8". I'm not height-aspirational. I don't buy these things imagining I'm going to grow into them. I could turn up the hems rather than getting out my sewing kit, but the turn-ups would just about reach my knees- not a good look. And I don't think the manufacturers are generously eating into their profit margins by giving me the extra denim for free. I'm paying for that waste material.  And out there in the world of fashion, a lot of old DTI handbooks are being used as doorstops.

5 June 2012

Less Sunshine

When I wrote of the 'paucity of sunhours' in London, I had tried without success to find some sort of statistic to back up my un-objective hunch about the general lack of sunshine here in the U.K.  As luck would have it, I came across the above today. Not really a statistic as such, this simplified 'Map of Sunshine Duration in Europe' (from Wikipedia) unfortunately confirms my fears of a life spent overcast by British gloom, and in stark graphic form.

1 June 2012


I could do with a little exposure, in every sense of the word. Not that I'll be suffering from any excess of UV rays this summer, if the weather remains as grisly as it has been today. Forgive me if I repost this picture (first shown last June), to remind us all of how delicious a really deep tan can be..