Forty-One Is The New... Oh Forget It

“Women like a man with a past, but they prefer a man with a present”

— Mae West

So life is tough here in the tropics. Between eating, sleeping, swimming, drinking cocktails and - well, repeating the above - it's a hard knock life. I do have the small aggravation of the Dread Pirate's ability to tan in the space of a millisecond whilst I turn into the world's largest freckle to put up with, but these things are sent to try us. And I am enormously grateful for the amazing time I am having traversing South East Asia, with the opportunity to catch up with very old friends and really relax for the first time in a long time.

But the whole trip - there has been a certain something lurking. A shadowy spectre of doom. That phantom finger of uneasiness which caused the hairs on the back of my neck to stand up at odd moments, to feel as if the proverbial grave was being tangoed upon.

The clock has been a-ticking on the calendar of life. Specifically, on the days until February 6th. Which of course, came along yesterday...

And I officially got OLDER.

I know that there shouldn't be an emphasis on age, and I was pretty happy with the way I was doing for fuh-fuh-fuh...


But then it had to click over to forty-one. Why? Can't I just stay perennially forty? Because it sounds so much cooler saying 'yep, I'm 40' than 'yep, I'm 41'. I don't know why. There is probably a thesis in there somewhere for some enterprising non-forty-one year old (read: young person) who has an inclination to explore this issue, and can manage it without the subjects of said thesis snarling at them like tigers; but something about the whole year '41' makes me feel all T.S. Eliot's 'J. Alfred Prufrock' and as though I am going to start wearing my trousers rolled and start going around groaning that I grow old, I grow old.

However. There is a solution. And it's a very simple and cost-effective one. In the words of the timeless and magnificent Mae West, you're only as old as the man that you feel.

I never, ever thought I would be grateful for a six month age difference.

As it turns out however, gratitude does come in mildly annoying but ever so slightly more youthful buccaneering packages.

With a light case of sunburn.

And a fair bit of cutlass wielding idiocy to take my mind off the approach of the Angel of Death.

Except of course when he is reminding me how much older I am than him.

Remind me why I am grateful again?

Listing Slightly To The Right

“He had a wonderful talent for packing thought close, and rendering it portable.”

— Thomas B Macaulay

So - next week I am off with the Dread Pirate on a swashbuckling adventure - well, as swashbuckling as one gets lolling around a pool slurping cocktails if one can be bothered picking up one's glass. I am so grateful that this IS only a week away that I think this post could possibly count as a month's worth of gratitude in one big hit.

Aside from my near hysteria at the fact that whilst I am away I will be turning a year older than my now perpetual 21 (that's certainly my mental age and even that is generous), and thus have a need to shovel into my hand luggage large amounts of Valium, I am currently faced with my usual conundrum;

What on earth will I pack?

I am an inveterate list maker. I love lists. They are ace. And what better time to whip out the pad and pen (or as it is now, the packing app) and get ready to rumble on the suitcase of style?

The trouble is though...

I quite often end up with enough stuff for fifteen said suitcases.

And two or three Lusitania standard First-Class steamer trunks.


It's just so hard! Boys have it easy - throw in some shorts, a few shirts, a pair of shoes and some yum aftershave to hide the boy smells and they're set. Because they know that anything else they need you will bring because you bring everything.

Hmmmm. They're not as stupid as they look.

And the trouble is, one never knows what may be needed! Yes, I could be headed for the tropics... but that doesn't mean there couldn't be a sudden sub-arctic spell. Who can tell these days? And I may definitely need that fifteenth top that looks exactly the same as the other fourteen, because look at the hem - it's totally different. It's got two rows of stitching, not one! And as for the shoes...

Even pirates know when not to argue. Ever wonder who came up with the first Jolly Roger? A very annoyed Mrs Dread P who had to leave her favourite shoes behind in a hurry and took it out on the nearest crew member, that's who.

So the list goes on. And on. And - well you get the picture.

Usually that is.

However, this time I am turning over a new leaf - or a new list, as the case may be. I am determined to be sleek, and streamlined, and encapsulated. I am going to embody the essence of holiday wardrobe wear and take only what I know I need, not what I think I want.

And I will be grateful for two things as a result.

One, that I do not have to bring ten cartloads of washing home with me afterwards; and two...

That for once, my bags won't weigh more than I do.



I'll try...