Way too early to be up on a Sunday morning and I find myself sipping tea at the dining table, television on, watching Gardeners’ World. Is this what happens once you reach a certain age? A flick through the channels for something friendly and non-taxing to keep me company whilst my Earl Grey kicks in and I stop, without coherent thought, on greenery and a softly spoken man. It is not until my daughter and her questioning eyebrows appear a little later, that I realise I am still watching the gardening – and enjoying it!
Actually, I do love to garden, though I’m still rather a novice. I am also rather partial to a mosey around the garden centre, though I’m never really sure what’s what. But watching it on television on my own on a Sunday morning? It must be a sign, a symptom of my entry into middle age, of grown up, sensible stuff! Monty and his dogs and the outsideness were all very calming, the perfect antidote to a non-stop week. Perhaps my subconscious was in control of my channel hopping finger. Perhaps it’s not a sign of middle age, more a case of self preservation – enforced relaxation by the subliminal mind.
Maybe the fact that I now wear an apron when cooking is my inner sensible head taking over too. I never used to bother with an apron, my clothes just took their chance against whatever I was making for dinner that day. For ages there has been an old fashioned kind of cloth apron hanging on the back door. I unearthed it from a lucky dip of tablecloths and napkins given to me that were otherwise bound for the charity shop. It is splendidly retro with ‘Home Sweet Home’ printed on it and is cheerily colourful. It lends itself to being on display, and hanging from its hook has the appearance of a piece of fabric door art. A decorative door appendage, but not for practical use, not unless you are a sensible, middleish-aged lady. Then, one day, I realise that I am wearing it! Having hung there silently for years, ‘Home Sweet Home’ is now emblazoned across my chest. How did that happen? My unconscious mind again? Self preservation..of the clothing kind?
I do have a tendency to wipe my hands on my thighs when I cook, so the whole apron wearing scenario is no bad thing really. On a recent foray into creating homemade tomato soup and falafel burgers, a ridiculously messy pairing, my vintage apron rather came into its own. As I multi tasked chopping and mixing whilst talking to various children and organising logistics for the evening and the next day, my phone binged with a text message. I paused, mid parsley chopping, wiped my hands on my thighs and burrowed in the pocket of my pinny for my phone. Oh my word. Ma Boswell! Shazam…1980’s flashback.
No, Ma Boswell was not my texter, I was Ma Boswell! She was the no-nonsense matriarch in ‘Bread’, a sitcom that aired from the middle 1980’s, written by Carla Lane. I loved it.
It wasn’t a smell or a word that whooshed me back in time (like it did in ‘Janitor to aisle six‘, with creosote and Hong Kong Phooey), but the physical act of lifting my phone out of my apron pocket. Ma Boswell, mainly to be found in her kitchen, kept on top of the various adventures and comings and goings of her grown up brood by having the phone close to hand – more often than not, in the pocket of her apron. An ideal way to make a chunky eighties cordless phone, with pull out aerial, a tad more mobile! I did not have the need to make my flat, slim, buttonless phone more mobile, but it had found its way into my apron anyway.
Not only had I inadvertently enjoyed Gardeners’ World and found myself wearing a cooking apron, I was now storing my phone in its pocket like a middle aged Ma Boswell! It’s surely only a matter of time before I hear myself justifying my clothing choices as favouring comfort over style. Although, maybe I should listen to my subconscious, maybe the emergence of sensible, grown up goings on are good for me. After all, I’ve been listening to The Archers and Desert Island Discs for years and have come to no harm.