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In Good Company: It’s Coming Out Time

...As soon as the sun comes out so do I. My sturdy frame can be seen distorting the deckchair stripes whenever possible...

Enid Blackburn is a creature of the Sun.

Hooray! It’s almost summer! Well it is at this sunny moment in our back yard, as I sit with my trousers rolled up to my bruises and my polo neck turned down another half inch.

When this east wind stops biting the goose pimples it will be here. But already I have enjoyed one or two hot blinks under my sun hat. As soon as the sun comes out so do I. My sturdy frame can be seen distorting the deckchair stripes whenever possible.

As a friendly masochist reminded me the other day, after June 21st we start ‘going back.’ Only days to the longest day.

But the signs of summer are all around us. Once again it looks as if a Wild West wagon train has just blown through, every time I sweep the yard. The Kirklees buses are still maintaining their abnormal winter schedule; presumably the flu victims are now on holiday.

The magazine cover girls are uncovering more and more. Angular models with coat hanger shoulders are trying to tempt us all into holiday shape with much expensive preparation.

‘What will another hot summer do to your face and body?’ asks one. Put new life into it, I hope. Will you be ready to dash for cover after one blistering afternoon, or, like me, wish it would go on forever, or at least through the winter.

The glamorous models do not influence me. How could they? I have never seen one yet with a figure like mine. When are we pleasantly proportioned, cosily plump forties going to be featured? There are a lot of us about, you know, and we are all waiting to be served as glamorously as anyone else.

Although life begins at forty, it is supposed to be an undercover affair, judging by some of the fashion prophets. No woman over thirty-five is fit to be seen uncovered, seems to be the message. Knees, arms and chests have to be hidden away. But if, like me, you have your own ‘who cares’ fashion rules, you can laugh in their hollow cheeks even if it means causing a few yourself.

I am still smarting from my swimsuit parade in front of my panel of judges – my family. No one could stop laughing long enough to comment. My ‘stop beating about the bush – does it suit me?’ fell on noisy guffaws. But whether it does or not, I intend to take the late Winston Churchill’s chauvinistic advice and ‘fight them on the beaches’ or anywhere else I feel like wearing what I want – if necessary.

‘There is something very sexy about sun-tanned toes,’ says one beautician who obviously hasn’t seen mine. We once had a tortoise with nicer looking feet than me. Covering the toenails with varnish helps, but guiding the brush over all those ridges with my feet tucked under my chin always makes me feel bilious. Actually, nerves in the feet affect the whole body, so when your feet are comfy, so are you. It makes good sense to start your summer shaping at the bottom. I mean feet, or both.

*

Now that Whitsuntide is one big flop, a frustrating confusion to most of us, why not throw new ideas to the wind and fall in behind the band again? Nothing will ever replace the joyful Whit Monday trippety-skip, following the brass band around the houses. The coming together of brass and voices on selected doorsteps and the melodious double-time march back to Sunday school for a cuppa and currant bun, followed by another after tea tune-up while the children fought the war of the races.

There is something highly spirit-lifting about a brass band that makes me want to tear up my sponsor forms, raffle, dance and jumble sale tickets and throw them in the air. A Whitsun walk is still as magical to some of us as the Pied Piper was to the Hamelin children.

*

The most encouraging question of the week was popped to me yesterday. ‘Are you going down t‘nick, lass?’ was the complimentary inquiry. I would like to announce to all corpulants that I have managed to shed a few pounds. I have discovered a non-fail way to grow thin, which I would like to pass on to fellow sufferers. Ignore all the low calorie rubbish displayed in the supermarkets. There is only one sure way to slim and that is – eat less. Stop enjoying those delicious desserts that make life so wonderful (sob), those melt-in-the-mouth buttery potatoes (slurp), and if you still have a bulge – buy a bike! It’s the only way to a flagpole figure.

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