Hark! It's the call of the Variegated Blog-Nerd!
AP had a birthday on the weekend. She turned the grand age of 86, and to celebrate had a very elegant tea party, complete with silver teapot, beautiful little floral teacups and cakes served on very old and delicate plates. She invited 7 people, all women, and I (at the coltish age of 38 and a half) was the youngest.
It was a lovely afternoon, with the sky outside her large windows blue as blue could be and the chill sunshine slanting in until it dissolved into dark. The company was polite, warm, intelligent and for me, completely inspiring. If I can grow up to be like any of those women, I'll be fortunate.
I popped in on another old friend the other day: Jan Brown, who is illustrating one of the books I'm producing. She's 84, and hopes to live as long as her mother, who died at 102. Visiting Jan is terrific for a number of reasons:
1. She's great to talk to, very blunt and interesting. Doesn't believe in small talk.
2. She has a community of birds around her house, mostly magpies and currawongs, that she has been feeding for generations, so she knows each one by sight and they know her. You walk up to the house with many feathery eyes upon you...
3. ...and then you walk into the loungeroom and encounter many other beady eyes upon you:
Jan is a sculptor, and this is just a small example of the work that fills the entire room. I've blogged her before -- she's the creator of the kangaroo statues in Commonwealth Park. I love sitting and talking to her amid all these creatures, especially the hungry baby magpie statues. Here she is herself, talking on my phone to a mutual friend:
I've never see Jan in a dress in all the years I've known her and I guess I never will. We talked about poetry and drawing and she told me the best way to climb a palm tree (but to be careful on the way down, otherwise you scrape off the tender skin on your inside thighs).
I have a lot of time for women over 40. Even more for those over 60. There's a confidence about them that isn't present at an earlier age. They age far better than men, in my books.
I've probably mentioned this before, but every week when I drive away from AP's house I feel young and active, and it keeps me in perspective about where I am in my life cycle. This week, after hanging out with all these excellent role models, I felt like the best years are still ahead of me, as long as I can keep fit and alert.
Now if that isn't inspiration for a regular fitness routine, I don't know what is.*
*Mind you, I quite often tell myself it's not worth getting fit because I'll just get caught by the family demensia and end up living for many long years in good health but totally blank. That's when the chocolate cake/pudding/oven chips get eaten. I don't want to be a liability.