As a precocious teen I dreamed of being Graham Greene. Well, as it turned out, I never wrote a great novel, sadly, and I never converted to Catholicism, happily, but I did do one thing he did. That is, in middle age I moved to a seaside town and got into a right barney with the local powers-that-be.
As a child, I wanted only two things - to be left alone to read my library books, and to get away from my provincial hometown and go to London to be a writer. And I always knew that when I got there, I wanted to make loads of money.
My second husband believed I had such a fickle attitude to friendship that each Friday he would update the list of my 'Top Ten' friends in the manner of a Top Of The Pops chart countdown.
What sort of sap doesn't know by now that picture-perfect beauty is all done with smoke and mirrors anyway?
Shame, like beauty, is often in the eye of the beholder.
The truth of the matter is, beauty is a specific thing, rare and fleeting. Some of us have it in our teens, 20s and 30s and then lose it: most of us have it not at all. And that's perfectly okay. But lying to yourself that you have it when you don't seems to me simple-minded at best and psychotic at worst.
One Christmas build-up tradition, however, has totally bypassed me - that of going up to town and 'doing a show.'
It may be a cliche, but it's true - the build-up to Christmas is so much more pleasurable than the actual day itself.
I don't really care what people tell children - when you believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, one more fib won't hurt. But I am infuriated by the growing notion, posited in some touchy-feely quarters, that all women are, or can be, beautiful.
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