My last pressing book review is done and dusted – so now I can’t wait to get down to some pre-Christmas reading of my own. Top of my list are two treats I’ve been saving up. One is the just-completed manuscript of one of my best novelist friends, the other is Mutton by India Knight.
And it’s Knight who gave me the idea for this blog post. She wrote a laugh-out-loud funny piece in The Guardian at the weekend to promote her new book, explaining how, even at the advanced age of 46, she doesn’t feel like a grown-up. As the mother of an eight-year-old daughter and two grown-up sons, she explains: “… on the one hand you’re the mother of adult men, and on the other you’re the mother of a little child. You’re both ‘the youngest mum of all my friends’ and among the oldest mothers in year 4. You’re a bit cool, you’re a bit nan.”
A little bit cool, a little bit nan – that just about sums it up. Apart from worsening eyesight and wrinkly skin, I don’t feel middle-aged in the slightest. I still shop at Topshop and River Island, still like Dizzee Rascal’s music and still spend an inordinate amount of time pouring over the latest nail polish colours at Nails Inc. Actually, I’m half-hoping for their new leather and skulls varnish in black for Christmas, only the Oxford branch says they aren’t getting any till January.
On the other hand, I’m definitely a bit nan in lots of ways. The idea of staying out till 6am makes me feel ill, I can’t face loud music first thing in the morning and when I put sugar in someone’s coffee I still use a teaspoon. I still wear a watch, still send Christmas cards (no round robins!), still walk to the shops every morning to buy a newspaper and can’t go to bed before clearing up the chaos in the kitchen first.
My son definitely doesn’t think I’m cool though. I was telling him the other day that I quite like James Blake’s music. “James Blake?” he said crushingly. “Don’t you mean James Blunt?”