The Hippy, the Potter and the Queen!

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I have just finished having the most hilarious lunch I’ve had in a long time. It was the seventy third birthday of an old friend of mine, and I basically gate crashed without meaning to. Who would purposely want to gate crash a seventy third birthday lunch anyway right? WRONG! There was my dear birthday friend and myself (who is still this side of fifty!), and the other three seventy-ish guests; the Hippy, the Potter and the Queen. I named each of them because they almost fitted so neatly into boxes ….but I need you to know that I mean that in the most wonderful of ways. These women are all survivors one way or another (and you know that I love survivors), and they were each in their own ways so very strong, transparent, real, and beautiful in their own skin. Mostly because they were no longer trying to fit anyone else’s worlds, or be who anyone else wanted them tobe. They were survivors because of the hard knocks of life but also because they have looked the worst that life can throw one in the face and stuck up their middle fingers…

Let me introduce you to the Hippy who wore sun glasses straight out of the seventies atop her wild haired head, and her layers of skirts and beaded necklaces and jewellery draped around her neck, wrists and beautiful artist’s fingers. There was nothing dated or ridiculous or “mutton dressed up in lamb” about her. With her almost constant stream of cigarettes in one hand and infectious and genuine laugh, there is nothing incongruous about her at all.

Then there was the Queen. She looks and behaves nothing like the Queen of England, but she would give Jacqui Kennedy a run for her money in her stunning mint designer cardigan with perfectly matching scarf that was clearly bought not as a matching set but by someone with an eye for perfection and grace. Her hair was coiffed yet flowed (as apposed to a solid, hair sprayed number) and her nails were nude but stunning. Yet she had no airs or graces about her and she was anything but a princess…

The third guest was the Potter. An amazing potter I am told, and certainly gave me (a novice potter at best) so much help and advice so lovingly and freely and helpfully. I find myself stuck on how to describe her as easily as the Hippy and the Queen. She had a style of her own somewhere in between with her stunning pearl earrings and potters hands, … and the almost constant cigarette in her hand.

These women are not and never have been, bored housewives or free loaders of any kind. They work hard with earth and clay, fabric and fibre, paint and silver, but also with people’s hearts. They are still deeply involved volunteers in really tough trauma situations and have given back to the community at incredible levels. Some of them have Masters degrees.

As the wine began to ever so gently flow and they kindly shared with me some of their stories, I laughed and laughed longer than I have in ages. And I am not talking about stories of their misspent youth either … those stories are old and boring and buried under a life time of bigger, better, more tragic, more wonderful, more amazing stories, and while it wasn’t those lifetimes of stories that they were sharing either, it is with the eyes of hindsight and all those experiences, that these recent stories were being told…

Somehow stories of teenagers getting drunk, sneaking weed into cookies, and smoking behind the bicycle shed are boring. Anyone can do that and when you don’t have wisdom or guidance, and you have a lifetime of consequences ahead of you … it can be just plain stupid. But when you have lived much of that life and that life has knocked you for six on more than one occasion, and you have loved and laughed and died on the inside, done everything you “should” do… well, then maybe you can do what these and I am sure many septuagenarians are doing, and having fun…

Think “Eat Pray Love”  meets “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and you have stories about freezers full of hash cookies, bottles of whiskey smuggled on spiritual retreats to India, and smoking with the dead bodies in the crematorium because that is the only place where  no one will smell the lit cigarettes. This isn’t the only conversation that I have had this year with a septuagenarian that has included some or all of these things (the other was on a trip to Amsterdam and by trip, …well, you know what I mean) and I am starting to see that not all of us will have to grow old to be mouldy, grumpy or boring. I am not condoning drugs of course, yes we must all drink alcohol responsibly and smoking of all kinds is a no no … but you know what? …there is a big old life out there to be lived and it doesn’t just start to fade once you get past half way!

Thank you ladies for an inspiring and hilarious afternoon, and yes please with bells on to that invitation to your next party !

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2 thoughts on “The Hippy, the Potter and the Queen!

    1. That term fits then perfectly … Aging disgracefully! I think that there is a fine line between aging gracefully and aging bitterly, and another fine line between aging disgracefully and aging rediculously (but the second one matter less if you get it wrong?)

      Liked by 1 person

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