Kylie has just turned 40. I wonder if she will go through any of the subtle changes that I experienced after that landmark birthday? Here are my top five most alarming symptoms:
1. The desire to read poetry. Something I hadn’t done since A-levels suddenly became an overwhelming urge. Shakespeare’s Sonnets and Keats’s Odes suddenly replaced Busta Rhymes rap as my favourite type of verse. Surely this must be a symptom of advancing years, or approaching senility?
“I grow old I grow old! I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled!”
2. The desire to save vouchers and cut out coupons from newspapers. The first time I did this I thought: “Oh my GOD! I’m turning into a little old lady! Nooo!” Now, four years later, I wouldn’t dream of binning a Sunday supplement without scouring it for 2-for-1 cinema tickets or a free coffee from Starbucks. My wallet is bulging with the damn things but I just can’t help myself. And as for Computers for Schools — I must have supplied half of the SEELB catchment area with Apple Macs by now ...
3. The desire to go fell walking. Not easy for someone who habitually wears high heels. God knows where this crazy notion came from — I would drive to the corner shop rather than walk a hundred yards, but now the call of the wild has taken over and for some reason I want to climb every mountain and ford every stream.
“Oh I love to go a-wandering along the mountain track/And as I go I love to sing with a nap-sack on my back!”
But please — if you ever see me wearing a fluorescent Karrimor windcheater, waterproof over-trousers and a bobble hat just push me off the nearest cliff.
Some crimes against fashion just cannot be forgiven, even of the elderly.
4. The desire to go back to church. Ok, I haven’t actually made it inside one yet, but in fairness, the notion is there at least.
Is it ‘The power of Christ that compels thee!’ or just the fear that there might be a Hell after all, and that every time I say the F word or have unclean thoughts about Clive Owen I might be edging that wee bit closer?
5. The desire to get gardening. I can literally pin-point this to the very week I turned 40. Before then I didn’t care that my backyard was a wasteland.
Then I got vouchers as gifts and spent them on a spade and a wheelbarrow. I treated myself to a half tonne of topsoil with my 40th birthday money.
I started visiting the garden centre with alarming regularity and bought a pair of wellies.
Not even the fashionable Kate-Moss style floral ones with heels, but the traditional green galoshes type that smell of lorry tyres.
And, what was worst of all, I started mulching.
The need to nurture had taken root and now four years on, I’ve even started to dress like Charlie Dimmock, discarding the bra on gardening days to be at one with nature.
So, I will be scouring the papers over the next few weeks for pictures of the diminutive songstress.
If she is caught by the paparazzi cashing in her money-off vouchers in the gardening section at Homebase, or buying a pair of woolly hiking socks at Milletts, or clutching a poetry anthology and a Sunday Missal I will know that it’s not just me losing my marbles.