Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Is 54 too old to jump in puddles?

It was a normal Saturday morning and, as usual the dogs and I were walking through the woods when I saw it. It was a puddle so big that I was stopped in my tracks. Ok so it’s not in league of what Hurricane Sandy left behind in New York, but never the less it was sizeable. The dogs had already waded through, stopping to have a drink half way across, (I wish they wouldn’t), but as I got to the outer edge I had a moment. I am actually quite prone to having moments, I’m not sure if it’s the menopause but this curious behaviour has been more noticeable since my youngest returned safely from Afghanistan a year ago, so there is definitely something afoot.

And without a thought I jumped in, two feet, kerbassh, straight into the middle of the puddle...and then I jumped again, kicking the water as I went and I started to laugh because it was silly and stupid and...well, fun. The dogs wagged their tails and started to bark and all was well within my little world.  Until I turned round to follow the line of their gaze... and there he was: a man holding onto the collar around his boxer dog’s neck, looking at me. Not in a creepy, stalkerish way, but more in a bemused, where is her Carer sort of a way.

I stopped jumping. I opened my mouth to say something witty and terribly clever and “The water’s lovely!” came out. He remained silent and then, without uttering a single sound, turned round, pulling at the lead, now firmly attached to the equally bemused boxer dog’s collar, and strode off , head down in a purposeful manner, in the opposite direction.

I looked down at my muddy green wellies and brushed down the front of the enormous Army issue green waterproof I was wearing over my sheepskin jacket.  On reflection I could see that my appearance bore vague similarities to an enormous green gherkin, which was probably quite a scary sight, even for those with a strong constitution. It was definitely not a scene you want to stumble across on a Saturday morning in November.

I sighed, and thrust my hands into the huge pockets of my waterproof and pulled out a refresher chew - well it had been Halloween and I had overdone the sweets thing - I actually only had one fairly pathetic fairy and a cowboy (?) knock on my door, so I am now on a diet of Refreshers, lollies and mini milky ways.

My kids use to love Halloween. Well if I am being honest I loved and still love Halloween. My children didn’t need much encouragement to go with the flow! At the time I saw nothing wrong in dressing them up, painting their faces and sending them off into the dark to knock on strangers houses and ask for money or I have had a few years to think about it...and Fagin does spring to mind...but they loved it, and it was different back then, wasn’t it? They would come back with their bags overflowing and tip their spoils out on the carpet. It was just a bit of fun.

Nowadays we do seem to be a bit devoid of fun sometimes.

I also have been known to whiz down a supermarket aisle whilst pushing a big trolley building it up so after a couple of good pushes I can lean forward and take my feet just off of the ground just enough so I speed along on trolley power alone. In my head I do make the ‘Wheeee’ sound, and I must admit that there was an incident last week when I said this out loud, forgetting myself for just a moment, and causing a small boy to turn to his mother and say, “She’s being naughty isn’t she Mummy?” and his Mother giving me one of those ‘for goodness sake act your age’ looks.

And I smile, because it is harmless and silly and the world is such a dull place at times, and it doesn’t hurt anyone. And I’m 54 and I can.

I can blame it all on the menopause, people either nod knowingly, (and perhaps a tad sympathetically), or shuffle away embarrassed. I don’t even have to say the words; I can mouth them in an exaggerated fashion, ala Les Dawson: “It’s the menopause you know.”

And even if that isn’t a valid excuse, then as a mother of a serving soldier who has done his stuff in Afghanistan I am allowed to be a bit crazy, ditsy and silly. I am allowed to let off steam and to be thankful that, for now, he is home and he is safe. Me, just like thousands of other mums who have, or have had, their children serve Out There spend so much time worrying and fretting that we need to have an escape. Menopause of not, puddle splashing and trolley riding should be compulsory.

And of course it is now firework time, so I need to go and find me a sparkler, so I can write my name in the air...

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