Jeanne Ellin: Notes from an Older Woman, Week 15

Jeanne Ellin: Age Shall Not Wither Her

jeanne ellinJeanne Ellin is a 68 year old poet living on the basic pension, in sheltered accommodation, with Little Cat Friday and a menagerie of chronic health conditions for companions. Her ambition is to live a happy, satisfying, creative life. Join her for her journey through 2016.

“What is it like to be old?”

I told them it was a real adventure. Scary, uncomfortable, uncertain, with real Dragons and real Treasure.

15 April 2016: Speed dating and Jam

mini jamsI was in Waitrose’s jam section. An unlikely pick up point. I was just browsing the jewel toned jams, Crab Apple, Cherry, Fig, Greengage, Gooseberry, Ginger, Loganberry Pineapple, Rhubarb. I have very little jam, just the occasional teaspoon for a jam omelette. The sensible option is the mini-jars, but they only come in Strawberry and Marmalade. So was just wondering which choice I could share with my daughter when I was approached by a well-presented man of suitable vintage. Smiling pleasantly he said,

”There is nothing like strawberry jam, is there?”

“Strawberry is nice but look at all the other possibilities…Morello Cherry or Ginger Preserve?”

jamHe shook his head. “No it is always strawberry jam for me.”

And he drifted off. He obviously came to the same conclusion as I did. We were not a match.

Well, there you have it. Incompatible life attitudes explored in one sentence. An excellent speed dating experience.

Sadly, he was pleasant, well spoken, did not leer or drool but conservative, at least with a small ‘c’. He might even read the Telegraph and I am more of an Independent/Guardian, Green party type.

I think the clincher was his certainty. The sense of being settled in habit and choices. But the world still holds so many avenues to explore…even in jam.

I am not ready to fossilize, not till I am buried at least.

Sometimes in charity shops, I find older men volunteering and do have a pleasant little flirtation on occasion. I give points for sincerity, spontaneity and immediacy. Nul points for lines that wouldn’t have worked on me 50 years ago. A good example: I was admiring some art silk ties, wondering what project I could use them in when the older man who was in charge of the section came up to me. He asked if there was a man in my life to receive the tie? A graceful overture and possible to swerve or overlook if I was not interested. I have also had interesting conversations about vintage items and how to refinish them. On these occasions wives if any are usually gently referred to.

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