You know that seven degrees of separation thing? The number of connections between people; the number varies but as we know in Wales it tends to be less than seven. Hmm it occurs to me that the development of social media is built on this concept albeit the Spinster frequently raises an eyebrow before raising a finger and rather too enthusiastically pressing delete when receiving random friend requests (whilst silently saying ‘I don’t think so’!). I am sooo not interested in being a Facebook (or Linked In) Queen with oodles of ‘friends’ or ‘connections’; yes there are some advantages to being in those invisible middle years (where women disappear)!
Yesterday the Spinster was, for once, happy to be stuck in traffic; had I not I would have missed the piece on Womens Hour about Harpers Bazaar republishing a short story by Virginia Woolf (originally published in 1939 (I think). The degrees of separation link, and yes for once there is a direct connection between the Spinster’s sentences, relates to the Editor in Chief at Harpers Bazaar; a woman called Justine Picardie. Some years ago I bought Before I say goodbye a book bringing together the articles written by Ruth Picardie in the Observer. Justine had commissioned her sister Ruth to write the column/series of articles about her diagnosis with, and subsequent death from, breast cancer.
The book is candid and moving as she talks about the journey of her disease; she had very young children and was only a young woman herself. When going through my book shelves recently the Spinster came across not only Ruth’s book but also the one Justine had written about the year following her sister’s death. How do you cope with the cruel premature death of a close sibling? Justine also frankly explores her anger, sadness and how she not exactly comes to terms with it but how she lives without Ruth.
The Picardie sisters mother lives in Cardiff and some years ago a close friend of the Spinster lived next door to her. One day I had, for reasons that now escape me, had agreed to take on an ancient white cat from a friend of a friend who had become unwell and was having to rehomed numerous cats. Again for reasons lost in the mists of times I was unable to have the cat where I was living. So the friend, who lived next door to the Picardie sisters mother, agreed that he would look after the sorry looking beast temporarily; the only problem was the white cat got out and disappeared! The houses backed onto Pontcanna Field’s and the manky looking feline suddenly had a burst of energy and legged it. The Spinster wasn’t about to give up and went back to the house for days calling the cat’s name. One day the neighbour heard me calling in the garden and said ’you do know white cats are congenitally deaf?’ Oh did I feel stupid! And no I never found the cat…
So the circle ends with the Spinster on a mission; where could I find a copy of September’s Harpers Bazaar? After a rather unsatisfactory lunch with a friend in Pontcanna it suddenly came to me; Waitrose in Barry of course where else! And I did, along with a copy of Intelligent Life (cultural offshoot of the Economist) with an Inspiring Women feature that intrigued me (who does inspire Meryl Streep the Spinster wondered (haven’t read it yet so I can’t share it with you – top tip if you have an iPhone you can get an Intelligent Life ap free (well worth it)). I don’t know what was wrong with me yesterday as I actually ended up buying not one but two 5p carrier bags; sheer laziness perhaps? No the Spinster is absolutely not guilty of that! I just underestimated quite how fat Harpers Bazaar was going to be; it’s nearly an inch thick (with more than half being adverts for extraordinarily expensive clothes/bags).
The Spinster’s latest Cruella induced challenge necessitates 2 crutches pretty much 24/7 (yes even when popping to the loo in the wee (no pun intended) small hours). Shopping is a logistical nightmare; OK a trolley (single person variety) helps but only one supermarket has one long enough to comfortably accommodate 2 sticks! I only needed a magazine so why would I need a trolley? Well have you ever tried I balance a thick glossy publication under your arm whilst simultaneously walking with crutches? Of course you fit buggers haven’t but believe me it’s a bit of a challenge! It kept slipping down; the Spinster’s forearms simply aren’t strong enough to perform both tasks simultaneously!
So 5p for a carrier bag seemed to be the solution; only of course the magazine went right through the pathetic plastic so the cashier gave me a second one in case the tear got bigger and it actually fell out! Now common sense would say put the torn bag inside a second bag; oh no he just stuffed a spare down the side!
At £4 nearly £5 the Spinster won’t be rushing to buy Harpers Bazaar again anytime soon; having spent several hours wading through it last night I’m pretty sure I don’t fall into the target audience! Physically and financially the majority of ‘stuff’ is way out of this Spinster’s league; I’ve never seen prices listed with ‘about’ before the number! But I confess to having found more to read than just the Virginia Woolf short story…including an article by Margaret Atwood!
The short story had been discussed as having a contemporary resonance and I can see what the Womens Hour contributors meant but Mrs Woolf still has a time consuming intricate style the average fashionista might not willing to engage with. It’s right at the end of the several hundred pages and I’m guessing the majority of readers make not get there…