Thursday, January 1, 2009

Miss A needs to live for a day

I've been reading a wonderful book called 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' by an author called Winifred Watson. It was published in the 1940s and is the story of how a dowdy spinster and unsuccessful governess Miss Pettigrew has her life changed in one day by a chance meeting with nightclub singer Delysia Lafosse. It is charming, frothy, beautifully written and insightful, one of those books which entertains so effortlessly that you hardly know you are reading it. I'd compare it to 'Cold Comfort Farm' or 'I Capture the Castle' - two of my favourite books.

Much is made of Miss Pettigrew being, oh my goodness, forty. At forty and not married it's clear that she might as well be in her coffin for all that is left of her life. There is much made of her age although in the end she finds happiness in a surprising way. Being over forty myself and feeling, yesterday at least, a bit washed up Miss Pettigrew chimed with me.

I was having one of my 'what will become of me?' days yesterday. I decided on a solo walk in the countryside to cheer me up but it had the opposite effect. I would have taken the children but taking Flora would have involved preparations akin to turning a tanker round and Patrick simply gave me one of his new withering looks. So it was that I found myself on top of the Downs in my wellingtons. I did enjoy my walk but unfortunately it did not empty my mind in the way that I hoped and I started to ruminate rather badly on the fact that I was a woman in her forties, on her own, unloved and undesired etc etc etc.

So I went home, cried a bit, read 'Miss Pettigrew' and took one of my tablets! Her Cinderella story seems a little unlikely but it did cheer me up. Perhaps I won't meet a nightclub singer who will transform my life but you never know, maybe this will be the year when Miss A lives for a day!!!!

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