Tuesday, January 27, 2015

There's a difference in living and living well

For Christmas, I received India Knight’s book, In Your Prime. I suppose I was given it because ‘prime’ is a euphemism for ‘past your prime’. (Actually I was given it because I asked for a copy, but there’s no pathos in that version.) The book is targeted at women in their late forties and beyond, and focuses rather more on foot care than I was expecting. It’s less about prime in the Miss Jean Brodie sense of running away to fight in the Spanish civil war, and more about prime as an excuse to buy things to make life easier.

Now India Knight is a well-heeled woman who lives in a very smart part of London (I have in fact seen her house, but I am NOT a stalker, as I explained to the police), and so her list of essential items, in the chapter called ‘Living Well’, includes a bed which costs in the thousands, goose-down pillows, personal trainers, laser-surgery, Botox, a ‘good’ handbag (meaning Louis Vuitton rather than Debenhams) and so on.

This got me thinking about the things that help me live well. Few of them are the most expensive things I’ve ever bought. Some of them aren’t even actual purchases, sorry India, I know I’m letting the side down. Most of them, of course, are items of stationery. First amongst these, the King of Living Well, is envelopes. How often have I gone to get an envelope to send something important, like a complaint letter to the school, and only found one ratty square red envelope, its glue no longer tacky. Well, now I have a whole stack of envelopes, in C4, C5, C6 and the sad outsider DL. Get me knowing the official sizes. 

More must-haves: a proper sellotape dispenser so you don’t have to waste time finding the end; Pritt stick that hasn’t dried out (tricky, as Pritt dries out overnight, like a mayfly), non-perished rubber bands, pens that work; gloves paired up in a box near the front door; reading glasses in every room (not a massive expense, these things are cheaper than chips); zips that don’t stick. 

A brief survey revealed some other people’s essential ‘Living Well’ items to include swimming goggles for cutting onions (see photo, posed by model - by the way, I’m sparing you the lengthy debate that accompanied this suggestion, about how none of the other so-called tricks work); a penknife about one’s person, for all those cutting/mugging emergencies, and a homemade dispenser for a ball of string, or twine, as we call it in Lewes (the instructions for this involved a lemonade bottle and were rather complicated).
I’m going to write this up on a DL envelope as a proper list, and next time I’m passing India’s house - once the restraining order’s lifted - I’ll pop it through the letterbox. In my opinion she needs to focus less on Botox, and more on envelopes, if she’s really going to have a happy prime.

Beth Miller