On Monday I went to town. Not in the literal sense of, going-to-town. Nor going in-to-town. I drove three and half hours, 282kms to Dunedin. Rolling through the ever changing chapters of Otago landscape. A chocolate box worthy panoramic postcard of ’scapes all the way to the coast, even in the rain.
I dressed in my town clothes. The newly purchased threads, my Haute Savoie savvy girlfriend, Caroline Mary, told me I’d never wear.
‘You live in the mountains, like me. You’re a hillbilly.’
I am (a hillbilly), but I will, I thought. Wear them. To town.
I wore my only-tried-on-at-home-several-times, boxy grass green stiff satin jacket, with pastel coloured silk scarf tied loosely. My latest Le Spec sunglasses, my brother in law told me would last me to the END. I could have been my Nana, except for my black skinny jeans and woollen tank top. I was thrillingly overdressed right down to my ankle boots.
Nana was a snazzy dresser. Loved a sense of occasion. In fact, I may be becoming her...
My mantra on a recent week long assault of Oxford Street, London, with best shopping assistant in the world, daughter 13 was: buy things that will last my forever, and buy nothing black.
Somehow, a lot of navy blue garments crept into my shopping bags. Had I read somewhere, blue is more flattering to crepe-y skin? More suitable for that middle aged maven I'm chanelling?
It’s only 6 more sleeps until I add another F-word to the header above. Fifty. However, just like a caterpillar cocoons then hatches into a moth, this old chrysalis seems to be morphing into someone I’ve never met. Self-artic-blonding hair and eyebrows on my temples aside. The signs are obvious. I seem to be giving myself a subconscious makeover of the middle aged kind. It’s written all over me. In blue.
I now own: Blue shoes (a story in themselves), a blue wool coat (saved me from hypothermia at a recent star studded bash), blue cashmere cardigan (will go nicely with future navy slacks, aka a blue-gran-suit), and a blue flowery dress (Karen Millen on sale, will wear to my little sister’s wedding in two weeks).
Then there was the green blouse with navy blue collar and trim. Plus a couple of colour deviations like the aforementioned grass-green jacket. Oh, and a particular pink dress. Hey, I'm not a gran yet.
Anyway, off to Dunedin, dressed as a 60’s housewife, albeit in a paler shade of lipstick I went, with two major missions planned. I came to collect this blue chair:
And to deliver its pair for the same makeover. Bought at an estate auction for $16, these old girls have sat in my house draped in calico like untidy flat mates for 19 years. I’d forgotten the material I’d chosen for them was blue.
In Titan Street, I found a narrow red brick colonial cottage, nestled amongst student flats. There was a plaque by the front door it said, ‘…Writer’s House’. I almost expected Beatrix Potter to walk out, paint brush in hand, as I stood in the rain with my sleeping bag. Instead, the kind and very clever, Otago University Children's Writer in Residence, Melinda Szymanik opened the door and invited me in...
On the way home after much convivial chat and, coffee and art in town clothes, I did some housewife shopping. I bought a heavy bottomed fry pan set (the family has been consuming black bits off an ancient cast iron pan for at least a year). Body Shop shaving cream and face protector for The H. 1 x Anti-Aging Mask-Cream Reparation Booster (bound to work, sounds like NASA made it; you have to try).
Finally, an assortment of cut crystal glasses from the Milton antique shop, 8 lemonade and 9 wine.
On my way out I spied these beauties:
‘My wife makes them. Vintage fabric made with old patterns. She does wedding dresses too. $35.’
Now that I'm old enough to play dress-ups, I only wished I’d really gone to town and worn a frock.
ps. Navy blue is the new black. You heard it here.