Tuesday 1 February 2011


I've had my hair cut. It had got quite long. And tangled. A general mess really.

It is true what they say: that if you leave your hair unwashed then it will self clean. It does, sort of. Just has a vague human smell about it rather than the lingering perfume of shampoo.

When we first set foot here, two and a half years ago, we were devoid of all facilities apart from a cold water tap. So we had to boil kettles for hot water. I did that with my camping twin tub washing machine. About five kettles it took to get enough hot water in the washer drum to do our undies. Fortunately it was Summer, so we were in minimal clothing anyway. Anyway, to wash my hair was not do-able, particularly because it needed washing every couple of days. Other things became more urgent, and messing about with coiffured hair became lost at the bottom of a long list of other things needing my attention.

And so my tresses grew. Into a bun they went. Out of the way.

Once or twice I came upon my dressmaking scissors so managed to give it a self-do trim. That was all. In two and a half years it was probably washed no more than a half a dozen times. Sort of matched my flannel, soap, and bowl of hot water jobbies on myself each morning, winter time included. Even this morning I stood in my birthday suit and shivered my way through a very fast ablutionary experience. The surprising thing is, though, that it is quite invigorating, and makes me feel joyously alive. Well perhaps it doesn't. But I have to stay positive about things otherwise one can get quite moany. And one of the things we don't do here is endlessly moan about the lack of facilities. Funnily enough, there are certain people who think we are mad because of our attitude about living here. But as I said to my daughter, being slightly mad is what keeps us sane!

Hair: so it came into my mind the other day that perhaps it was time to uptake some general make-over in the form of a hair cut. I fancied having it short, an urchin cut I thought, maybe with some spikiness poking up here and there, and maybe a bit of colourfulness added by way of an occasional streak. Thought it would quite suit my emergence as an experienced keeper of sheep, pigs, chickens and other live beings including rats and sundry other taggers-on, who seem to think that they should also take shelter with us under our roof.

For years I have had a secret lust. It comes to the fore sometimes but I push it down again. The lust? For a pair of Doc Martin's. You know, those booty-type shoes which are like clod-hoppers upon one's feet. Red Doc Martin boots. Or Doc Martin's Sarah Jane shoes, which are flatties done up with a buckle and not dainty at all.

And so, a vision of myself appeared in my mind just before Christmas. Spikey hair and Doc Martins. I am marching my way with speed through my sixties. Am I, do you think, having some sort of melt down? A very late mid-life crisis?

However: sitting in the hairdressers, trying to explain in my minimal French to a lovely young French lady, what my new hairstyle should be, and midway through the English to French translation in my head which is always a rather slow loop at the best of times, I bottled out. Took a step back.

And so I had it cut at chin length and kept it all one length. It seems that it is not quite the right time for me to redesign myself. Therefore I must file away my Doc Martin lustings for the moment. Perhaps I am not old enough yet. Perhaps I need to be at least ninety before I get those red boots. Should go well with my zimmer frame!

So now I have the problem of having to regularly wash my hair. Uno problemo. Have run out of my English shampoo. No probs, just buy some from the supermarket when I next go shopping. Which I did today. Zooming around with my trolley, near to lunch time closing, only fifteen minutes to go, must get a move on, look at my shopping list, all things crossed off except one: shampoo. Oh that shouldn't take long. Hah! This is France. Why, then, do I even now feel surprised when I come across things I want to purchase and need info on, and find that that info is written in French. How long do you have to live in a foreign  country before you stop being surprised at seeing things written in that country's language!

I did manage to get shampoo, and did put back the body lotion which was almost going to find itself washing my hair.

And another day is nearly done! My bun is gone and my Doc Martin fantasy has been filed away for the moment. So, too, has my self-image of having spikey hair. Probably wouldn't have known how to gel it anyway!

......remaining stoically inclined towards mad dottiness, but not at this exact moment in time, I bid you farewell for the moment.