Sunday, 21 February 2010

Best Moments of My Life

It occurred to me today that unless one has had a lot of misfortune in life, by the time you get to my age (fifty-pushing), there are a lot of moments from the past that stick in one’s mind for one reason or another as having been great. They deserve to be dredged up from time to time for a variety of reasons of which two good ones are firstly, they just bring a warm glow and brighten one’s day and secondly, they have something to do with that age-old search for self, the “who am I?” question which seems to plague a lot of us more and more as we get older. So for what it’s worth, these are the moments that spring to my mind today: my dad swinging me round and round by the arms until I was deliciously giddy on one of my birthdays; lying far back on my swing so that I could watch the world rushing up to my face upside down; climbing the highest tree in the park, looking down and being frozen with fright because I was too scared to move and no-one knew where I was; riding an elephant at the zoo, galloping on a horse, thundering down a pavement on my go-cart, climbing a six-foot piece of sheer cliff in Scotland without a rope; skiing in Switzerland – too incredibly beautiful for words. Then there is the less physical stuff: reading the last volume of ‘Lord of the Rings’, reading William Horwood’s “Skallagrigg”, being transfixed with joy at the perfection of the quintet in Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro”, singing in the chorus of our university choir and falling hopelessly in love with the young baritone who came up from the London Opera Centre and sang the role of William Tell. Shamelessly watching over and over my video copy of Cliff Richard singing “Say you love me every day, each moment….” with Sarah Brightman in that marvellous love song where they are both dressed in white on a beach. Then there’s the real stuff – marvelling at the perfection of each new baby and taking them home from the hospital, snuggling up to my husband every night and hearing his sigh of pleasure as I do. It’s still the best moment of every day. Of course, there were some moments that should have been great but just weren’t, such as the time I lost my virginity. I recall feeling nothing at all except great anxiety that my parents would descend from their bedroom and find us at it. Of the young man in question, I remember almost nothing at all. Such was the burden of virginity in the Sixties. We just had to get rid of the embarrassing thing. But those are other stories….

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