Today I am pondering the nature of Time.
This is mostly in the context of a party we are heading off to in a bit, up there in Cheltenham. Coo er gosh posh eh? A dear friend is having a Significant Birthday this week, and we have been invited along to help him celebrate. When the invitation arrived, I looked at the clever vintage-stylee design, and the large, highly visible Date of Birth thereon.
Me: "I can't believe he's 50! Already! it only seems a couple of years since we all went to his 40th birthday! Remember that evening? That Chinese restaurant in Gloucester? What a laugh."
Mr WithaY: Read the date again.
Mr WithaY: And 2014 minus 1954 is....?
Me: (uncertainly, what with my terrible Maths Blindness affliction) Um...50?
Mr WithaY: No. 60. He's 60. It's TWENTY YEARS since we went to his 40th birthday.
Me: But I still have the handbag I took to that party!
So, we are off to a birthday party for a friend who is, incredibly, 60 . The lithe bugger started long-distance running a year or two ago and is fitter and healthier than he has been in all the time I've known him. He posts photos on Facebook of him running 10k races, and 25k races, and wearing medals from races, and he looks less knackered than I do after I've hoovered the stairs.
This morning, Mr WithaY has been preparing himself for the event. He's been rummaging in his wardrobe, selecting garments, then rejecting them, then picking them up again to see the effect with a different waistcoat. He has, and I am not joking, just been in a quandary as to which pocket watch he ought to wear.
I suggested he forgo the pocket watch, and wear a wristwatch like any sane human, but apparently if you wear a waistcoat, you have to wear a watch chain, and if you wear a watch chain, you have to wear a pocket watch. Well duh.
Mr WithaY has two modes for clothes. He has Work Mode, which involves multiple layers of fleece, Goretex, moleskin, gaiters and heavy boots, with a complicated belt arrangement which has knives, a firelighting kit and his phone attached to it, and he has Going Out Mode, which involves cravats, waistcoats, 1930s trousers, or possibly overcoats, and the same heavy boots (minus gaiters.) I'm pretty sure that if I didn't put my foot down, he'd wear a monocle. Maybe two, as he's short-sighted.
To make matters worse, today he has been having to make additional holes in his belt, as he has lost so much weight due to being a manly outdoor type*, so he's smugly looking forward to showing off his svelte shape in front of our friends later.
Next week we're going shopping to buy him some sensible shoes, as all his shoes look like Ray Mears has been tromping across Africa in them. I haven't told him yet. I'll pretend we're popping into Salisbury for a mooch round the market and lunch at Wagamama, then drag him to a shoe shop. Bwahahahahaha.
I'm wearing a new skirt and a pretty top, and some lipstick, in order to fulfil the dress code of "smart casual" which is the most hellish of all dress codes. I can do smart - I have ballgowns, and tiaras and evening gloves and feather boas - and I can do casual - look, I am doing that right now - but Smart Casual is a nasty mixture in the middle. Will I be too casual? Will I be overdressed? Will anyone care?
Thankfully, the answer to that last question is a resounding "no," because these are very old friends who for 20 years only really saw me in a field, dressed as a Seventeenth Century musketeer. Their expectations are low.
In other news, we have had a bit of a health scare with the dog. A peculiar lump appeared on one of her paws, just above the dewclaw, so I did what you should never do, and Googled "weird lumps on Labradors." Immediately, inevitably, I became convinced she had terminal Death Paw Cancer Lumps, so we took her to the vet the next day for a check-up. The vet took a biopsy and added to the alarm by telling us it could either be a cyst (not too bad) or a tumour (GAAAAH WHAT DID YOU SAY??) but that she wouldn't know till after the results came back.
A stressful few days followed, with us playing telephone tag with the vet, trying to get the results. Things were not helped by them leaving a message saying "It's not massively bad, can you ring us please?"
What the hell does "not massively bad" mean? We only need to amputate one foot? She could live at least another six months? Brrr.
Anyhoo, eventually I spoke to the vet, who told me it was most likely a cyst-type thing as a result of an irritation like a bite or a sting or a thorn, and it should go away by itself in six to eight weeks. We have to take her back for a check up in a fortnight though, just to make sure.
The most encouraging thing was that they didn't find any cancer cells, which is what they were looking for.
Here she is, being all stressed out by the situation.
*And not eating 5 custard doughnuts a day whilst sat on his arse at a desk