Fair Warning

stop sign

image from dreamstime.com

When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple with a red hat that doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me. And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves and satin candles, and say we’ve no money for butter. 

I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired and gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells and run my stick along the public railings and make up for the sobriety of my youth. I shall go out in my slippers in the rain and pick the flowers in other people’s gardens and learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat and eat three pounds of sausages at a go or only bread and pickles for a week and hoard pens and pencils and beer nuts and things in boxes. 

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry and pay our rent and not swear in the street  and set a good example for the children. We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.  But maybe I ought to practice a little now? So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Do you know this poem by Jenny Joseph, English author and poet?  This is from another favorite book bought for me by my late husband.

Book cover

It sits in pride of place with the other two similar books.  I have written about Becoming the Woman I’ve Wanted  and have quoted from If I Had My life to Live Over.

Book coverBook cover

So please don’t ever say I didn’t warn you.  My children have always thought that I would grow old disgracefully and this particular poem has haunted them since I first heard it.

I hope you enjoy it.


27 responses to “Fair Warning

  1. Judith, this actually makes the thought of growing old so much more enjoyable!


  2. booksnribbons

    I´m going to eat my ice scream and start practicing today! loved it!


    • Just keep practising. I have tried to look at your blog but it comes with the blog has been removed. I have sent you an email asking for the link.



  3. So you want to become a member of the “Red Hat Society”?


  4. I see nothing wrong with the description of the woman in the poem. It sounds like she’s planning to have a lot of fun!


  5. Love this poem!! I’m trying to practice, too!! Of course, some days I’m like Peter Pan – “I’ll never grow up”!!


  6. Great philosophy!


    • Thanks – in spite of what I thought when I was younger, there are all sorts of benefits in getting older. Can’t number them or even name them yet, but I am working on it.


  7. Great poem! I guess you would have your children wringing their hands in fear of you misbehaving on an outing. lol


    • I have had three grandsons today and they tell me I am not like a real Grandma. Hope that is good!


      • I think it’s a good thing. I heard a similar comment from a granddaughter that her mom shared with me…we don’t look or act “old” like some.


  8. It’s a great poem and I quite like the purple dress… I’ll add matching purple hair for dramatic effect. 🙂


  9. Hey don’t wait till you grow old, practice for one day a week so you can make a really good job of it when you get there 😀


  10. Live today . . . tomorrow may be too late. 😀


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