I wrote a haiku once about Ellen's party. But that was a gathering years ago in Guildford. She had another this weekend and it was her 50th, so there were many conversations about this transitional, menopausal time, peppered with Jack Daniels and some singing. Ellen's in Jam Tarts, the singing group I've been part of but not part of for a few months and she invited them to perform at her party. I sneaked in at the back to join in with some old favourites, Lorelei, First of the Gang, Cockles and Mussells and it renewed my resolve to return to it in the autumn. Singing, like Jack Daniels, is not necessarily the only answer to anyone's problems but it certainly provides a distraction for the soul at times.
Maybe there's no other way through this bizarre time of change than to keep finding distractions. None of us appear to have an answer to those old insecurities about ageing, the expectations we have about quality of life and work, in particular, how we are less capable of putting up with nonsense.
The rain battering the street reminds me of my first night in Brighton, when I fitted a sheet to my bedroom window, put bedding on my mattress and went out in similar weather to find Ellen's house, where she and Jane were waiting to welcome me. I arrived soaking wet but exhilarated to be in the city so many friends were drawn to. Jane was here, too, for the party and staying with me. It was fantastic to get dressed up again and go out, as we used to. And there were some stunning heads of grey hair dancing through the decades.