If you ask me, you know life's come to a pretty pass when you proudly show your new winter boots to your teenage niece who then describes them as "grannyish". Grannyish, you query. Grannyish? What do you mean, grannyish? These are not grannyish. I am not grannyish.
Last week, for example, I didn't go to John Lewis for nearly a whole morning. How ungrannyish is that? Take back what you said about my boots being grannyish and, by implication, that I might be grannyish. Take it back right now.
"But they are grannyish," she said. "A bit." A bit grannyish? A bit grannyish? How much of "a bit" grannyish? Can you be more specific? This is important. Are they 17 per cent grannyish, for instance, or 89 per cent grannyish? Are you saying they are a little bit grannyish, or quite a lot of a "bit" grannyish, if they are grannyish at all, which they are not.
"Where are they from?" she asked. Clarks, I told her. "Clarks is grannyish," she said. Clarks? Grannyish? What planet are you from? Clarks is not grannyish. Barratts? I'll give you Barratts. But Clarks?
Alexa Chung has been photographed wearing Clarks. Clarks was grannyish once but now it is not grannyish any more. Clarks is where it is happening. Clarks is for edgy go-getters. Clarks is for cool style-setters, such as myself. If you ever got your head out of Topshop or H&M you would know this. Plus, these boots are waterproof and have a thermal lining.
"That is very grannyish," she said. Very grannyish? Very grannyish? We've gone from "a bit" grannyish to "very grannyish" in a single stroke? How does that work? Can anyone have a go? What's next? Spectacularly grannyish. Ginormously grannyish? Are we up to 99.9 per cent grannyish? The most grannyish boots that ever existed?
And one other thing: they were reduced from £120 to £70. "That's because they are grannyish, and they ran out of grannies to sell them to," she said. No, that's because I am smart and can spot a bargain, I said. "A grannyish bargain," she said. I am not a granny, I said, and there is nothing grannyish about these boots.
Readers, I tell you what, why don't you settle this business? Will you Google "Clarks" and "Un Gabi", which is the name of the boots, and pass on your thoughts either by email (email@example.com) or twitter (@deborahross)?
I am sure you will come out on my side because these boots are not grannyish, just as I am not grannyish, and also are elasticated at the back for fit and comfort, which is heavenly, and not grannyish at all. I'm even thinking these boots may be very Cheryl Cole.