E Jane Dickson: 'Clara looks like a midget pole-dancer'

Share
Related Topics

I am In Ireland, out shopping with my mother and my daughter. Clara selects a gorgeously sequinned pair of ultra-low-slung Britney jeans from a garment rail and urges me to try them on. "Not in a million years," I say. "Don't you think I am a tiny bit old for buttock-cleavage?"

I am In Ireland, out shopping with my mother and my daughter. Clara selects a gorgeously sequinned pair of ultra-low-slung Britney jeans from a garment rail and urges me to try them on. "Not in a million years," I say. "Don't you think I am a tiny bit old for buttock-cleavage?"

"No," say my daughter and mother together, but for different reasons. Clara, because she thinks I should update my image, and my mother because she hasn't got her specs on and doesn't realise that the jeans in question wouldn't cover half my bum. "All the same," says Mum, folding her arms to mirror Clara's, "you're not that old. There's no need to go round like Stanley Baxter impersonating a Sicilian widow."

"Thanks, Mum," I tell her, "I was actually aiming for 'Ronnie Barker does Nana Mouskouri' but you've opened my eyes to a whole new style spectrum."

"No need to get shirty," says Mum, shirtily. "It would be nice to see you making the most of yourself, that's all."

"Have you, perhaps, considered the possiblity," I ask (because my mother and I routinely address each other like ham actors in a lunchtime courtroom drama), "that this is the most I can make?"

The counsel for the prosecution sniffs meaningfully. For as long as I can remember, my mother has dressed in impeccable navy separates (with the odd, moment-of-madness grey skirt thrown in). Yet she persists in the notion that I, at 43, am far too young to be let loose on the classics.

It's always been the same. When I was 12, and obsessed with perfume, I would be propelled firmly in the direction of Charlie or Aqua Manda or some such noxiously "girlie" scent, when what I really wanted was to reek of sex in Shalimar and Chanel (as a matter of principle, I still steal a scoot of Mum's perfume every time I pass her dressing- table). I am about to drag the Great Cologne Controversy up for an airing when Clara appears, breathless with triumph. She has found a pair of almost identical off-the-bum sparkly jeans in her size. Not only will they make her look like a midget pole-dancer, they cost £39.

"Not a chance," I tell her, but Granny has pre-empted the stand-off by finding a faintly less obscene (though no less sparkly and barely less expensive) pair and already the two of them are waltzing off to the cash desk.

"You'd never have allowed me something like that when I was Clara's age," I point out to my mum.

"No, but your gran would have bought it for you anyway," she says. "That's what grans do."

It's the first time either of us has mentioned Gran today. It's the second anniversary of her death, which is, partly, the reason I'm here in Ireland - to be with mum on a difficult day for us both.

We don't really go in for anniversaries in our family. There will be no tears, no formal observances to remember my beloved, irreplaceable grandmother. An act of inter-generational defiance will do just fine.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Property Manager

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking for your first step into...

Recruitment Genius: Mechanical Design Engineer

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This innovative company working...

Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - OTE £36,000

£12500 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This established Wakefield Deal...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Web Developer / Full Stack Developer

£24500 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Crofter's cottages on Lewis. The island's low population density makes it a good candidate for a spaceport (Alamy)  

My Scottish awakening, helped by horizontal sleet

Simon Kelner
The rocketing cost of remarking scripts coupled with the squeeze on school budgets has led to some schools charging parents for the cost of requesting exam boards to review marks, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers' annual conference in Liverpool heard.  

A teaching crisis we can’t afford

Louise Scodie
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat