Thursday, 11 December 2008

When forty winters shall besiege thy brow

Mr Coffee thought he would cheer me up last night by reading me a sonnet.

"When forty winters shall besiege thy brow,
And dig deep trenches in thy beauty's field,
Thy youth's proud livery so gazed on now,
Will be a tattered weed of small worth held."


Basically, after 40 winters, you look like a 'tattered weed', according to Mr Shakespeare. But never mind, he goes on, if you have managed to produce children they will be young and pretty so you can look at them instead.

It is not a consolation.

Today is my birthday. I am 39. Since I was born during a winter, this winter must be my 40th. And it is not being kind. Shakespeare is right - I do feel a bit besieged.

Today I caught a glimpse of my face in a train window and was alarmed to discover that someone had drawn lines down the sides of my mouth with a marker pen.

The brutal irony of this is that 25 years ago I appeared in a youth drama club play sporting a similar look. And this - minus the beard, of course - is what I saw in that train window this morning.

I realise that these things are all relative, and I still remember the eve of my 30th birthday, where I laughed hollowly at the memory of my 22-year-old self coming home from a nightclub depressed because I was the oldest one there. (I think this was probably the last time I went in a nightclub. And I have no regrets on that score.)

Still, despite his lousy choice of poetry last night, there are good things to say about Mr Coffee. For where else would I find a man who could guess my delight at stringing a cup and saucer around my neck?


  1. I laughed at the choice of poem... so typically male!
    I just wanted to tell you that if you're entering your forties next year.... you're actually going to be coming into the best time of your life. (I'm 45, so I've well and truly scoped the territory out before you.) Believe me; you should be looking forward with a sense of anticipation.
    (But then again, don't wish your life away...!)If it wasn't too early in the morning, I'd come up with a witty Shakespearian quip. Not enough coffee yet.

  2. The happiest of birthdays to you, dearest Fraulein Coffee.

    Although I am your junior, being only the zippy and youthful age of 37, I am trying very hard to be sympathetic to your birthday travails.

    Someday in the future, I too will have wrinkles. I can't avoid them forever, can I? This perfection is only temporary, methinks.

    Oh, I jest.

    I have plenty of wrinkles,too. I've even started opening my eyes very wide when I smile--to somehow lessen the wrinkles. It only makes me look very surprised and somewhat alarmed. (I do this in front of the mirror to practice, hoping to make it look more natural. So far, it's not looking good.)

    Really, what I want to say is that I wish you the best 39th birthday possible. Enjoy it and forget all about those wrinkles. We all have them.

    I'll bet a couple of drinky-drinks will make you feel youthful and beautiful again. (It always works for me...)

    Alcohol + Birthdays = Sweet Perfection

    Happy Birthday!!

  3. Happy Birthday - although you are so young that I can hardly bring myself to talk to you. I hope that you have had a wonderful day and time to treat yourself.

    I love Mr. Coffee's choice of present - so thoughtful and so infinitely preferable to Hall of Shame that is MrM's contribution to present purchasing.

  4. HAPPY B-DAY, Lady de Café!!

    I'm with Alice -- you're a veritable spring chicken! Why, at your age I was still nearly three years away from birthing my second (and FINAL) child. One thing I will say, though: enjoy your digestive system and your eyesight. Mine are up to some pretty wacky high jinks these days.

  5. Happy birthday to you-hoo. And I can't see a single furrow from here!

    Does your hubby offer gift buying help to hapless males? Because I have a canidate for any seminars he may wish to run in the future. And he reads you poetry. Blimey.

  6. happy birthday! I have to say 39 must be a wonderful birthday, as it is the one I shall celebrate next! loving that necklace - Mr Coffee is indeed a superb present buyer.

  7. Happy Birthday! I too have more wrinkles than I care to admit but I much prefer being 45 to 25. I do though find myself considering a facelift these days. Like eurolush I practice looking less wrinkled in the mirror. It doesn't work. < glum >

    Saggar x

  8. Belated hapy birthday! Every so often I catch sight of my wrionles and wobbly tum in the mirror and think 'Who's that?!', but my children seem to like them, and my husband gets ever more short sighted so all is well ;-)


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