Saturday, 16 January 2010

Perkily Purple

When I was about 13, my mother finally caved into my whining and let me go to London, on my own on the train. I will never forget that feeling. The song in my head was Georgie Girl and this was back in the day when there was no such thing as a personal hi-fi, and phones lived in big red boxes and took tuppenses and ten penny pieces.

One of the things I wanted to do most was hang out in a boutique called Miss Selfridge. They did the best (affordable) make up with great packaging, and I wanted eye shadow. The one I bought that day was purple, and it was called Berry Wogan. It didn't come with a brush so you had to smudge it on with your finger tip and the resulting mess was very pleasing, to my eye.

I've worn purple eye shadow ever since and some of the names have stuck with me forever. There was Bluebirds Over, Beautiful Iris, Plum Perfect, and Papal Purple to name four. I remember sitting at a funeral five years ago with my Step Father in law trying to make sense of another senseless premature exit and making crass remarks to cover my sense of loss. I whispered to him that at my funeral, no one would be allowed in the church, unless they were wearing purple eye shadow. He is a lovely, gentle man, and he agreed that this would be a brilliant (note, lowercase b) idea and that he would certainly play along. So that's the deal. No purple, no pew.

But don't dash out into the cold January sales and buy up the cosmetics counter just yet. Darling is on his way back from the airport, the house is clean warm and tidy, the snow has melted and I can see the shoots from the bulbs I planted pushing up through the ground. And strangely, thinking about it, the flowers will be mostly purple. Perkily purple... why didn't I get a job as an eye shadow namer? It would have been practically perfect.


  1. My mother let me and my brother go to London on the train when we were about 8 and 9. I thought about this a few years ago, probably when my eldest two were about that age and asked her how she managed to let us do it. She said that we had asked to go and said that we'd be fine, and that she felt if she hadn't let us go it would have displayed a lack of faith in us. We went, had a lovely day at the zoo, ate our picnic, went the wrong way on the circle line, got off, went the right way, got back to Paddington and thence safely home. She did say that she was very relieved when we got home that night!

  2. You did well. Wish we could have met up in Miss Selfridge!