The Pretty People

Instead of standing on the touchline of a football pitch for several hours earlier, I found myself stuck at home doing chores once again – filling the washing machine and tumble dryer continually, and thankful that the school Easter break is coming to an end. I have no idea how the girls have managed to wear quite so many clothes in so few days.

After lunch – a remarkably forgettable sandwich scraped together from leftovers – my mind turned to dinner, or rather the lack of food we had in the cupboard to make dinner from. I knew I would need to go food shopping, but had not had a shave. Rather than delight people in the highstreet with my neanderthal good looks, I retreated to the bathroom, and set about turning myself back into a fairly-well-presented member of the human race – it’s worth noting that I hate shaving. I can’t imagine how annoyed women get with shaving their legs – but then I suppose they don’t have to do that every other damn day (or do they?).

Just as I pulled on a sweater, ready to walk into town, I looked out of the window and saw my other half pulling the car back into the driveway with the newly crowned Miss 13. It quickly transpired that they had arrived home via the supermarket, where they had done several laps of the car park before giving up and coming home.

I started writing a shopping list.

While walking into town it occurred to me that I really didn’t need the sweater – the sun was shining spectacularly for the first time all year. Of course I didn’t have a tidy t-shirt on under the sweater, but I thought “what the hell”, and stopped mid-walk to strip off. I apologise now to whoever saw the fleece sweater try to take my faded Star Wars t-shirt with it. Why do they DO that ?

Here’s where I get to the title of this post. After turning the final corner towards the high street, I was suddenly confronted with a very visible reminder of the kind of town I live in – or rather, the kind of people that live here, but you seldom see. The sun was shining. It’s a picture-postcard kind of English town. Every cafe in sight was full to bursting with people of a certain age “out for the day”. It struck me not long after picking my way through the first group of them that there were no children in sight at all – no teens, no children, no toddlers – just a sea of people – either twenty something hipsters, or fifty-something professionals – sitting around with immaculate haircuts, clothes that cost more than my entire wardrobe, and shoes that had quite obviously been worn once or twice, if ever.

Where did all these people come from? Was there a wedding happening? Did they all know something I didn’t? I continued on to the supermarket, which was mercifully quiet – apart from a few hassled parents, much like myself, filling baskets to bursting point with groceries.

After leaving, I made a point of looking in on the various cafes through town – they were ALL full of similar collections of people. Wealthy parents of grown-up children, I’m guessing – out for the day – sitting in the sunshine drinking coffee, prossecco, or whatever else took their fancy. I passed a young family with toddlers who couldn’t find anywhere to sit at one of the cafes, and sympathised with them.

I’m guessing a similar effect happens in all wealthy towns surrounding big cities (we are only an hour from central London) – where the sunshine causes the pretty people to emerge from winter hibernation.

I trudged home, and forgot all about them until sitting down to write this. In the grand scheme of things, I would rather worry about how my kids are doing, and what we’re having for dinner than sitting outside cafes in new clothes to make sure I’m seen. I do wonder though – what happens if it stays sunny for a while? Will they run out of new clothes, or money for hair colouring, and have some sort of crisis ?

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