Do you know what I’ve always admired most about my Mum? Hands down, it’s her joie de vivre.
She has this incredible, unending appetite for life that seems never to diminish, but instead to grow as the years go by.
I’m sure I’ve told you before about how the dynamic between us has always been the total opposite of that of the typical Mother-Daughter relationship, in that my Mum is by far in a way the more adventurous and outgoing of the two of us.
She spent her younger years travelling the world on the QEII (the biggest cruise liner in existence, at the time!), booked herself onto a trip to Ghana a couple of years after hitting the big Five-Oh, and barely a week goes by where she’s not signing up for some new short course at the local adult education centre, or zipping off to visit friends in far flung corners of the UK.
Meanwhile, I’m more likely to be found researching recipes for the perfect winter chutney, or rereading my favourite books (Little Women, anyone?), or telling anyone who’ll listen how elated I am that I’ve managed to keep my tubs of herbs growing happily for almost an entire season now.
I mean, if you ever want advice on how to grow older with style and grace and exuberance, you’ll just have to ask my Mum!
A couple of weeks ago, Vauxhall dropped me an email asking if I knew of anyone over the age of 50 who happened to embody the spirit of their ‘#ThisGranCan’ campaign. The campaign, as I was to find out, is a celebration of the adventurous spirit and ‘can-do’ mindset that many women over the age of 50 have, and is coinciding with the launch of the VIVA, their newest and nippiest little car (the first model launched over 50 years ago!) And you know, as it happens, I *did* know someone who fit the bill just beautifully!
Which is how it came to be that, a couple of Fridays ago, my Mum and I were seated comfortably in the smart leather seats of a shiny grey Vauxhall VIVA, shooting down the M3 singing loudly and poorly along to my wedding playlist! And I’ll tell you for starters, that car won major bonus points with me for its swish USB connector alone…looking at you Fiat 500 with your stupid non-functioning media system.
We left bright and early for Brighton that morning, keeping our fingers crossed for a day of good weather to go along with the adventures we had planned. I’d been given strict instructions by Vauxhall to let my Mum take the reigns when it came to selecting our activities for the day, and given that my usual idea of a good time pretty much just involves eating, pottering, and taking photos, it was probably a sensible plan to put our Day Of Fun in the hands of one Ms Dianne B! ;)
First on the agenda? Why, a trip to the pier, of course!
^^ Oh Brighton and your beautiful pastel paintwork. You stole my heart! ^^
If you can believe it, despite living a mere hour or so’s drive from Brighton almost my entire life, I’d never actually been before. Sacrilege, right?
We decided that our first port of call should be a visit to one of the vendors of hot sugary carbs that are scattered at handy intervals along the pier. Mum went classy (-ish, this is Brighton pier we’re talking about!) with a crepe, whilst I bagged myself some doughnuts with Nutella dipping sauce (did you see that coming? I’m as predictable as there being rain on Bank Holidays in the UK). The crepe was good, but the doughnuts, if you ask me, were best. But then again, anything with Nutella was bound to be, wasn’t it?
Once we’d eaten our fill and left ourselves feeling a little sick from all that sugar (though I’m lying when I say ‘ourselves’ here, since really it was only me…), what better to do next than hit the rides?
To the carousel!
N E V E R T O O O L D F O R T H E C A R O U S E L . . .
Friends, the carousel is just as much fun at the ages of 20-something and 50-something as it was when you were a tot. The tinny music, the wind in your hair, the view from the brightly coloured horses that always zip round faster than it looked like they would from the sidelines- it felt like the clock had rolled back!
A little sidenote here, but I’ll treasure that snap of my Mum up there forever! I just love it so very much. (And for goodness SAKE please let me have inherited her beautiful skin!)
Our morning went by in several goes on the carousel, one trip down the Helter Skelter, and a myriad of turns taken on the arcade games right at the end the pier. My especial favourites were the basketball throwing and air hockey games, though no fluffy unicorns were won on any of our goes, which was maybe the biggest disappointment of my adult life to date…;)
What came next in the day though, after we’d paused for a little lunch at The Breakfast Club in the Lanes, turned out to be one of the most incredible experiences either of us had ever had in our lifetimes.
But for those adventure stories? You’ll have to come back on Sunday…