Christmas is heating up. Or rather, it’s getting colder outside. This is the first year in a while that we’ve paid attention to it. We’ve bought Christmassy clothes; not the jumpers with reindeer on them but just new, warm weather clothes. Meanwhile, Lulu has an awards ceremony for her theatre group to dress up for. We wandered up to New Look last week with this in mind.

She found a jumpsuit, a beautiful, black, sequinned jumpsuit. Not in the sale section either. But it really was beautiful.

‘Go on, Lu,’ I said, ‘go try it on.’

She didn’t need any more encouragement. I followed the puff of smoke to the changing rooms.

You know those moments where you feel both sad and proud? The sad bit was because I also tried on a jumpsuit and it didn’t go well. It’s time soon to stop writing and start running with every other asshole out there. Running does make you look like an asshole, doesn’t it? Grown-up people running slowly…. urgghh. I completely agree with the person who said running is for kids and people who are late for buses. But man, I’d like to fit into my old clothes size again. With this in mind, I scoured the internet.. and now I’m waiting for my new trainers I bought on Black Friday. I went ultra-cheap and even got them delivered to our local post office… this is like ‘stab-yourself-in-the-eyes’ cheap because I have to deduce when they will arrive and then go pick them up. You couldn’t pay £3 extra? Nope. Maybe I’ll run there though. They’ll be like; check out this asshole coming to pick up her shoes.

But then there was the proud bit. It is easy to look good when you’re 13.. and this is the time to look good. Spring is springing out of this kid and man, what a pleasure it is to watch her. I don’t mean to sexualise her and it’s a bit hard in this sense, because obviously as a teenager she has received the puberty-derived equipment. But that isn’t my focus. Growing up is just nature at its finest. I remember the way my grandmother used to look at me.. that outright admiring look for life itself. For this, I wish my Grandma Ivy was still around. Besides congratulating her for name coming back into fashion. I always called her Poison Ivy when I was little. Bless her; she never minded.

When we came out of the changing room, we discovered Ruth milling around the shop floor. Ruth is a Play Therapist for the Disabled Childrens’ Team in Aberystwyth and the lady I blame for giving Delphine her Barbie obsession. She worked a lot with us when Delphine was a toddler and was notorious for being the only professional who could convince Delphine to do anything. How did she do it? How do you make a kid really, really interested in your toys? The answer is.. and this never fails to impress me… make them a little bit inaccessible. It was awesome to watch. Ruth is officially the most cunning lady in Aberystwyth. And the person I love to threaten with my Barbie bill.

Ruth checked out Lulu’s jumpsuit. We explained the occasion. But typical with Ruth, we found ourselves going deeper. We explained the desire from living on Quest to do something consistently and see it through to completion. Like travel can’t change a person… And Ruth being Ruth, nodded thoughtfully after we finished.

‘In Welsh we call it Perthyn,’ she said. ‘It means to relate and to belong, but it has deeper connotations than that.’

We stood under the bright neon lights of New Look. We were surrounded by sequins and sale items but, as we listened to Ruth, we were transported to talking around a golden fire under a blanket of star-holed sky.  Perthyn; the ancient word for feeling part of something. No wonder Delph fell in love with her toys.






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