The one where I become middle aged

I am middle aged.

It’s official.

This week I stuck my new National Trust members badge inside my car windscreen, and on Sunday I actively chose to watch Antiques Roadshow. And enjoyed it.

“And my periods are getting closer together!” I moaned to my friend Lucy.

“Well that’s it then,” she said, “early menopause. It’s downhill all the way now.”

My National Trust membership was inspired by a day out with my sister Annabel and nephew Finn to Cliveden in Buckinghamshire. There’s something about the National Trust that just makes you feel nice. Nothing is showy, it’s not too commercial, you can get a nice cup of tea and a bit of cake, and there’s a tasteful gift shop at the end.

It’s all just nice.

And sometimes, nice is just what you need.

Annabel was particularly enthusiastic about Cliveden as they have a recently refurbished maze, and she has a bit of a thing about mazes. Maybe it’s the unknown, the mystery element, but you can’t help but smile and feel a bit excited when you go into a maze.

We left the pushchair with a very sensible looking elderly man in a jaunty waistcoat and National Trust volunteer badge and made sure everything was in order for our adventure – flares, check; life insurance, check; Kendal mint cake, check – you just never know with mazes do you?

“What if I go into labour and we can’t get out?” asked Annabel, who is eight and a half months pregnant, when we’d been wandering around for about five minutes with no sign of reaching the centre. “How will we get help?”

We were still in the outer ring of the maze, and peering through the hedge I caught a glimpse of waistcoat. “I think we’ll probably be alright.”

“It would be pretty cool though wouldn’t it to be born in a maze?” said Annabel, looking wistful. “We could call it Maisy.”

Just when we thought the excitement would be too much to bear, we found ourselves at the centre, where we stopped for about 20 seconds, congratulating ourselves on our maze skills, before making our way back out. Outside, reunited with our pushchair, we exchanged glances that said ‘we probably should go for a walk or something…’.

“Teashop?” I asked helpfully.

“Excellent plan.”



  1. 4 May, 2011 / 10:54 am

    National Trust, yes, Cliveden no. Why? Because I was a chambermaid there when I was 16 and they made us where horrible old-fashioned uniforms, we had to use the servants stairs at the back and lunch was left overs from the restaurant where the posh people ate!!

    Saying that, perhaps I should go back now and enjoy the other side of life :)

  2. 4 May, 2011 / 1:19 pm

    ACK! What is considered middle aged? I feel I may be approaching it myself sometimes (although it might just be that my kids make me feel old)

  3. 4 May, 2011 / 2:39 pm

    You can’t be middle aged aren’t you only about 32 or something ridiculously young? You just enjoy Antiques Roadshow don’t be ashamed! I know you fancy Cliff Richard but that’s just a penchant for older models ya know ;)

  4. 4 May, 2011 / 5:45 pm

    Any grey hairs yet ?

    Can’t comment on the menopause (obviously) but surely early = getting it out of the way sooner.

  5. Lisbeth
    4 May, 2011 / 7:16 pm

    Had lunch with a friend today who had a major “Menopause Migraine” and had to nip out to throw up. I said: “How long has that been going on?” She said: “About seven years…?”


    Looking forward to SlummyMummy’sMenopause blog though…

  6. 4 May, 2011 / 8:52 pm

    Oooo welcome to the club! We’ve been NT members for ages now….something quite lovely about it all! x

  7. 4 May, 2011 / 9:46 pm

    The Antiques Roadshow rocks. I like to play ‘value the item before the expert’ game. I’m not very good at it. We became National Trust members at Stowe Gardens last week. In fairness they make attempts to liven them up a bit more for children these days. And I’m also very middle aged. Sometimes I take a thermos flask out with me on day trips but I’m still resisting wearing a fleece.

    • Mr G. Thorpe
      5 May, 2011 / 7:18 am

      I’m a National Trust member, I wear fleeces and I take a Thermos to the library when I work… And I’m only 22.
      I don’t think I’ve ever been in a proper maze, I think it’s something I should put on my ‘to-do’ list.

  8. 5 May, 2011 / 12:46 pm

    You are middle aged (IMO) if:

    1. You buy music classed as ‘easy listening.’
    2. You actively seek out items of clothing that are brown or beige.
    3. The aforementioned clothing is corduroy.
    4. You drink sherry.
    5. You say: ‘all the music sounds the same.’ (I have been saying that for about 20 years)
    6. Laura Ashley is a clothing option.
    7. You own driving gloves.
    8. You start reading the obituaries before any other part of the paper.
    9. Quiz shows become more exciting than talent shows.
    10. You can’t be arsed keeping up with technology anymore…

    [runs for cover]

  9. 5 May, 2011 / 5:56 pm

    Well hello! Great blog! I too bought memebership to the National Trust, but on a whim one sunny day when we visited Cliveden. Thought what a marvellous idea, just think of all the beautiful laces we can have picnics and laze in the sun and play games with the children……sounds heavenly huh? Not so! That was the only time we ever went and cost me nearly a hundred quid and the kids said they would rather stick pins in their eyes than go to boring frumpy houses and gardens! We spent the rest of the year when out on our travels hunting for National Trust car parks to park in for free to try and at least get some use of the shiny green and White pass that glowed proudly from our windscreen!

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