Wiz­ard fun & guer­rilla grins

Fiona Bar­ber has de­vel­oped a magical power – and she’s hav­ing lots of (mostly in­no­cent) japes with it.

The Press - Your Weekend (The Press) - - Viewpoint -

We’ve got some­thing in com­mon, Harry Pot­ter and me. I can­not cast spells and last time I looked I didn’t have an owl in my hand­bag, but we both have a cloak of in­vis­i­bil­ity.

The boy wiz­ard’s comes out in times of emer­gency; mine is part of my ev­ery­day wardrobe.

Chances are you’ve got one too if you are (a) a fe­male of a cer­tain age and (b) can’t be ar­sed con­tain­ing the badger stripe in your hair with dye and have let the blessed crit­ter roam free.

I was at the bus stop when I re­alised the cloak had been sur­rep­ti­tiously draped over me.

Dodgem-bump­ing from fel­low com­muters storm­ing the 5.05pm ex­press and the odd clam­ber-over­the-top in­ci­dent in the aisle were ir­refutable pieces of ev­i­dence. I was the proud new owner of an in­vis­i­ble cloak. All of a sud­den, I did not ex­ist.

At first it was un­set­tling – so­ci­ety has made it pretty damn clear that as a woman, much of your value is on your youth and the way you look – but it didn’t take long to re­alise that this was a gift. Yup, you might not have the knee joints you once had and some bits of anatomy have given up their long, fu­tile campaign to re­main at­tached firmly to your body, but in­vis­i­bil­ity gives you tremen­dous scope else­where.

There’s sar­to­rial free­dom for one. Track­ies well past their best-by date and cat­fur-coated po­lar fleece to Count­down? No prob­lem. Makeup-free days, ev­ery day? Why not? Heels? In­stru­ments of tor­ture con­signed to the re­cy­cle clothes bin.

But wait, there’s more: If they can’t see you, they can’t see you com­ing. Am­bush! There is se­ri­ous sport to be had, my friend.

My fave is to look into the eyes of on­com­ing walk­ers well be­fore they are about to pass, say gid­day and smile. If they ig­nore you – as some in­evitably will be­cause, well, you are in­vis­i­ble – you leap in front of them and flash your big­gest, tooth­iest, gum­mi­est smile.

The only draw­back with guer­rilla grin­ning is that, at my age, teeth-bar­ing may ap­pear rather men­ac­ing and some re­cip­i­ents look a tad dis­turbed. Though I’m happy to re­port no vis­its from the po­lice. Yet.

If there’s a les­son for the young, it’s this: The old(ish) grey mare, she ain’t what she used to be. She’s way more dan­ger­ous.

And there is much to look for­ward to.

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