The Daily Telegraph

Allison Pearson:


Iam writing to you from a villa with a heart-stopping view of the turquoise sea with my girlfriend­s gathered around me to celebrate – or commiserat­e on – a landmark birthday.

Well, that was the plan. I’m actually stuck at home with a cockapoo who has just learnt to howl, the better to express his displeasur­e whenever I dare to leave the room, let alone the house. Apparently, lots of puppies acquired during lockdown are suffering separation anxiety as their owners ease their way towards a more normal existence. Bingo would be perfectly happy if our house arrest continued indefinite­ly.

Just to add to the festivitie­s, I am once again a cricket widow. “Shall we go somewhere nice for lunch?” I suggest brightly to Himself. “48 for four,” he murmurs crypticall­y.

I realise that a cancelled birthday bash is minor macaroons compared to the disappoint­ments suffered by millions in this accursed Covid era. Marriages have been postponed and births and deaths, which cannot be put off, have often taken place in conditions of great loneliness. I talked to a woman the other day who had watched her mother’s funeral on Facetime because quarantine rules prevented her getting there. Missing a birthday party is nothing.

Still, these changes of decade are surprising­ly daunting, as you stand, trembling a little, on the threshold and feel the door of the years swing open, and then close behind you. I got quite tearful yesterday and my daughter came up with a suggestion. “Pretend that Covid was a kind of Leap Year, Mum. It didn’t happen.”

Not a bad idea, darling. I am in my fifties for another 12 months. Hooray! And I’m taking a fortnight off to see if I can find a turquoise sea and feel slightly less end-of-tetherish. It’s been the strangest time, hasn’t it? Who knows what weird imprint it will leave on us. But you have been my good companions; I hope we helped to keep each other sane. (Well sane-ish.)

And let’s make the most of being a whole year younger.

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