In her weekly column, Maddie Grigg shares tales from her life in rural Dorset . . .
MEETING my friend last week made me think about the way we were. As we reminisced about times gone by, she produced some photos.
There were pictures of me from about 1980 in our flat. A crocheted blanket hung on the wall behind me (I’ve no idea why), and I was wearing some kind of waistcoat and military jacket ensemble.
I think I was going through a sort of Punkmeets-mod phase, with my favourite band at the time being the Jam, while hers was Adam And The Ants.
Back then I thought I looked OK. Confronted by those photos in the present, I’m not so sure.
Still, we were all young once, even Mr Grigg. Back in the late 1960s he was a Mod, complete with a Lambretta scooter that had lots of mirrors.
My first flatmate’s pictures, thankfully, aren’t good enough to reproduce here. But I do have one taken by another girl I shared a house with later.
It’s from about 1982, and I appear to have gone for a kind of New Romantic meets Olivia Newton-john look.
This picture is better. Even my son was impressed when my friend posted it on Facebook.
“See?” my friend told him. “Your mother used to be trendy.”
The comment stung a little because I like to think I still have a certain style.
It’s no good trying to recreate my look from forty years ago. That would be mutton dressed as lamb.
But one thing has transported me back to those times. Forget the fashion, the hair and the memories.
One sniff of Rive Gauche and I’m eighteen again.
This revelation happened when I was in the duty-free shop on my way back from Corfu. In amongst all the elegant and elaborate bottles – and before the sneezing fit began – I saw a sign on the Yves Saint Laurent stand proclaiming 40 per cent off.
I moved towards the stand, picked up the blue and black striped bottle and gave myself a quick burst of perfume.
It hit me straight away. It was 1979, I’d had my first pay cheque and had treated myself to a bottle of perfume.
In my head, I was wearing my old Levi’s jacket (which I still have but can no longer do up) over a capped-sleeve T-shirt, beige elephant cords and monkey boots.
The saleswoman looked at me and smiled.
“Can I help you?” she said in a Greek accent.
“Oh, no, it’s just this,” I said, pointing to the bottle. “I used to wear this when I was eighteen.”
“I know,” she said. When I looked at her with a puzzled expression, the woman, who was approaching sixty, smiled. “I did, too.”
There was a second of womanly bonding before I made my excuses to join Mr Grigg and my luggage back in the airport lounge. “What’s that smell?” “Do you like it?” I asked, not sure if 1970s perfume would really be his bag. “It’s lovely,” he said.
So I told him about my encounter with the Yves Saint Laurent saleswoman, and how spraying Rive Gauche had made me feel eighteen again.
And more than that, it was 40 per cent off the usual price.
“Then you must get a bottle,” he said, just like that.
So I did. ■
Check me out – Eighties chick!