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two hilarious chapters from my new book..

Life Begins At Fifty - The Book
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I’ve recently realised that to be an ordinary, average person is a real blessing.  I recently watched a documentary about Prince Philip’s life and gradually came to the conclusion that, although remembered for his no-nonsense interviews and hilarious gaffs (who could forget his comment about ‘slitty eyes’) he has been an absolute saint.  He had to give up his naval career and, even, the right of his children to take his surname, when his wife became the queen of England.  He then had to put up with stuffy royal courtiers telling him what to do and how to do it.  Being a typical alpha male, how he has ever remained sane is a mystery.

I’ve also been fascinated by the tapes Princess Diana made twenty years ago revealing how ill-equipped she was as a 19-year-old to deal with life in the royal spotlight and a husband who never seemed to understand what a normal life was all about…but then why would he?  He has been part of the royal ‘machine’ all his life and obviously has no semblance of what normality, as most of us know it, really is.  (Thank goodness Kate Middleton’s parents have given William the chance to sample an ordinary, family environment, so that he can guide his own children in a more affectionate way, rather than having nannies to do the job for him.)

I’ve always respected Princess Anne in the fact that she refused royal titles for her children when she married Mark Philips, preferring to live a more normal life, and worked her socks off to be part of the Olympic Equestrian team.  And her children’s comparatively ordinary upbringing obviously paid off, as her children seem to be well-rounded individuals, and Zara has, herself, competed in the Olympics herself and makes her own living, rather than living off handouts from the queen and the taxpayer.

But by far the biggest reason I’m so pleased to be Mrs Average, is when it was revealed that Elle McPherson was separating from her billionaire husband.  Elle is a very rich woman in her own right, and from the outside looking in, you would have thought she had everything – looks, money, a hunky, rich husband.  And it did cross my mind that if ‘The Body’ can’t keep her man with a face like that and a figure to die for, then what blooming chance do I stand?  But, let’s face it – money alone does not make people happy.  In fact, money does strange things to some people…especially billionaires.  Basically, they like a challenge, get bored easily, need their egos (and maybe a few other things) stroking relentlessly and are probably not that easy to live with.

Soooo, to cut a long story short, who the hell would want to be married to a member of the royal family or someone dripping in spondoolees?  Oooh, not me!  I’d hate to live my life in the spotlight, forever minding my Ps and Qs, being polite to all and sundry and having other people cook my meals.  I actually love to cook, but there again, some nights I just want beans on toast.  Sorted!  And rich people really can be a pain in the arse.  One summer my sister and I were holidaying in Crete and decided we’d ‘see how the other half lives’ and ventured up to one of the posh hotels to have a cheeky cocktail and sit on the rattan settees with cream cushions which looked out over Spinalonga.

We lasted half an hour.  We couldn’t stifle our giggles any longer.  Everyone seemed to be dripping in jewellery, had faces that looked like they’d been standing in a Force 8 gale and their inane conversation was so boring we had to stop ourselves from yawning.  I seem to remember our parting words were, ‘Let’s get out of here and go down to Plaka and have a laugh, for heaven’s sake.’   So we meandered down to a lovely little fishing village, ordered a bottle of wine, ate great food with wonderful Greek people and had a magical night.  I rest my case!


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