Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Differences of opinion

I may already have mentioned that my daughter and I had a difference of opinion about when the start of Spring was supposed to be. According to her the Met Office had decided the official start was the 1st of March. That way the seasons divided nicely into three month chunks. However, I now find myself with odd friends sending me Happy Start of Spring messages on Facebook and even the Guardian explaining that the vernal equinox (i.e. the start of Spring) can be any time between the 19th and 21st of March. It’s all to do with having an exactly equal split between daylight and darkness apparently. This year we get it today because it’s a leap year or something like that.

In La Voz de Galicia newspaper they have been commenting on the unusual weather in some parts of Galicia. Not so long ago Ourense was the hottest place in Spain for a day an now there has been snow in the province of Lugo. The headline yesterday read, “A 48 horas de la llegada de la primavera, nieva” – 48 hours before the start of Spring, it’s snowing. So they think Spring starts on the 21st of March as well. We don’t really need any new-fangled changes to the start of the seasons.

I’ve been hearing other slightly new-fangled ideas on the radio. Now, for as long as we can remember men have hired suits and evening wear for special occasions. Fortunes have been made hiring out wedding outfits for grooms and their best men. For a somewhat shorter time it has been possible for brides to hire their frothy frocks as well, thus avoiding having a concoction of tulle sitting in the wardrobe waiting for the first girl child to need a fairy frock to dress up in. Ladies invited to weddings and other such events tended to use that as an excuse to buy a new expensive outfit. It was all part of the fun. Well, now it seems there is a thriving business in hiring out expensive frocks for all sorts of occasions, and not just for brides and bridesmaids.

Trendy ladies who want to wear designer dresses to special events can hire them for anything upwards of £100 for an evening instead of paying extortionate amounts to buy these dresses. Apparently the social networks are partly to blame for this phenomenon. The explanation given by the interviewee on the radio was that when you go to a wedding your picture is taken and before you can say “How lovely!” it has been published on Facebook. Now, again according to the radio lady, if you are invited to several weddings and your photo appears each time in the same fancy frock you are likely to be mocked, or at the very least subjected to commentary, on Twitter and so on. So, in order to avoid such adverse remarks you need a different outfit each time. This used to be a problem only for members of royal families and for famous people going to awards ceremonies as they are photographed wherever they go. Now, though, we ladies are all subject to this pressure.

How to avoid it? Hire a designer dress each time you need one and avoid the problem of having a £600 dress moldering in your wardrobe and being unable to wear it because it’s already been seen in public. (This did not prevent one person on the programme saying that she had hired the same dress several times as she really liked it!)

I must not move in the right circle as I don’t appear to have these problems. Maybe I don’t get invited to enough weddings.

On the other hand, I have also recently come across a news item about a certain Kate Middleton. We are probably supposed to call her the Duchess of Cambridge now but the papers will continue to call her by her maiden name. She has been in and out of the news recently, accompanying the queen to various places and learning how to accept bunches of flowers from small children. This time she has been making her maiden speech as a member of the royal family, talking at a charity event, I believe. Disregarding the content of whatever she had to say, certain uncharitable reporters have remarked on the fact that she was wearing a dress she had borrowed from her mother. Yes, from her mother!!! Not only does this young woman appear in public in clothes she has bought from high street stores (not the very cheapest of high street stores but all the same, places where you or I might buy clothes) but she borrows from her mother! Whatever are things coming to?

It would seem that you can really never get it completely right!

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