76: women of a gentle age

Well, I’m on holiday and first stop is Sheringham youth hostel, on the north Norfolk coast. It was gloriously sunny when I arrived, so I dumped off my stuff and headed for a walk along the seaside as quickly as I could. When I got back I found my roommates. It seems that the name ‘youth hostel’ is a bit of a misnoma these days, since I was sharing with five older ladies from Doncaster and a German. They befriended me instantly – ‘What’s your name?’ ‘Oo what a lovely name, with three syllables. I always wanted a name with three syllables. Instead I got lumped with Joan.’
‘Where have you come from?’ and when I replied London ‘No, but where are you from, you sound much too nice to be one of those horrid southern types.’
And so on and so forth. I heard all kinds of stories from these ladies, who thought nothing of wandering around in their thermal vests and granny pants, and who filled me in on their life histories from the moment they left school to the present day. It was all going swimmingly until I said, ‘Wait til I get back and tell my friends the youth hostel was full of batty old ladies.’
A slight pause and then Joan piped up ‘We’re not that old!’ and I replied, ‘Of course, I meant ladies of a gentle age.’ This went down like a treat and my reputation was redeemed, proving the point that a bit of charm can take you a very long way.


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