Isn’t it odd how you find you are far more prejudiced than you always thought you were? Annoying to discover, but also more common than we think.
Back in the olden days, when train travel and train tickets weren’t quite what they are now, the Resident IT Consultant had an annual season ticket for his daily commute. One bonus of this was a free day return for two, anywhere in the country. And rather than going somewhere nice a couple of hours away, he needed to get better value. He worked out it was possible to travel from Brighton to Edinburgh and back in one day.
So we did.
One of the things we did in Edinburgh was to look round the Georgian House, which proved far more fascinating than many grander mansions. The room steward in the kitchen was an elderly woman. The kind you like, but immediately write off as an elderly woman.
It was only as she reminisced about some event a year or two earlier, that I heard her say she had graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1924. Being young and stupid my immediate thought was ‘wow, she’s been to university?’ My next thought was, ‘well, why ever not?’ The Resident IT Consultant fared better, being related to an early lady doctor, whereas I come from simpler stock. If you were old enough to go to university in 1920, you wouldn’t have, if you follow my drift?
This came back to me as I caught part of an interview on the news recently, when they talked to a female Spitfire pilot, of which there were quite a few during WWII. Of necessity she’d need to be as old now as my Georgian steward was then. It’s just that you don’t think about this as being possible.
Yes, as I found when reading what is still the best book of 2012 – Code Name Verity – there were female pilots in the war. But in the war they were young… Now they’d be little old ladies.
I am deeply ashamed of my thoughts. I am on the way to becoming a little old lady myself. At least I hope I am. It would beat the alternative, as they say. It’d be nice to think that when the not-too-far-off time comes I could have something to dazzle young ones with, but I doubt it.
Unless that day trip to Scotland counts.