Tomorrow I turn 43. Ordinarily I’m not one to broadcast my birthday like this but on the eve of tearing the wrapping off the chic new polka dot blouse that will epitomise my 44th year, I felt some words on getting older were in order.
It was 1996. The new boyfriend and I were taking a break from our London jobs and were holed up in a cosy bar in Prague, smoking Camel cigarettes and writing feverishly in our notebooks with the kind of earnest intensity that only twenty-somethings can get away with. New Boyfriend even had a fountain pen (hey it was the nineties). Massive Attack was probably playing on the stereo.
Welcome to the wee hours. That strange disembodied patch of time after the kids have gone to bed and the house is finally quiet, otherwise known as ‘your time’ – if you can keep your eyes open long enough and your hands off the wine.
To be fair, this used to be when I did my best work. 10pm was my magic hour. I was a card-carrying, candle-end burning night owl, meeting tight deadlines after heroic all-nighters and then backing it up the next day with nothing more than a shower and a double shot (sometimes espresso).