Yes, I know, the feminist says "country women", but these ladies are wonderfully old-fashioned and feminism passed them by when the fighting first started and has still not caught up with them. So, ladies they are and will remain.
They have names to suit their status: Edna and Audrey and Joyce and Pauline and Margaret; delightfully old-fashioned names to suit delightful old-fashioned ladies. The youngest of them is 75 and the oldest is 86. They are not as hale and hearty as they once were, nor are they as active, although both the 75 year old and the 82 year old could show me a thing or two when it comes to stamina.
When I rang one of the ladies to see if she would like a visit, for a chat, "to cheer her up", I found that no cheering up was required. "Come on over", she said, "I'm having a little tea party; we have a designer/dressmaker coming to do a presentation, you'd enjoy it, I'm sure".
When I arrived, the ladies were assembled around the tea table, tucking into delicate sandwiches. home made scones and cakes, and "catching up". Catching up is very much a good gossip about absent friends, never malicious or unkind, but very thorough, nonetheless. They were having a high old time, cheeks getting pinker by the minute.
The dressmaker arrived, a giggly but efficient young woman, who arranged her laptop to suit everyone and the show began. Flouncy, frilly summer dresses provoked oohs and aahs, as did little girl's dresses, but the highlight of the show were several wedding dresses, very elaborate and fancy, the sort often called "meringues".
The clothes were totally unsuitable for anybody over 40, much less 70 - I can't imagine what the dressmaker was thinking of - but the show was a complete success with the ladies. They loved the clothes, but did agree that perhaps they were not quite the thing; they enjoyed the make-up lessons, which followed, even more, although Margaret said, she'd long ago stopped bothering. "Why", the others said, "putting on a bit of slap can make all the difference".
And as for me? I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon; I sincerely hope that the ladies will continue to consider me their "young" friend and continue to invite me to share their fun.