Nail varnish

Nail varnish. An extremely important part of my life. My mother had beautiful hands with perfectly painted fingernails. Always. One of my earliest memories is reaching for her hand and trying to find (unsuccessfully at first) the one without a cigarette in it. I took it, and held it and admired the shiny red. She would spend s lot of time (and money, much to my father’s chagrin) on those nails. But her hands were perfectly manicured, and if she’d had her way, mine would have been too. And oh, she tried. How she tried. Hence the poem written when I was 16. Who was I in love with? I have no idea. But I painted my nails. Even at school. Pale pink. Yuk.

Now I don’t find it remotely relaxing painting my nails. I always seem to do it at the last minute. I can never find the actual colour I need, or it’s in the wrong house, or dried up. Time is of the essence and I seem to start just as the taxi arrives. I slap on one coat of varnish then have to slip into my actual coat without touching the sleeves. Impossible task. The insides of my sleeves are multicolouredly smeared but we won’t go into that. If I have carefully planned my outing I sometimes take my little bottle of paint with me and then balance it precariously somewhere on the way to wherever we’re going. All for the sake of a little shopgirl elegance.

Shopgirl. Yes, that was the derogatory term frequently used in my childhood! How things change.

I have a vast collection of nail varnishes gathering dust in drawers. But their colours give me pleasure or even joy as Marie Kendo might say. So I shan’t be throwing them out!

One last word – I was delighted to note that both my mother and my aunt had their finger and toenails painted at the very end of their lives. I hope I will too. So much jollier when looking down!

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