Published on February 24th, 2014 | by Ann Rickard


Ash Blonde at the End

If you have a 95-year-old mother – as I do – you’ll think a lot about your own old age vulnerability each time you visit her.

Watching the elderly totter shakily about the house with a walking frame, struggling to lift a kettle to fill it let alone getting a saucepan on the stove, makes you sad and angry about old age.

“I have been dying my hair since I was 21 having obviously inherited that nasty grey gene.”

During my last visit (to Melbourne where she lives), I stacked her freezer with 35 home-cooked (by me) meals, all made with quality ingredients, all full of nourishing produce in one container each so she can totter to the freezer, remove a container, pop it in the microwave.

As I put the last container in the fridge after the marathon cooking session, she peered in, admired the neat rows of good food, and said: “I have Meals on Wheels coming tomorrow.”

It was a joke. And it made me laugh. But what has this to do with anything?

Nothing. Apart from the fact that I’d like you to think I am a caring and devoted daughter. I hope my daughters will be caring and devoted to me when I am 95.

I have vowed not to be a burden on them – and not just because I hope to still be a burden to my husband – but because nobody wants to saddle themselves onto younger people. My daughters have been given strict instructions to ship me off somewhere safe and caring.

However, the one promise I have extracted from them, and they have sworn to keep no matter how dotty I am, is for them to visit me every three weeks to dye my roots.

I don’t mind being a dribbly old woman sitting dozingA open-mouthed in a corner chair, but I must be a blonde dribbly old woman.

I have been dying my hair since I was 21 having obviously inherited that nasty grey gene.

I do it myself as I am too impatient to sit in a hair salon for several hours.

In the past, every time someone has asked me what three things I couldn’t live without if Iwas stranded on a desert island, I would say without a hint of deliberation: “Hair dye, hair dye, hair dye.”

Imagine if I was a castaway for four years – a la Tom Hanks – and my rescuers arrived to find a weathered old woman with a full head of snow atop drooping blonde rat tails.

I’d rather wave them on and be left on the island.

I will go to the grave with a packet of hair dye. Or rather the crematorium.


About the Author

is a Noosa (Australia) local and author of six successful books, all humorous travel narratives. In 2005 Ann won the prestigious ASTW’s Australian Travel Writer of the Year and in 2007 she won the ASTW Travel Book of the Year. Ann takes a culinary tour to the South of France in June every year . Ann writes travel, dining and columns for the Sunshine Coast Daily and is the Life editor of the Noosa News. Ann also maintains a well read and popular blog site. Ann’s travels have seen her explore cuisines all over the world.

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