Wednesday, 29 February 2012

February 29th

An extra day in February only comes along every 4 years, that’s once every 1461 days, I’ve just worked it out and hopefully my maths is correct! 

It’s a day for doing something special. As I have no "frog" to propose to - hahahaha - I chose to spend my day with a friend at the cinema, possibly not the best choice to be shut indoors when the weather is so wonderful and spring like but it’s Orange Wednesday and we did watch the most fabulous film.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

It has a stellar cast including Dame Judi Dench and Dame Maggie Smith, which is enough to recommend it in itself. 
The story is about a group of pensioners enticed to spend their “autumn years” in India at the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel run by young would be entrepreneur Sonny (Dev Patel from Slumdog Millionaire). 

Upon arrival the hotel is not as luxurious as it has been portrayed in the advertising.  This doesn’t deter some of the characters from throwing themselves into the local culture, while others flounder in a foreign land. As the story develops we find out more about each character’s secrets and why they decided to take a huge risk upping sticks and moving half way around the globe.

Judi Dench’s character Evelyn has recently been widowed and the film starts with her trying to get through to her internet provider and explain that they can’t talk to the account holder as he has died – gosh I remember that conversation so clearly. The sheer frustration of it.

It is easy to see why Evelyn wants to get away and longs for a fresh start. I was rooting for her from the beginning, hoping India would provide the answers she needed, a place where she fitted in, a happy ending. She also writes a blog of her adventures which is the narrative holding the plot together. It not difficult to see why she was my favourite character.

There are plenty of twists and turns to the story. Nothing works out quite how anyone expects but each character makes self-discoveries along the way.

“It will all be alright in the end and if it isn’t alright it isn’t the end.” Is a profound catchphrase that is uttered throughout, especially when things look bleak and there are inevitable disappointments.

I took comfort from the saying it means I am still somewhere in the middle of my own story too because everything is not quite “alright”!

The film has also rekindled a sense of adventure and a yearning to travel. India might still be a bit exotic as yet but I have already been plotting a trip, maybe somewhere in Europe and I want to take one on my own just like the characters in the story.

Oldest son has holidays booked for this year, youngest son is a definite homebird like his father preferring to stay put.

I need a chance to spread my wings, but unlike those in the film my stay will be shorter I will have to come home to my parental responsibilities. I can’t take off indefinitely like the pensioners whose offspring her flown the nest. That’s the predicament I find myself in.

Being widowed young doesn’t make me unique or special but it does create interesting problems. 

There are others of us out there. But we are a bit rare like a February 29th, in some ways just another day but not something you encounter every day or even every year. 
I tried to check the statistics, am I one in 1461? All I found were dating websites for widows – best not go there again so soon -  I’m off to check out single holidays instead…

...and if you get a chance to go to the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel my advice is to take it, I promise you won't be disappointed.


  1. Wonderful blog as usual you make writing it look so easy. You have such a natural talent. I love the way you have put the positive 'interesting' tag and attached it to your widowhood. (Doesn't that sound so archaic?) unlike your writing which is modern, relevant and so illuminating. Has brightened my morning. I was pleased to be a part of the day you have so eloquently described. Let's hope we don't have to wait for four years to repeat the experience!

  2. I say "hear hear" to Anmelia's reply (at 01.13 - a very early hour).

    As you know my empty nest sent me off on a journey of a lifetime and I am happier now than I have ever been - albeit under very different circumstances to yours.

    big hugs xx

  3. I saw the trailer for the film and thought it looked like a good giggly one to take my mum to - will definitely be doing after your review.
    I went on holiday by myself for the first time ever when I was 40 - a week on Kefalonia in a village I'd been to before (yes I know it sounds a bit Shirley Valentine!!). It was fab! It's not as scary as it may sound - and actually there are lots of positives... Go for it! XX