My purple-time person

Old ladies have a thing for purple. I don’t know whether it’s just old English ladies; I think it might be. I noticed it when we first moved here. There’d be soft white hair tucked into a purple hat, the hat matched with a purple skirt. There’d be a purple raincoat with a purple-handled walking stick. A purple bag, purple socks. And not the quiet kind of purple, either. It always made me smile.
A few days ago, I read this poem, and it made me smile too. I read the first line, and I thought – I was right! It’s a fact, like belly-buttons are a fact: when you become old, and English, you wear purple. After an entire lifetime of benign greys and polite browns, something rips out of them in purple song. Look, I’m here, and don’t you dare think I’m done, they say. It’s the way the sky turns purple just before the day ends. Twilights.
This poem is for D, I called him at work to read it out to him. But then, he’s my purple-time person. My purple-time, every-time, my in-between-time person.
There’s a recipe too at the end. Only because I happened to cook this good, spicy aubergine, and aubergine’s purple too. It matches the poem, and it matches the lovely old ladies who make me smile.
The poem first:

by Jenny Joseph
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple. 

And now the food:

Spicy sesame aubergine with red peppers


6-8 small aubergines, cut into longish pieced
1 large red pepper, sliced
1 white onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, sliced
3 green chillies
2 tsp tahini paste
2 tsp sesame
2-3 tsp sunflower or vegetable oil

Olive oil for drizzling

Heat the sunflower oil, saute the onion and garlic till lightly browned.
Add the aubergines, peppers, tahini, chillies and salt. Lower the heat, cover and cook till soft.
Increase heat and stir to dry up any extra water.
Transfer to serving dish, sprinkle with sesame seeds. Drizzle with olive oil.
Serve hot with pita or steamed rice.

6 thoughts on “My purple-time person

  1. That sounds and looks delicious… We can get aubergine here, and aubergine as a colour is quite prolific… Here ladies over a certain age don't just wear it, they dye their hair that particular shade too… I won't be copying them! 😀

  2. I tried to dye my hair purple once, Emma – I'm an old soul in many ways!
    Try the aubergine even if you skip the hair-colour 🙂

  3. Hi,

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  4. I'll be growing old into another purple loving old lady …watching purple sunsets by the St.Lawrence river,wearing purple shawl… sipping Darjeeling tea from delicate pinkish purple china cup 🙂

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