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The Great British Eccentric

July 20, 2016

The Great British Eccentric

When I grow up, I want to be just like them.

Just like a great British eccentric.

I will be wizened and gnarly, with a beard that

No woman should be able to grow.

I will curl it and wear ribbons.

And pretend I am a musketeer.

Brandishing my walking stick at all my foes,

Like Errol Flynn, but with bigger balls,

And less sexually transmitted diseases.


I will wear all my clothes, all at once,

In no particular order.

I will be hugely, massively, squishably fat.

And wear skin-tight leggings,

And have people talk in scandalised fashion,

About the wobbling of my tremendous thighs,

And my chins, and jiggle of my no longer sexy bosom.

And not care in the slightest.


I will clash in a glorious riot of colour,

Of pattern and of style.

If I am not large, I shall go the opposite way,

And be so skinny a gust of wind would blow me over,

Or at least that’s what I will say.

And I will wear voluminous skirts that drown me,

And threaten to trip me over, but I won’t fall.

Because I will be held up by bits of string,

And sticky tape and card and paper that I carry around.

Just in case I might need them.


I will challenge complete strangers to races,

On my walking stick, and if they agree,

I will win every time.  Because I will cheat.

Because I am old, and cheeky, and will get away with it.

I will talk to strangers, just like my parents said I shouldn’t.

I will discuss my health in long, vivid description.

Sparing no details, from the hairs in my ears,

To the peculiar discharges I never expected,

From my long-descended vagina.


I will write, obsessively, about all that I see,

On the biros I steal from Argos and betting shops.

I will make a bet on the wrong horse.

I will intend to get it wrong, just because.

I don’t need reasons any more for anything.

I am old, I am invisible, I am free from you.

Free from expectation.  Free from derivation.

Free from giving a shit!


I will flirt outrageously with anyone and everyone.

Gender be damned, I will twinkle and glow.

I will be adorable and in turn be adored.

Or feared by those who are still in their box.

Too afraid to step outside in technicolour.

Monochrome grey their world of lines,

And rules and guidance and littleness.

I am outside now, outside the box, outside

The rules, outside the society I was suppressed in.

I will be the me I want to be, finally.


I will challenge strangers to debate or conversation,

If I see a girl on a walking stick, I will run,

I will hobble and twist and grate to her,

And I will tell her my life so she can know,

That she can be all that she wants to be.

That she can reach for the stars and shine.

That she can be just like me if she wants to.

Like me and my scream of joy at life.

Like me, the great British eccentric.


© Tina Price-Johnson 6.1.14


Inspired by an old lady who challenged me to a walking stick race as I passed her in my local shopping mall; we then had the most hilarious of chats.  She was in her 80s, clearly and proudly non-conforming and totally free in herself.  I want to be her, so I’m practicing from now on!


From → Poetry

  1. Excellent! Right up there with “when I am old I shall wear purple”

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