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Sunday, 29 May 2011


I am sure many of you know this poem well, it was written in 1961 by Jenny Joseph and since then it has been, quote
" found in schoolbooks from Alaska to Singapore, the poem has been, stitched, stamped, quilted, set to music, printed on cards, written on cakes and made into films, quoted at conferences and funerals, used to cheer up sick friends". It was voted Britain's favourite poem by viewers of a BBC programme in 1996. In 1997 it was published in a book form, with lovely illustrations by Pythia Ashton-Jewell and it has been re-printed about 40 times since.
Quote: "Its declaration of defiance, so vividly and cleverly expressed, appeals to the rebel in all of us".

I was given this little book as a part of a present last week, by my  DD, for my 60+ birthday.


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 butter.
I shall sit down on the payment 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 the 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 may be 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.


I would like to say, that I have been inspired to write this post by something I have read this week on Linda's blog, about her beautiful, bright jacket. Only in Linda's case it has nothing to do with age, but it got me thinking.
I have actually started to wear purple! No, I am not brave enough (yet) to wear a red hat with it, but give me time, the age is on my side!
I have come to realise that I love the age I am. I no longer feel the need to make a "good impression", or to "fit in".  I am who I am, I find myself more and more often saying aloud things I would keep to myself some 10 years ago. There are so many things I don't "have to do" any more, it is so liberating!
I am a member of the "grey lobby", which is growing in numbers. I know this is a headache for our government, how to look after us in our old age. But it also means that we have a voice which is getting stronger and it won't be ignored (hopefully not just because they want our vote).

So, hurrah for the purple and red!

The rebel in me is waking up!


  1. I just love it!!! I also absolutely love purple but like you I might wait a couple more years for the red hat but I am in training. Take care.

  2. Great post Radka....i like purple liked red go you rebel x

  3. Hello Radka, Just popped by your blog to find this wonderful post, love the poem too, and all the sentiment in it, I am with you all the way!Lets all grow old disgracefully!

  4. Love it, love it, love it, Radka. It is really like that. I dont care anymore very much about certain things. But I still care that I am dressed so that I like myself. And funny enough I could wear purple already in young years, it fits me well.
    Thank you for posting this poem.

  5. Hi Radka, thank you for finding something I said an inspiration for this wonderful post. I too feel like 'breaking out' every now and then. I've worn purple in the past, not a lot, but I will again in time I feel. I know there is a dedicated 'Red Hat Group' closeby, so with my love of hats, well, who knows. This is a wonderful post, and it is a time in life to let go a little. Sometimes things need to be said, be they naughty or nice...te, he, te, he..... Maybe we should all think about a purple patchwork jacket..... Have a good week.

  6. Hi Radka! I LOVE that poem! I remember back in the 1970s my mom reading it to me and telling me that she was going to wear purple every day when she got old! Well, she does wear a lot of purple, but so do I. And I so agree with you...I am loving being older because it is so liberating...not having to worry about what everyone things of me and feeling free to just be myself. Hurray for us!



    P.S. A very belated Happy Birthday! You didn't tell me it was your birthday...please e-mail me and let me know what day it was!

  7. Hi Radka
    I must laugh! This morning when I fetched the morningpaper I wear a purpel dressing gown and red shoes, so I have reeched the age!!
    I found this poem a few yeares ago and I also found a fabric with purpel hats so I saw a bag and gave it to my sister who is 5 years older than me. I thougt she had reeched the age but evidently have I reeched it too now LOL

  8. Hi there!

    Nice blog! Good to meet you on Saturday. As you will have noticed, I have taken the red hair option, rather that a hat!

    I'll pop by every so often - who knows, there might be a blue quilt one day! No pressure.

  9. I thought as i am approaching 40 that I had given up worrying about what other people think. I realised this week that it wasn't so. i do look forward to being "old" enough to wear purple and red and not care what anyone thinks! Women of the world; rebel!!!!!!

  10. I've worn purple and red for years and I'm not even 40 yet!!=)


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