I think it's generally known that I tend to find a trip to the hairdresser on a par with a visit to the dentist. It might be the whole vanity thing but I don't spend a lot of time looking in a mirror and so to be sat down in front of a huge one under bright lights for an hour looking at myself has never been my idea of pleasure.
So I leave it and leave it and eventually, once my hair meets under my chin I cave in and ring for an appointment at my latest venue and with my latest stylist.There was a trip to France pending after all and surely I need to try and look chic?
'Hello, Sisters, Sarah speaking how may I help you?'
'Oh sorry, I must have dialled the wrong number I wanted Mirrors'
'No, it's under new ownership, new staff'
'Oh...er...right...oh dear...um..is um Charlotte still there?'
'No she's left, gone to another salon.'
To Sarah's eternal credit she did tell me which one and it's right next door to the surgery I'm based in at the moment but twelve miles from home and who wants to mix work and hair?
Awkward gap...bit of a silence...what to do?
'Can we offer you an appointment?'
More silence...these could be the nightmare slashers from hairdressing hell, should I risk all? But they're new, we should support new business after all, it's stylist eat stylist out there. I've read Cutting Confidential, I know these things.
In the end we agree that yes, Sisters can actually cut hair and I tactfully try and ask for their 'best cutter' and get Julie.
Things get off to promising start when I arrive.
The junior is being shown how to clean and damp dust to a standard that would certainly pass muster in an operating theatre and there's the fingertip-along-the-surfaces inspection in progress. Her trainer jokingly tells me her family think she has Obessessive Compulsive Disorder and suddenly I have an NHS employment idea for all sufferers of OCD which I shelve for another day.
But cleanliness is all bound to impress me; the salon before last lost my custom the day I had to share it with a gang of workman knocking a wall down.
'So' says Julie lifting and separating the strands ' what would you like me to do ?'
At this point I become an inarticulate jumbler of words and ideas because here's someone who doesn't know my hair and we could go for radical. Anyone else with fine, fly-away hair which they attempt to keep straightish, smoothish and sleekish will know that this rain-drenched summer has been a catalogue of hairstyle nightmares.
''Well I'm fed up with turning up on people's doorsteps in howling gales and torrential rain looking as if I've just got out of bed.'
'So I'd quite like to look like the woman who commentated on the sailing in the Olympics or failing that I'll settle for looking like the one who reads the lunchtime news.'
Dear Julie, so diplomatic, side-stepping the issue of greying thinning hair, absent bone structure and increasing years,
'Well Lynne I think the answer might be to make the tousled just-got-out-of-bed look intentional, how about that?'
'Hmm well I don't want it too short at the front because I like to tuck it behind my ears but I don't really mind about the back because I can't see that.'
'We can manage that.'
Sitting in that chair, all swathed and draped in polyester with the rubber mat around my neck and looking for all the world like Neptune's grandmother, well she who hesitates is sunk.
This is no time for Libran indecision.
'Go for it' I heard someone say, and it was me.
So Julie did, by crikey she did, and I am above the ears (almost) for the first time in years.
'You'll need a bit of wax for the back' Julie suggested.
Anyway I put on a mask and sneaked up the staircase at the other end of the house where the Gamekeeper holes up and the Kayaker grooms endlessly when he's home, and I specifically forced myself to home in on their bathroom. No one does this willingly; enters the bathroom of their twenty-something sons, it's foreign territory to be managed and kept clean as they see fit but there must be EU regulations and standards about this sort of thing?
I hope I haven't picked up typhoid or cholera but might there be some wax?
Might there be some wax!
Ha ha, is there any wax left out there because there are several tons of it here.
Anyway, I think this might all work because when I woke up the next morning I looked like I'd just walked out of the hairdressers.