Last week one of my students asked to speak to me after class. She had various questions she wanted to ask with regard to assessment, but also wanted to say how much she was enjoying the course. 'I'm just so interested in all these women artists,' she exclaimed. I suggested that, if the module had whetted her appetite that much, she could always think about applying for a Masters.
'Oh, I couldn't possibly,' she replied, 'I'm far too old for that type of thing. I'm practically twenty-three, you know.'
I said something to the effect that these things were all relative. 'It could be worse,' I pointed out, 'I'm practically thirty-seven.'
Her jaw dropped in what appeared to be perfectly genuine amazement. 'You're never,' she exclaimed, 'I don't believe it for one minute.'
But, in spite of my student's disbelief (or possibly her shameless attempt at flattery), I will indeed be thirty-seven on Friday. I have now reached the age where, as Dr Abrupt once pointed out to me, my fertility begins to decline ever more sharply (in order to reinforce his point, he very helpfully drew a rudimentary graph on the back of my notes.)
Mr H is working in London this week, and so tomorrow I am going down to join him. I am to have a night in a fancy hotel, a birthday dinner at a Michelin starred restaurant and also intend to take in the Rothko retrospective at Tate Modern. We are then going up to Shropshire to stay with my father and stepmother for the weekend: I can only hope that they are more excited about our news than Mr H's mother - when Mr H told her that I was pregnant, she said very triumphantly, 'I knew it. I always said that all Ms Heathen needed to do was to relax!'