Before and After

We have a free glossy magazine  – In Cheshire – delivered to our door once a month, and although it’s usually full of things which are not of great interest to me, I always browse through just to see what’s afoot in our neck of the Cheshire woods.

There are short items on charity and fund-raising events, along with lots of photos of those attending. A vet writes a column which, as a dog owner, is interesting to scan through. A regular 2 page fashion article is always worth a quick read (just to keep my finger on the style pulse, you understand). An actor from the TV soap Hollyoaks, who lives in our town, writes each month about date nights with his TV presenter wife at the local eateries. (Confession: I’ve never watched Hollyoaks or seen her on Good Morning Britain).

There are ads for houses, private schools, solicitors specialising in divorce, gardening services, teeth whitening and personal trainers, but by far my favourite is the regular 2 page ad, in full colour, of the spa clinic which offers special skin tightening procedures.

A whole page, in colour, shows before and after pictures of eye contours, chins and jawlines, torsos, tummies, knees and upper arms. It brings out the child in me. I used to like those “Spot the Difference” pictures in comics, and I happily inspect the gallery of photographed body parts, trying to see how each “before” shot has progressed in the “after” image. Heaven knows how much the procedures cost – they won’t be cheap!

The photographs above are of myself and my daughter in the famous Café Landtmann in Vienna, frequented by Freud and Mahler over a century ago. The first (specially posed of course) is before we had coffee and cake; the second is after we’d had coffee and cake.

Mark Twain said, “Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been”. That coffee and cake treatment was very good value.

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