[W]hen  one has become  very old, which I take to mean over ninety-five, one’s idea of luxury shifts away from clothes. I do still own, and occasionally wear, a beautiful printed coat-dress in dark blue and white cotton, with a Javanese print and sky-blue lining, and little fabric buttons all the way down… But my main luxury is now something which many misguided old people dread: the wheelchair. They think submitting to it is humiliating, and they are wrong. Nothing could be more deliciously luxurious than being pushed around a really thrilling and crowded exhibition in a wheelchair. The crowd falls away on either side like the Red Sea parting for the Israelites, and there you are, lounging in front of the painting of your choice in perfect comfort. I shall never forget the first time I fully realized how marvellous this can be. It was in front of Matisse’s red “Dance”, and I have never enjoyed a great painting more intensely.

Diana Athill, “Alive, Alive, Oh! And Other Things That Matter”.

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Chief theatre critic for The Times. Twitter: CliveDavisUK Facebook: Instagram: clivephotos
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