Once in a while you meet someone who changes the way you see the world.
I met Ruth when she was living in a Care Home.
We'd drink tea, talk about art and poetry, and how she designed and made her own clothes but most of all we laughed together.
She had been there, done it all and bought the cardigan.

She seldom spoke of the past, but when she did it was with no regrets or nostalgia.
During the war she had been an electrical engineer in the RAF servicing battle damaged Spitfires, but with the coming of peace she had been dispensed with, and the assumption that she would melt back into a life of domestic anonymity still annoyed her nearly 70 years later.
I painted her portrait and discovered in the process that beneath the perfect manners, wisdom and charm was a steely rebellion.
Anyone foolish enough to treat her as a geriatric would be met with a look that could melt boiler plate.
She taught me to live as if each day was a birthday; to face difficulty with courage, and friendship with gratitude but most of all to never give in.

She is gone now, but every now and then a small reminder of her delicate, anarchic charm appears in the landscape.

I think she would approve