The sun was already quite high in the sky when I woke up early that morning at 10.00. The house was as silent as a tomb. I went downstairs and made sure that the other members of the household were gone. Perfect. I was home alone, exactly what was needed for what I was about to do.

I ran back up to the bedroom and pulled out the brown package from where I had hidden it under the bed. As I pulled out a little dark bottle from the box a small instruction’s leaflet fell to the floor. I picked it up and read it twice just to make sure. The skull-and-cross bones image at the top of the leaflet lent an air of urgency to the moment and I went quickly into the bathroom and placed the bottle by the wash basin.

I looked in the mirror suddenly and caught the doubts in my face. But this was no time to have a last minute change of heart, I told myself. I had to be strong and carry it through. I had got this far and spent so much money and time surely I must go ahead with it. In any case I was suffering from chronic insomnia and poor appetite caused by all this anxiety. My life was falling apart. The contents of this bottle offered me a way out.

My turmoil all begun three weeks earlier. It is hard to imagine now how a silly chance conversation with a stranger in a pub had dented my self confidence and lowered my self-esteem to somewhere just below the knee. The whole thing had pushed me into a mid-life crisis.

The man had first walked up to me at the bar and said that he liked my nice tweed cap. We chatted and joked about hats, umbrellas and walking-sticks for a bit and he bought us a couple more double whiskeys. It was then that he pressed home his attack.

“ Aren’t you just a little bit ashamed of your grey hair”?

I told him it was none of his business and I was quite happy the way I was, thank you very much! In many communities grey was seen as a sign of wisdom and respectability. Can you believe the cheek of this man? He laughed at me and ordered us two more whiskeys. It was then that I noticed that his hair was black as a raven.

You like it, don’t you? he asked, running a fat hand through his silken hair. “I’ve used a dye since I was twenty-seven and I have never looked back.”

“Today, everyone is doing it.” He said.

“I have many young clients some even half your age and they swear by the stuff. It is nothing to do with age.” He said. He drained his glass and went off to the gents’ for a third time.

I studied the leaflet that he had left on the bar. There were photographs of men in their forties and fifties playing beach-volleyball, tennis and golf and not a grey hair to be seen. On the inside page there was a doctor with a stethoscope and below that a lawyer with an armful of files. There was a Judge sitting at the bench and a company Chief Executive having a massage. They all had perfect hair.

My friend was back. He showed me a bottle of the miracle stuff. It was called Grobber and described as the Professional Hair Colour for Discerning Men. It was what the professional stylists used in really posh salons where a dye job for a regular-sized head was upwards of £50. My new friend said he was an Independent Personal Grooming Consultant and just for today he was offering me the dyeing compound kit on a Special introductory offer of £60 for a twelve-month supply. I needed time to get the money. He was happy to wait. We would meet at the end of the following week. And so it was. We met in the pub at the pre-arranged time and down there in the empty toilets we struck a deal and shook hands.

Today was the big day. Donning a pair of rubber washing-up gloves I filled the basin and washed my hair in lukewarm water. I then poured the dark Grobber liquid all over my head taking care to work it so that it covered the entire scalp. I sprinkled the magic fixing powder product . This initiated the chemical reaction and also acted as a catalyst. I left the whole mess on my head for I hr 45 minutes as advised and then rinsed it out in cold water until the water changed from blood red to clear.

The results were truly amazing: I was the proud owner of a brand new head of jet-black silky hair and looked twenty years younger. I showered, got dressed and called for a taxi. I did not want to be late for my new gym membership consultation .