ABOUT a year ago, I found my first wiry white hair on the left side of my head. I plucked it out and thought nothing more of it. Until it appeared again a few months later with a few friends on the same side of my head.

This time round, it felt a little more menacing. I tucked the rogue signs of premature ageing away and pretended it was a trick of the light but the knowledge that it's in there somewhere has made me think, or rather, panic, about hair colouring issues.

Will the white hairs mature into a racoon-like white strip on one side of my head, leaving me looking like something out of The Addams Family, or will I go the way of 'Belle Color' and spend my weekend mornings wearing a shower cap and plastic gloves?

Worse still, while I've felt the hair on my head thinning, other unwanted follicles have started to sprout in bizarre places.

I know there are certain hormonal changes that that take place after the age of 30 but I feel like I could well have a full, comb-able lady beard in a few more years, and be appearing on one of those miserable BBC documentaries that explore the difficult shaving routines of hirsute ladies.

Ever since the first discovery, I have been taking sly glances at my crop of white hair and when I finally braved a close inspection a few days ago, I saw they were fast reproducing into a stripe formation. Oh God.

Part of me is relaxed and philosophical about this, while another, more hysterical, side which hasn't even got started yet, wants to have an anxiety attack. Was that really my youth that I've just experienced? If so, it felt like a disappointing first sexual experience that leaves you asking "Is that it?"

IFOUND myself in Cornwall for a couple of days and I felt a strange change take place. It started to occur somewhere after Exeter when the caffeine from the morning mammoth coffee consumption began to wear off. I began to feel a strange, relaxed sensation.

Having been programmed to run instead of walk, I found the Cornish approach to life fairly radical. Getting off the train at Truro, I stood in a queue for the bus for Falmouth and was about to get a little chippy about an old woman with a trolley pushing in front of me when the bus arrived. Instead of pelting on, pushing and shoving to get a seat, the people in the queue began crawling like ants and each person exchanged a few minutes of niceties with the driver before they sat down.

What should have been a 30 minute drive turned into an afternoon's expedition as the driver drove off route and escorted each of the passengers to their doorstep rather than leaving them lumbered at the bus-stop with their shopping. People on the bus even spoke slower and softer. It must have been infectious because I found myself floating above the madding crowds at the tube station when I returned, and I think I even held a door open for an elderly lady at one point!