Trying not to be sexist The Guardian, my daily newspaper, has done away with "actress" - thus Helen Mirren and Benedict Cumberbatch are both actors on its pages. A small arguable matter.
Plodding behind I'd like to do away with "heroine" and talk about a hero, P, my French teacher. P is a woman.
Heroism is frequently seen on a grand scale but needn't be. Nor need it involve wars. It does involve courage but not necessarily in the face of physical danger; spouses who continue to love their "other" through Alzheimer's are courageous, thus heroes. Without losing myself in arid definitions my heroes are, by consensus, admirable as well as being devoted, sympathetic, skilled, generous, egalitarian and selfless.
On Friday mornings B, another woman, and I sit down in P's dining room, read alternate pages of our set book (presently Rien Ne S'oppose à la Nuit by Delphine de Vigan), then translate as accurately as we can. I've been doing this for about fifteen years, B for much longer. There is no pressure except from our own consciences. Wellbeing resides in how well we've prepared our translations.
When I err P corrects me with: "Not quite." P presides quietly (she is a Quaker) but with authority. She does this out of a love of the French language at £5 a pop. Her default state is to encourage, her patience is endless and she rides over raunchy passages briskly and with laughter.
The class is tiny yet her influence - for good - is indisputable. All three of us are of an age but it is P who best shows there can be benefits in growing older. P is one of a tiny band I call my heroes; unassailable in virtue but witty with it.