Tag Archives: age

A Misty Morning and Thoughts of Mortality

It was, as the title suggestd, misty this morning. Due to Julia’s start time it was also dark, so there was no photo-opportunity. I may try again later.

Mist, which can be a nuisance on a long trip, is always welcome at this time of year because it tells me that Spring is coming. There’s a fine line between yearning for Spring and wishing your life away. and this year is probably the first time I’ve felt this quite so sharply. The last twelve months has made me focus on health, age and mortality in a way I’ve never done before.

It’s also the first year where I’ve been so aware that there’s more to winter than crisp mornings and a nip in the air. This year I’ve had to worry about falling and  the fact that I need to keep warm. O;d people die in winter, and I’ve been feeling old. In fact I’ve been feeling Very Old for the last few weeks as all my joints seems to have turned up the pain setting. If I was youmger I’d insert a Spinal Tap reference here about the pain levels being turned up to eleven. But I’m old. So I won’t.

They used to say that one of the signs of old age was that the policemen were looking younger. That happened ages ago, and didn’t really bother me. My personal milestone, is that Life Peers seem to be getting younger. I’ve added a link for readers who aren’t familiar with the UK’s constitution arrangements but, frankly, it doesn’t help.

All you need to know is that in the old days (basically from the dawn of time until 1958) if you worked hard, did your best and tried to be a useful member of society you would be allowed to wear yourself out and die.

If you added a layer of corruption, politics, back-stabbing, lick-spittling and (often) cash to that , you could become a Peer. In fact, let’s face it, if you did enough of this, you could get by without the hard work, doing your best and being a useful member of society. If you look at the current crop of Peers it’s hard to see many that will be of any use until we have Soylent Green on the menu.  Having lied, cheated and bribed your way to the top you could then pass on your title to future generations of inbred offspring.

All this changed in 1958. After 1958 you were generally no longer allowed to pass it on, and there was more politics involved. Because if you want to improve something, adding more input from politicians really is the way to go, isn’t it?

Getting back to the point, Life Peers are looking younger. To add insult to injury, they also remind me of my lack of success as  they all look sleeker, richer and socially superior to me.



My Day

I had to send Julia off to work on her own this morning because I had an 8.50 am appointment with the doctor and the timing didn’t allow enough leeway to get from one side of town to the other.

This brought back memories of sending the kids to school as I fussed round making sure she had her flask and sandwiches (ham and mustard on one lot, ham and pickle on the other – variety being the spice of life).

It wasn’t much of an appointment, just to confirm my new tablets weren’t causing problems and discuss a letter from the hospital.

I ended up being prodded and questioned by a medical student on work experience. There’s probably more to it than that, but that’s effectively what it was. They have to learn somehow, besides, the doctor offered to do my anti-coagulant blood test, allowing me to get on with my day instead of returning for the test at 11.30.

After that I shopped, called at the Arnold Sorting Office to pick up the parcels I missed yesterday, and called at the jewellers.

There, I scrapped in two gold medallions. Although the price of gold has gone down it is still high compared to a few years ago. As a result I got more for the medallions as scrap than I had been trying to obtain as a retail price when I last went to an antique fair.

If only all profits were that easy.

As I prepared to leave a local collector entered the shop. I haven’t seen him for years so we spent half an hour catching up. He’s aged over the years, his beard has turned white and he’s a grandfather now. It was a bit like looking in the mirror, apart from the grandchildren.

I’m seeing more people from the past now that I’m getting round the shops and markets, but also finding that several have died, which is a bit of a shock.

No photos today as I forgot to take the camera.



Zen and the Art of Procrastination

It’s time to start sorting out my life. How many times have you heard that? I know I’ve said it several times.

As things stand, I’m not reading books, I’m not reading blogs and I’m not getting enough decluttering done. That’s not to say that I’m idling my time away, I’m still writing, I’m still cooking (in a determondly average sort of way) and I’m spending time on ebay.

I’m happy with the writing time but the time on ebay needs decreasing. Originally I was looking at it with a view to learning current prices and looking at starting to sell on ebay again. It hasn’t quite worked like that and I’m back, once again, to collecting.

The intention was actually to clear the house and live a life of zen simplicity interspersed with the holidays we’ve not had over the years.

It has struck me recently, as I’ve sat cogitating my hospital experience and the nature of mortality, that I’m on the downward leg of the journey to three score years and ten. I’m 60 next birthday (as I was recently reminded), and this isn’t a two way street.

I’m also mindful that health problems prevented my parents carrying out their retirement plans. They still had a long and happy retirement, but it wasn’t the one they had planned. In fact Dad is still with us and still enjoying himself. However, he would probably be enjoying himself more if things had gone to plan.

So there you are, a slice of philosophical misery. Not very cheerful but something I wanted to talk about for some time as it’s important, and I’m interested if anyone has any views.

I’ve been meaning to write it for some time but I never get round to it.

The Ages of Man

It was my birthday recently. Last year I moved from being “late 50s” to “nearly 60” and this year I entered my 60th year. At least, that was what I thought, but it seems to be worse than that. According to a newspaper article I just read they can call you elderly when you are 64.

Elderly is, according to the dictionary, a polite word for old.

I’m only just beginning to accept being middle-aged, so can’t help thinking that “elderly” is pushing it a bit. I just looked up “middle age” and found it is defined as the period between the end of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance. Clearly I need to concentrate more. The difference between “age” and “ages” is quite significant. I’ve also just noted there are two ways to spell ageing, (or aging). I didn’t know that, I just thought one was wrong.

Middle age, it appears, lasts from 45 to 65, so I appear to have squandered my middle years without noticing them. An article on the internet suggests that you are only middle-aged when you hit certain milestones rather than an age. They suggest 53 – 55, which still makes me middle-aged. As I hit most of the milestones I’m irretrievably middle-aged, regardless of the number of years I have lived.

I’m not going to admit to anything specific, but examination of previous posts will reveal that I have thinning hair, creaky joints, hirsute orifices, membership of the National Trust, inappropriate sleep habits and a deep distrust of technology, modern music and young people. I do not, however, own travel sweets, a sports car or bed socks.

Though my feet have been feeling cold in bed recently…

Meanwhile, I’ve had a letter from the hospital and learned a new word. The word is cystolitholapaxy. I just looked it up.

Sometimes you are better not knowing…

Resting, Reading and Recuperating

One of the horrors of old age that I have observed is that at a certain stage people stop reading. My father, despite everything, is still hanging in there. He’s never been a massive reader but he’s always done crosswords and puzzles and, although they may be getting simpler, he’s still doing them. This, I feel, is a good thing.

Ever since I had tonsillitis. in around 1964, and my mother suggested reading as a hobby, I have been a lost cause. She bought me a copy of Biggles of The Special Air Police and the rest is history.

I still have the book – it’s within feet of me as we speak. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if she’d bought Jane Eyre, as she later did. Would I have grown into a sophisticated professor of English Literature? Or would I have given up reading? I suspect the latter. Having been persuaded to read several classics in my early reading career I then gave them up until recently when I thought I should give them another try.

It didn’t really work out well. You may have seen my comments on this previously – that Don Quixote would be much better if it was half as long and had a murder on the first page, preferably Don Quixote himself. My feeling on a number of other classics is similar.

The nearest I’ve been to a classic in the last twelve months is  John Buchan. I’ve managed The Thirty-Nine Steps, Greenmantle, Mr Standfast and The Three Hostages but I’m having a rest for now. There comes a time when casual racism wears a bit thin, even if it is authentic contemporary racism.

I moved on to Dr Thorndyke but after four of them I started searching around for some variety. Having read a book on Q Ships I’m now on Nature Cure by Richard Mabey.  Clare Pooley recommended it to me when I came out of hospital. I broke one of my normal rules and paid £4.99 for a Kindle edition, but it’s been worthwhile.

Clearly the man is marching to a different drummer, even when he isn’t suffering from depression, but it’s a relaxing and informative read. I looked forward to his account of male urology, as this is one of the points where our lives converge. He likens it to a mythical linking of his internal water with the water of the Fens. That’s why he’s known as an elegant and spiritual writer.

I have never thought of it as mystical in any of my three stays in Male Urology, I just use it as a source of broad humour. My internal water is linked to the water in my kettle.

That’s why I’m not known as an elegant and spiritual writer.

Finally,  moving back to the point. It’s surprising how much energy it takes to read and concentrate. I struggled in the days after leaving hospital, and I’m still not fully back in the swing of things. With the sort of time I’ve had on my hands recently I should have seen Nature Cure off in short order, probably in a day. It’s only 240 pages in the paper edition, which is not a long book.

I didn’t have the energy to start it for a couple of days and I’ve been doing a section each day. I still have a bit left, though to be honest I’m now able to read faster and I’m just trying to prolong the pleasure of reading.  I’m doing puzzles now and looking at the web, though still not up to full speed.

Has anybody else noticed that reading can be such an effort? Or am I just getting old?



Students again

We were greeted by the increasing guineafowl flock this morning, including the whites and the lavenders. They all seem to have left the shelter of the poultry field and be roaming round as a 30 strong pack making permanant alarm calls. We’ve now had several complaints from the farmer’s mum so Something Must Be Done. Just before lunch he reminded the lads they needed to catch a dozen to send to market with the pigs tomorrow.

You know what?

I can still hear them but I can’t see a single one of them. I know they can’t understand us so there must have been something in the body language that alerted them. Smart birds, guineafowl.


Apprentices 0 Guineafowl 1.

There’s a good coating of ice today and the group of students we have visiting find the first job of the day is breaking ice on the outside water troughs. I think it’s the first time that many of them have experienced the idea that water can’t be guaranteed. It’s more of a shock than the cold. To be fair to them they have all brought the right clothes for the day (unlike the Monday course) so the cold isn’t that bad. There is, as we always say, no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing.

We won a prize for championing farming as a career two years ago. Not sure the weather is helping us today.


I’m currently wearing a short-sleeved shirt despite the ice, and I’m trying to look like I’m enjoying it. That’s what happens when you have several black and white checked shirts, middle-aged eyes and get dressed in the half-light without turning the lights on.

We treated ourselves to an extra hour in bed because we’ve been waking each other up with the coughs that refuse to go. That meant we had to rush out with no breakfast though we did find time to stop and buy some to eat in the car. You always do, don’t you?

That’s the 21st century – rush, profligate spending on poor nutrition and a general feeling that I could do better. I’ll have to do better on Monday – it’s National Breakfast Week! OF course, in line with modern marketing techniques it’s know as Shake up your Wake up!. It doesn’t even make sense. Grumble, grumble…better in my day…

On the positive side we saw goldcrests in the conifers by the chicken field yesterday. They are surprisingly common according to the figures but you don’t often see one. Normally you hear the high-pitched squeak they make but, likethe somg of the skylark the ability to hear goldcrests declines with age. I haven’t heard a skylark for ages, or a bat for 30 years,  and am now worried I may have reached the age where I can’t hear goldcrests.

However, it could just be that the skylark is down to a tenth of the population it had 30 years ago. That’s probably sadder than my toughts of deafness. And to round off with a strange coincidence – I’ve just had an email on my phone “Alzheimer’s Disease is now following you on Twitter”.

Not sure what to make of that.