A Life Plan For Golden Oldies

The other Sunday, The One Who Must Be Obeyed and I were invited to a function at a friend’s village hall.

Barbara's 80th BirthdayI have to say I went with some reluctance but, whilst there, I met what can only be described as a lovely bunch of old people. Most of them were even older than me and I’m 74. But I couldn’t help noticing that this lovely bunch was made up primarily of women. That’s not indicative of a village that secretly despises men. It’s indicative of the fact that men tend to shuffle off this planet a bit quicker than ladies, and, bless them, the women folk are left to do whatever deserted old ladies do.

Now because the odds are that one day, and I hope it’s in the far distant future, I’ll shuffle off before The One Who Must Be Obeyed, I’ve started piecing together what it is they actually do.

Well, for starters, in my village, a coach, that can only be described as past its prime, Beatles-Magical-Mystery-Tour-clip-2012trundles up to a lay-by adjacent to the village hall each Tuesday, to a muted cheer from a queue comprising forty-two old ladies and one old bloke. I suppose the current status of the coach reflects the status of its passenger list.

I often wonder what the one bloke’s motivation is for joining this weekly soiree. I really hope he’s not a dealer.

Elephant ManIf it’s to find a partner, he’s not really succeeding, as there’s always quite a gap in the queue between him and the ladies.

Mind you, he does make the Elephant Man look attractive.

I did look into where the coach goes, and wasn’t surprised to learn that, usually, it ends up at an out of town shopping outlet , which subsequently does a roaring trade in beige cardigans, beige handbags and beige shoes.

Well at least they go somewhere. The few old men that still survive tend to sit on benchesthebench-1in small groups and chunter to each other about God knows what.

So, we’ve got buses full of old ladies, and their dealer, hurtling around the countryside in search of beige leather goods and we’ve got benches full of the endangered species that is old men, sitting on park benches, probably talking about the amount of beige that’s around these days. Both groups appear to me to be a bit lonely and sad.

There’s got to be a way of bringing these hapless groups together. Not on the bus or on the bench. More a joint venture involving pastures new.

It wouldn’t be breaking new ground to organise a tea dance, or even a speed-dating circle. These folk aren’t too speedy anyway. No, I think it’s time to think outside the box.

I look back at what has brought me together with females in the past. Sixty years ago, Valerie Crosby let me watch her have a pee on the way home from school. Let’s build on this. “Show me yours, Ada, and I’ll show you mine!” No, that’s not going to work.

A week or two ago, I saw a poster that proclaimed, ‘Life begins at the end of your comfort zone!’ And then it hit me. These old folk need shaking up a bit so they can start living. It’s all well and good toddling into a village hall, or strolling around a shopping mall, or sitting hunched up with your mates on a park bench. But that’s just existing.

So, I’ve fathomed out how to kill two old birds with one stone. On reflection, that’s perhaps not the best expression to use.

What the oldies, of either gender, should do is step over the edge of their comfort zone, start living again, and meet up with a like-minded potential life partner. And I know just the thing that will help them achieve this.

Zip-WireA friend of mine has just been treated to a hair-raising zip wire experience in Wales. Hair-raising in that you are hurled over hill and dale, whilst strapped in a harness, which scoots along an elevated wire at up to 90 mph.

Now, here’s the thing. Oldies tend to suffer from knee,hip and back problems. Which is why you see them shuffling around everywhere. I can feel the onset of such wear and tear myself and can sense the dreaded shuffle beginning to take shape, or rather mis-shape.

Well, on this super zip thingamajig, these knackered old body parts are given a complete rest. Your stance is horizontal, with arms held akimbo. A bit like Superman in full flight. You are actually encased in a sort of body bag, which again is good training for the future, and you fly through the air with the greatest of ease.

‘Is it a bird? Is it a plane?’ No, it’s Aggie and Horace, her new life partner, sampling the liberation of life above civilisation.

I can’t see how this can fail. So I’ll design a poster, distribute it around village halls, bus stops and park benches, and watch loneliness and beige accessories slowly disappear.

Viva les wrinklies!

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