Getting old

Yesterday I spent a lively afternoon on SFN,chatting with other members,and at the end of the discussion i was dismayed thinking that i am not on the same wave l’enthousiasme as the younger members.of course my priorités are different but apparently not accepted,which i find really a shame as originally we are all foreigners,young or old.

Norman, I have been similar most of my life. Not as early as you, 0530 was my time. Now it tends to be closer to 0700 but that is partly the medication that forces that. I am on book six at present, probably my last big piece of work but articles and papers/chapters for edited books will continue. I now probably have a glass of red or a nip of malt once a month because of the pills. I actually get loads of exercise and my diet is changed, four kilos have vanished. I have a credit for 10 fiction books open plus $700 with OUP for books in lieu of payment (only $350 if money), buy CDs and download music like crazy really, still have places I wish to visit but not working this round.

Because I have my two young daughters who want me to stay well and alive, I am motivated to see them grow up as best I can. However, having lived a genuinely full life I have no dread whatsoever of the long sleep to follow and in its way welcome the thought. Until that time I shall remain active. As long as my near (once was really) photographic memory can absorb and analyse what I can still learn then that is what I shall do. When I lose that, then I hope I can gracefully take my leave. In the meantime. yes probably the disco still :-D


Carol, we all have days like that - coming up to my 74th next March, and like others avoiding mirrors as much as possible. I was diagnosed with Diabetes 2 also when I was 70, (hopefully this is all yours is?). I thought that was the end of days, but in fact it did make me do something I should have done years ago, which was to lose weight, I was just over 100kg., and change diet. I spent a year taking the pills, did all the bits as required (although I cheated on the wine a bit).

Now I have settled on 82kg or thereabouts, following a drop to 75kg which was too much and made me feel very uncomfortable in myself. I stopped taking the pills after the first year, have annual blood tests, and fingers crossed have settled the problem, although they say you never really get rid of it.

I am now largely vegetarian - 95%, but will allow myself a meat meal when out of the house as I don't want to carry a burden with me everywhere I go. I exercise by walking, probably not as much as demanded. I also keep the little grey cells occupied by writing my Fact books (25th title just completed), so feel a new era has begun?

Doesn't stop the little aches and niggles, the stiffness in the mornings, and the rheumatics and arthritis on damp days, nor changes how fast the clocks run and the days pass.

I think being a little sad more often as you realise the days literally are getting shorter in every sense, but then I think of all the books I have still to read, the music, I haven't listened to, the paintings I still haven't done, and I still then get up at 4.00am to get stuck into each day.

Life isn't perfect, but then again who said it was supposed to be? So while we are stuck with it, we might as well try to make the best of it, wouldn't you agree?

Well said, as usual, Celeste!

If you can't stand the heat Barbara quittez la cuisine.

If the Krays were working class rebels Barbara then my grandfather was the Pope.They were nasty, queer and rough. Or as Quentin Crisp put it there's only one thing worse than a rough queer and that's a queer rough. The way you talk the Rachmans were social landlords!

Carole I am not sure what you are talking about.

Let us leave it here....

NOW now children.

Play fair.

Who bullied you? You were doing the same to people then as you are now. I did not find it good, said it then as I am saying it now. Yes, it is putting them in boxes. What you did with Carol yesterday and day before was the same as with Grahame now. If it is light hearted then I am very sorry I just don't get the joke. If the Krays were some kind of joke, I am a Spanish flea circus trainer.

Anyway I have to go back to the treacle mine right now, Mr Tate and Mr Lyle wont give me my 7/6d for the night shift otherwise.

What has class got to do with it anyway? I thought we were talking about age... & was going to make some sort of light-hearted comment but I'll just hirple away muttering to myself like an old madwoman instead (and btw I'm not being mad-womanist here, I look just like the 1st mrs Rochester today as it was jolly windy when I took the bins down to the village & I can't find my hairbrush).


I don't think they were working class rebels Barbara! Hardly Robin Hood.

Anyway, best be off, got to get t'daughter t'bus stoop so that she can get off t'bright lights and better heself with sum fancy book learnin. Will leave James t' walk whippet and put tea on.


Brian stop getting angry with me.

My conversation on here is fairly lighted hearted and there was a question related to

your dancing ability.

Perhaps my questions way be 'WHACKY' b ut they are not cruel.

Asking questions is not putting people in boxes.

I will just move off of bullied me last year.

Yes you are an academic and you have done so much to develop your mind.

Not so great that you have health problems.

But stop being a bully.



a) In my teens in the 1960s, through to at least 30 if not a bit more, I was a fanatical dancer. In my 40s and 50s (to impress a person I fancied) I went to a ballet class, only man of course... I have done various kinds of folk dancing to, plus once won a jiving contest in the early 1990s. I did dances of one kind or another until I broke my shoulder but it hurts doing some now. So Barbara, careful about assumptions.

b) I certainly grew up on a council estate above a tube station on a busy, noisy main road. Neighbours were black, Asian, WW2 refugees who stayed (Poles, Jews, etc). We had a traveller 'compund' as part of the estate. My father was a manual worker, albeit a self-employed builder. I just did very well passing exams and went on from there. My sister is still cleaning other people's houses. What is my class? Am I posh because I went to one of the world's top universities (usually number two after Harvard, in case you are interested) and have mixed with famous folk over the years?

c) I have worked in developing countries for my whole career. In Peru I 'commuted' back and forth between a rural community from which people migrated to the cities to earn a living because the Andes are pretty barren and they found it better to live in so-called 'shanty towns' (pueblos jovenes in Peru). I always lived in those urban squatter communities. After a few years of what I was principally doing I became interested in street children and have lived out on the streets with them. Since then I have done a lot of work with working children, displaced and trafficked children and always spent as much time as possible on 'the street' in their communities wherever in the world. Tell me about poverty, if you have the faintest what it means.

d) What kind of whacky question is that you asked Grahame? What does it have to do with the topic? So, you clearly lived near the Krays, so what?

In future, before you put people in boxes of your own creation, please think about what you are doing and how offensive assumptions about people might be.

OK you probably are working class Grahame and you moved on towards the middle

classes and into a place with an inside loo and able to work out that adults create a

mass of complications which included refrigeration and central heating.

The Krays were products of my region and if you knew them it was not such a

great idea but they were working class rebels.

just wondered.

No actually I do not see Brian as a dancer...

Am I right Brian?

No one has admitted that they were ever working class....

Because I think that all your facts and figures are related to your books

and media....

There have always been poor people......but maybe now you have met them

face to face.

What sort of chilhood did you have Graham.....did you live near the Krays too?

I doubt it.

I am a 'pensioner' now, I have daughters of 10 and 12 and, obviously, a younger OH. My health is dodgy, my mind got a bit dull but apart from some holes in my memory is becoming as sharp as a knife again. Oh yes, to step back, I have a 42 year old son with children of his own...

Where do I belong? One foot in the grave or down the disco? Errrrr....

You read and learn about life with great accademic skills but you were not

living there in the reality.

I have to say that nothing has changed .....really.

There will always be people who move from REALITY as you know

it and become part of a world filled with adventure....

Michael Cain, Terrance Stamp....possibly.

From nowhere there grows an inner strength much braver than knowledge.

It is called experience and understanding and it can achieved.