Why won’t they allow grumpy old men to do their own thing

Country Living with Francis Farragher

While they mightn’t be any signs from God, there are by now a series of little hints or clues that the days of youth are long gone, and are of course completely irretrievable, apart from dipping back into the usual stockpile of memories.

A few weeks back, an old acquaintance told me in a casual chat, that I ‘didn’t look too bad at all’ for my years – that is apart from my ‘receding hairline’. What was given in one breath was taken back with the next!

The other day as I got up from the office chair, a sometimes dodgy left knee let a creak out as if it was an old bolt on a rusty machine crying out for a shot of grease or at least a spray of WD40.

I find that it’s often easier to give reassurance to contemporaries about being thankful for small mercies like half-decent health or the good sense of just taking one day at a time, than being able to embrace those concepts within your own head. Anyway, for better or worse here are my Top 10 reminders that the clock is just beginning to tick on a little bit quickly for comfort.

  1. An absolute dread of hangovers. Whenever I hear, or even overhear, talk of weddings, stag parties, or set-piece social events, the thought of not feeling well the following morning clicks into the mind’s eye. There was a time when such occasions would be something to look forward to with gusto and enthusiasm but now even before a sip of lager or porter crosses the lips, the hangover thought intrudes, and I say: “I ain’t as young as I used to be”.
  2. Forgetting a name or a place and losing things. Someone walks into a room or bar that you haven’t seen for a few years and you recognise the face instantly, but what the hell is this guy’s name. The only little consolation is when you ask the geezer beside you the same question and he can’t think of it either. Then there’s the missing phone, wallet, car-keys, various tools and gadgets that seem to disappear into mid-air, only to reappear mysteriously when you’re long finished looking for them.
  3. The fear of photos, mirrors and wearing shorts. There’s an easy little rule to remember when you ‘push on a bit’ namely less photographs and more clothes. The more of the body you can cover up with garments the easier it is on the eye for everyone and pictures/photos are to be avoided at all costs, as the coldness of the lens, gives a rather sullen reminder that you really are the oldest swinger in town. And please don’t mention mirrors!

Pictured: “I know you’re my friend but what’s your name?”

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