Just don't mention the A word

By David Medcalf

They are all watching me, I know that. Since the landmark birthday with the big zero at the end was celebrated, they have been keeping an eye on me, it's obvious.

Please be assured that this is not a case of one foot being in the grave. Both feet are in fine working order, though riddled with corns and re-shaped by decades of carrying my weight around the place.

There is honestly nothing doddery to report - just ask the lads in the five-a-side squad or my buddies in the hill walking group.

We don't do doddery in the Medders clan, as my Uncle Rob will proudly testify after taking up para-gliding at the age of 91.

Let it be noted that the doctor issued a clean bill of health and a large container of vitamin supplement pills only the other day.

She did not quite say 'go forth and multiply' in the best biblical style at the end of the annual check-up but she stopped not far short. The doc was evidently much impressed with my blood pressure, observing that it would do credit to a 20 year old. And the cholesterol reading was within bounds too, well within bounds for a man of my age and weight.

In short, the body - apart from the bladder, obviously, and an occasional twinge of sciatica - is in ball order.

Still without a doubt they really are watching me.

I have noticed them recently paying particular attention when those senior care adverts come on the radio. All that soothing guff about having hired hands call to make sure grandad takes his medication as prescribed. All that syrupy stuff about staff dedicated to, nay, passionate about keeping the crinklies comfortable.

I have not yet detected any nursing home brochures being delivered in the post - and I have been keeping watch. So far there has been nothing to intercept and slip into the re-cycling bin. But it occurs to me that Hermione could well be having such material delivered by email - she being a dab hand with those computers.

And the other day, young Persephone asked me to explain to her what Horlicks is, or are.

I could only conclude that they had been talking in my absence about diets appropriate for those of advanced years.

Meanwhile, Eldrick has been volunteering to assist with filling out betting slips and The Pooch's dog licence application.

I should be lending my son a hand with his homework, not the other way around. It is all very sinister.

Call me paranoid if you like but there is undoubtedly an air of conspiracy around the Manor these days and one member of the household has been excluded from the circle of conspirators. No rewards points for guessing which one.

They who are so appallingly young do not seem to appreciate that there are privileges, perks, licence and latitude due to those who attain maturity.

Privileges such as being entitled to clip toe-nails while everyone else in the sitting room is watching godawful American comedy on the television. At least I am still capable of reaching my toes. Such a display of suppleness should excite admiration rather than disgust.

Perks such as having permission to forget the names of other people's children, as well as all birthdays and anniversaries. Let others cue all those milestones on Facebook.

Licence to shamble up to the fridge, to open the door of the fridge, to take a long look inside the fridge with furrowed brow and then to shamble back to the table empty-handed to drink a mug of horribly black tea.

Latitude allowed to those of advanced years who insist on retaining in active service underwear bought during the great Dunnes Stores Y-front sale of 1993.

It is good to be the only member of the household who enjoyed an era when Beatles were top of something called the charts for years on end and when hoola-hoops were the latest thing.

I recall all of that, and Georgie Best, and 'Tolka Row', and a time when mini-skirts were shocking. If only I could also remember when the bus will be departing for Dublin this afternoon and whether my niece has just given birth to a boy or to a girl.

Wexford People

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