I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Naughty Nineties ahead

Old age defects are well-known. The benefits less so. Purely personal.

FOOD Reduced tendency to stuff myself. Sweet things, deliberately designed to tempt (especially via chocolate), are a turn-off.

DRINK Satisfactory inexpensive red wine doesn't exist;  spend more, buy indulgence

SEX APPEAL In middle age you worry enough to get your eyebrows trimmed; at 70-plus you know there's no point.

Aged (approx.) seven, about to fall asleep at my Grannie's, I had a terrible vision: crowds walking past my grave not caring I was dead or had even existed. Now I tell myself: "Stand not upon the order of your going." (Macbeth).

FRIENDSHIP For good, pragmatic reasons I drop acquaintances. For equally understandable reasons others (including bloggers) drop me. Painful but it eliminates ambiguity.

EMOTIONS Now more intense, more physical. Triggered by music, acts of heroism and affection from which sentimentality has been extirpated, and faces of people who are getting on with things doggedly.

HUW EDWARDS TV news reader. As I get older, so does he. The BBC may be phasing him out from News At Ten.

TV The desire to check if well-known programmes (Downton, Dr Who, Midwives, Mrs Brown) have merit - never strong - becomes ever weaker.

CURIOSITY Increasing re. cooking, technology, moral dilemmas, the plastic arts, obscure sport and religious procedures.

SNOBBISM Used judiciously can bring rewards.


Ring out ye Crystal spheres,
Once bless our human ears,
(If ye have power to touch our senses so)
And let your silver chime
Move in melodious time

I see Christmas-tree ornaments from Harrods, costing a fortune. And hear, otherwise inaudible, accompaniment by church bells. Simple, but simplicity’s usually difficult.



  1. I am intrigued - what are the 'plastic arts'? Do they involve Plasticine or sticky back plastic? Maybe rocket ships made out of Fairy Liquid bottles?

  2. I thought the nudge sounded celestial...found the passage in context and confirmed my hunch. I'm 60 and I've been done with TV shows for a while now, excepting a notion to watch a bunch of "Old Creatures Great and Small" episodes. I am put off that Netflix expects me to sort through TV series that are intermingled with their movie selections.

  3. Blonde Two: The quickest, simplest but not necessarily most accurate definition is art modes that are visible. Thus painting and sculpture are in, but music isn't. Neither is literature even though the concept of invisible literature is hard to swallow. If I expand on my inevitably compressed list I might well say I've become much more interested in painting, both from a historical and technical point of view (it plays a big part in my current novel, Second Hand).

    MikeM: I hesitate to sound like a concerned parent or a Dutch Uncle but age sixty in my experience has the potential to be the peak of your life. Most sports except boxing are still possible, you should - assuming you've not debauched yourself - still look presentable at social events, the curves measuring intellectual experience and intellectual capacity are running closely parallel, and extrovert tendencies (assuming they've previously existed) will not have turned in on themselves. In a sentence: you'll probably still be curious about what's going on and still have the wherewithal to satisfy that curiosity.

    As to movies/TV shows being thrown into the same mixing bowl I'd say: blame HBO. They were the ones who started producing TV series that measured up (almost) to the best the larger screen could offer. We have just finished watching The Wire for the second time - this time via boxed set. The characterisation and, in particular, the dialogue writing still charm the pants off me. In the UK there's been another source of satisfying TV series and that's Scandinavia. You and I have talked about the US having problems with sub-titles and that's a shame: The Killing, Borgen, and The Bridge, as originals, all met the highest standards of entertainment.

    What surprised me about Milton was its lightness. It isn't a quality he's famed for.

  4. So alarmed am I at your admission that sugar repels, I can read no further. I do so hope this affliction doesn't visit me.

  5. Well, I certainly won't shake a stick at this list. Most of the points ring a bell with me. Substitute ale for red wine and recognize that I've never trimmed my eyebrows and can still be lured in by dark chocolate, and the list resonates.

    That's Milton? What a surprise!

  6. Stella: I thought you were, sort of, addicted. Would you prefer to stay that way? Or perhaps switch to mutton pies?

    RW (zS): I trust you are now straightened out on "shake a stick at". As I said this list is entirely personal. I'm not making recommendations. For most of them you're far too young.

  7. Would VR mind if I joined you two to watch The Wire for a third time?

  8. Ellena: Say in about three years' time. Presently we're in a state of Wired over-kill.

  9. If Huw were a woman he'd be long gone. 'Plastic arts' maybe indicates you've absorbed more of your French than you reckon. Nothing ages a man more unattractively than harshly trimmed eyebrows, IMO; the hairdresser got at Tom's once before he was able to stop her and I was outraged. Interesting cooking is of more interest, often it seems to go the other way. How do you feel about Wolf Hall? Agree about the emotion; pathos moves me scarcely at all now, unless it makes me angry, stoicism much more.

  10. Lucy: I mean he's no great shakes as a man. Without bringing up Fiona Bruce again all of the women handle the language better; would you say he specialised in cumbersome naiveté?

    I'm pleased that we share this thing about heightened emotions. I thought I was alone in this and it didn't seem to go with getting older. You're right about stoicism, there's a lot of it about in the war zones, often practised by kids.

    Wolf Hall is the exception. Rylance is ripping the guts out of minimalism - a contradiction in terms of course but it's amazing what he can do simply by tightening and slackening his lips.