On reading my (younger!) sister’s blog post about turning 60

Here is the post, written a couple of years ago, by my sister (@TerryTyler4 on Twitter). http://terrytyler59.blogspot.com/2019/10/on-being-sixty.html

She’s absolutely right about all of it, and no matter how much I used to tell her how being 60 would feel, we all have to find out for ourselves, like everything else.

I remember a few years ago, my then boss got his Senior Railcard and was most disappointed when, the first time he used it, the ticket collector on the train didn’t stagger back in amazement and demand to know where he stole it from. I live in a little town where the guards on the train know the regulars, and there’s one who always indulges me by asking in a loud voice where I got this card from, whereupon I say equally loudly that I mugged an old lady for it.

I was with my sister on the trip to Hever that she mentions, and naturally I too got the Senior Discount, but I’ve got used to asking for it and nobody saying diddly squat, or even looking at me closely to check!

Occasionally I forget that I’m the age I am, and still get caught out. I remember talking to a 30-something about a subject that escapes me, and I gradually realised that they were expecting to hear my views on the subject from the perspective of someone of great age and experience. I wanted to say, ‘oh, I get it, you think I’m old! No, no, you’ve got it all wrong! If you could see how I feel in my head, I think I’m just the same age as you’.

There are some huge compensations to getting older:

  • We’ve found out, to a large extent, what clothing/hair/make-up suits us and what doesn’t
  • We’re not afraid to say, ‘no, I don’t want to do that, thank you’
  • We are very happy to go to a friend’s house, get into our comfortable trousers, and sit around watching TV all night rather than feeling somehow obliged to go out and socialise

There is a French saying that I remember hearing from our mother:

Si jeunesse savait, si vieillesse pouvait

In other words – if youth only knew, if old age only could.

My heroine (one of my heroines) the great, ineffably delightful Fran Lebowitz, says that nobody ever thinks they’re going to lose their looks until they do. When we meet old friends after a long time, we think, what happened to you? Then we realise they’re probably thinking the same about us. She remembers finding some very old photos of herself, taken for a Vogue interview, which she’d rejected because she thought she didn’t look good in them – if she were to wake up looking like that every morning now, she says, she’d be ecstatic!

So we keep on trucking – and hoping for a good tomorrow.

Cheers, all you over-60s!

Some Punctuation Marks Walked into a Bar and …

• An Oxford comma walks into a bar, where it spends the evening watching the television, getting drunk, and smoking cigars.

• A dangling participle walks into a bar. Enjoying a cocktail and chatting with the bartender, the evening passes pleasantly.

• A bar was walked into by the passive voice.

• An oxymoron walked into a bar, and the silence was deafening.

• Two quotation marks walk into a “bar.”

• A malapropism walks into a bar, looking for all intensive purposes like a wolf in cheap clothing, muttering epitaphs and casting dispersions on his magnificent other, who takes him for granite.

• Hyperbole totally rips into this insane bar and absolutely destroys everything.

• A question mark walks into a bar?

• A non sequitur walks into a bar. In a strong wind, even turkeys can fly.

• Papyrus and Comic Sans walk into a bar. The bartender says, “Get out — we don’t serve your type.”

• A mixed metaphor walks into a bar, seeing the handwriting on the wall but hoping to nip it in the bud.

• A comma splice walks into a bar, it has a drink and then leaves.

• Three intransitive verbs walk into a bar. They sit. They converse. They depart.

• A synonym strolls into a tavern.

• At the end of the day, a cliché walks into a bar — fresh as a daisy, cute as a button, and sharp as a tack.

• A run-on sentence walks into a bar it starts flirting. With a cute little sentence fragment.

• Falling slowly, softly falling, the chiasmus collapses to the bar floor.

• A figure of speech literally walks into a bar and ends up getting figuratively hammered.

• An allusion walks into a bar, despite the fact that alcohol is its Achilles heel.

• The subjunctive would have walked into a bar, had it only known.

• A misplaced modifier walks into a bar owned by a man with a glass eye named Ralph.

• The past, present, and future walked into a bar. It was tense.

• A dyslexic walks into a bra.

• A verb walks into a bar, sees a beautiful noun, and suggests they conjugate. The noun declines.

• A simile walks into a bar, as parched as a desert.

• A gerund and an infinitive walk into a bar, drinking to forget.

• A hyphenated word and a non-hyphenated word walk into a bar and the bartender nearly chokes on the irony

A Walk in the Woods to the Lake

Yesterday I went for a walk with my friend (she lives alone and is as paranoid as I am about avoiding the virus, so we reckoned it was okay to walk a couple of feet apart in the wide open spaces). We went the back way to the lake adjoining our local manor house (which you can see in the distance on the photo with the sheep). It was a very hot day and we encountered only a handful of people, all of whom kept their distance. My friend is more athletic than me (she runs an hour or so every day or walks for more than that), and after walking in the heat for about 4 hours, I was about ready to be medevac’d out of there! But it was lovely, such beautiful countryside, and I’m so happy to be able to do this. Afterwards, a takeaway pizza and a bottle of wine, looking out over the sea.

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A Walk on 25th March 2020

When I turn left out of my front door, I go to the beach, the sea, the cliff path. When I turn right, I go to the end of the road and find myself in greenery. Here’s what I saw on my walk today.

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Here is a WWII pill box, which was a guard post from which weapons could be fired. We have these all along the coast, and they were put there in case of German invasion. Now it’s all overgrown, of course.

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Another nice day – here is a huge crow. There are loads of them around Cromer, indeed the local flag has 3 crows on it.

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Hello, Horse! He lives on the land belonging to Cromer Hall, as you can see, which is the seat of the local landed gentry.

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Here is Cromer Hall. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stayed here, and heard the local legend of the huge, ghostly black dog that is said to roam the local coastline. It was the inspiration for his Hound of the Baskervilles. Oscar Wilde also stayed in Cromer and it was where he wrote ‘A Woman of No Importance’.

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A Walk on 23rd March 2020

Today I went for what my sister and I call ‘the Virginia Woolf walk’, i.e. to the lighthouse! It was a lovely day, and people are keeping away from others, as you can see. I was very glad to get outside. To slightly misquote the hymn, ‘where every prospect pleases, and only man is vile’.

And now back to ‘a room of one’s own’!

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