I visit a number of old people on a regular basis, one in a carehome surrounded by others even older than her. It’s a salutary reminder of a common destiny, unless death strikes us first, and each visit reminds me to enjoy everything I can before the walls eventually close in.
How can you sit watching soaps (and I confess this is a temptation I find hard to resist) when one day, that is all you will be able to do—whether you want to or not. In many carehomes the TV dominates the room and is perpetually on.
For me the message is simple, enjoy life; push yourself because you can and avoid the ‘easy’ which is akin to the pap you may eventually eat. This is what motivates me, not so much a fear of the future—you can’t do anything about that—but a fear of wasting the now.
I have a few pictures to illustrate the point and what I think of when talking to the very old. They are the same people you see in the photos and, though it may look like it, they are not wasting time.
A Coronation Party
Umm, my favourite pastime. Once. I reckon I could still do it. If no one was watching.
I had a fine collection of gas masks and helmets. They mysteriously disappeared.
The May Procession - a rural tradition that remained powerful in Liverpool streets. The girls dressed as slum debutantes, the boys as cowboys and pirates with blackened cork moustaches and beards.
Before there were gyms
The wonderful Guy Fawkes bonfire. Wood collection would begin in October each pile jealously guarded from rival gangs and rival streets. (Liverpool Cathedral in background)
The noble art of conkers