Thursday, November 27, 2008

I couldn't have put it better myself.

We must heed the sage advice of our elders
Old age is not what it used to be. We once sent people corny cards featuring pipes and slippers, and presented them with carriage clocks when they reached 65, so that they could count out their "declining years" a minute at a time.
Today, in the words of Andre Maurois: "Growing old is a bad habit which a busy man has no time to form." And while some seem to be born middle-aged, others die young well into their nineties.
As if to make us feel guilty about sneaking off to the golf course, a group of the world's most celebrated senior citizens took it into their grey heads to spend their weekend attempting to solve the political impasses of the world.
Can the Global Elders succeed where everyone else has failed (or not even tried)?
The idea was born from a conversation in 1999 between entrepreneur Richard Branson and singer songwriter Peter Gabriel. If the world is becoming a "global village", they reasoned, then it requires "global elders", a group of wise old heads who will do the equivalent of sitting at the crossroads in the shade of an old tree and resolving feuds. It was partly a response to the perceived absence of calm voices in modern international disputes.
In 2001, the idea was put to Nelson Mandela, the "eminence gris" best placed to pull it off. He loved it and by the time Global Elders was launched on his 89th birthday in 2007, a dozen names had been pencilled in. Five were Nobel prize-winners, including retired Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former Irish President Mary Robinson.
The launch was accompanied by much high-flown rhetoric. In what sounded like a deliberate parody of the prayer of St Francis of Assisi, Mandela spoke of the need to "support courage where there is fear, foster agreement where there is conflict and inspire hope where there is despair". Seemingly intractable problems would be tackled "stone by stone". During their twice-yearly meetings, a symbolic empty chair is always reserved for Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi.
It's easy to mock the idea. One newspaper leading article compared the elders to the Travelling Wilburys, the 1980s band assembled by Bob Dylan, George Harrison and Roy Orbison by way of self-veneration, then suggested it could become "a makework scheme for ex-leaders who cannot let go". In truth, unlike its members, this body is too young to face judgment but does have a lot going for it. Because members give up their time for nothing, it has a certain moral authority. Unlike the UN, its members do not represent any particular country or institution. Rather, they are freelance diplomats with nothing to lose and unparalleled contacts books. They can pick up the phone to anyone. And, as Mary Robinson puts it, they can "amplify the voices of those who are trying to raise issues of concern that are not being listened to". They can also work quietly behind the scenes.

"Old age, especially an honoured old age, has such great authority that it is of more value than all the pleasures of youth," said the Roman orator Cicero.
In classical antiquity, the retired were so revered that society operated on the basis of "seniores priores". The elderly were seen not as "wrinklies" but priceless assets, always afforded the front seats at the councils of state.

Compare that with modern British politics, where Menzies Campbell was hounded from leadership of the Liberal Democrats after being shamelessly lampooned as a doddering old fool and Vince Cable, his fellow sixty-something, excluded himself from the running to replace him on account of his age, despite being perhaps the liveliest voice in the Commons. No wonder. We live in a society where the overwhelming majority do not consider "elder abuse" to be a serious issue and most are more concerned about cruelty to animals. We honour our 82-year-old monarch, while 3.5 million elderly people live alone, many in poverty and loneliness.

If there's a lesson to be learned from the cheery, upbeat, jet-setting Global Elders, it is that this is a resource that we waste at our peril.
Or as the French moralist Joseph Joubert put it: "Life is a country that the old have seen and lived in. Those who have yet to travel through it can only learn the way from them."

And so say all of us old "wrinklies"

Monday, November 24, 2008

It's obviously a Woman thing !

It seems to be a thing women do ...To be more precise, it seems like Ann & Joycie are past masters of this art form !
First it was Ann, falling over carrying the new baby in her arms ,, somewhere up Sauchiehall St. some 7-years ago .. in the process of saving the new born we'an from being splattered on the sidewalk she broke an ankle ,, and severely damaged her leg, bum, upper arm and face ... the wean was completely unhurt ,, well saved Granny !
This took many many weeks to heal ,,, the ankle was indeed broken but worse perhaps was the tearing of the surrounding ligaments & tendons .,,.Ouch !
From memory it was some 12-14 weeks later before she was fit again for work.
Then there was Joyce ,, Steve, being Steve, was patiently awaiting her return from a shopping excursion in Lanzarote, to meet him in the local bar where he was busy cooling down and reading the cricket scores ! The pub door opened in a somewhat dramatic fashion ,, she fell ,, tumbling headlong INTO the bar ! and guess what ,, Yep , broken ankle ! Steve did so well on that occasion .,., dived to try and save her and never spilled a drop of his drink !!
This one took the best part of a year to fully recover ! What are they like ?

Not long after that the daughter walks out her back door with a cheesecake under her arm and promptly falls on her arse but not before ripping the ankle ligaments to hell ,,, result : - a foot the size of two with a colour display to rival the Aroraborialis ! Weeks off work ,,,

So really, what were we to expect this Thursday past ,, Steve & me, doing our thing on the golf course all morning while the girls started their Xmas shopping in town ,,, Naturally the girls being THE GIRLS ,, they would have had their LUNCH as they say in Edinburgh ! ,,, and we all know what lunch means when it's Ann & Joycie ,..,
They said it was just the one bottle of wine ,, hic :0)

However, alighting from the train at Patterton Station NM, it's Ann's turn again ,,, she says it was a guttering on the platform walkway ! ,,, ( now who ever heard of a gutter that wasn't on a roof ? ) ,,, arse over tit she went, down with a clatter she went, over on the ankle once again ,,,

Fortunately Steve had gone down to pick them up from the station ,,, he & Joyce carried her home to me between them ,,, "damaged goods" I said they'd brought me back when she hobbled in the back door ,,,,, they dumped her on the couch and kinda slunk off ,,, ankle swelling as we watched it ,,, Oh, ouch again ,,
It's now a few days later and PHEW ,,, it's well on the mend ,,, only slightly bruised, black, blue and purple ,, but I take the credit for the quick recovery this time round ,, for wasn't it me who rushed to the bar and gave her a large whisky ,, and wasn't it me who suggested the spray of Deep Heat ,,, and it was definitely me who poured the next whisky(s) ,,, well I was traumatised too ! Anyway, whoever suggested the cure, I am heaving a huge sigh of relief .,,.
she's definitely fit enough again to do her own XMAS SHOPPING !

Friday, November 21, 2008

Very Choosy Crooks in Crookfur !

We have a daft postman ,.,. he's always been daft ,,, we've had words in the past !
He constantly walks all over our beautifully manicured garden lawn ,.,.
ok, the grass in front of the hoose ! ... to save him walking up & down the path .,., Lazy B .,.,
He's now taken to dumping stuff ( deliveries that don't fit the letterbox ) at the front door when no one is in !! This does two things ,,,
1) it lets the local thieves know the house is unoccupied ,,, and
2) it lets the same crooks lift what is left on the doorstep ! ,.,.,.
Oh and 3) it makes me very ANGRY !
I have now spoken to the local sorting office manager .,,. Glad to report this leaving of goods at the door is NOT Post Office Policy ,, just daft postman policy !
I have very politely advised said manager that if it happens again I will take HIM to Court.
He gulped loudly and said he'd have a word (again) with the errant postie .,,.
I suggested maybe they hire a higher caste monkey in future ,,,,
This morning I have a large notice on my front door inviting the Postie to stop for a chat !!
"We need to talk about your droppings, son !"
The beloved has been waiting on some Pill deliveries .,,. the health stuff we take daily ,, cod liver oil capsules, Glucosamine, etc ,,,
Last night a guy out walking his dog some 500 yards up the road re-delivered some of postie's droppings to us ,,, they'd been thrown into a nearby garden and his dog found them !! However, some were missing !! Perhaps the ones the local crooks/ drug dealers felt they could sell on ??
So now I wait ,,, curtains drawn wide open ,.,. Postie is a comin' ,,,
And we need to talk ,,, wonder if his name is KEVIN ???

Monday, November 17, 2008

Denmark in the Fall

Just spent a very pleasant, long-weekend in Arhus, Denmark with little Anna's other Granny & Grampa, ( Grosmutter & Grosvater ) Brita & Peter, Thomas' mum & dad.
Little Anna & her mum Phyl came too ! ,,, as did my other ( better ? ) half.
Phyl drove us through to Embra at a fairly early hour ( well it was for my beloved ! )
Ryanair already had a 40-minute delay posted on the board before we got to the airport.
We had a coffee and a bun .,., possibly the most expensive coffee/bun combo in the Western world ? Or maybe I just don't travel enough these days ?
Anyway, we got on board the 737 jet just about dead on the 40-minute delay mark ,, certainly no chance of taking off "on (revised) time" unless it was a new vertical take off version !
The pilot did the next best thing however ,.., we taxied to the end of the runway, turned at speed and whoosh ,, we were off .,., up, up and away ,,,
There was obviously a tail wind pushing us along ,,, for there we were, 1-hour 15-minutes later, down and out in Billund, Denmark ! ,.,. Unbelievably on time ! I mean ON TIME ,, we had even
picked up the original 40-minute delay too !! Well done Ryanair !
Phyl picked up the hire car and drove us to Brita & Peter's place in the country, some 10-miles or so out of Arhus, a beautiful and quaint little country church with an enormous old Manse. Must be 16-rooms ?,, possibly even more I didn't see !
Wow, what a place to grow up and call home ,,, Thomas was indeed a lucky boy ,,, as was his sister Miriam.
However, sadly Brita is now retiring and must leave the big house she has called home for almost 40-years ,.., what a wrench this will be ,.,. both her & Peter are typical academics ( like their son and his love ) and consequently have accumulated books upon books upon books on top of all the furniture and general "stuff" needed to fill such a house ,.,,, which now needs to move into a small flat in town ! I don't envy them that task !
Phyl drove us into town for a look at old Arhus ,, a sea-side town with a large harbour /port with lots of ships coming & going ,, not unlike what old Glasgow used to be.
We had a nice traditional Danish lunch in a little pub .,,. really lovely ,,, and were fed like Kings & Queens at every meal in the Manse ,,,,, I let myself down just the once, putting a little topping of Camembert cheese onto my (so sweet) Danish pastry, just to take the edge off it's sweetness, honest !
Phyl drove us back to the airport and home from Embra, paid all the airfares, car hire, petrol, etc, etc, so a very relaxing time for us ,,, although I did suffer some ,, from what turned out to be tonsillitis, and a raging cold with a bad chest infection ,,,,
Now I guess I'd better get some cash from the bank and pay for our Danish weekend break ?

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Santa Lives !

I forgot my shaver when we went away for a few days holiday recently with the family !
Honestly, I did ,, a genuine forgetful "senior moment."
We were staying with my son so I figured I'd simply borrow his ,,, guess what ?
Hahaha, yep, he forgot his too ,,,, Now he doesn't have the "senior moment" card to play so you might be right to think some kind of conspiracy was actually afoot ,,, :¬)
The daughter's bidey-in DID have his but hell, it was a wet shave old fashioned razor thing with which I could easily have cut my throat ,, and he was a good 10-minute walk away ,,!!
So the son & I decided .,., right there and then, on the spur as they say ,,
It's getting close to Xmas and the Credit Crunch is beginning to bite so we might need a wee part time job with Santa come mid Dec.?
Anyway I've now had this face ( the one my other half says " you're not bringing that into my bed I trust !" ) for about a month or so ,,, no trimming, no shaping, no tidy up work at all ,, just me, au natural !
And I've been doing a kind of snap poll .,.,.,
Most of my MEN friends think it looks good ,, or it's ok ,,, or I suit it ,,
Funnily enough however, even without my wife's prompting, most of my WOMEN friends think it's not so good,,, just not me, when am I shaving it off again ,, it makes me older ,,,
So, I think I need to conduct a wider poll !!
Any comments please, on a post card or here ,,,
What's YOUR verdict ?