Andrew Marvell .
" But at my back I always hear
Time's winged chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity."
Exactly how I feel, mate, after what happened to me the other morning. Time's winged chariot, in the ample shape of our postie, was snapping at my heels.
I try not to dwell too much on my advancing years and, what appears to be, the accelerating descent into the grave.
I take comfort from the smooth contours of my face. The merest hint of crow's feet at the corner of my eyes. A full head of dense grey hair adding a touch of gravitas to an otherwise amused, child like demeanour. Eyes that remain undimmed, if increasingly short sighted, look out still with the wonderment of a child.
The midriff, once so taut and tensioned, has begun to sag under the influence of Newton's inverse square law, lack of arduous exercise and a late born interest in cakes, and all things fattening. Yet, in a suitably cut jacket or suit, I cut a dashing figure.
These limbs, which so long ago carried a spare youth across field and forest at a brave canter, now more slowly shepherd me to RHS open days and National Trust tea rooms. Adventurous days spent sailing, all ship shape and Bristol fashion, have given way to calmer waters; with watering can and trowel accompanied by grunts and groans as I bend to till the soil on the allotment.
I try to keep Mark Twain's advice on ageing to the fore."Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter".
So to receive a piece of correspondence addressed to me personally extolling the virtue of owning a mobility scooter brought me up a bit sharpish I can tell you.
My immediate thought was "Why me? do I look as if I'm on my last legs, unable of putting one foot in front of the other without the aid of a zimmer frame and a care assistant?" I was immediately taken back to my days, 40 years ago, as a Care Officer in an Old People's Home. Some of those residents were younger than I am now!!
I should have just torn up the brochure and given thanks to the great geriatrician in the sky that, so far, I am spared the indignity of having to wear a high vis jacket as I hammer along the pavement at 8 mph. But I didn't I googled and discovered a new shiny world where"three or more wheels are good, two legs bad". And it was so depressing.
I suppose I've now got to look forward to further epistles from rubber under-sheet manufacturers, purveyors of nose and ear hair removers and invitations to pre book my funeral.
But enough of this morbid self pity. As the unknown writer said "Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many." How sensible, how true.