People ask me how I fill my time now I’m retired. I usually answer that that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to do all the things I want to do. But before they nod sagely at that cliché I add that the reason for that is half the day has gone before I get up. I love a nice lie-in, me.
I also do a great deal of Hoovering. My flat has never been cleaner. Also I stare out of the window a lot, a luxury I never had time for before I officially left the rat-race of world-wide theatre tours. And I do online surveys to earn vouchers.
Oh, said someone, commenting on the latter activity, that’s a sure sign of old age: sitting at your keyboard answering questions about shopping habits and NHS waiting times. But on the contrary, I find that nine times out of ten when I fill in my age a metaphorical klaxon sounds and the survey is terminated. They don’t want to know what a sixty eight year old retiree thinks about the latest i-phone or television on demand bundle.
It seems I’m officially old. This was underlined to me recently. An estate agent was showing some bright young couple around our up and coming neighbourhood and they were admiring my balcony with its trailing plants and smart wicker furniture. ‘Yes, an elderly gentleman lives there’ I heard him say, as I whizzed by on my sports bike, trendy Conran scarf streaming out behind me.
Elderly? Since when? Has he been eying my property, awaiting my imminent demise? Has he got some city slicker singleton lined up to move in as soon as I shuffle off this mortal coil? Okay, he may have spotted me pottering on said balcony, but I potter in fabulous Hawaiian shirts, inevitably clasping a glass of the finest Prosecco. And there’s nothing beige in my wardrobe.
On the other hand a young relative asked me the other day at what age did my hair go white? Until that moment I thought I had, at the very worst, a subtle coif of middle-aged grey. And looking round a possible venue for the up and coming Comedy Festival, of which I am an associate director, the manager, on seeing me smiling said to my colleague ‘Well, your dad seems to like it’.
Alright, I admit it. I do have a pair of trousers with an elasticated waistband. And last week I was about to go out to get in my taxi and I found I couldn’t get my mobile phone into my pocket. It took me ages to work out I had put my trousers on back to front!
And yes, I do sometimes use a walking stick, but only when my replacement knee is playing up.
Whoops! Replacement knee? That’s bit of a giveaway. Now where did I put those shoes with the Velcro fastenings?