Growing Old Disgracefully, Chico, and Wearing Purple

We are off to my mum's for a few days soon, if she can fit us in that is!  There were points in my twenties when I was living at home in between bouts of overseas teaching, where my mum had a more active social life than me!!  And I shan't mention that on more than one occasion my brother has put her to bed rather worse for wear.  Disgraceful!!

Of course, age is very different now to 50 or even 30 years ago.  In my memory my grandparents were always 'old' when in actual fact they were only about 10 years older than I am now when I was born!  Like most people nowadays I have no intention of being 'old' until I'm at least 102, and my mum is a great example of this.  She continued working in the classroom until she was nearly 70; at 73 she still has an active social life; and she has done more travelling in recent years than in the decades before.

Our childhood holidays in the '70s and '80s were to various points of the UK mainly, with occasional ferry journeys to relatives in Holland, and to points in Germany, France and Belgium.  But as air travel became more accessible, Mummy and I ventured first to Switzerland (so beautiful in June), and continued holidaying together throughout Europe.  When I first had a 'proper' job with a ridiculous salary (headhunting, ghastly, lasted a couple of years but enjoyed the perks!), I was able to take her to Egypt, a longheld dream of hers.

Later, when I lived in Moscow she came to visit me, twice, and on the second visit braved the ice, snow, train bunk beds and dodgy youth hostel in St Petersburg with amazing good humour.  Since then, Mummy has travelled to Italy, America a few times with my aunt, Spain, even Ibiza (skinny dipping, hanging out with Chico before he was famous, don't ask)!!  I don't think my mum will be curtailing her travels, any time soon, although I'm kind of hoping Ibiza and Chico don't feature too much in future though...

It certainly looks like growing old disgracefully is the way to go.  And to be perfectly honest, that ain't a bad example to follow!

My aunt, Mummy's sister, always threatened to follow the Jenny Joseph poem line by line, looks like those sisters are doing it for themselves:


When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit.


  1. That's my poem , as I have no intention of slowing down . I am 55 in my first year of a masters in Psychotherapy, I am building my own Adoption support business and will become a gran in June . Life is for grabbing and living . good on your mum .Getting old I a privilege many Dont get .

  2. Great post. I am a stay at home dad, and my folks are retired. Can I get to see them these days, can I f....

  3. Oh your mum makes me green with envy such adventures! I'm 55 and hope when I retire I'll still have the energy and mobility to live it up a bit and definitely wear purple!!


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