At midnight, in ten days, I shall be 60. Curiously, I don’t care, but I must admit that I can hardly believe it. It seems like only last week that I was 30 or 40 or 50, but suddenly I am the age I once considered to be ‘old’. But I shall play it for all its worth. I shall be entitled to a ‘senior railcard’ which, for example, brings down the cheapest ticket from Exeter St Davids to London Paddington from £12 to £7.90, so I have already bought 12 tickets (six there, six back). What with petrol now costing around £1.06 a litre, the journey by car from home in St Breward to work in London, then back again, would cost £63.50. The journey from St Breward to Exeter and then to London by train then back would cost £31. That’s £32 less, or £1,664 less a year. Guess what I shall be doing.
Question: do all 60-year-olds spend their time celebrating small victories like having discovered a café where the tea is not quite as nice but you get free sugar? I rather fear they do. Shit.
I shall, of course, prepare myself for a welter of platitudes along the lines of 'you're only as old as you feel' and 'good God, man, 60? That's nothing! I'm 79 next birthday and still wipe my own arse!'
I must record, however, that ever since knocking those bloody statins on the head, I feel a lot better than I have for a long time. I have also knocked the Ramipril on the head, and feel rather as I did before my heart attack but before I started feeling exhausted which began a few months before the attack.
I know 'wisdom' dictates that I should 'listen to medical advice' and down as many bloody bills as the pharmaceutical industry can persuade them to prescribe. But I don't want to. I should like to keep my pill-popping to a minimum. I'm sure in time I shall be taking as many as Ann (my stepmother's sister who is now 80) and that my bedside cabinet will slowly transform itself into looking like a branch of Boots the Chemist, but I'll limp over that bridge when I get to it. But I can say that, the bug I had for about two weeks notwithstanding, I feel better now than I have for years. For one thing, I'm hardly drinking (after many years of polishing off at least a bottle or red wine a night on the three nights I was at home) and more or less eat a vegetarian diet, although that is more because I rather like it than for any philosophical reasons.
An interesting book was discussed on Andrew Marr's Start The Week. An Israeli historian, Shlomo Sand, has come up with the idea that the Jews weren't dispersed by the Romans after the revolt in AD70, but that the number of Jews around the world had their origins in people who had converted to Judaism. And he said that, given, of course, that there will have been quite a bit of intermingling in these past 2,000 years, the true descendants of the people who were living in Palestine, Gallili and Judea are the Palestinians. And he made the telling point: who is more entitled to the land there? The people who say they have not lived there for 2,000 years, or the people who have lived there for 1,000? I have probably rather trivialised his account, unfortunately, but what he had to say was interesting and, it must be said, not in the slightest anti-semitic.