It's official! The title of Most Over Active Pensioner has been awarded to - 68 year old Phillip Howells. You thought it might be me, now didn't you?
Mr Howells, however,
has completed 168 Marathons (and we are not talking chocolate bars here) and is apparently determined to complete something called an Ironman Challenge before he hits the Grand Old Age of 70. I can only bow before such an excellent example of Over Activity.
It does slip into my mind that it is somewhat strange that a man who walks everywhere should win a competition sponsored by Senior Rail Card which is all about train travel but I let the thought slip out again, just as quickly as it slipped in because I don't
want to be accused of Sour Grapes.
Most people reckon I am inclined to be over active but I certainly can't compete with Mr Howells or, indeed, any of the other finalists who include 69 year old Gerry who
has sailed across the Atlantic and plans to do likewise around the British Isles; Linda, who has climbed Sydney Harbour Bridge (why?); triathlete Karrie who has plans to cycle 1000 miles in 19 days; and keen trekker Jane who enjoys climbing in the Himalayas.
What an example to us all!
No, to be honest, I am not planning to even attempt to emulate these amazing retirees because, as everyone knows, I have (i) absolutely no head for heights; (ii) an unfortunate tendency
towards sea-sickness; and (iii) an inclination to wobble dangerously on anything with two wheels. I do like to think, however, that it is possible to be over active rather less strenuously, much more pleasurably and, above all, with far less pain.
For a start, how about a busy afternoon making pirates out of wooden spoons, bits of cardboard, and "precious jewels" with the Little Welsh Boys? This required exquisite attention to detail, the ability to react swiftly
enough to head off any danger of felt tip pens marking the newly acquired coffee table, and preferably three pairs of hands - one pair to hold a wooden spoon steady while cloak, eye patch, dagger and parrot are attached, another pair to rummage in The Making
Box for the left-handed scissors, and a third pair to stop the Duracell Bunny winding up the Pritt Stick to its fullest extent thus risking the whole gluey column toppling onto the floor and under his feet. Fortunately I was well in touch with my Inner Pirate,
having spent the morning playing Walk the Plank with the Duracell Bunny while his brothers were at school.
As far as swimming is concerned, well the Over Active Ones should try bath-time with the Rampaging
Rascal. Mostly this consists of acting as target practice while the Champion Thrower hurls at me, in turn, the three yellow ducks, the blue dolphin, the pink octopus, the yellow starfish and the creature from Octonauts whose name I have forgotten but whose
spots change colour when it gets wet. It's when he starts on the sponges that I have to start leaping about trying to catch them before they drop, wetly, on the bathroom floor. I think it's fair to say that the Rascal and I get along swimmingly.
I am always available to "help" with homework or test examinees before their next Ordeal. Sorry, exam. I spend ages slaving over the knitting needles to produce characters of woolly charm. Postman Pat? Delivered. Bob
the Builder? Constructed. Frosty the Snowman? Built. Father and Mrs Christmas? Presented with much love and many kisses.
Even away from grand-parenting duties, I am Activity Personified. Nobody takes the Pulse
bus into town quite so often as I do. Nobody else frequents local restaurants, cafés and other such establishments to meet friends for lunch or coffee and a chat as regularly as I do. Nobody else, I feel sure, spends so much time on the telephone to
This is what retirement is all about and, while heaping congratulations upon Mr Howells and his amazing record of marathons (he plans to complete 333 before he hangs up his running
shoes. No, I don't know why he picked on that number, it's not exactly round, is it?) I would like to hear a cheer raised for all the other Over Active Pensioners (OAP stands for "Old And Proud" according to grand-daughter, Katie) who reckon that it's not
all about swimming, running, climbing bridges or scuba diving.
Retirement - it's not a sprint, it's a marathon...