We are only as old as we feel, they say. Even Her Maj said as much, when she turned down an invitation to be one of the “Oldies of the Year” on the basis that she didn’t feel she qualified for the honour
as she still felt young. Well said, Your Maj - all we who are of a Great Age but Young at Heart salute you!
I was pondering on all this, and wondering what
constitutes an “oldie” when I received a message from Jason, from the company booked in to remove our flood-damaged stair lift this morning. In his message he introduced himself as “the lad who is removing your stair lift” explaining
he was running a bit behind time but would definitely be with us as planned. How old was he, I wondered, that he considered himself “a lad.” I couldn’t wait to find out.
To be fair, my dear Mum was known for her charming custom of calling everybody either “lass” or “lad” no matter how old they were. Family folklore has it that when I was born she exclaimed: “At last I
have my lassie!” Obviously I was too young, being a babe in arms, to be able to verify this but both my brothers (who were there at the time) can bear witness to the fact. It is just unfortunate that, as a result, I went by the name of Lassie for a good
few years - at precisely the time when the films starring Lassie the dog were in their hey-day. Imagine how you would feel if you had been called Rover and you will get the idea.
It was a trifle annoying to hear that Jason the Lad was running late as I had purposely set my alarm early so that I could be up, showered, dressed and breakfasted before he was due at 8 a.m. Still, looking on the bright side, I was
wide-awake and raring to go by the time I would normally have been rolling out of bed, bleary-eyed. On days like this I wonder why I don’t get up early every day, allowing myself more hours in the day to enjoy all life has to throw at me. Then by early
evening I am hankering for my bed, worn out by all life has thrown at me…
My Little Sister recently sent me a sweet gift - a wooden plaque with the inscription:
“I am not an early bird, or a night owl but some sort of permanently exhausted pigeon.” She knows me only too well.
Jason the Lad and I exchanged a
few further messages during which I explained that I would be out between 10 and 10.30 as I had to trot down to the GP surgery for a routine injection, during which time nobody would be able to open the door to him. Eventually he telephoned to say that he
had re-arranged his morning so that he could be with me by 9. He didn’t sound at all, well, laddish on the phone.
I would be the first to admit that I am
not too good at guessing the age of people. Mr B is forever asking me how old I think this TV news reader or that weather forecaster could be - I am only able to answer with the help of my Best Friend Google. On bus journeys I sometimes play a solitary game
of “Guess the Decade”, eyeing up all my fellow passengers in order to sort them into their Twenties, Thirties, Forties, Fifties, Sixties, Seventies or Eighties. It’s a good fun game and I can thoroughly recommend it if you need to while away
the time on a long journey by bus or train. It’s on a par with that other favourite game of mine, in which you study fellow diners grouped around tables in restaurants and try to work out the relationships between them all. It helps to be of a Nosy Nature,
Anyway, Jason the Lad turned out to be at least 45 by my, admittedly not necessarily accurate, estimate. He was, however, unfailingly polite, helpful
and hard-working, even going the extra mile by pointing out that the back tyre on my Grand Old Lady (nobody would call her a lass) was somewhat flat and advising me to pump it up before venturing out.
If he wants to call himself a lad, then that’s okay with me. My dear mum would certainly have addressed him so and Her Maj would probably also have approved.
Her Maj and my mum - could there even be a higher authority when it comes to ageless-ness?