30 October 2010


Zebedee with Dougal

There was a time when I felt invulnerable. Never ill, I worked for thirty years without a single day off. My body was my obedient servant. It did what ever I commanded it to do. Lift a heavy weight - no problem. Stay awake for forty eight hours - easy! Why was I surrounded by so many weaklings - snivelling and moaning - what was wrong with them?

Once I emerged from a potentially fatal car crash. The vehicle had turned over two or three times on a bend in a Scottish country road. I was lying on the ceiling. I wound the window down or up and crawled out. Seeing the car on its roof and being in a state of adrenalin-fuelled shock, I decided to turn the car back on to its wheels so I could push it to the verge. I succeeded.

In contrast, on Friday, I found myself prostrate on my son's small bathroom floor. I was tiling some unfinished floor level boxing for pipes - around the bathroom "furniture". This meant I had to be up and down like a yo-yo but every time I got up from the floor, the effort involved was strenuous. Back in my salad days I would have been zipping around like a spring, leaping from the floor as Zebedee did in "The Magic Roundabout".

Frustratingly, since I "retired" from my last school I have had to contend with a catalogue of physical "issues" including:- urine infections, a frozen shoulder, returning gout, broken ribs, an abscess on a tooth, an e-coli infection, two hospital operations. I am well and truly peed off with this stuff and just want to get back to how it was before when I was pretty much a suburban superman. But I'm honest enough to accept that time has been catching upon me. I'm getting old and though it would be nice to think that getting old meant sitting in a rocking chair on a verandah watching the sun go down, I rather think it has much more to do with aches and pains, faculties reducing, the body starting to shut down.

Tonight, as I write these words, I'm confident that for the first time in seven or eight months my frozen left shoulder will not wake me in the early hours and I'm pleased that for the first time in a month I did not limp home with pain caused by uric crystals in the joints of the big toe on my right foot. On Thursday, I felt strong enough to finish digging over the vegetable patch - allowing frosts and winter weather to contribute to the development of a finer tilth.

So the aches and pains are at bay but I recognise they haven't gone away for good. Just round the corner there will be something else. I guess it's payback time. When you are younger you think you will last forever but it isn't so. We are only here for a short while.


  1. I'm truly sorry for your aches and pains, YP, and understand your frustration. I remember how good I used to feel, and how strong I was. I did my monthly grocery shopping today, and was worn out by the time I carried in all the bags and got things put away. Bringing home the groceries and a little yard work are about as much physical "labor" as I'm able to do, these days.

    Love it that you used "tilth" in your post. Such a lovely word!

  2. These little aches and pains do seem to be catching up with all of us once we reach a certain age don't they.....but everyday above ground is good don't you think?

  3. Oh, this post seems to link rather well with my last one, YP. I am wondering, however, if some of your aches and pains have anything to do with your tussles with those traffic wardens? Just a thought...;)

  4. yes....scary when you realise that your body is acting like an old car without petrol or oil in it....
    ah the realization of aging!!!

    been there

    worn the t shirt

  5. PAT ARK. I'm glad my post rang a bell for you. And yes - "tilth". I doubt I have ever used that word before in writing. Thank you for noticing it. I can't think of a better word to use to describe the texture of soil.
    LIBBY I think the Chilean (and one Bolivian) miners would agree with you.
    JENNY I must admit that dealing with those damned traffic wardens did take its toll. I wonder what they are doing now. I saw Terry in the pub on Wednesday night. He said the Taliban planned to transport them from Kandahar to the mountains for basic training.
    JOHN GRAY Yes. Like old cars. I feel like a Fiat Panda. Jenny's a Land Rover. What are you? I'm guessing an Escort!

  6. Mr. Pudding. Shame on you. Never thought in a million years that I would hear a whine out of you.

    Sure, the car known as your body has an engine with lots of miles, a radiator that leaks some, tires that are loosing their tread a little, and a few dents from past mistakes, and the paint is chipped and not shiny anymore.

    But the driver? Oh, my. How the driver is up and in that car every day, on a new adventure, constantly going new places, curious, learning new things, involved in his community, ready for anything and willing to go the distance with this car.

  7. I'm closing in on threescore years and ten.

    Old age ain't for sissies. (A quote from Mrs. RWP)

  8. MOUNTAIN LADY Yeah - a driver - that's a good way of looking at it. Hope I don't fall asleep at the wheel. And sorry for whining.
    RHYMES WITH ALABAMISTAN Has Miss Ellie got any other wise sayings you'd like to publicise? You could still make a million before you meet your Maker.

  9. I STILL go round thinking I'll have the energy I had when I was twenty-five - - - and I'm always surprised when I don't! Go on, moan away - it's not often that you do!

  10. a knackered old BERLINGO!


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