Ten years ago, we had a lovely family holiday in America. We flew into Boston and picked up a hire car which I drove up to New Hampshire. After tootling around New England for a few days, we headed across Massachussetts westwards to Albany and Niagara Falls. Next it was on past the shores of Lake Erie to the suburbs of Youngstown, Ohio where we stayed with my old camp counselling "buddy", Chris and his family. Then onwards to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania before driving into New York City in a Friday evening thunderstorm. How the rain gushed down! Three nights in The Big Apple then back to Merry Olde England. Smashing. The kids loved it. Shirley loved it. I loved it. I think we are all Americophiles.
I could fill in the details of that trip - add some colour. Watching "42nd Street" - actually on 42nd Street, visiting Boston's main hospital after Ian had a worrying allergic reaction to an insect bite, singing every verse of "On Ilkley Moor Bah Tat" in a remote Ohio steakhouse and bar to the delight of the assembled customers, simply laughing with Chris and his family, drinking "Schlitz", visiting Cleveland's Rock n Roll Hall of Fame etc. but what I mainly want to say is all of this happened ten years ago just before my fiftieth birthday.
It seems like yesterday. I can remember so many details. But it was ten years ago.
My father died at sixty five, my brother Paul at sixty two. Even though I am approaching my sixtieth birthday, I feel as fit as a fiddle, gallivanting about South East Asia - but how much time have I got left? I have rarely contemplated my death but when I have, I have never been able to see myself dying like my mother or Nana Morris - in my mid-eighties in a residential home for the elderly. No, not that way.
Having just looked back ten years, can I realistically look forward ten further years? Another decade? Exactly the same span of time. That would bring me to 2023. But will I get there? Will I ever reach my seventieth birthday? Somehow I doubt it. Death will probably come to find me before then. But if fortune gives me ten more years, I guess I need to start thinking even more urgently about how I will use those years. I don't want to squander the time, I want to live it. These precious ten years ahead will pass all too quickly as the past ten years have proven and only then will this random blogging cease my friends. Only then will this Yorkshire pudding be totally digested. Till then I'll keep on keeping on.