I'm not a grumpy old man, just an out of synch hippy

Thursday, 12 April 2012


Wake up and smell the Sanotogen

At work today, talking to Norma. I'll tell you more about Norma and my work some other time. Right now they're extraneous to the story. No disrepect intended. Norma said she was going to Winchester for the weekend. "Winchester, " I said, "There's this great tearoom. We were there in December. It's 17th century. You've really got to go." I'd have carried on gushing, but just then my teenage self slouched into my mental vision, wearing his granny specs, his bushy hair and his bandana. He's been doing a lot of that lately.

"Tearooms," sneered MTS, "God, you've got so straight." He looked at my thinning hair and my Blue Harbour shirt and muttered "and you're so old."

I've been doing a lot of things in the last few years that would upset MTS. I try to keep them from him but don't always succeed. Like flowers. There's a lovely display of croci in the churchyard in Greenwich every February. I tell my wife all about them. She smiles, she's more tolerant than MTS, to whom flowers are beyond the pale. Totally uncool, man.

Other things I like now. Frank Sinatra. "Old, boring, not rock n roll. He sings with strings" complains MTS, "I'm really disappointed in you. Your taste in music has got utterly unhip."

And there's Antiques Roadshow. I love to see those Regency sideboards or Clarice Clift saucers and the joy on the face of the punters when they're told they're worth £63.00. I can't help it. It's what's happened to Sunday evenings when you're over 60. "Bleuchh." spits MTS. "It must be Fiona Bruce.You want to shag her, you sad old sack." "It's quite a nice thought" I reply, "But she's unavailable. And so am I" "Huh" he snorts, "You've really been taken over by bourgeois morality."

There's one thing we agree on. Whenever I see a rapper-type kid with back-to-front basball cap and baggy bum-revealing bottoms, we both think "You look pathetic". Except MTS would say so. I wonder how he ever survived long enough to become me.

Back to Norma. I stop myself mid-track. "Hang on" I say. "It wasn't Winchester. The tearoom was in Kendal. We were there in November." Four weeks and three hundred miles out. What's happened to my memory? Maybe MTS is right. I'm so old.


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