SO, WE’RE OLDER THAN MOST
Well, we wouldn’t be Probeans if we weren’t, would we? Retired to a man, no longer wanted in the office or board room, past it and glad not to have to catch the 7.56 train to Town in the morning; just a little longer in bed listening to the cars dashing down the hill, even hearing the children being walked up to school if we are feeling really lazy.
Lay back and enjoy the knowledge that we belong to the luckiest generation of all time, with the last war in which we just might have been asked to risk our lives sixty years ago in Korea and that would only have affected a small percentage even of the Services. The alternative? A steady job in a rising economic climate, even if we were giving up running a quarter of humanity through the Empire and, if not a steady job we enjoyed, then there was always the certainty of finding one closer to our wishes.
We live longer with passing good health and even if that gets wobbly we have advances in medicine that would have astonished our parents and that available at little or no cost through the NHS. We bought our houses at a fiftieth of what it would cost today, or sold them to downsize and still have money left over.
So where’s the catch? There must be one and indeed there is one cming up: making the retiring age later than 65 (or even 50, if you were a Civil Servant). Why? Because there are too many of us and too few of the next generation and that because we are living longer than the country can afford to pay us our pensions for anything up to 35 years after fifty years earning them. But even this catch has a good side: business is being encouraged to continue our employment, possibly on a part-time basis but well paid in offices designed to suit the slightly wobbly so that our experience can be used, so increasing our pensions when we are allowed to retire. Too good to be true? Perhaps, but watch it happen.
This month the Newsletter seems to be becoming a special ‘travel’ edition, seeing that the back page deals with Africa and our speaker last month, Glenda Law, told us about the Everglades in Florida. Glenda told us she was ‘self-taught’ and has travelled extensively in her life. One thing she has indeed learned and that is to speak loudly and clearly, a relief for those of us with failing ears.
The Everglades are to be found right at the south of the peninsula that forms most of Florida State and is a large area of what was the flood plane of a large river, now canalised, so it is really a very large swamp with bushes and trees, often not native but brought in by gardeners over the years and now growing wild; the most notable growths are three different types of Mangrove bush, one with aerial roots growing out of water, its seeds growing land out of the water. Cocoanut trees and palm trees everywhere, growing surrounded by Bahama grass (which your Editor used to have forming the lawns round his house in Nigeria: it grows slowly and is never tall, saving the gardener a lot of work and staying good to look at).
What of the animal life of the Everglades? One thinks of crocodiles, but they are not there, being replaced by alligators which are just as dangerous to handle, hiding themselves by looking like logs. Snakes everywhere, but only one in three is poisonous, especially the water moccasin. The King Crab goes back 100 million years and is the size of a dinner plate; other more normal crabs, turtles and lizards are everywhere, as are birds.
Sounds dreadfully boring and flat, even though it contains what is proudly proclaimed to be Florida’s highest mountain, some three feet high.
Today: ‘From ship to shore’: Peter Jones of the National Trust.
November 1st: John Hyde tells us about Jigsaws
December 6th: The welcome visit of Rev Malcolm Newman marking
the arrival of the Christmas Festival.
January 3rd: John Chisholm tells us about Piers and Promenades.
February 7th:Titanic: David Brown’s back is better since June and he will be giving us his story now.
We wish Roger Davis all the best as he is recovering in hospital from an operation on a hip. He expects to be bed-bound for a few days afterwards.
Alan Horwell has recovered after having a stent inserted in an artery and we welcome him back to normal life.
Dudley Coates is out of hospital after a month of having ulcers on his feet and other problems cured. He will be at home for a good while under the care of his wife and official carers. We wish him a speedy recovery from a painful time.
Ken Carter says he is much better after his accident and hopes to be with us today.
Phil Munson tells us he has had yet another fall on steps, this time in Malcesine on Lake Garda. Just one step this time, though it could have been all of the 150 available and the mar le floor was exceeding hard.
The excellent hospital had no other patients queuing, unlike Mayday. He hopes his knee will be better by now, but reminds us it is worth getting a NHS green card before going abroad; he can claim back £140. He also teaches us that the right Italian word for ‘ice cream’ is Gelatoria, not, as he thought, ‘genatilla’, which might have been misunderstood.
Jim Mulvey tells us that the weekend break on the Gloucestershire and Sharpness canal in April next year is fully booked, but that far ahead it might be worth asking him to put you on a waiting list.
Our annual Ladies’ Lunch is in two weeks’ time on October 18th – in just two weeks’ time – at the Coulsdon Manor hotel. It is always an excellent occasion, pretty ladies everywhere and a jolly good lunch menu as well. Tell Jim if you haven’t already booked.
Dennis Evans reminds us of his General Knowledge Quiz night on November 15th. Be at the Old Coulsdon Centre, if your memory hasn’t started to fail (Your Editor’s excuse for failure to remember things…).
Do you read and use our Tradesmen’s List? Just about every kind of help you may need is listed by local chaps (I think they are all men, but there’s no law against the lasses). If you know of others that are reliable but not on the list, tell Jim Mulvey and they can be added.