Coronavirus and Silver pleasures
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we drift towards our dotage - or, in my case, anecdotage - we of the Silver
generation are discovering all manner of ways in which to enjoy life. Ways that
simply never occurred to us in earlier years.
from the obvious freedom to have long and gossipy lunches, join general or ‘special
interest’ societies, re-organise one’s stamp collection, or finally get round
to clearing out the garden shed (about which more in a moment), time on our
hands can end up being time well spent.
of my female neighbours have joined what used to be called a ‘Keep Fit’ class,
but which nowadays has a fancy title with ‘Aerobics’ in it. They say the most daunting bit is being
bossed around by a girl who is young enough to be their granddaughter.
thoughts have been prompted by the realisation that I have myself discovered a
completely unforeseen pleasure. Shouting at the television.
happens because, at the end of the day both the BBC News Channel and Sky News
bring in ‘experts’ to review what is in the following morning’s newspapers.
from one particularly useless character from, I think, The Guardian, the BBC’s
lot are reasonably tolerable. However, Sky News seems to have discovered a
platoon of loonies, and it is they who provide me with most of my shouting
they are spouting nonsense about Coronavirus which, according to them, is the
Black Death on steroids. And by ‘them’, I fear I am referring in particular to
a couple of ladies who are immensely well educated but, at the same time,
immensely stupid. It is a combination I encountered many times during the
course of my working life, and one that is more common among men. But, though I
realise this makes me appear misogynistic, my present bêtes noir are these two ladies.
do not deny that Coronavirus requires our attention, and that measures must be
taken to combat it, and mitigate its effects. I am also very well aware that it
is a particular threat to older people who already bear the burden of
age-related health conditions.
are advised by people, who know what they are talking about, to take simple, sensible
precautions, and told, in detail, what those precautions are.
I presume we have enough
common sense to avoid putting ourselves at risk. What we don’t need
are hysterical commentators for whom ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ is nothing
more than a slogan on a souvenir tea towel.
However, I fear their
hysteria could be encouraged by the ‘rolling’ news channels which need to
keep a story on the boil to justify the expense of sending reporters to the
latest hot spot where they can present information we already
have been given by their colleagues in the studio.
But all that televisual
flummery diverts attention from the real impact of Coronavirus.
I have tremendous sympathy
for those who work in the travel industry, for they are facing a huge
financial crisis, as people defer their planned holidays, or choose a
domestic rather than a foreign destination.
Carole and I are in that
situation, having decided that a few days in the May sunshine of Greece or
Italy will now have to be a few days in the May sunshine of Gloucestershire,
Hampshire, or Devon (or wherever).
Others are not so
cautious. On my way home from the newsagent’s stall this morning I met a
neighbour who told me he and his wife are about to go on a skiing holiday in
Andorra. When I broached the subject of Coronavirus, he beamed
with delight. “Two week’s quarantine in
a five-star hotel at somebody else’s expense,” he said. “Bring
it on, mate.”
We do, indeed, live in
But, if over half a
century of involvement in travel and the travel trade has taught me anything, it
is that the travel trade is immensely resilient. Crises far worse than
Coronavirus have had their effect – their devastating effect,
sometimes – but the folk who create holidays and the folk who sell them are
used to picking themselves up, dusting themselves off, and starting all over
again. (Now, where have I heard that before?)
The travel trade, and we
Silver travellers, will eventually get back on an even keel and it will be
business – and pleasure – as usual. By which time, of course, those
annoying television ‘pundits’ will have moved on to a different subject. And
I shall continue to shout at them.
At the top of this article,
I mentioned the pleasure one can derive from the simple task of
clearing out a cluttered garden shed. It so happens that is exactly
what I am doing at the moment, in a shed which hasn’t been properly
sorted out in decades.
I am taking my time over
it – for time is not a problem – and finding unexpected treasures. One
of them was a bottle of 1978 Vintage Port which had, thankfully,
been stored on its side so the cork had not dried out.
It has been very carefully
uncorked, and, very slowly, poured into a decanter. There it will
rest for a week or two before being sampled. It looks and smells perfect.
I hope it turns out to be
another of those unforeseen and unexpected pleasures.
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