Postcard from Herefordshire

As greyhares, we like to celebrate getting older and to embrace the experience. However, we have received a postcard from a friend in Herefordshire, proposing an alternative approach. Our correspondent is too young to have any direct knowledge of the subject (her friends comment that she seems to get younger every year) and we can only suppose that the following is her mother’s advice, handed down:

Never get into an organ recital (as the Duchess of Devonshire has it) comparing which latest part of the anatomy has ground to a halt or dropped off. When anything does go, ignore it. Introduce diversions: “Oh, a hockey accident,” for ingrown toenails that you can no longer reach; “Sailing… bloody boom,” for that tell-tale scratch on head, required of every person beyond a certain age. Never admit to tiredness or lethargy. Midsomer Murders in the afternoon is forbidden; anything other than jogging or yoga at 8am, unacceptable. Always be seen with the younger set and make sure they don’t call you ’Aunt’ or hold your arm protectively when you cross the road. Never baulk at the price of drinks or mention pounds, shillings and pence. Try to drive yourself rather than be chauffeured. Make sure you can always fasten your own seat belt – having someone pull the thing around you is a sign of the end. Always remember how to open your petrol cap and which fluid to put in the tank. Be superior in garages on MOT days and make it plain that the newer car’s at home. Look accusingly at the speaker when you can’t hear them and start a far more interesting conversation. Never let your ear hair grow lower than your ear lobe. Be familiar with anything starting with an ‘i-‘ (pod, pad, phone) and own one if possible. No need to know how it works. Don’t call anyone ‘Young man’ or let anyone call you ‘Dear’, especially in the surgery. Do not resort to Velcro fastened shoes. Always wear sexy underwear. If you can make people aware of it, well done!


Alison Martin (c. 39) is a musician who divides her time between playing commitments in London and her retreat in Herefordshire. She says that as she gets older she is not becoming more like her mother. However, she is in possession of all her hair and in its original shade.

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