Whimpering into the Night

Whimpering into the night

Old age isn’t for wimps. Oh yes it is. Who else would put up with it? And it creeps up. First it’s the odd citizen who offers offers me a seat on the tube. Then hip pains mean I cut down on the running and increase the swimming. Then on a trek in the Himalaya the heart gives up and I spend ten days on a pony. From now on I will know all about the third flight of stairs.Then there is the prostate cancer.  A month of treatment  a cure.A life time of pills. Suddenly  the talk is not of Arsenal,the World Cup or politics but of blood tests, cholesterol and whether to go private.

Life  doesn’t get more exciting. There are more layers  of hell to descend. In the twenty houses at the  end of our road there are at least six people whose poor health means they are rarely if ever seen. I am living on Death Row.

And so onto the next instalment, the next indicator that I am trudging  to the border from which there is no return.

Last week I went for my last swim of the year in the Serpentine. Dull and grey but what  a man’s gotta do, a man’s gotta do.No Kuwaiti navy, no Saudi submarines on show. Instead I was sharing the 100 metre  fresh water Lido with three amazons in their wet suits and googles. Big girls, hearty  ladies, churning through the dark water. Whatever turns you on.

But for me, just my Bondi Icebreakers  speedos. The water is 15C. Not freezing but by no means warm. After a couple of lengths I notice that the life guard is shadowing me. As I crawl along so he walks on the bank. At first I thought what a coincidence, he is probably a bit bored and walking up and down just to stay awake. No he is tracking me. I wave. He waves back.

Its too cold to do a1k so after 600metres I get out. I ask were you worried about me drowning?  No, No,its just we had a bad case of hyperthermia on Monday, a man about your age came out of the water and just passed out. We are  a bit on edge.

A man about my age. I’m dying in a mask of youth,Help me.

Well don’t worry. I’m OK,and this is my last  outdoor swim of the year. See you next year. As I change I notice my hands are blue.

Another milestone passed on the way to that final swim across Styx. At least they don’t have life guards there, or maybe health and safety will have got to Hades by the time I make that final dip.


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6 Responses to Whimpering into the Night

  1. David of Bedchester. says:

    Let’s hope you have money for Charon as you make that final swim on your journey to Hades along the River Styx

  2. itwonthurt says:

    Will my Freedom Pass work there?

  3. Perhaps I don’t look my age, because my Polish cleaner said to me, “My mother, she sick, she very old, she 65 years old.”

  4. Wim Denslagen says:

    I am your age and do not agree with your views on this ugly matter. In the first place, do not complain because you knew beforehand and in the second place enjoy the things you can do and despise the things you cannot do anymore. Laugh the attacks on your body in the face. That was point three and very important, because it reduces suffering. Swimming in water of 15 degrees is absurd for all ages, bye the way.

    Wim Denslagen

  5. duncan willetts says:

    Get a wet suit Like the ladies do..Stay afloat stay warm and stay in the swim of older age!!

  6. Gary Rees says:

    Time to “enjoy” some conversation with a few fellow realists at a “Death Cafe”
    The next one in your area– ?just down the street?!– is 14th. Sept. from 7 to 9pm at
    Bill’s Cafe
    146 Putney High St
    SW15 1RR

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