Dear All,

I hope this edition of our newsletter finds you in more than your fair share of good health and happiness.


Not too long ago I hit the age of 53 and although by modern day standards that is absolutely nowhere near classed as over the hill, I can feel the old body slowing down a bit, not responding to certain things as it used to.  Even though I try to keep myself in reasonable shape, more or less watching what I eat, going out for a jog around the block half a dozen times, preferring to walk up steps rather than take the escalator that runs in parallel to them: age is definitely catching up with me.  My 12 year daughter, who I’m presently not running into on a daily basis because she is currently studying at a boarding school away from Japan, recently told me via Skype, that I looked older and then she quickly followed up and told me she was joking, but what she’d said really made me feel old, as well as think about the way I looked to other people.  I would be lying if I didn’t say it dented my ego just a tad, actually more than a tad because as soon as the Skype session was over I paid a visit to the bathroom to briefly consult with my reflection and what I saw made me realise I had indeed fallen into a state of self-neglect.


A couple of days later a double blow came my way when my wife pointed out that my midriff was looking more than a bit portly, anyway, long story short I’m going to cut out my usual couple of beers I drink nightly, reduce the portions of food I eat and start exercising more seriously.  A jog around the block, plus a yard or two is all well and good, but upon returning home all sweaty and with aching limbs one should not dive straight into the fridge for a can of beer, which is generally what I do, one should go for life’s necessary libation; water, which clearly doesn’t have a label on it saying : “This is a “defeating the object” drink.


Take good care of yourselves, and until next week, I’ll leave you with a few verses of my meanderings based on getting older to read and ponder over.

The signs are clearly there 
I’m getting older and the signs are clearly there.
Less hair on my legs and a tad less length lurking in my under kegs.
What on earth has happened to what I thought I was once worth?
Standing in front of the mirror as naked as the day I was born.
Comparing what I see coming back at me with what I looked like at 33.
My hair was mostly mousy brown from forehead to crown and through to my nape.
A full head of dense, but fine hair that I used to care about how it looked.
The monthly visit to the hair salon that was usual order of the day.
These days my hair does not get tended to in the same way.
When it gets long and unmanageable I simply go and get it cut.
I’m not boxing for the heavyweight championship of the world, I’m just fighting to keep the title I’ve already got.
I’m unable to urinate in a straight and steady powerful stream.
These days I’m experiencing an increase in nocturnal emissions when I dream.
Which hasn’t happened to me since I was a late teen.
Having to let certain items of clothing out at the seam.
Favouring a spoonful of plain yoghurt on my strawberries instead of blob of rich clotted cream.
Less frequently out on the town, and never out to be seen.
No garden to sit in to turn myself a sore pinky brown.
Beginning to thin at the forehead and near to the crown.
Forever ready to dress down tradespeople that more or less make a mess of what I pay them professional wages to do.
Unable to accept it when such a tradesperson says “ I can’t do anymore, I’ve done my best.”
The only way to get a job done to anywhere near satisfaction is to get them to reflect, and the best way to do that is accuse them of giving up like the rest.
I’m not boxing for the heavyweight championship of the world, I’m just fighting to keep the title I’ve already got.
Less of a tendency to lean of someone else’s shoulder when in need of help.
Less likely to argue on points that are not fully understood, just for argument’s sake.
More likely to ask questions to help people better understand the points they feel obliged to make.
More even in temperament than a relationship based on love and respect.
Pills that I’ve now started popping to stop the old man from dropping.
From a growling angry roar to a subdued half-hearted bark and an annoying whimper in my loins.
I need to be brought back to life like vinegar cleaned rare old coins.
Highlighted silver grey hair with no more lowlights of brown.
Eyebrows that curl up when I want them to curl down and down when I want them to curl up.
Once free from being responsible for others I wouldn’t need much of an excuse to live the rest of my life out as a recluse.
I’m not boxing for the heavyweight championship of the world, I’m just fighting to keep the title I’ve already got.
I’m not as fast at running as I used to be.
Although untried for many years, I doubt I’m able to shimmy up a tree as good as I once could, if at all.
A pain in my knee regularly comes back to visit me, so if I tried I’d probably fall.
No longer able to see things up close without having something uncomfortable resting on the bridge of my nose.
One or two in-growing toe nails on both my feet.
I’d better pay a visit to the chiropodist that practices just up the street from where my office is based.
Carrying a bit of a paunch due to middle aged spread – I no longer have a thin waist.
I often look pasty, almost as white as a ghost
It’s this recurring dream I keep having about waking up dead that bothers me the most.
Skin beginning to look wrinkly and old, naturally blemished, sun stained and scared from skirmishes and altercations long since had.
Not that I was a bad lad, I just ran with a wayward lot from time to time, which eventually came out in the wash and I ended up on the right side of fine.
I’m not boxing for the heavyweight championship of the world, I’m just fighting to keep the title I’ve already got.
I’m a lot more accepting of the society in the country in which I’m living.
Way less tolerant of people that are willing to take more than the sum total of the nothing that they’ve never been used to giving.
Much more aware of the more you do for others, the more they expect and when the more you do becomes less, the less they respect.
Prairie dogs always make me laugh when they quickly appear in view erect.
Varicose veins that can now be seen on the back of my calves.
Things that are worthwhile doing should always be done to the full and never in measures that are halved.
Much the same as the necessary physical pleasures that are needed to sustain humanity and maintain our sanity.
I’m not boxing for the heavyweight championship of the world, I’m just fighting to keep the title I’ve already got.
The signs are clearly there.
They’re staring me clear on in the face.
Hemorrhoids that are given to bleeding if I happen to sit down for too long in one place.
Teeth that seem to attract plaque a lot easier than they did a few years back.
The tip of my tongue often becomes sore from exploring the possibility of loosening more of the hard
build up of pale yellow substance in advance of going to the dentist to get the job done right.
In I go and out I come, all clean, cavity clear, bright yellow white and pristine with no build up of hard bits of plaque at the sides or in between my freshly tended to teeth.
An aching back that seems to return every time I spare it a thought.
In wondering why it’s been away so long I not only invite its return and prolong its leaving me for good.
A fine suit of clothes maketh the man and a dirty unpolished pair of shoes unmaketh him.
I’m not boxing for the heavyweight championship of the world, I’m just fighting to keep the title I’ve already got.
A poem by Stephen Austwick.