Who are you calling old?

TODAY the postman delivered an official-looking communication. It arrived in one of those envelopes that says “Government stuff” at a glance.

Sure enough. It was from the Department for Work and Pensions, confirming that from December 25 I will be receiving a weekly State Pension.

That’s very pleasant, of course. It’s nice to know the Government appreciates all I’ve done in 40-odd years of employment (some of them very odd indeed) to keep the country’s finances in rude health.  Payback time, so to speak.

Just a nagging thought. When I was still editing newspapers, I would from time to time take the news desk to task for insisting on describing anybody over 65 as an “old age pensioner.” I’d point out that many of these “old” people were buying motor bikes, backpacking around the globe, and running ten marathons in as many days.

Now, I suppose, I’m about to join these ranks of the official old.

Meanwhile, those of you who have been paying attention will be aware that Retired Bloke is fond of a retirement project (also known as hare-brained schemes). There’s the one to drink a pint of beer from every county in the United Kingdom (Fancy A Pint?), or the one to sample wine made from every grape variety in viniculture (The Wine List), or – in a sober interlude – the one to read a crime novel set in each country in the world (Kindle World Tour of Crime).

Just in case I found myself with an idle moment, I’ve come up with another. Photographing Gower. Idiot.

In case you don’t know it, the Gower peninsula is a 70 square mile promontory jutting into the Bristol Channel immediately west of Swansea. In 1956, it became the first place in Britain to be designated an Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The landscape includes hills, valleys, beaches, cliffs, commons, woodland, marshes and caves. It is home to castles, medieval churches, Iron Age forts, and prehistoric standing stones.

To sum up, it is a rich and varied place of wonder. But just how rich, I didn’t really appreciate until I sat down and did a mental run-through of Gower’s bays.

Starting on the edge of the city and working anti-clockwise, we have Bracelet, Langland, Caswell, Brandy Cove, Pwll Du, Pobbles, Pennard Burrows, Three Cliffs, Tor, Nicholaston Burrows, Oxwich, Port Eynon, Horton, Mewslade, Fall, Rhossili, Llangennith, Blue Pool Corner, Burry Holms, Broughton, Llanrhidian Sands, and Whiteford Burrows.

Ye Gods! And don’t get me started on the castles and churches!

The suspicion grows that, of all the hare-brained schemes that a Retired Bloke is prone to, this one may prove the real humdinger. Oh well, it will keep me busy in my “old age.”

Meanwhile, by way of a taster, here is a small gallery of Gower to be going on with.

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