Be happy, energetic, grateful – and very careful.

FORMER BBC journalist Tom Mangold, who is 82, writes in The Times on Monday about how he is now working harder than ever.

“I simply do not feel old,” he says. “I cannot conceive not cycling ten miles every day or walking the dog another mile, then settling down to another ten-hour day.”

Mr Mangold is rightly proud of his busy and fulfilling life beyond the moment of actuarial death three years ago. He is also still fiercely angry about the “young twerps” who got rid of him from Panorama when he was 70.

“Nothing personal, old boy” he says they told him: “it was worse than personal,” he rages. “It was ageist.”

I applaud him – with one caveat. “It (the statistical moment when he should have been dead) didn’t happen when I was sitting in some old people’s home in Sutton, half watching daytime television, mouth agape,” he writes.

When my parents were the age that he is now, they were both fantastically hale and hearty too. It didn’t stop them ending their days in a care home, their bodies (and in my mother’s case, her mind) finally betraying them.

So carry on the good work, Tom, but be careful about how you invite Fate to intervene.

People would benefit from seeing this film

I WENT (alone) to see I, Daniel Blake – Ken Loach’s film about a man recovering from a heart attack, who is caught up in the Government’s medical assessment system for claiming an allowance for ill-health.

His doctors tell him he cannot return to work. The anonymous assessors rule that he is fit for employment. Daniel is stuck in the middle.

I am not a huge fan of Loach’s films. They are a bit too preachy and morally simplistic for my taste. But there is no denying that this is a powerful argument about the way the state can crush the individual.


I’ll wear red and be proud

FOR my trip to the cinema, I wore a pair of red trousers for the first time. They say it’s one of the rites of passage into a more ‘mature’ period of your life. But I remember I used to wear a pair just like them when I was a teenager. Everything, as they say, comes full circle.

Don’t blame us

OLDER people used to be held up as bastions of democracy because they tend to vote in elections. Now, after the Brexit result in the UK’s referendum on the European Union, and Donald Trump’s victory in the USA’s presidential election, they are suddenly the betrayers of democracy because they vote differently to young people.

It is unfair, and in any case it is untrue.

Include me out

AN invitation has arrived to the opening of an exhibition at a local art gallery. The accompanying letter from the couple who own the gallery says they are nearing retirement age, and want to sell the business.

I raise a tentative eyebrow in the general direction, across the marmalade jar, of The Current Mrs Feeney. “No,” she says, with quiet determination.


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