When I was younger I used to think that anyone over the age of 25 was as old as the hills, shouldn't dance at parties, wear short skirts, or kiss in public.
Well, I reached 25, and shifted the goal posts. 35 was now the 'past it' post.
Got to 35. Still in short skirts, kissing in public, dancing at parties. Right, I thought, 45 is really the time to grow up. Wear twin sets and tweed.
Got to 45. Still in short skirts, albeit, slightly longer, kissing in public, dancing at parties. Giggle at fart jokes.
Now what?? I see that at whatever age I reach, I'll change the goal post, alter the sell-by-date, and carry on regardless.
My mother is 78. She hasn't a twin set to her name and has never worn tweed. She does this totally hysterical 'disco' dance, taking the mickey out of herself, which makes me wet my pants I laugh so hard.
She has a friend who rings her up pretending to be a cross librarian. Mum will get her back by pretending to be the local butcher. 'Mrs Matthews?' she'll shout in local accent. 'Where d'yer want yoor cow?'
Mum was a Samaritan until recently when she felt that the night duty was getting a bit much for her. This was not because of the night duty itself, but the fact that it ends at about 7am and it was a rather nasty walk alone in a rough part of town to get to her car.
Not long ago Mum had large piece of cancer cut out of her leg. She had to sit for a week with leg up. It hurt like bloody hell because it was on the bony part of the shin. This is a regular occurence. Mum just puts up with it and is thrilled when she doesn't have to go to doctor.
'Heaven today. No doctor, no visitors. Just us.'
She and my father have people queuing up to visit them. She literally has to say to people, 'I'm so sorry, we can't have you this week as we're full' as if she was a B&B.
This past week they have been fishing on the Tweed. (the nearest to tweed my mother will go).
Let me remind you that my mother is 78. My father is 81. They are staying in a 'hut' (its lovely, darling, and has the dearest gas fire) with two others.
Each day they go to the river and fish All Day. It is Freezing. They come back, make supper, eat it, and go to bed. And do the same thing the next day. And the next. And the next.
Well, my mother caught a salmon. It was Eleven Pounds. That is the weight of a Huge Newborn Baby. She heaved this thing out of the river. For 40 minutes. Landed it. Then carefully put it back in again.
I just love my parents. They make me look forward to growing up. At their age they could just as well be taking it easy, arm chairs and warm fire. The odd foray to the shop. Sudoku. Little walks. Grandchildren sitting at their feet.
But no, they are heaving monstrous sized fish out of icy rivers and sleeping in the equivalent of a garden shed.
Their next holiday is skiing. Austria. They have been every year since the early fifties. My dad puts his skis on, points them downhill, and bloody goes for it. I have a job keeping up.
My mother dons woollies and winter boots and does what she feels like for a week. After 40 years of not really enjoying skiing, she has stopped doing it. And just has the nice part of the holiday. Hot chocolates, and steamy cups of gluewein.
You'll be glad to hear that they gave up sailing in the Outer Hebrides a couple of years ago. Dad felt that it might be a good idea. They did a little trip to St Kilda, and that was that.
So now its just the fishing and the skiing. Oh, and the odd walking holiday. In the Lakes. Balanced with home, cosy fires and sudoku. And 18 grandchildren.
I'm going to be like that. I hope.
Because, as George Burns said,
'You can't help getting older, but you don't have to get old.'
Too bloody right.