I recently sat in an Edinburgh departure lounge, patiently awaiting a call on the airport broadcast system to welcomingly transmit that my flight to London was now boarding.
Due to the inclement Caledonian weather at the time, the Scottish aeronautical infrastructure had succumbed to the horrendous meteorological conditions that prevailed outside – therefore, delays became the ubiquitous feature throughout the entire establishment – seeing myself, along with hundreds of others, frustratingly stranded within the confines of their respective departure lounges.
With newspaper read – and my well-eared copy of, ‘Liddell Hart’s – ‘History of the Second World War’ now irrefutably and visually consumed, I opted to listen to other peoples conversations – for me, a tried and tested means of avoiding boredom – an eavesdropping practise that has successfully alleviated the tedium of irritating delays – a covert exercise that provides much silent humour, to say little of the fact that human kind never ceases to amaze.
Sitting directly opposite me in that dreary lounge, sat two blue-rinsed, antiquated ladies, the same of which I was to discover [covertly], were twin sisters, those of which had moved to the United States many years previously – and had just completed a trip down memory lane to the pastures in which they grew.
I listened intently to their dialogue, as they were now nearing the end of their sojourn to the country of our collective birth, they began to discuss the benefits of their early Scottish childhood, and – ‘How much better a world they lived in during the forties and fifties’.
As much as I yearned to interject at this specific point in the proceedings, I reluctantly refrained from doing so, hell, how often have I heard such comments from people in their dotage, those inanely claiming that their years of adolescent development were of greater value than that of the present era – quintessentially; their delightful and deserved longevity in sun-drenched Florida – as opposed to their austere Edinburgh existence of the decades in question – ‘Rose-coloured glasses’ certainly came to mind.
En-route back to London town, I deliberated on the issues raised during the conversation that I had surreptitiously invaded – then mused throughout the short flight south, that my parents would have given their respective right arm’s to experience the quality of retirement life that the vast proportion of retirees experience modern day.
The abstemious epoch of my now deceased matriarch and patriarch, is a million miles removed from the countless benefits of 21st century living – why on earth do we ever place this reality against the meagre existence of our parents?
I recall my formative years all too well – to this day I remain bitter about the body of authority that so ruled the lives of the ‘working class’ element of society – did the experience make me a better person? No, it made me a stronger individual and one who based his personal values on standards in direct opposition to the almost medieval regulations of that reprehensible age.
There exists within me a certain feel-good factor when I listen to – and indeed read of people’s startling memories, particularly those featured on the R&GL website, heartfelt recollections that are sublimely punctuated with personal trials and tribulations, joys and delights, to say nothing of the magnificent milestones so reached during full and inspiring lives.
Regretfully, a disillusioned abundance of retirees fail to grasp that they have been blessed with long existence – yet remain in a state of utter confusion as what to do with the years ahead of them. I cannot relate to this perplexing attitude – life is to be enjoyed to the fullest – and to the very end – it’s a Godly grant, not to be squandered through inexplicable negativity – one does not require a million bucks, or more, to be thankful for a time far removed the woeful prejudices and meagre existence imposed on our ancestors by myopic and ill-functioning government.
For those of us privileged enough to enjoy a long continuation, the time is now…the past is another country of which no passport access or visa are obtainable – from my humble perspective, I thank the good Lord for that – he knows only too well, that both I and my peers of early years would never swap what they have now for the inadequate realities of days long gone – the forthcoming lines shall illustrate only too well, my abhorrence of the supposed ‘better days’, all to graphically.