Tuesday 5 January 2010
A Voyage Round My Mother
And so that was Christmas..........and here we are, 2010. Is that twenty ten or two thousand and ten? If we're going to say twenty twelve what about twenty eleven? Because that really doesn't sound right. And does it really matter?
Anyway, all I said was; 'you should have asked me' and the next thing I knew my mother was packing. My mother wants to go to India, Tamal Nadu to be exact, Ooty to be precise, to visit the orphanage she and my step-father supported. She last went to India after my father died and now, unfortunately, she has been widowed again, and wants to go back. Do we see a pattern forming? Anyway, she didn't have anyone to go with and I have been, several times, before. So all I said was............and now it's 'are we there yet' ..... every day. So it looks like we're heading south for February and there are far worse places to spend February, personally my least favourite month, but first there are jabs and visas and tickets to sort out, maps to peruse and calls to be made, but she remains undaunted.
I am not the only one planning to escape the winter blues though, if my yoga group is anything to go by, and travel is certainly not the prerogative of the young. At the post-Christmas yoga lunch the 68 year old was discussing her up-coming trip to Egypt, another 60something is off to Thailand next week and the one in her late 50s is going to Australia and New Zealand for a month. It was only the 94 year old who was staying put, declaring that she was no longer allowed to fly on planes..........but anyway, she really didn't care and was far too busy planning her 95th birthday celebrations. It turned out she met her husband in Ooty and if it wasn't for the fact that she's rather deaf (her only visible ailment) I would liked to have learnt more, perhaps when we're not sitting across a crowded table. Being mindful of the snow falling outside, and with things still to do that day, none of us drank alcohol except the 94 year old who puts her youthful good health down to walking holidays, yoga, red wine and champagne when she can get it. Inspiring doesn't seem a big enough word for these wonderful women.
It would appear that old people are definitely on the move and the rise of the silver backpacker is on the up. Ten years ago I spent three months with my then 9 year old son travelling on the cheap in Thailand and India. We met only two other couples with kids and at 39 (the son would proudly announce it to anyone who would listen) I was head and shoulders above the average age of any bar, cafe or beach we happened upon, apart from the few leather-skinned old German 'freaks' with their sun bleached hair or the odd toothless English man with an Om earring and an empty chillum. Now, you can't move for buggies on the beach, balding blokes with middle-age spreads and octogenarians giving their arthritis a break from the wet weather back home. Every one's SKIing (Spending the Kids' Inheritance) and why not? As Joan, 72, said to me: "I can live like a Queen in Goa on my pension"........
Top tip: To feel constantly young and vital, join something for which you are the youngest member.