Wednesday, 27 April 2011

People I’m in awe of:

At the foot of my garden I can hear Tony’s shovel slice the earth and a soft thud as he turns over the mud and another clod falls into place. He does a little patch each day and his vegetable plot is growing. It’s quite a large area and almost ready for planting. Tony is a tiny man, a super-fit Octogenarian, it would seem indelicate to ask for a specific age, but somewhere around his mid-eighties! He’s a darling man too, as each summer he calls at my door and brings me fresh runner beans, which are absolutely delicious when served dripping with lashing of hot melted butter!

The previous tenants of Tony’s bungalow were Connie and Doris and these two dear old spinster ladies were lovely and rather special. I would be in my house doing something random when I would hear the whoosh of gasoline igniting the bonfire. I would race to the back fence and remain quite silent and still as I held my breath and watched terrified as Connie, a fraction unsteady on her pins would poke this raging inferno of a bonfire with a long stick! Guiding errant pieces of rubbish into the path of the all consuming flames. How she kept her balance will always remain a mystery to me. She never fell forwards although I would be ever ready to spring into action and leap over that fence. Thank goodness it was only a three foot six high barrier!

And years ago our village would suffer frequent and inconvenient power outages until they fixed the problem on the grid. When the lights went off, I would grab my torch and run down the street to visit Connie and Doris (I had a house key). I would find them on their Zimmer frames or worse (outdoor walker-wheels) wearing nighties, carrying naked lit candles! These darling women were from a different era and in their eighties and they had survived and seen so much danger in their lives but they never saw their own danger. I miss them still, they were such colourful characters, because they got up to no good when ever they could. Like the day Doris wandered off because the front door was left open… when Connie was in hospital having a hip replacement. It was never dull…

And then there’s my mother. Her energy knows no limits. She’s in her mid-seventies and I’m constantly faced by her indomitable spirit, which can frequently leave my heart racing. Last December during the unusual heavy snowfall she rang to tell me she had cleared the greenhouse of snow! I was appalled. The glass house is neatly tucked away, hidden from view at the bottom of her large garden and the roads were impassable. At seventy-five she’d been up a ladder, against a rickety, beyond its sell by date, glasshouse wiping off the snow with her broom! I know I can not stop her but I fear the consequences of her actions should they go wrong.

There is something about this older generation that leaves me wondering if I will be as spirited in my septuagenarian years? (Thankfully, a rather long way off yet!) I’m rather used to being attached to a computer, not doing mad cap activities that involve ladders & bonfires… but then I do have a rather over active imagination so who knows what’s possible… in the years to come!

So who do you admire?

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