Late Life Crisis - September 2018

Right at the beginning of September, teenage kids eke out INSET days, hanging aroud street corners and clogging up daytime public transport, and the thought invariably crosses my mind: "When on earth are they going to go back to school?!"


Standing waiting for a bus, I examined the two-wheeler parked nearby. It would be termed a moped, but it is not like any moped I remember. Essentially it is a motorbike, with wheels maybe a tad smaller, and some casing for style effect. 

My moped of decades ago was different. It might be cruel to call it a bicycle with a motor, but it was pretty well that. 

On the flat, or going downhill, it could zip along, but going up required some serious supplemental pedalling to avoid puttering down to walking pace. Equally, starting off needed physical exertion, or else the 0 to 25mph could take as long as most people would need to make a cup of tea.

Today's powerful moped appears designed for a variety of tasks, including takeaway deliveries and (with the assistance of a pillion passenger) stealing mobile phones from unsuspecting pedestrians. 

I have also noted the machines being used for hit and run thieving attacks on upmarket jewellery stores. Here the carrying of a weighty pickaxe or sledgehammer appears not to diminish materially the performance of the vehicle. My moped would have had difficulty mounting the pavement, let alone effecting a speedy getaway. I guess that this is what we call progress.


On a family holiday to Florida some years back, I had the chance to test out the skills of a chap in a theme park who claimed that he could tell your age to within a year either way.

Suffering under the conceit that I looked younger than my age, I thought that I was on to a winner. 

Not so. The performer asked me to take off my sunglasses, and he then examined my eyes. He also looked at my hands, palms down. He then assessed my age to the year.

This came to mind when I was looking at a Saturday "Times" Magazine. On the front cover was Rod Stewart, seated in a room...and wearing sunglasses. Could it be an aversion to studio lights? Or could it be that beneath the spiky hair was the face of another old rocker sporting the recently-exhumed look favoured by members of the Rolling Stones? 

The eyes have it, as John Bercow might not have said.

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