Yes, I have to drive you all mad and say it once. Maximising antiquity means getting off your butt and conquering new worlds. No slumping, very little daytime television, different things to get out of bed for. Close to my own bed, I now find Alfred, the bearded collie who sleeps beside it. He was born on August 23rd, 2020: lockdown was great for puppies. What else were we allowed to do. Statistically, I’ll pre-decease Alfred, but that only slightly dilutes the joy of my first dog.
For many, Covid was a game-changer, in my case literally from free swinging golf to Machiavellian croquet. Not that I’ve given up golf, an activity for which I have no discernible talent. Only last week an uncomfortably honest host introduced me to fellow travellers on a Solos (solosholidays.co.uk) golf trip to Belek in Turkey as ‘the worst golfer in the world’, adding a scintilla too late, ‘but the nicest person’. Wrong on both counts, but much closer on the first. Post Covid, I play as badly but without competitive stress, reserving my inconvenient desire to win for a game in which the mind rules the body to a far greater degree. (croquetengland.org.uk)
Looking further back, I’ve unearthed other activities for which I have no natural ability. As a child, I wanted to paint and sing. I couldn’t. None of today’s sentimental rubbish about anyone being able to learn if properly taught: that would have required a teacher gifted with patience and understanding. Much easier to say NFI and leave it at that. As they did.
But that was then. Now I can be a Rockie, one of 31,000 members of a nationwide choir with no auditions (rockchoir.com). And an artist (flavoursholidays.co.uk): painting holidays in Spain, Italy and Sicily, but I recommend their learn in your living room online courses for beginners first . And then there’s bridge…I wrote the Bluffer’s Guide guide so I’ve plenty to say on that. In the brave new online world, it doesn’t even involve getting off your butt.