Well after an action-packed horrific return posting on creatures attacking my manhood, this is an altogether more reflective piece about getting old. Sigh.
Everyone who knows me knows I’m a strong personality but just occasionally thoughts about one’s own mortality seep through my tough veneer. And this week was a lulu, hmm. First up Monday morning’s post-breakfast routine was interrupted by no less than 5 emergency vehicles charging down our little dead end lane. I’d assumed they were heading to the Care Home at the near-end of the Lane to deal with some ‘issues’. I popped out 15 mins later to get to the shops and needed to pass the emergency vehicles. I spoke to a neighbour opposite where the ambulances were parked. It seems that the old chap who lives in the tiny cottage down the road hadn’t opened the door to the builder who’d turned up to continue the work on the renovation work he’d been doing for a few weeks. His aged client hadn’t answered the door so, concerned, he put his ladder up to the bedroom window to see the old chap laying unconscious. He called the emergency services and as they were arriving, and whilst talking to the guy I was now talking to, he collapsed himself. He died shortly afterwards from a massive heart attack. The old man in the house was rescued but it turns out he’d had a huge brain haemorrhage and is unlikely to survive. Isn’t that just the saddest thing?
Then we learned that former Labour Cabinet minister Tessa Jowell had died. I met her a few times during the bid for the Olympics, and whilst I’m not a big fan of politicians, I very much liked her for her determination to get the then Government to back the Bid, which at the time was far from certain. When the Bid was secured we were out in Singapore as part of the very influential BT support team. I’ve written about that night before; it was probably the wildest party I’ve ever experienced – losing a brand new jacket, camera, some glasses and a mobile phone and quite a lot of dignity in the process. But the memory of me standing at some bar trying to buy some drinks whilst Government Minister Tessa was excitedly kissing me and Ken Livingstone, stood either side of her (and it has to be admitted any other person in touching distance) was touchingly recalled. There were some very very happy people at that event that night.
Then the news came out that Dennis Nilson had died in gaol aged 72. He was one of the 20th century’s most brutal serial murderers having killed and deposed of at least 12 young men’s bodies at his home in Cranwell Gardens, Muswell Hill in the 1970’s. At the time, though we didn’t know it then of course, we lived right around the corner less than 75 yards away in a flat on Muswell Hill Rd. Neighbours….everybody needs good neighbours. Weird eh.
Then this morning I learned of the death of Ray Wilson, the super England left full back in the World Cup winning team of 1966. I thought he was a terrific player especially as I played in that position during most of my football career. He wasn’t quite a hero because nobody, not even Sir Bobby Charlton, could take that esteem away from Bobby Moore – surely the greatest captain of all time.
But the point is these are all people who were close to me in some way (and just to make clear, Dennis Nilson was only close in the geographic sense) and they are now gone. Oh lawd. You know what that means don’t you? I’m drawing closer to the Reaper. Bloody grim. I don’t think about it too much but you know in the calendar of life I’m turning over the page for November or, heaven forbid, December perhaps. Getting old. It’s totally rubbish.