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Helen Mead: The 'one foot in the grave' list
3:07pm Monday 9th December 2013 in Helen Mead
Forget wrinkles and grey hair - a liking for sprouts could be a sign of ageing.
As a child, in common with millions of other youngsters, I tried to avoid the vegetable at all costs. I would ask myself who in their right mind wants to eat soggy balls of mush, tasting of cardboard?
Forty years on and I can’t get enough of them. I love sprouts, in fact I ate a plateful last night, with a bit of liver and onion. “It’s a sign of growing old,” my friend told me, “The older you get, the more you like sprouts.”
Interestingly, that’s not the only unconventional sign of ageing in my life that people have commented upon. "How old ARE you? my teenage daughter asked when I offered her a boiled sweet from my car's glove compartment. I haven't gone so far as cushions on the back shelf, but I'm considering it.
My choice of television viewing is also on my children's 'one foot in the grave' list: Countryfile, Michael Portillo's railway journeys, Gardener's World and anything to do with antiques. Like my daughters, I used to hate these sorts of TV programme. Like them, I would huff and puff when my parents chose them. But now I enjoy them, and I can't pinpoint when I made that switch - was I 40, or 50, when my perfect Friday night began to involve a glass of wine and Gardener's World? I really don't know.
Even my taste in wine has changed. I used to drink only white, despite my dad telling me I should broaden my tastes and learn to enjoy red. Now I almost always buy red.
I go to bed after the ten o clock news - another sure sign of ageing. I rarely see midnight, unless I'm getting up for one of umpteen nightly trips to the loo. I’d like to say that this was a sign of growing old, but sadly I’ve had the same nocturnal lavatory habits for at least 20 years.
And I wake up early, keen to get out of bed and have a strong cup of tea (another OAP-in-waiting box ticked).
When I was a student and I had to get up for a lecture after getting in from a club at 4am, I'd look at the old people on the 8am bus to town and ask myself why they got up so early. Now I know.
It seems unfair that, as I qualify on all these counts, I can't have a free bus pass and TV licence. It's just my birth certificate holding me back. Maybe if I apply and explain how strongly I fit the bill, they can make an exception.
I even like Werther's Originals, for heaven’s sake.
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