Yesterday, in the Library, something went wrong at the self-service check out, when the machine told me to get one of my books stamped at the desk. As there appeared to be no-one else in the Library, I left my card and my books in the machine. When I returned to the machine there was a lady (much younger than yours truly!) standing there. I apologised, took my books out and prepared to start again.
At this point she interrupted and suggested that she did it as there was 'really no need to start again' and she would 'do it for me dear'. It was that final 'dear' that got to me. I may look as though I am almost in my dotage but I am definitely not and am more than capable of running a few library books through the machine.
This sort of thing happens all the time. I am wielding my shopping trolley off the pavement (I am often quite lethal with a shopping trolley) and some kind gentleman of indeterminate age will ask if he can do it for me. Or I am carrying a cup of coffee to my table in a self-service restaurant and someone will ask if they can carry the cup for me (I have a tremor).
My immediate urge is to snap out that I am not in my dotage and that I am quite capable of doing it myself thank-you. But then I think, they are only doing it to be considerate - so I smile (perhaps a tad frostily) and thank them politely but no thanks.
I do wish people wouldn't do it. I am sure they mean well, but it just serves to make one feel older and less capable of managing. Or is it just me who feels like this. Am I being an awkward old cus?
On a lighter note. The word 'thwaite' is a Yorkshire dialect word meaning 'clearing', which makes our surname 'Thistlethwaite' mean a clearing full of thistles. The thistle is a real menace round here and there is no doubt the farmer develops a killer instinct where they are concerned. I often wonder if it is in his blood going back to antiquity when the name was first coined.
Today is a thistle-slaughtering day. Thistles and nettles are both important for wildlife and the farmer keeps large patches of both where they can do little harm (other than seed like mad), but in the pastures he tries to keep top side of them.
So here he is today - sharpening his thistle- cutting knife and then cutting thistles and nettles down in the hedgebacks.