That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs where late the sweet birds sang.
I don't think anyone has ever put it better than Shakespeare in these first four lines of sonnet number 73.
I love the sonnets and have always loved them. These four lines have resonated more and more as the years have rolled by. For, let's face it,. we don't really contemplate old age when we are dashing about through teenage frolics, then marriage and babies, then middle age when (if we are lucky) 'our'sweet birds' have flown the nest - suddenly( again, if we are lucky)we have a bit more money and can do things we have always wanted to do -travel in my case.
But now at ninety I don't think I am quite to the stage of no birds singing. In fact today's Times 2 has Martha Stewart the cover star - in a swimsuit - and she is 81. Don't panic I am not about to put on a photo of myself in such a garment. In fact I don't expect to ever wear one again, although I daresay a daily swim might do my muscles a world of good.
But the caption on the photo says'Is 80 the new sixty?' Well I go along with that and shall update it a bit and say 'Is 90 the new 70?'
Give or take a bit of osteoarthritis and a couple of non existent knee ligaments (which do make it essential to hold on tightly to Priscilla on any jaunts) there are still a few birds singing. Probably old crows rather than perky wrens but thanks to Priscilla still able to fly.