Category Archives: AGEING

WORLD RADIO DAY 2021


13th  February was World Radio Day  and Cape Talk Radio,  my local radio station,  asked listeners to phone in and share their first memories of radio, and what radio meant in their lives. The listeners flooded the station with calls and WhatsApp messages, not only from senior listeners, but enthusiastic responses across the spectrum .

We heard about kids being allowed to broadcast on Dad’s Ham Radio, in the back shed. We heard about  the exciting arrival of Q Cards – something to do with signal frequencies by location  (hope I’ve got that right!). We heard about  listeners sharing national grief at the death of famous statesmen; their enjoyment of radio dramas, serials and book-readings; and of course the music, and a top favourite in South Africa: sports broadcasts, especially ball by ball commentaries.

My earliest radio memory comes from the mid-1940s when the radio was ceremonially switched on, to listen in hushed silence to the news from the BBC in London. First came the rousing signature tune D’ye ken John Peel?  And then the clipped tones of the newscaster, reading the news, followed by the all important  English Soccer League results.

You had to hold your breath to hear anything at all,  because reception was dreadful, faint and staticky, especially if the all-important car  battery which powered the radio was going flat. We had no electricity, and life on a remote central African tea estate was isolated to say the least. Private  telephones in homes were unknown so you couldn’t phone a friend for a cosy chat. The country had only one newspaper which was published once a week, a few slim pages, which was always a week old  by the time it reached us. Roads were primitive, public transport didn’t exist,  neighbours were far away, so that radio really was a lifeline!

Once the news was over, the radio was switched off. Due to the battery situation,  the power had to be carefully husbanded. And today we blithely leave the radio playing  day and night, if we feel like it. Provided Eskom hasn’t decided on loadshedding and switched off the power … what’s that French saying?  Tout la meme change … the more things change, the more they remain the same.

I’m recycling a much older post that I wrote in 2014, also on the topic of radio. Here it is, below:

THIS IS THE VOICE OF AMERICA  –  July 2014.

My  love affair with the Radio continues.

As I lay in bed, alternately groaning and cursing during a  bout of gastric ‘flu, my feeble hand managed to grasp my Samsung Galaxy tablet, and started fiddling with the icon marked BBC Radio. I have to say, I think that small action improved  my health  more than all the ginger tea, Probiotics, and other remedies combined.

I spent a happy time discovering a weird variety of  stations ; one  poured out Bangladeshi Classical music; another pumped out jolly  accordion/organ sing-a-long tunes from the Nederlands. Radio Venice offering baroque music. A station in Sweden broadcasting in Farsi. I’m still trying to work that one out. And,  no, I don’t speak Farsi. Radio Mediterranean offered a heady mix of Armenian, Arabic, Italian, French, Greek music. There were umpteen Polish stations promoting music from hip-hop, to acid jazz, to urban funk, lounge, and salsa. Fabulous! Almost worth being sick. Almost, but not quite.

Long ago, when I was a misunderstood teenager, I was given a portable radio – battery powered, of course, I’m speaking of the pre-electronic age, a.k.a. The Olden Days. It offered  short, long and medium wave reception. I think it was a Phillips radio, in a smart cream and chocolate plastic casing. I absolutely loved it, and would spend hours twiddling the dial, fighting the dreadful static and the waning battery power, straining my ears for the tiniest snatch of LM Radio’s weekly Hit Parade, or trolling through foreign language stations, listening to streams of exotic sounding languages, and desperately wishing I could understand some of it.

But the one station that was always amazingly clear, was the Voice of America. You knew immediately when you hit it, because out poured a stream of jazz, or  Benny Goodman’s band, playing a swing tune. Just knowing that I was listening to someone or something from half-way across the globe gave me such a thrill. It still does. Over and out!

2 Comments

Filed under AGEING, HUMOUR, SOCIAL COMMENT

MOTHER YOGESH’s APOLOGY TO TECHNOLOGY


This year I officially made no new year rezzes but I did have a few half-formed promises lurking in my mind. Promises to myself, you understand. One of them was to spend less time on social media, and more time meeting more friends face to face.
With this in mind, this morning I came across the following apposite poem written by the most delightful, saintly old yogi it has ever been my privilege to meet :
With Apology to Technology
It seems to be the modern trend
That with one’s family or friend
Communicating heart to heart
Has been completely split apart
As iPhones take away the space
Of relating face to face.

Fascinating they may be
But do they recognize or see
The truth revealed within the eyes,
Anxiety, or stifled cries?

When the heart is tightly sealed
There’s no chance of being healed.
Technology and technicality
Should not remove us from reality.

 

Mother Yogesh has a talent for writing verse, and her latest collection – see cover below – if full of charming little verses, some devotional, others not, often sparkling with that quiet little nugget of humour. If you’re interested in learning more about Mother Yogesh, or getting hold of her collection of poems, the Ashram website is http://www.anandakutir.org.za. Emails to: info@anandakutir.org.za

 

IMG_20200109_110455_resized_20200109_110525613 (002)

5 Comments

Filed under AGEING, SOCIAL COMMENT

THOSE ELDERLY ELECTRONIC LUDDITES!


index

Yes: I’ve hauled out my soapbox again for another rant. This time it’s the elderly Luddites, who have incurred my electronic wrath. And I can be a rudely wrathful as I like, as it’s a 100% certainty they will never read this.
It so happens I co-ordinate two social groups, and wishing to make my life as easy as possible, I communicate with the one group via WhatsApp, and the second group via e-mail. What could be quicker, cheaper and easier?

 
Except that in both groups there is one – always just that one person! – who, for whatever unfathomable reason, refuses to use a cellphone, and if perchance they actually own an ancient, brick-sized Nokia, it’s operating system can’t cope with the WhatsApp programme. No, they say vaguely, I don’t have that – whatchcallit? All my grandkids use it, but it’s not for me. Actually, they add, in confessional mode, I usually keep my cellphone switched off.  Then please explain to me why they continue to give out their number?

You are probably reading this and shaking your head in disbelief. But I swear to you, that’s a direct quote from one old dear.

 
And the other group of Luddites refuse to go anywhere near a PC or smartphone, and never, but never ever, communicate by e-mail. They might, very reluctantly, divulge their nearest and dearest’s e-mail address and hesitatingly say: “Well, I suppose you could send me an e-mail to my son’s e-mail address, but he’s so busy, I don’t know …” and of course, any e-mail you do send to Sonny Boy never gets passed on to his dear old Mum. Grrrrrrhhhh.

 
So what? you’re thinking. Where’s the problem? The problem, dear Reader, is that these Luddites constantly complain : But nobody ever told ME the date had changed / the meeting will be two hours later / the venue has changed / our monthly meeting is cancelled . Nobly refraining from leaping up and throttling them, you reply through gritted teeth: Well: if you had WhastApp /email then you’d be up to speed, wouldn’t you?

 
Thanks for reading this. I feel better now I’ve got that off my chest!

26 Comments

Filed under AGEING, COMPUTERS, HUMOUR, SOCIAL COMMENT

THE GERIATRIC DIY FIEND


images

 
I live in a gated Village for those who are over 50 years old. So far, so good. Consequently we are a mixed community of those who still have jobs or careers; those who are in their mid 60s and upwards, and the very elderly who truly are geriatric.

 
New neighbours moved into the house opposite mine, mid December . So far, so good.  Christmas is over now. All the visiting families have departed, we are into the early days of 2019 and New Neighbour turns out to be a D I Y fan of note. He hammers, bangs, and wields his electric drill with gusto, literally from morning ‘til night. What on earth can he be doing? Re-fitting the entire damn house with new cupboards? I happen to know the house has more than adequate cupboard space.
What’s equally baffling is that he’s over 80 years old, and quite stooped. When I met him in the street he gave me a tortoise grimace and pallidly shook my hand.

 
Sir: you’re supposed to be relaxing on your verandah with your cup of coffee, or snoozing in front of the Sports Channel on TV. I’m told his wife is a sweet lady and from the little I’ve seen she doesn’t fit the profile of domestic tyrant raising hell over the lack of cupboards. For goodness sake, there’s only the two of them,  not a family of ten!

 
Who knows? Meanwhile, I’m gritting my teeth and muttering : live and let live . Trouble is, our houses are jammed very close together. So any noise is shared noise. Yay.

 

Dear previous neighbour: don’t you want to come back to my street? I never really appreciated the excellent qualities of a nice sedate older school teacher until now!

14 Comments

Filed under AGEING, DAILY LIFE IN CAPE TOWN, HUMOUR

THE LAST BUNCH OF INCA LILIES


kisspng-orange-lily-of-the-incas-flower-clip-art-flowers-flowers-5aeac3acc23673.3370822915253349567955

 

 

 
My friend E visited me on Wednesday. She walked in, carrying a generous bunch of Inca Lilies, freshly cut from her garden. As ever, she apologised for the mess they will make, and as ever, I replied “I don’t care, they’re lovely!” Which they are. Deep red, with yellow highlights. En masse the flowers produce a light, frilly effect, but day by day the papery petals fall off, until the tall glass vase is surrounded by a halo of drying petals. I could care less – the flowers are so beautiful, and it takes but a few moments to pick up the fallen petals and bin them.

 

 
I always enjoy her visits. E’s passion in life is to travel. I listen with envy to her planned trips for 2019. Her equal passion is photography, and she take hundreds (and on occasion, literally thousands) of photos on her journeys , which she puts into visual presentations and photo-books, and shares with friends. I’m an armchair traveller, but she is a modern female Marco Polo.

 

 
Two days later she texted me to say she was in hospital, and the prognosis was not good.
I’m looking at my vase of Inca Lilies, and know that this may well be the last bunch of Inca Lilies I will receive from E’s garden.

10 Comments

Filed under AGEING, DAILY LIFE IN CAPE TOWN, PRESENT & FUTURE

200 YEAR OLDS ?


centenarian-clipart-3Do I want to celebrate my 200th birthday? No: I don’t think so.

I’m about to see my 77th anniversary of arrival on this earth, and thus far a mixed bag of good and bad times, illness and health, success and failure, amazement and boredom. In short: life, in all its shades from brilliant gold to desperate black. Could I face? Enjoy? Withstand? another 123 years of the process?

Again: I don’t think so. And what about the planet? Many, if not most of our current ecological and social ills are due to one factor and one factor alone: overcrowding. Our world is over-populated. Just imagine: if we had the ability to prolong life up to 200 years, and the current birth rate continued, we’d be one gigantic seething mass, living under terrible conditions, short of every natural resource and fighting for survival. Shades of the Bladerunner movie  Pretty much how many live today in Third World countries.

Currently on my local radio station there’s an ad confidently announcing that the people who will live up to 200 years have already been born, and what are the listeners doing to adjust their financial planning accordingly? Good question. And only one of the many questions that the scenario generates. Prudent financial planning will be the least of our worries when the Two-Hundreds start multiplying. Our needs will be a great deal more basic. Food. Water. Shelter. Survival.

Just maybe that sonorous phrase to live three-score years and ten was excellent advice.

 

7 Comments

Filed under AGEING, ECOLOGY, PRESENT & FUTURE, SOCIAL COMMENT