I am damaged. I am too old, physically anyway, for certain things. The wife won’t want me anymore, I’ll be destitute. Oh woe, Oh woe! Old age has arrived and I’m not ready.
Seeing the howler at the weekend leaping in that trusting way kids do, into daddy’s arms whether they were there ready or not and bouncing about like a piece of rubber or like Tigger on his springy tail, I started to think about things I used to enjoy doing but stopped doing when finally at thirty-five or forty, I became an adult. So I climbed to the top of the top field, pulled my hoodie up, put gloves on, faced the house, tucked knees into chest, put head down, grabbed hold of my ears and rolled head-over-heels down the grass. I managed five revolutions before the forward velocity increased to such dangerous levels that I had to bail out but not until half of my vertebra had popped out, my head had been forced into my chest and, oddly, my toes had got cramp. I won’t begin to describe what my head is still doing. Then to aid my enjoyment of course there were those short brambles which are so much sharper than the larger ones which rushed headlong into my path vying for first position against the sharpened stones, humped-back tussocks and what felt rather like a knotty stick but which quickly buried itself - in the way that those turtles do burying eggs with their flippers on sandy beaches - into the earth before I could get to see exactly what it was and to punish it mercilessly.
I have learnt my lesson and will not try head-over-heels rolling again but as soon as I am healed and able to gad about as before I would still like to try a more sedate rolling-down-the-hill in the prone position. I get the idea that this might not be so painful but might possibly still hold some enjoyment. I am not getting any younger so it’s now or never I suppose.
I am now in a position though, to advise anyone over the age of 50 as to the wisdom of such an activity and though there are still many things one can do once fifty has been reached trying the head-over-heels bit is not one of them. It’s like that last chocolate digestive which has gone stale and damp at the back of the cupboard, it looks tempting but has lost that certain crispiness that makes dunking it in coffee a pleasure. I think I may have chipped a tooth too.