On commencing this monologue, it appears I’m residing on the periphery of a Darby and Joan club meeting. Sitting adjacent to yours truly in a south Leeds coffee house, contented looking individuals in their dotage converse enthusiastically about gardening and mint humbugs. Among their number two ageing couples who gaze lovingly into each others eyes before the cataracts get overly problematic.

I’d like to clarify, this isn’t a polemic rant about individuals who reside in, what someone once quirkily commented to me, was a metaphorical departure lounge. I respect anyone of any age, creed, colour, religion if they deserve my deference. Speak as you find a mantra of which I subscribe to, and I’ve certainly no axe to grind with the elderly folk sitting at the table on my right…… Well, apart from the fact they wouldn’t give me one of their mint humbugs.

I’m definitely not ageist, in fact some of my oldest friends are….. erm…..well, old. I don’t do unconditional reverence to elderly people, though, as maternally taught to observe during my fledgling years. In middle-age I now advocate that, like every age, creed, colour and religion there’re some odious elderly people, who I wish well but on learning of their toxicity will avoid like the plague.

My new found selectivity when judging whether I desire a persons companionship the very antithesis of my mum’s advocacy during my childhood. Her indoctrination being “Look after the old people and the pounds will look after themselves!”….. I think she was mixing her well-meaning advice with the adage “Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves!”…… My conclusion borne from the fact I’ve never seen any benefit to the elderly from times of existential frugality.

However, these chaps and ladies on my starboard side seem an affable bunch. Putting the world to rights, they relay anecdotes about taxes, the coronavirus and whether purchasing false teeth from a car boot sale is an overly unhygienic act when contemplating thrifty denture options.

One of the group nattering enthusiastically a ma droite is an elderly chap filling in a crossword. One of the clues he discusses with his his similarly ageing peer is 17 across whose clue is:- (12 letters) – A dispenser of dentures.

One of the responses mooted by one of his ensemble was a possible answer of “Car Boot Sales”…… An impressive effort to help this chap complete his puzzle, but with the 12 letter response required being a one word answer, I’d err on the side that ‘orthodontist’ is the correct response to this less than cryptic clue.


It’s with some personal melancholy that this group has now started dispersing. I’ve enjoyed eavesdropping on their jovial banter, redolence of TCP antiseptic lotion and quirky crossword responses. One of latter answers being “Sausages!” to a a clue of (5 letters) – Pork sourced product, often eaten in a breakfast sandwich.

As alluded to above, my mischievous partly fictional prose is written solely for comedic value, not a position of dislike or disrespect of old people. Something, as I pointed out, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Please bear that in mind when visually absorbing my impish notions……. I’d hate to be removed from anyone’s Last Will and Testament!!