Monday, 30th May, 2011 (Whitsun Bank Holiday)

     There is a tree which I can see from the front windows of my house.   At this time of year, it is veiled a little by the leafiness of its fellows which stand along the far side of our Village Green.   It stands two fields away beyond the Green.

     It is a tall ash which was there before we came to live here thirty-four years ago and is appreciably older than that.   The base of its trunk is gnarled looking as if the tree’s roots cannot any longer be bothered to stay in the earth.

     Each year, it comes into leaf later than all the trees – ash or otherwise – in the area;  and, each year, it sheds its leaves earlier than they.

     This is how the passing of time affects all life.   The real effect of time is ageing.   And ageing means a slowing down – of activity and, sometimes, of human thought.

     I am fortunate that “the ravages of time” have affected me so little.   Yes, I do take longer to recover from serious physical activity, but I can still do most of the things I need to do or want to do.

And my mind has not – yet! – started to slow.

Back in the mists of – well, yes – time, there was a wireless programme called “Have A Go”.   The presenter was Wilfred Pickles who broadened his Yorkshire accent when “presenting the people to the people”.   He would chat with people from the audience about their lives – “Have you ever had an embarrassing moment?” – and then do a very, very simple quiz whereby they could win up to five-shillings.   They all won:  “Give him the money, Barney!”.

One lady with whom he chatted was quite old.   “If you were granted one wish,” asked Wilfred, “what would you wish for?”

“Lord, keep my memory green,” she said.

I have remembered her wish and wished the same over the decades since she first expressed it.   And I am so glad that I have such an excellent memory of nearly everything which has happened in my life since the age of eighteen-months (yes, really!).

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