LAST LOOK

JANE FRASER

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Rear View -

THE trou­ble is that those of us of a cer­tain age think we’re still teenagers; es­pe­cially men. My hus­band, for ex­am­ple, in or­der to speed up his swim­ming prow­ess so he can take up trawl­ing the oceans, bought a pair of flip­pers on­line. They are about as long as a horse; in fact they could house two small peo­ple. His swim­ming coach was most im­pressed and cheer­fully drove him what turned out to be be­yond his lim­its.

He came home winc­ing, tum­bled from the car and walked around with a heated pad stuck to his hip and an ex­pres­sion of great sor­row pass­ing over his face. It im­proved in time for his yoga teacher, who ar­rives at the house bear­ing a flower, which then gets squashed into the car­pet dur­ing, I think, salut­ing the sun.

Mind you, I’m hardly one to talk. It has be­come quite clear that we women have prob­lems with our feet. Al­most ev­ery grumpy old bag I know has a twisted an­kle or a bruised heel or a torn mus­cle, through do­ing nor­mal run- of- the- mill things such as kick­ing their hus­band but miss­ing and hit­ting the ta­ble leg, or fall­ing over the dog’s wa­ter dish.

And now we’re both be­hav­ing like silly teenagers by tak­ing our­selves off to join some old friends of mine in Mozam­bique, and go­ing four- wheel- driv­ing along the dirt roads of the north coast. We think we’re still in­trepid for­eign cor­re­spon­dents. ‘‘ But aren’t you too old to be do­ing that non­sense?’’ peo­ple protest. ‘‘ Why don’t you take up bridge?’’

Things are fairly peace­ful now in Mozam­bique, al­though we have been warned that if we are pulled over and some­one quite big and black says, ‘‘ I do like your sun­glassses’’, you should whip them off your face and hand them over quick smart.

A male friend told me 15 years ago that sta­tis­tics had shown that at my age I had more chance of be­ing at­tacked by ter­ror­ists than get­ting mar­ried again; I beat those odds, so I’ll take my chances with Africa.

We’re plan­ning sturdy treks and fish­ing and leisurely ad­ven­ture, and he’s plan­ning some snorkelling, which I don’t do. Peo­ple say it would open a whole new world for me; I’m hav­ing enough prob­lems cop­ing with this world. If noth­ing else, I will en­joy a change of pace and the coastal chal­lenges of doggy pad­dling with­out get­ting my hair wet; I hate get­ting wa­ter up my nose. But I don’t think Africans are big on yoga; they have big­ger fish to fry.

The crunch came when, af­ter the flip­per episode, the yoga teacher, ohm­m­ming hap­pily, put his pupil with a shonky hip, caused by kick­ing too hard for a per­son of his years, through the an­cient rou­tine that is once again sweep­ing the world. As far as I can gather he made it through cow look­ing up­wards and lo­tus tied in knots, but he found his neme­sis dur­ing down­wards pup­py­dog, when his back gave way and he fell writhing to the ground. In the ex­er­cise de­part­ment, it’s back to the draw­ing board.

fraserj@ theaus­tralian. com. au

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