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