Sing if you’re glad to be grey

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - OPINION - by Steve Con­sta­ble

ISUP­POSE it was the Rat Pack Trib­ute night which re­ally brought it home. We gazed up at the Dean Martin im­per­son­ator across a sea of thinly-greyed heads, and it felt as if we were on Coro­na­tion Street, rather than the Costa del Sol. But shar­ing a few spring days in Spain with huge coach par­ties of north­ern pen­sion­ers dis­turbed my son and me no more than it did them (and we sheep­ishly en­joyed the show, es­pe­cially when Sammy Davis Jun re­vealed him­self to be a bald, white English­man). Which is why I sus­pect the Saga com­pany need not panic over the Sin­gle Equal­ity Act’s pro­vi­sions on age dis­crim­i­na­tion, which threaten to out­law its exclusive hol­i­day pack­ages for the over-50s. Ac­tiv­i­ties ad­ver­tised on the cruise ship Saga Rose in­clude shuf­fle­board, bridge, aroma stretch, a talk on Is­lam, bingo, and a con­cert by the Diver­ti­mento Trio, none of which, one guesses, is ever likely to be dis­rupted by some boozed-bel­lied, Club 18-30 re­ject chav, squeak­ing Snoop Dog at them out of his iPod. Even the temp­ta­tion to book up for South Africa In The Foot­steps of Man­dela (one as­sumes the visit to Robben Is­land is a day trip, rather than 27 years), might be tem­pered by the prospect of ad­di­tional recre­ational diver­sions like gum­boot danc­ing with the Cen­tral Tele­vi­son (West) Re­tire­ment Club, which is among Saga’s de­lighted reg­u­lar cus­tomers. In­deed, Saga might be pleas­antly sur­prised at the re­ac­tion of its tar­get au­di­ence. We all know a few ac­tive, lively-minded older men who would con­sider a cruise to be rather en­hanced by some younger women in skimpy sum­mer cloth­ing, which could prove a wel­come dis­trac­tion if their wives – as ev­ery granny surely would – in­sist on tak­ing the grand­chil­dren along. Me? Yes, I’ve just qual­i­fied, and had a good look at the brochure, and, ac­tu­ally, I quite like be­ing with (even) older peo­ple. At the Saga time of life, it’s quite com­fort­ing to meet my par­ents’ kind friends, who greet them so cour­te­ously: “Is this your son? What a Nice Young Man.”

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