Age Is No Barrier


Maggie Jones

I should have gone online


Somehow, I managed to contract pneumonia and pleurisy over the Christmas period. Amoxycillin knocked out the pneumonia. Voltarol is dealing with the pleurisy.

I didn’t feel much like blogging as I waited for my lungs to clear, so I apologise to Alan and to John for not yet having answered their questions about how to get people to read their blogs, but I promise I will do shortly.

A couple of days ago, I staggered out of the house, and made for Soho where I had my hair cut in Fish, which is in d’Arblay Street.  Just north of Soho is Oxford Street, where the Sales are currently in full swing. The weather was not good, with sheets of rain falling from the heavens, so I arrived drenched.

The chap who cut my hair is a farmer’s son. I more or less grew up on a farm, so we passed the time by discussing the current lambing season, sheep dipping, the perils of PCPs, and bovine tuberculosis, which probably aren’t common topics in Soho.

I then walked back to Berwick Street in what seemed like a typhoon.

Coming towards me were two elderly ladies, both doughtily clasping umbrellas, water pouring off their rainhats, down their mackintoshes and into their Wellington boots. I’d guess they’re both in their mid-seventies.

They were determinedly heading north towards Oxford Street. I couldn’t see them clearly, but I could hear them grumbling.

As I walked past, one shouted to the other, “If I’d known it was going to be this bad, I would have gone online!”

My mother is 87. She has just gone online, and is horrified to see what her various grandchildren are up to on Facebook, irritated by what I have written about her on Flickr, and exasperated by all the urgent update pop-ups from Norton, Microsoft and BT. Welcome to the digital experience, Mrs Greensted.

That said, she’s got stuck in pretty quickly.

Most statistics about the use of the internet make it clear that social networking tends to be younger, and shopping online tends to be a bit older.

As far as I can see, digital is open to all ages, and that all ages want to join in. Westminster’s Reference Library in St Martin’s Street is packed out with pensioners learning how to use Google.

No matter what horrors lie in cyberspace, digital is a liberating gift no matter how old you are.

Finally, my thanks to Maggie Jones for the picture at the start of this blog. It’s a great photo.