Is this one of the ‘signs of old age’ we are always looking for? Like wearing your first cardigan, getting your first shopping trolley, or acquiring a walking stick - two of which milestones I have passed, though I draw the line at cardigans. Being forced to wear one daily at school caused me to eschew the practice ever after. No, I believe it to be a consequence of the deterioration of radio in modern times. From the four alternatives available for after-breakfast listening, none of them are worth the effort of bending my earlugs.
My first ‘hit’, BBC1, produced a most entertaining narrative - excellent for a writer, as it dealt with the unravelling of unknown people’s life stories. This was ‘Heir Hunter’. Fascinating, yes, riveting, certainly, but how sad that no one traced the now sorrowing relatives of these people while they were still alive, bringing them to their door while there was still time to share and reminisce. The crocodile tears of one participant, visiting the home where her cousin had died ‘to be sure that she was happy there’, did not impress. “That is the main thing,” she said, but no, the main thing would have been for her to give some human warmth in the final years, not turn up to collect the legacy.
Yes, and you might ask, what am I doing to cheer and comfort forgotten relatives of mine? You are quite right, nothing. I am as guilty as the rest.
picture: My Dad, who died in 1996, with his Murfin-Shaw cousins in their native Derbyshire