UNDER a tall tree in the garden of the holiday home we rent in Wales every summer is a swing so high and dangerous that the slightest mishap would mean, at the very least, a broken arm or leg. It terrifies me. It terrifies my children.
The one person it doesn’t terrify, unfortunately, is my 97-year-old grandmother Nanny Nancy (as she’s known to all) who begs to have her annual go every time she comes to visit. She might not find it scary. But those of us who had to stand either side and hoick her frail, brittle body on to that narrow wooden seat, then push her higher and higher as she squealed with delight, found the whole experience more nerve-racking than we could bear.
That’s why, when she hit 95, our family made a tough decision. It was all very well Nanny Nancy thinking she could go on for ever. But we mere mortals had had enough: the swinging had to stop.
All over the country now there are thousands of people just like Nanny Nancy – game old birds and lively old boys proving that 90 is the new 70, that 80 is the beginning of your second youth and that living long enough to get your telegram from the Queen is fast becoming not the exception but the norm.
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