Pull the udder one! How Keith might look in a cow-print onesie.
THIS ISLAND LIFE TO be perfectly honest, I expected to feel a bit different when I got up on Tuesday, September 3, 2013.
After all, it was my first official day as an old age pensioner, and I felt sure I’d hear a few extra creaks coming from the rickety superstructure, or experience a sudden, uncontrollable urge to dash out and invest in a beige jacket, a pair of beige trousers and some beige loafers.
I’ve noticed, while wandering around the permanent trolley-jam also known as Morrisons, that many of my fellow OAPs tend to opt for this uniform, and I’ve never really understood why.
Then someone suggested it was a physical manifestation of old people’s sub-conscious desire to fade into the background once they start to regard themselves merely as subsidised members of society.
Why this should be the case, I have no idea.
My first pension payment is due to arrive at the end of this month, and the sooner the better. It’s pay-back time, as far as I’m concerned. I will certainly not regard my monthly allocation as some sort of charitable gesture, about which I am obliged to feel abjectly grateful.
The exchequer has had plenty of my money over the past 47 years, and I’m looking forward to getting some of it back.
However, one thing I will not be spending any of it on, if Mrs N has her way, is an outfit commonly-known as a onesie.
Apparently, it has become fashionable to disport oneself in this ludicrous garment, but there is nothing remotely original about it.
It first came to my attention about 60 years ago while watching Andy Pandy, and even as a five-year-old I recall thinking how prattish the puppet looked. Here we go Looby Loo indeed!
So Mrs N purchased one for me in what she described as a 'surprise’ 65th birthday present. It was that all right.
For those who still remain unfamiliar with this unlikely raiment, it is best described as an adult babygro; an all-in-one item of apparel into which the unfortunate victim is required to insert his or her carcase before securing all the bulges and bumps with a rather inadequate-looking single zip up the front. There was even a hood attached should I wish to spend the odd evening terrorising pedestrians by riding my bicycle along crowded pavements, or smoking and swearing with my chums in front of a local Spar shop.
Unfortunately, onesies tend to come in regulation sizes, while the people expected to wear them rarely do.
It took five minutes of contorting my limbs into all manner unfeasible angles before Mrs N agreed that XXL — though commodious for those of normal proportions — was still not XXL enough for someone blessed with my generous dimensions.
Also, the legs seemed too long for the thoracic section, and I was reduced to dragging the crotch along the floor like an ageing rapper.
But such was the intense amusement she derived from my fleeting appearance (the garment had a fetching Aztec pattern on the front, so I resembled a badly-packed roll of Mexican carpet) Mrs N is on a determined mission to seek out a larger version.
But I fear a twosie or even a threesie may be required.
Growing older disgracefully
IT'S fascinating what you find while rummaging around in the bottom of long-forgotten drawers, as an old friend, Colin Attrill, discovered.
He came across a little booklet entitled 'Amusing Musing of an IW OAP,’ and there was no clue as to the author apart from the initials 'ATS.’
There was no date mentioned either, but the content suggests it was produced in the Sixties because it contains some lengthy doggerel about Island restaurants, which were regarded as quite swish in the days when Michelin stars were nothing but little black holes in the Island gastronomic firmament.
With all the fuss over the revolving door at various posh eating joints in and around Ventnor this year, it’s easy to run away with the idea the Island has only recently become acquainted with 'quality’ dining.
But back in the days when gastro-pubs were unheard of, and the best you could expect from your local hostelry was a packet of crisps and a pickled egg, it was still possible to dine in style on the Island.
And ATS, in what can only be called his Epicurean Odyssey, mentions places like the Copperfield Room at Bonchurch and the Room at the Top, at Shanklin.
This was a hugely trendy name at the time, because a novel of the same name by John Braine had been made into a racy film in the late Fifties.
It was also quite appropriate because you had to clamber up a lot of steep stairs to get to your steak.
But back then, the classiest restaurant on the Island was always reckoned to be the Peacock Vane, an imposing edifice dishing up posh nosh in Bonchurch.
It clearly intimidated ATS, who wrote:
'Peacock Vane Hotel — spects you knows that quite well,
Is open to non-residents.
A’nt never been there, I just wouldn’t dare
Coz I just ain’t their type o’ gent!’
Take it from me, the food was better than the poetry it inspired.