River Wissey Lovell Fuller


April 2006

Les wonders why, as an OAP, he should get things for free when he could really afford to pay for them; unlike some of our young folk

As someone fast approaching 77 years of age, yes I am, well OK so I look so much younger, I put that down to when I was a teenager and all the young ladies ignored me, even the good looking ones. As a result I spent all of my time playing snooker and sitting under Stoke Bridge; why I shall never know apart from the fact that I have always had an affinity with water. I think I digress.

What I am coming round to is this crazy idea that if you are old then you shouldn't apparently have any money. Well I've got no end of it, well a heck of a lot more than I had so many years ago. I frequently call to see my Doctor as it seems he doesn't appear to like the look of me; between you and me I'm not very keen on him but that's another matter. My Doctor man insists on giving me a barrow load of tablets every month or so and when I offer to pay I'm told, no they are all free.

On April 1st our old friend Gordon Brown, if he keeps his word, has said in one of his budget speeches that us oldies will be able to hop on a bus to anywhere in Norfolk, all absolutely free, no charge. What more do you want?

How many millions is it costing this Country for free medicine, free bus travel, and the rest, just to pamper to us oldies? Still if something is offered to me free of charge, right or wrong, I'm going to take it even if I can afford to pay.

If only this "it's for free" scenario was around when we really needed it, when we first got married. Boy did I know what being broke was all about. At times I wonder if I invented this business of being hard up but on reflection I didn't know what it really meant.

When I look back, sorry no violins please, I've gone off music, well apart from Tammy Wynette singing "Stand by your Man" I haven't been the same since I started going to Chapel every Sunday. I use to be an Atheist, now I think I'm an Agnostic, so I'm moving in some direction even if I don't understand half the time what's it all about.

Again I digress; I'm on about being hard up. When I think about that, I think of my Parents who brought up a family of 9 of us, including Mum and Dad, on 30 shillings a week; in today's money that's £1-50. Bringing up a family on £1-50 a week, you have to be joking, but my God it couldn't have been a joke.

And yet were people as miserable and downhearted as you would have thought they should have been? Well if my memory serves me well, no they were not. Most activities, sporting, shopping, etc, were more centralised. Going to King's Lynn or Hunstanton were special occasions. Today people travel more widely, going abroad for their holidays etc and God don't we know all about it when they get back? They spend the rest of the year boring people like me to tears telling us about it.

I have never been abroad in my life! The only time I have ever got on a boat was at Hunstanton Boating Lake and after rowing round that three times I had to get out as I was sea sick but fortunately dear old Mother was at hand to console me, even if I was 18 at the time. Well you see I was a late developer, in more ways than one.

Les Lawrence

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