It’s my Opinion

LAST week I enjoyed the 80’s.

I’m not talking about the weather - but some contacts who have reached the ripe old age of four score.

It made me feel quite young, even if I struggled to keep up their energy and great desire to still do the things that, perhaps, lesser and younger mortals might fail to achieve.

The first of my contacts lives in Alford, affording me the opportunity of a trip to that fair and pleasant land the other side of Inverurie for a meeting with my 80 year old business associate.

His drive truly astonishes me, as not only does he find time to work on our little project, but also conducts professional interviews for a number of companies in the North-east. An hour with him left me quite tired, as he outlined his suggestions on ways forward for our scheme.

I then journeyed on to Aberdeen where another meeting with a 85 year old friend - who is a Bishop - which was equally productive and entertaining. Being originally from Liverpool - and bearing the sense of humour normally associated with that city - there was laughter aplenty over the course of our conversations.

Remarkably, my man of the cloth has never lost his ability to pen a letter or document, shaming me with immaculate hand writing which can only be described as copper plate perfection.

Younger people please note. That said, though, when last did any of us write a letter by hand?

The return journey to Ellon passed in a flash, as I reflected and marvelled at their energy and drive.

The day of the 80s was not yet done, however, as I chanced upon an old friend from days in the training industry when he stood shoulder to shoulder with me as we attempted to turnaround the narrow base of educating the young unemployed.

The fact that our efforts were not always recognised is still a source of pain for me, particularly now that we are facing the same crisis in Scotland and with an Edinburgh government that hasn’t got a clue.

Perhaps the minister for youth employment should have a word with my 86 year old friend who knows just a little about conflict, having been a captain leading a platoon in the jungle in World War II.

Although my chum is less active than he was, the spark of adventure still burns bright - just play a round of golf with him and you will see what I mean.

Finally, no week could ever be complete without a visit to my local store in the company of my Ellon friend who will be 90 next year.

He is as sharp as ever mentally, even if has given up driving, and does not get out as much as he once did.

That said, he still bakes, makes soup, and lives on his own without any support from the system.

I raise my hat to this quartet of heroes who are continuing to influence me, while setting a wonderful example to the society they grace with their passion and love of life. May they all receive that card of congratulations on reaching the century mark, though I know that each and every one of them hope they are spared a visit from their local councillor when the day comes.

Why on earth should they muscle in on such a big and private occasion?

I just hope that if I were lucky enough to make the big 100, I would not be subjected to such a visit, even if appears to be the norm in these days of unwanted intrusion.