OAP ... Old Age Perks

It may sound quirky, but I get a real kick out of getting something for nothing just because I've reached the grand old age of sixty. Like it's a recognition for time served.

Popping into the chemists the other day for antibiotics (can't get rid of a chesty cough), I was about to pull out my £7.65 prescription charge when the lady behind the counter said 'Oh, you get it for free since you're sixty'. 'How did you know I'm sixty?' said I, thinking maybe I appeared further down the slippy slope to planet zimmer frame than I'd imagined. 'It's printed on your prescription'. Came tripping out of the chemists feeling all positive and happy... almost as though I'd been created a Lord and had earned the right to wear ermine.

Today another Old Age Perk moment when popping into B&Q for a light bulb. Noticed they do a Diamond Card for over sixties giving a 10% discount on Wednesdays. Suspect the day is nicknamed Wrinkly Wednesday by staff.

Filling out the form, it transpired I needed proof of my age. 'Well I don't have a passport or anything, but my right knee does give me gyp... will that do?', lifting up the offending object for dramatic effect. After the staff at both checkouts had fallen about laughing, and much to the embarrassment of wife and daughter standing watching the performance, the young lady said she'd trust me and I sailed out with a shiny new card.

Of course the ultimate OAP still eludes me and this month marks a milestone... it's now exactly one year until I get my ticket to freedom, to open roads and exciting destinations. In one year's time I'll get a little of that feeling the earliest North American pioneers felt as they trailblazed into Indian territory. Yes, in May 2013 I'll get my bus pass. And if you think the wild west allegory is a bit strong, you obviously haven't seen some of the 'wilder' parts of Fen villages when the locals are a tad restless.

But eagerly having sought out the online application form on my sixtieth birthday last October, deflated is a bit of an understatement for my frame of mind when I found the qualifying age had been extended. So if you feel inclined to wallow in that particular disappointment read Bus Pass Blues

Or read what some of the new grey pioneers have achieved at the links below. Can't wait!

Land's End to John o'Groats in 7 days and 40 buses
From Berwick to Lands End in 8 days and 33 buses
All of Wales in 12 days and 25 buses

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