Recently by Ken Oxley
I WAS lying on my back on a sunny afternoon in the North Yorkshire moors, with the taste of blood fresh in my mouth and the rear wheel of my bike still spinning, when I got to thinking that maybe I was getting a little old for this.
Fiftysomethings ramble, don't they? Or perhaps do a few lengths at the municipal swimming pool. Whereas off road mountain biking is very definitely a young man's game.
PERHAPS it's a generational thing. When I was in the full flush of youth, birthdays meant I could look forward to a new item of clothing, a record I'd been after (by which I mean a 12 inch lump of vinyl), or perhaps some toiletries (Brut, as advertised by boxer Henry "splash-it-all-about" Cooper, was especially popular).
Today, all kids want is money . . . and lots of it. Birthdays now signal the accumulation of varying amounts of readies from assorted relatives, to be stashed away or squandered as the recipient sees fit.
IT was the eldest son's 21st birthday on Tuesday, which came as a bit of a shock.
It seems like only yesterday that he was crawling around on all fours, getting his clothes into a state and throwing up everywhere.
Wait a minute . . . it was only yesterday.
Ah, the youth of today! They have much in their favour. Time on their side, certainly, but that's a given.
Good looks too - or as good as they're ever likely to be without the intervention of cosmetic surgery.
And, for the most part, they're in rude health; the hallmarks of age - the aches, the pains, the thickening middle, the thining hair, the shortness of breath, the senior moments - they're all lightyears away, so far as to be functionally beyond reach.
But these advantages come with strings . . .
Strange isn't it, the way teenage minds work? You'd have thought I would have an idea about these things.
I was, after all, a teenager myself once upon a time. But that was long, long ago and the finer details have been lost in a fug of misty-eyed nostalgia.
It was the 70s, a decade regarded by many as belonging to the Golden Age of the Teenager. Whereas today, they have never had it so bad . . . apparently.
My last blog entry bemoaned the imminent arrival of my 50th birthday . . . a date I had looked forward to with a mixture of dread and sheer, unadulterated panic.
Well, it's been and gone and I can happily report that there is life after the death of your forties.
When I first began writing this blog over a year ago I thought the idea of calling it "Howay Five-0" was rather clever.
Too clever, as it turned out, because quite a few people had no idea what the title alluded to.
You have to be of a certain age to be familiar with the TV cop series Hawaii Five-O. And you have to be from a certain geographic location to know that "Howay" means "come on".
My most recent posting about the Gone Too Soon website went down like a Big Mac at a Vegetarian Society meeting, so I'm moving on to more pressing matters . . . sandwiches.
We all need sandwiches but I recently complained that they have become far too complicated. Go into any deli and you'll be confronted with a mind-boggling array of options.
Oh dear . . . I appear to have upset half the planet with what was intended as a light-hearted blog entry about the Gone Too Soon website.
Ever since writing the piece I've received a constant stream of what can only be described hate mail.
And the authors all appear to agree on one thing . . . by joking about Gone Too Soon, I've Gone Too Far.
I think I'm developing an aversion to decision-making. It's one of the trials of modern life.
It's all about choice and everywhere you turn, there are just too many options . . . too many TV channels, too many radio stations, too many websites offering too many services.
But the choice explosion is not confined to the digital revolution . . . it has even infiltrated the humble sandwich.