After almost a year’s experience I have to say that being in one’s 80’s is no big deal. There have been no major changes; my back is still bent and I still walk like a question mark. The doctors are still puzzling at the condition and trying different pills on me. Some days I wander around like a zombie and other days I sleep a lot, but my old back remains bent. On the memory side I recognized and greeted a couple of old acquaintances yesterday – they are both pushing 90 and I’m not sure they knew who I was. My appetite is great and I can still read the small print. What did happen is that this morning, whilst scrunched over the crossword, I found myself sitting with the answer to a clue hanging off the end of my tongue and not making it all the way to the pen.

That’s the only change I can detect, a suggestion of slow retrieval from the vast storage system I shlep around with me. The filing system is full, most of the drawers overflowing:

‘Family and Friends’ is pretty full.

‘Engineering and Information Technology’ is bursting and has a notice hanging on the front – “no new information accepted here’.

‘Culture’ has small spaces available between the books, music and writing.

‘Department of Useless Information’ which houses miscellaneous and little used stuff has huge globs of information hanging from it hoping it will still be called on to provide an answer. There is no ‘Full’ notice so I keep pushing more and more in there hoping it will find a place. But I’m starting to think it’s a waste of time. I can still rack up a respectable score at the monthly trivia evening here at the retirement home.

We all go through life building these huge storage systems for ourselves, convinced they are made of concrete and will be there forever. It’s not like that at all. They are made of some kind of Jello and are highly susceptible to outside influence. In extreme cases they melt and leave one with no memory at all.

Oh yes, the crossword character I couldn’t remember in the story of Jason and the Argonauts was Helle. How on earth could I forget him?