Black Friday, the Boxing Day sales '“Â it's all a bit too much:Â Verity LushÂ
No sooner do the shops stop plastering pumpkins on everything from milk toÂ toilet rolls, than they start wittering on about Black Friday.Â
The entire concept of Black Friday is obviously '“ as with the pumpkins '“ anotherÂ American tradition we have nicked. The fact that we are now advertising itÂ weeks in advance can only be trumped by the fact that some shops are having aÂ pre-Black Friday sale.
At this rate, life will be one long sale. Why bother ever selling a sausage at fullÂ price when you can flog it for being as cheap as chips?
Or at least by pretendingÂ that it was ever going to have cost you more than it currently does.
When I was a kid, not only did the shops close for a substantial length of timeÂ over Christmas, they also held the much-anticipated new year sales.
The clueÂ was in the nameÂ '“ they were held only in the new year. SoÂ notÂ until January, and because the shops would be closed on January 1st, theyÂ wouldn't commence until at least the 2nd.
If the 1stÂ happened to fall upon aÂ Sunday, then the shops wouldn't even open again until Tuesday 3rd because theÂ bank holiday would roll over to the Monday.
Alas, none of this happens anymore. Last week I heard one poor sales assistant inÂ a ladies' clothing shop being told that yes, she would be working Boxing Day, butÂ they'd try and make it easier by setting everything up before they left onÂ Christmas Eve.
One puny festive day away from work. Whether you're a fan ofÂ Christmas or not, and whether you're religious or not, surely this continualÂ milking of everyone's resources '“ both financial and physical '“ is not sustainableÂ for the long-term?
There was just something a bit more special about a world that actually slowedÂ down for just a little while each year.
Obviously emergency services and so forthÂ continue apace, but for the standard employee of the standard shop, I cannotÂ help but feel sympathy for the incessant positioning of their noses at theÂ grindstone.
Are you elderly if you still have a spring in your step?Â
One of my children told me they've been taught that a person who is 65 andÂ above is officially classed as being elderly.Â
Does this not seem a tad premature?Â Maybe I'm fortunate to have always been surrounded by lively and spryÂ relatives.
To me, there is no real definition of elderlyÂ unless some form of serious infirmity sets in.
We all get to the stage when we realiseÂ ageing does actually exist and we'reÂ not 18 forever, but to be consigned to elderlyÂ when you're still full of your zestÂ for life seems rather depressing.Â
Medical advances have been such that humans live far longer now.
Perhaps weÂ need to update our terminology too.
Changing dirty nappiesÂ at 50?Â Not for me, thanks
The news that a 50 year-old grandmother has become a mother of quadsÂ shocked me on only one level, and that is her willingness to return to the daysÂ when you feel drugged with exhaustion.
When you are so tired that youÂ could stick pins in your fingernails and not feel it.
Even when the kids become more independent it's still exhausting. SomebodyÂ likened this stage of parenting as akin to being prison guards in a youngÂ offenders' institute.
Like being a sergeant major in aÂ despot army of your own making.
It's hard enough when you're in your 30s and 40s, but to start again '“ with fourÂ '“ in your fifties?Â That's something else entirely.