Black Friday, the Boxing Day sales – it’s all a bit too much: Verity Lush 

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No sooner do the shops stop plastering pumpkins on everything from milk to toilet rolls, than they start wittering on about Black Friday. 

The entire concept of Black Friday is obviously – as with the pumpkins – another American tradition we have nicked. The fact that we are now advertising it weeks in advance can only be trumped by the fact that some shops are having a pre-Black Friday sale.

At this rate, life will be one long sale. Why bother ever selling a sausage at full price when you can flog it for being as cheap as chips?

Or at least by pretending 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 time over Christmas, they also held the much-anticipated new year sales.

The clue was in the name – they were held only in the new year. So not until January, and because the shops would be closed on January 1st, they wouldn’t commence until at least the 2nd.

If the 1st happened to fall upon a Sunday, then the shops wouldn’t even open again until Tuesday 3rd because the bank holiday would roll over to the Monday.

Alas, none of this happens anymore. Last week I heard one poor sales assistant in a ladies’ clothing shop being told that yes, she would be working Boxing Day, but they’d try and make it easier by setting everything up before they left on Christmas Eve.

One puny festive day away from work. Whether you’re a fan of Christmas or not, and whether you’re religious or not, surely this continual milking of everyone’s resources – both financial and physical – is not sustainable for the long-term?

There was just something a bit more special about a world that actually slowed down for just a little while each year.

Obviously emergency services and so forth continue apace, but for the standard employee of the standard shop, I cannot help but feel sympathy for the incessant positioning of their noses at the grindstone.

Are you elderly if you still have a spring in your step? 

One of my children told me they’ve been taught that a person who is 65 and above is officially classed as being elderly. 

Does this not seem a tad premature? Maybe I’m fortunate to have always been surrounded by lively and spry relatives.

To me, there is no real definition of elderly unless some form of serious infirmity sets in.

We all get to the stage when we realise ageing does actually exist and we’re not 18 forever, but to be consigned to elderly when you’re still full of your zest for life seems rather depressing. 

Medical advances have been such that humans live far longer now.

Perhaps we need to update our terminology too.

Changing dirty nappies at 50? Not for me, thanks

The news that a 50 year-old grandmother has become a mother of quads shocked me on only one level, and that is her willingness to return to the days when you feel drugged with exhaustion.

When you are so tired that you could stick pins in your fingernails and not feel it.

Even when the kids become more independent it’s still exhausting. Somebody likened this stage of parenting as akin to being prison guards in a young offenders’ institute.

Like being a sergeant major in a despot army of your own making.

It’s hard enough when you’re in your 30s and 40s, but to start again – with four – in your fifties?  That’s something else entirely.