Time to get together for an ‘organ recital’ | Alun Newman

My dad tells me that when he gets together with his friends they have an ‘organ recital’.

Monday, 21st June 2021, 5:58 pm
Not the kind of 'organ recital' you might have expected. Picture by Shutterstock

They each talk about which organ of the body has either stopped or is on its way out.

Sometimes they talk about what is actually working ‘well’ to speed up the conversation.

Once that is over they can get on with talking about life, sport, beer prices, or whether they should actually be doing some kind of fitness for their once-a-week meeting in the church hall.

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I have tried to convince my dad that growing old is the greatest privilege you can have. Plus in some cultures, older members of society are revered and seen with respect – a well of vital, priceless wisdom.

‘Not in my culture,’ he claims.

Then he usually adds that if I think it’s such a privilege, then I should wait until it really kicks in for me.

As for people who see ageing as the bestowing of great wisdom and older people being honoured with reverence, his response is usually: ‘Buy me a house in that culture and I’ll move in tomorrow!’

As a country, I think we have some work to do in order to see the gold in life experience.

I’m very fortunate to have kept in contact with a small group of friends. We all went to ‘first’ school together. We travelled through all our schooling and are still in touch to this day.

This is rare on several levels. Firstly, we’re all men so we struggle to send a text even months after a birthday has passed.

Secondly, without technology, I’m not sure we’d have pushed through to this point (it wouldn't have happened if we only had the regular post to rely on).

Thirdly, at least 30 per cent of adults say they hated school – and that wouldn’t just be because of maths (I know some people love maths, but I had to write something and it was the low-hanging fruit. I was going to say PE, but I liked that).

However, we all get along so well, we’ve kept the connection going.

The great thing about this group of friends is you can pick things up where you left off.

Interestingly, where we seem to have left off was when we were all about 17.

No one gets to finish a sensible story without someone else chipping in.

We drop back into the roles of who’s cleverest, who was the ‘teacher's pet’, who got into the most trouble – you know how it goes.

Well, we all met for our yearly gathering the other weekend and with the weather so good, it was perfect for the day to drift away in a pub beer garden.

There were some changes that we’d all noticed.

We’re maybe a little calmer than we used to be.

We perhaps also have more patience as we’ve realised over the years that life rarely plays out the way you think.

It could be that we’re a bit more realistic and we now value a strategy and a plan rather than a flight of fancy.

That could be this ‘ancient wisdom’ thing starting to kick in – the green shoots of Jedi genius are finally starting to grow.

However, the other thing that was duly noted was this – it’s great to be enjoying local ales and lagers in the sunshine.

But that comes at a new price.

I’ve never seen a bunch of men have to go to the toilet so often.

After a few hours, it was like some kind of relay race that had no natural ending.

That would be the ‘recital’ part of getting older my dad was talking about.

Can I break my eclipse curse?

I like cars. I’m a bit of a petrol-head, having spent many years in the motor trade.

I’m not sure what new phrase they’ll come up with when petrol is phased out.

Will people say I’m a bit of a battery-head? I think that’s unlikely.

I like my cars. Love my food. I marvel at new tech. Yet you cannot beat nature for acts of extreme beauty, like a cherry tree in full candy pink blossom.

The super moon a few weeks ago was awe-inspiring. I had to stop my car for that and take a pointless rubbish photo with my phone.

No one else is around as I drive to work at 4am. It’s the perfect time for moon-spotters (not sure that’s a thing and I’m not putting it into the internet to check).

Nature has it covered, whether it’s a flower or a bee.

With that in mind, the partial eclipse came around a while ago and I thought it would be something worth mentioning on-air – an awe-inspiring, free, natural phenomenon.

What I forgot to factor in, was that I’m ‘eclipse unlucky’.

All through my life, the day of ‘any’ eclipse – even the really big ones that get the media super-excited. Any eclipse at all.

On the day of the eclipse, it will always be cloudy over my head.

No exceptions.

I have never, ever, ever been eclipse-lucky.

I think it may be a supernatural thing – I’m forbidden to see one.

This partial eclipse was no different. 11.13am was the optimum time.

Yes, it was really cloudy. I went online to find the best place to be on planet earth for the next total eclipse – December 4. I’m determined to break the spell – the eclipse curse.

The answer to the best place on earth? Antarctica.