It’s not the positive things that grandparents do that interests the population, it seems, but what Fate dishes out to them.
|Yachting star ... Jeanne gets a wonderful coverage on Yachting Monthly, but seems ignored by most of the world's media.|
Or so it seems. For instance, an oldie who actually did make the headlines in the last few days was remarkable Alf Smith who achieved …
an astonishing number years and now death.
What did the good fellow do to inspire people?
He certainly reached a staggering 111 years.
But, we might ask again, what did he do that earned him such public recognition? …
I certainly don’t mean nor want to decry Alf’s happy and very sad news, and - of course, an enormous gap exists between 111 and 76 - but Jeanne Socrates at 76 is certainly part of the oldie bracket.
She’s not doddering around the shops, shuffling unsteadily between the tv and the bathroom.
Jeanne is achieving almost the impossible for one of granny years, yet excites astonishingly little interest from the media, and scant news coverage.
She left on October 3. I’m no mathematician, but I’m pretty sure that equals 10 months of sailing alone, 24 hours a day, and virtually unhelped – give or take that brief breather in a New Zealand harbour.
|Lonely sea and the sky ... Humans are seldom to be found in the Southern Ocean where amazing albatroses battle for survival.|
And how has the media of the world responded? Yachting Monthly had an excellent piece by Katy Stickland about her.
The local paper in Canada has run a few stories, and another apparently appeared in a Californian paper but ‘for legal reasons’ we can’t see it in UK.
Of course this extraordinary lady has been lauded many times on this Sailing to Purgatory blog site.
Oh, and she made a few sentences in the New Zealand media during her resting stopover in Timaru harbour.
I’m biased. I’ve acquired quite a few years. I was a journalist for half of my working life before circumnavigating alone to became a solo Cape Horner. Then I studied at nautical college to graduate as a Department of Trade commercial yachtmaster.
However, my old and well honed-up news sense accompanies a strong concern from what I see on London high streets. You don’t have to be cynical to assume that the average Brit oldie gives up just about as soon as the retirement party ends.
Is it because of the new whacky trends of politics, which must be mystifying to even the brightest citizen of whatever age? Or is it simply life, and our way of life, that appears to rob oldies of motivation?
In need of inspiration
They – most of us – are in need of inspiration, encouragement, and a reminder that an accumulation of years doesn’t mean a premature Final Curtain to our life stories.
The media, surely, should be encouraging the population to know they don’t have to give up, that there’s more to life than gluttony and tv.
Yachtswoman Jeanne is sailing on her own around the world, right around, through all the old wild spots that our own sailing ship mariners of old feared –
the Roaring Forties,
the Southern Ocean,
and in both directions, southwards and north
and of course notorious Cape Horn.
Currently she pauses in the Pacific as not one but two huge tropical revolving storms waddle by.
Good old Alf Smith received loads of media attention for simply existing, albeit for a very long time.
Jeanne, on the other hand, is achieving almost the impossible for one of granny years, yet excites astonishingly little interest from the media, and scant news coverage.
Could it be that there simply aren’t enough elders in society to make Jeanne very newsworthy?
Age UK reports that of we 66 million Brits,
nearly 12 million are 65 or more,
5.4 million people are 75 or more,
1.6 million are aged 85 or more, and
579,776 are 90 or more.
That – 18,580,000 - sounds like a tremendous number of readers who are being ignored.
Thanks very much for visiting the mostly Tuesday and Thursday blogs for my adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory, which are introduced each time on Facebook Facebook dot com/Sailingtopurgatory and on Blogger,