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Old age pension?! Not for Anne Boleyn.

I just called the government about my old age pension – surely, given that we sixty-somethings are so incredibly perky and youthful, they should call it something else – the good times are rolling in payment plan, something like that. Anyway, no need to call, they said – vast sums will start pouring in to my bank account in September, a month after I turn 65. Can’t wait. The Ritz, here I come.

Or maybe not.

Because I just received a firm notice from RBC, announcing that as soon as I turn 65, the travel health insurance covered automatically on my Visa card drops from 15 days to 3. That means I need to buy 12 additional days of insurance every time I’m out of the country for more than a weekend. Because obviously, the minute I turn 65, I’m going to be sicker than a dog ALL THE TIME and drain RBC Insurance dry.


Who knows what 65 means any more, except RBC to whom it means obvious disintegration and decrepitude? I spent most of yesterday with my grandson, riding around the kitchen on the back of his Plasmacar, digging with him in the muddy garden, the two of us accompanying Raffi on the record player, I on the tambourine and he banging a pot with a spoon, and then we went to Yogurtys for frozen yogurt with sprinkles. I was wearing skinny jeans, sneakers with hot pink laces and a Paul McCartney concert t-shirt my daughter picked up in the free bin at her local drop-in centre. As Gloria Steinem so famously sort of said, this is what 65 looks like. Whereas my own two grandmothers, in their girdles and dresses and good grown-up shoes, seemed old long before they received their own old age pensions.

I’m not much bothered by my advancing age, what would be the point? I do put a selection of the less expensive lotions and potions on my face, though I know it’s hopeless, the wrinkles increase exponentially. I catch a glimpse in the mirror and say OHMYGOD. Used to be so proud of my eyesight and now am constantly searching for my reading glasses. Spent the morning having a fasting blood test because of osteoporosis. My back aches when I get up in the morning.

But I spent yesterday on the back of a Plasmacar behind its two year-old driver. And as Beth Kaplan famously likes to say, it doesn’t get better than that.

Spent Sunday night in the heaven of the last “Wolf Hall” – unforgettably good drama, brilliantly written, directed, acted. The execution of Anne Boleyn will never leave me – she was a nasty bit of work and yet we cared about her trembling desperate end, just as we cared so very deeply about Cromwell as he lost his soul. Though it is set hundreds of years ago, everything it says about ambition, corruption, greed, lust, status, pride – all the sins – holds true today.

But mostly – it’s lit by Mark Rylance as Cromwell. As good as acting gets. I can’t imagine ever seeing a deeper, more intelligent, wise, confident and generous performance. More, please.

Incidentally, just heard from Lynn in France. Her daughter Sarah and her 3 children, who left Kathmandu for r and r last week after enduring the earthquake, were due to fly back today, but the airport there has closed due to yet another earthquake. So they are all safely in Montpellier where they just went swimming in the Mediterranean. “How much hardship can one small country take?” wrote Lynn. It’s unbearable. But at least one small family is safe.



2 Responses to “Old age pension?! Not for Anne Boleyn.”

  1. theresa says:

    I'm really looking forward to Wolf Hall, Beth, having loved the book. I don't watch television usually but John called down a few weeks ago to say, Do you want to watch Wolf Hall? And oh, yes. But we'd missed the first three episodes so I decided I'd rather wait till the whole thing comes around again. (I know, people do something called streaming but we are very rural here and our internet connection is slow and a bit capricious…) Can't wait anyway.

  2. beth says:

    I saw the first episode in France, streamed on Lynn's small computer. Missed the next three travelling, and only saw the last two on my big TV. So I will definitely be waiting impatiently to watch it again, as well. I loved the book too, a phenomenal feat of re-invention and creation, bringing that far-away world so vividly to life.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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