First days should be memorable so I was quite looking forward to seeing what today was going to bring.
I should explain that having been brought up in a world where the life expectancy was three score and ten years today is the first full day of me entering my seventh decade on the planet.
Of course I know – in the words of Bill Clinton – I have more years behind me than I have to come – but that doesn’t worry me a great deal on the grounds that whatever is to come the past has been a great adventure
The adventure started on Tuesday 22nd March 1949 – bloody hell fire I’m a 40’s baby – which for those who believe in the sham that is astrology makes me an Aries child.
Mind you it was a day on which another 300,699 people entered the world which makes me wonder how many are left.
Working on the law of averages if some of us are going to live long enough to become centurions then is it selfish to hope some have already fallen by the wayside?
Anyway back to the subject – no this isn’t going to be my life story – I was the second son following my brother Stephen (1947) however what is notable is that I was the first in all of my family to be born under a new health care system that had just been introduced called the National Health Service.
For those unaware it meant that my parents didn’t have to pay for the doctor and midwife.
Or when I suffered as many of my generation did from childhood illnesses such as diphtheria and pneumonia did they have to pay for me to receive hospital treatment – before the NHS it was simply a case of “you can’t afford to pay then you can’t afford to be alive”.
The Prime Minister was one Clement Attlee who took over from our wartime PM Winston Churchill in an unexpected landslide election win in 1945 with a 12% swing from Conservatives to Labour.
It seems such a shame that seventy years after the most radical and one of the United Kingdoms greatest Prime Ministers introduced the National Health Service as an integral part of the Welfare State including a commitment to full employment and a huge social house building programme that the current Conservative Government are in the process of dismantling it.
The very same Conservative Government who is determined to to take us out of the largest trading block in the world.
Across “the pond” the President of the United States of America was also a highly intelligent forward thinking social reformer with the name Harry S. Truman.
As with Clement Attlee – Harry S. Truman was a veteran of WW1 and was in office during WW2 becoming the president upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Perhaps one of the greatest thing Harry S. Truman did was to implement the Marshall Plan to rebuild the Western Europe economy after WW2.
As a aside why isn’t General George C. Marshall better known and lauded in the USA and for that matter Western Europe?
Perhaps it is the subject of another blog?
Incidentally the King on the day of my birth as King George VI our current Queens father.
Other notable things were that WW2 rationing was still in place and would continue for some time to come.
“Cruising Down the River” by Blue Barron and his Orchestra was top of the ‘Billboard’ charts and one of the greatest screen pairings of all time Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn were starting in arguably one of the best comedy films ever ‘Adams Rib'”
Seventy years on we have Nominated for an Academy Award the film Darkest Hour all about Winston Churchill and WW2 – is it me or is it time to let it go?
So how have I spent my day?
To start with it has been much like every other day – walked our two Springer Spaniels early on and then off on a bike ride before lunch and out with the dogs in the afternoon down to the beach.
Oh! and to sit down with a glass of 40 year old port and write this.
And that I suppose is the benefit of having managed to get this far in that I can choose to live as I want.
And the future?
Well we’ll have to see how it goes but I have every intention of being around to write about something on the first day of my eighth decade on the planet.
In the meantime I’m off to enjoy the next 520 weeks.