To Tango is Divine!

If you would like to read the full article about the highs and lows of learning to dance Argentine tango in my 60s, why not sign up for membership of The Joy Club (for those over 65), and discover the many online activities, talks and articles it has to offer.

Stay safe; stay strong; stay smiling.


Maggy x


This Age Thing – Ageing Joyfully

Sam Toft

“If not now, when?”

This quote, by Hillel the Elder (110 BC – AD10), has always appealed to me but never more so than right now, when each New Year seems to arrive more rapidly than the last. Having reached 70, I’m only too aware of fewer decades ahead than I’ve so far enjoyed. Although we are living longer, life is not (yet!) infinite and I have a lot of living to do in however much time I have left. 

“The future depends on what you do today” (Gandhi)

Ageism and popular stereotypes fuel the perception that people enter a stage of increasing and inevitable decrepitude and dependency as they get older. But, having now joined the swelling ranks of ‘seniors’ ‘oldies’ ‘the elderly’ (or any of the other unappealing names), I’ve found this stereotype, as all others, to be just plain wrong. Sadly, many people are not benefitting from our increasing life expectancy, and have fewer years in which they enjoy reasonably good health, and we know that these disparities in health and longevity are largely down to circumstances outside people’s control. But research, evidence, and happily my own experience, show that most of us can make a positive and significant difference to our later life through our actions, behaviours, and attitudes. Lifestyles are crucial to maximising our chances of a healthier and longer life. Theodore Roosevelt said “Old age is like everything else…to make a success of it, you’ve got to start young”. Whilst it’s obviously preferable to ‘future proof’ your later life as soon as possible, I’ve discovered it is also never too late to start.

“The more you praise and celebrate life, the more there is in life to celebrate” (Oprah Winfrey)

In my 60s, I became involved in a charity for older people called Open Age ( ), joining a wide range of the physical and creative activities it offers, from Pilates to Spanish and singing, which I enjoy to this day. I was so grateful for the improved health, happiness and social benefits which resulted, that I became a member trustee and now Vice Chair. Open Age’s members (some in their 90s and older) defy the stereotypes of old age; they learn new skills, keep active in body and mind, make new friends, have fun and more. The charity provides a brilliant model of how to help us age better. Happily, there are a large number of online or live classes and courses, provided by charities or other organisations. Open Age inspired me to try to counteract the negativity that still prevails around ageing, publicise its many positive aspects, and raise awareness on how to make the most of later life.

Believing social media would be the most effective medium, I got to grips with Twitter (with a little help from younger friends) and started my Age Joyfully @AgeingBetter account. I was delighted to find an appetite for celebrating later life and learning how to age well, evidenced by my growing band of around 8,400 followers.

“If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves” (Thomas Edison)

However, many of my contemporaries won’t touch Twitter and one or two suggested I should write a book as the time-honoured way of conveying information. One of the many joys of retirement is having more time to try new things and discover one’s passions. With nothing to lose, and possibly something to gain, I thought that I should see what I was capable of. So, with some trepidation, I decided to have a go at writing my first book, a small, uplifting and accessible read on what research tells us about living better for longer. I also saw a possible opportunity to raise a few pounds for Open Age – if the book ever got published and sold copies – by donating half of any royalties to them.   

I soon realised I loved writing and creating what eventually became ‘How to Age Joyfully: Eight Steps to a Happier, Fuller Life.’ You can probably imagine my total incredulity and joy when my pitch to my first-choice publishers was successful. This fairy story continued with Dame Judi Dench writing the Foreword and praise being received from the health and ageing worlds. And best of all, people are reading the book here and abroad in hardback and Kindle, or listening to the Audiobook, enabling me to donate funds to Open Age. I have astounded myself!

Age Joyfully appeared in 2019 when I was 68. I cannot describe how magical it is to hold your published book in your hands and see your words in print. Becoming an author was never in the retirement plan, but it has given me a new direction and an entry into a fascinating new world after a 40-year career as a barrister and civil servant dealing with the administration of justice. 

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough” (Mae West)

The eight steps in my book are obviously not original, although I think its style and format, light-hearted but evidence-based with a large number of relevant quotes and practical tips, is unique in a book on ageing. In summary, the recommended actions, attitudes or behaviours are:

  • physical activity – move more, sit less (MOVE);
  • eating the right foods, in the right quantity; avoiding obesity (EAT RIGHT);
  • having a purpose – ‘ikigai’ (PURPOSE);
  • making and retaining strong social connections (CONNECT);
  • lifelong learning and trying new experiences (GROW); 
  • being grateful for what you have and who you are (BE GRATEFUL); 
  • giving to others – and yourself (GIVE); and 
  • having a positive attitude to life and ageing (BE POSITIVE).  

I’m immensely proud of ‘How to Age Joyfully’ and huge thanks are due to my publishers. I strongly believe it can help people age better, whether they are aged 19 or 91, and the pandemic has made it even more relevant. It has highlighted what is truly important in life, whatever our age, including our physical and mental health, family and friends, living a life with meaning, and enjoying the present moment, especially when the future is uncertain. These components of a good life had become clear to me when planning and researching the book, and I think it is what most older people already know and value. This probably helps to explain why research shows that happiness increases in later life (‘The U Curve of Happiness’). 

“We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once” (Friedrich Nietzsche)

Apart from spreading the word on positive ageing, another new later life passion of mine is dancing (badly). I only started in my late 50s and it was life-changing, physically, mentally and socially. My mantra is “You don’t stop dancing because you get old. You get old because you stop dancing” and readers of my book will notice the benefits of dancing feature more than once! As my husband is not a keen dancer, it’s lucky there are many group classes and styles that don’t require a partner, from ballet to belly dancing. I even joined a performance dance company for older people. Last year I decided that dance and dancing deserved a book all of its own and during the pandemic began writing it. Who knows whether it will ever get published and raise a bit of money for a dance charity, especially as I’m not the only person to have written a book in the last two years!

“Ageing is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength” (Betty Friedan)

I greeted 2022, as every year, with a sense of excitement and hope that I’ll be able to enjoy it to the full. I may have retired from paid work but certainly not from life. Longer term, I have no idea what this decade as a septuagenarian will bring. My 60s gave me some of the happiest years of my life, and I see no reason why this decade should be any different, so long as my ‘good enough’ health lasts. So far, I’m ageing joyfully and for me that’s predominantly about enjoying close, strong relationships, having reasons to get out of bed in the morning, doing my bit to help others and remaining involved in, and grateful for, all life has to offer. I plan to continue various voluntary roles which I find deeply rewarding and want to develop my new interest in making clay sculptures.  And, of course, I intend to keep dancing for as long as I’m able to move. But if something completely different comes along, then I’m up for it, as I believe that I (like so many older people) now have the experience, skills, freedom, confidence and time to do almost anything – so long as it’s not sky-diving or marathon running. After all, as Hillel said, if not now, when?   

NOTE: Do check out and join This Age Thing, a place for all to share stories, be listened to, take action and make tangible, positive changes. Their goal is to build a strong and united community, become a powerful voice, a sounding board and world changer, redesigning a world to help us all live longer, healthier and happier.

Twitter @thisagething_


A Bit of Soul Baring

I’m not sure whether I qualify as a ‘fascinating… inspiring” or even an “interesting” older person, but nevertheless I was delighted to feature in the ‘In Conversation’ spot of the October edition of Shine magazine.

This blog reproduces that interview which covers my growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, inspirational role models, retirement, what brings me joy and quite a lot more.

Grateful thanks to all at Time to Shine, in Leeds.

I’m very much looking forward to coming up to Leeds (now re-scheduled for 20th January 2022) to give a live, in person, presentation, and to be able to meet people face to face. And there will also be some dancing. How wonderful is all that! Fingers crossed.

In the meantime, I hope readers enjoy this interview.

I’m always interested to hear what brings joy to people in later life. Do let me know or post/ tag. me on Twitter at Age Joyfully @AgeingBetter.

Stay safe; stay strong; stay smiling.


Maggy. x


The Best of Times

‘How to Age Joyfully’ – an article in ‘Fellowship News’ 2021 Autumn/ Winter.

“Ageing is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.”

Betty Friedan

I hope you will enjoy a piece I recently wrote for the magazine of the Civil Service Retirement Fellowship. It is reproduced below.

The Civil Service Retirement Fellowship is a national charity helping former civil servants and their dependants make the most of their retirement.

Stay safe; stay strong; stay smiling.


Maggy. x


It’s born!

My audiobook is out and I’m totally thrilled – even if only a handful buy it!

How it began

I hadn’t thought about producing one, as getting a hardback published was more than I’d ever dreamed of. But, almost imperceptibly, a trickle of people began asking if How to Age Joyfully existed in an audiobook format. I remember one saying that her mum would love it, but sadly her eyes were no longer up to reading. Another said she’d like to listen to it whilst walking her daily steps thereby getting two benefits for the price of one – audiobooks had become her new passion during the pandemic.

A tiny bit of market research

So, I asked around and the feedback was positive. ‘Go for it’ was the overall message. An audiobook would be less effort for some older readers; there were many with visual impairments; one could listen whilst cleaning, gardening, walking, at the gym, driving, or in bed; it could be played to a group, in a care or community setting…..

Audiobook sales were booming for good reason I was informed – they are wonderful! I was sold, despite, I confess, not having been a listener myself.

A journey of discovery

I then faced the challenge of discovering how on earth you produce an audiobook and get it out there. I needed ‘Audiobooks For Dummies’ but Mr Google was a start. Fate, or luck, intervened. I belong to an inspiring Society of Authors Non-Fiction Group, stuffed full of amazing authors producing books on such varied topics as Egyptology, the benefits of swearing, Charles Dickens, Iranian culture, how to think like Steve Jobs, Obama and countless others, and the joy of heartbreak! And ageing joyfully, of course.

At one of our, now regular, Zoom meetings, I asked these literary experts for advice. Incredibly, an audiobook producer was in our midst! Nartan Rose, for it was she, suggested we had an informal chat and, as they say, the rest is history.

Can someone else truly convey your story?

Nartan was wonderful and made the whole process a delight – well, for me anyway.

She advised on the key issue of narrator. I hadn’t realised how crucial it is to get the right voice to read words you have agonised over and which are deeply personal – at least that’s how I felt. In print they’re still yours as you read them, but hearing someone else say them is a very different matter. It took a couple of replays to get used to a stranger’s voice and appreciate how good it sounded.

Several had said I should read the book myself but I’m so glad I didn’t – it’s a real and significant talent which I do not possess.

We agreed it would be best to have a woman, roughly my age, to read my text, and a man to read the 150 plus quotes, largely to differentiate the two. But I also realised, for the first time, that the large majority of the quotations are by men. This was perhaps inevitable (given they date back to the Ancient Greeks) but is disappointing nonetheless.

Both narrators, Helen Lloyd and James Gillies, were perfect and I’m deeply indebted to them, and of course Nartan, for delivering my later life ‘baby’ so skilfully and joyfully.

Audiobooks have many varied benefits

I have listened to How to Age Joyfully and it is a completely different experience to reading and one that brings its own special rewards. It’s true you miss the great design (thanks to my publishers, Summersdale Publishers Ltd) and I do love holding a book and being able to flip back and forth.

But there’s no doubt having a wonderful voice in your head brings the words to life. Audiobooks are immersive and intimate.

More generally, research shows they help build and enhance literacy skills, such as comprehension, vocabulary, language acquisition and pronunciation. I stood corrected on how to say the names of some of the famous people quoted in my book!

Audiobooks have also been shown to boost mood and disrupt negative thinking.

They can help you get to sleep, perhaps even if you’re trying to listen!

Time is saved if you’re doing something else as well, such as exercising, and certainly make chores far more enjoyable.

You may end up ‘reading’ a lot more books, and with a great narrator may get more out of the books than from a hard copy.

If you usually read e-books, listening gives your eyes a well earned rest, especially nowadays when we spend so much time looking at a screen.

And studies have found they’re just as good for you as reading, stimulating the same cognitive and emotional areas.


Why not try an audiobook if you’ve never done so. Any topic, genre – the choice is endless . But just in case you’re tempted by How to Age Joyfully, here’s my Audiobook page where you can listen to a sample, and find a link to where it’s available. And it’s free with an Audible trial!

Stay safe; stay strong; stay smiling.


Maggy x


Happy 70th Birthday – to Me!

I’ve made it!

I can’t believe I’ve reached 70 and can now call myself a septuagenarian – although I also liked being a sexagenarian! And I feel pretty good, like Keith Richards!

A whole new decade awaits and there’s so much I still want to achieve before I hit 80, 90…I have made a little list.

‘Don’t admit your age’…

…..has been the advice from a few. But why ever not? I’m proud to be 70, not in the least ashamed or wanting to hide it. For example, I absolutely love the balloons (pictured above) that my daughter sent me and I’ve put a photo of them on Instagram.

‘Age is just a number’

I know some people say that believing ‘age is just a number’ is ageist. I disagree. For a start there are different types of age, for example chronological and biological, and they can vary considerably.

Secondly, I feel that the number of years I’ve lived on this planet is only important for claiming my pension and Freedom Pass, qualifying for early vaccinations, and senior discounts. Otherwise my age is irrelevant.

I feel 35!

What matters is how old – or young – you feel, and I feel about 35.

I admit that whenever I read that someone is over 65 (why do they always give ages, anyway?) my immediate reaction is that they are getting on a bit. Then I remember that’s me! I suppose if that’s my internalised picture of what over 65 looks like, that’s me being ageist. And, if I think that, there’s little hope for the perceptions that younger generations have of older people.

So, I proclaim my age at every opportunity, and try to show that, at 70, you can still have much to accomplish and enjoy. I’m still curious, learning new things, dancing (including the jive)… and even using social media, although I confess that TikTok has rather passed me by!

But with a lot more experience than a 35 year old!

One of many wonderful things about getting older is you still feel young inside, but, with a bit of luck, you will have accumulated a good deal of experience and hopefully some wisdom about life and what really matters. And probably, if the research is to be believed, you will be feeling happier.

You can also use this maturity to help those that are coming up behind you – which will make you feel even better!

And beginning to realise that you’re not immortal does wonders for enjoying each day you’re still here, and feeling grateful for what you have and can do, rather than hankering after what you lack.

A Message to you Young(er) Folk

Scrumptious Birthday Tea

Can I say to all those who have yet to turn 70, it’s great (so far anyway!) and I believe that, as Robert Browning said, ‘the best is yet to be’. You are in control of most aspects of your life and can do much to influence how good your future will be. (And if you need some help try my book, ‘How to Age Joyfully: Eight Steps to a Happier, Fuller Life’)!!

So, don’t fear, or deny your age. Celebrate with cake, chocolates, drinks, flowers, friends or whatever brings you joy. I had a wonderful night away with my dear husband and beloved children. What more could anyone want? Well, a little sunshine would have been nice…

Stay safe; stay strong; stay smiling.


Maggy x


Oh Frabjous Days!

I’ve seen the way ahead and it’s looking good!


… includes appreciating the small things, seeing the positives in a situation and keeping expectations realistic.

I love London and could never live anywhere else. But, even for this Londonphile, three nights in the beautiful and sunny New Forest, gave us much joy. Being our first holiday for almost a year made it especially precious.

Pandemic on pause

Our stay was wonderful, almost obliterating the stresses of this past year. We’ve been lucky compared to many, but getting away made us realise how much we needed a change from the Groundhog Days of the pandemic.

Instead of our normal restricted routine, we revelled in some fabulous walks in outstanding scenery, thanks to the National Parks and Forestry England.

We saw more ponies than people – so no worries about social distancing and not a mask in sight!

Walks with maps …or apps

You can use an app suggesting various forest walks if you’re into technology, rather than the paper maps of the ‘old days’. And, if you’re as clueless as I am about plants and flowers, amazing identifier apps, such as ‘Candide’, will increase your knowledge and appreciation of what you’re looking at.

I actually managed to exceed last month’s total step count in two days, even with a wonky hip. My physio will be delighted!

My trusty staff for comfort!

Pampered to perfection!

We were lucky to find a hotel which looked after us superbly. We couldn’t quite forget Covid, reminded by numerous sanitisers, a one-way system, masks and timed sittings for meals, but hugely appreciated the comprehensive efforts made to keep guests safe and well.

One highlight was finally having a short respite from buying and then cooking (unexciting) meals continually since March 2020. We savoured dishes far beyond my limited culinary abilities…. and no washing up afterwards!

No Zoom meetings. Instead, time to sit and stare, listening to birds, not traffic.

Time also to read. If you want ‘an exquisite ode to the natural world’ (set in the coastal marshes of North Carolina) can I recommend the mesmerising, beautifully written, best-selling novel ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ written by the scientist Delia Owens. With four million copies sold, chances are you’ve already found it. But if you haven’t, treat yourself. I didn’t think it would be my type of book – how wrong I was.

And after a day of self-indulgence, we slept deeply, with stomachs full but heads empty of their usual diet of depressing news.

Our holiday ended with a short train journey home, rather than flights, delays, or added expense caused by our location suddenly changing its traffic light status, or tests and quarantines required.

‘This precious stone set in the silver sea’

Shakespeare wrote this, and more, in praise of England, in his play ‘Richard II’. (Although sadly he was wrong about it being a ‘fortress built by Nature for herself against infection’!)

We intend to further explore our home country, as there are so many places we’ve never visited. With my reaching 70 this month, it’s probably about time to discover the varied countryside, historic towns, culture and heritage of ‘this sceptred isle’. We really enjoyed Susan Calman’s ‘Grand Days Out’, and Joanna Lumley’s ‘Home Sweet Home’ on TV during lockdown, and now want to see more of the UK for ourselves.

‘This blessed plot..this England’ awaits

So, we’ve booked a couple more mini breaks in England which we’re much looking forward to. The rest of the world will have to wait.

Any recommendations?

I do hope you also get a holiday. Any recommendations gratefully received on Twitter @AgeingBetter.
I’m making a little list…

Stay safe; stay strong; stay smiling.


Maggy x



The Hold of Handbags

Extract from a poster by Patrick Hughes. An Old Vic production of ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’.

I Love Handbags

I confess to a long-standing addiction to handbags. I won’t say how many I’ve collected over the years, but it’s a lot. They come in various sizes, shapes and styles, from traditional to increasingly colourful and quirky now that I no longer work.

There’s only one requirement – it has to be capacious enough to hold all my junk, unless it’s a posh evening bag. And, ever since I was mugged and my bag stolen, I favour ‘cross-body’ bags; sadly, there is a gap in the market for great designs – please note any handbag designers reading this! Usually the best you can hope for is an optional long strap. Is it an ageist thing I wonder?

A few unusual styles

Don’t you just love this one (not mine sadly)?:

‘Hector’ handbag. Thos Browne. 2019. V & A collection
‘Fudge the Fashionista, Let Them Eat Cake’ Franco Moschino 1996. V & A collection.

Or what about these?

‘The House’ Handbag Lulu Guinness. 1998. V & A collection.
Evening Bag. Judith Leiber. V & A collection.
Another from my favourite handbag designer Lulu Guinness
International Woman. Tracey Emin. 2004 V & A collection.

Then the unimaginable happened…

The pandemic arrived. This last year has been terrible for so many in countless ways but, this being a joyful blog, I’m not dwelling on that here and now.

Instead, I’m highlighting an unhappy consequence that affected me. I’ve not seen it mentioned although I suspect I’m not the only one affected. For months we only went out for exercise. Shops were closed. There was nowhere to go. The result?

We didn’t need our handbags!

My cornucopia of bags lay untouched. A pocket or two, for a mask, hand sanitiser and keys, sufficed. I felt as if I’d lost an arm and suffered serious withdrawal symptoms. In any event, most of my bags would have been unsuitable accessories for my new uniform of track pants.

And then, to my horror, it became almost liberating not bothering with a handbag. Things were getting serious.

Fortunately at this point…


With a more normal existence slowly returning, I’ve re-discovered my former inseparable companions. What joy!

But I’m obviously suffering some underlying anxiety as I’ve started dreaming about handbags. Last night I woke in a cold sweat after apparently leaving my handbag at one of several places I’d visited. I was so unused to carrying one, I’d just forgotten about it, something that would never have happened before Coronavirus. I began searching frantically, retracing my steps to everywhere I’d been. Quite apart from the stress of losing the lovely bag itself, inside it was my precious Filofax diary, containing the beginnings of my roadmap back to pre-Covid life.

I’m not sure whether to take this dream at face value – worry about losing a favourite bag and its contents – or just a more generalised anxiety about being out and about in these times and after so long. But either way it was not pleasant and I hope it doesn’t recur, either in a dream, or worse still, in reality.

But the good news is…

We can now, once again, start to use all our handbags, clutches, totes, backpacks… So,

For the true handbag fans among you

May I mention the the exhibition at the V & A, Bags: Inside Out, on until January 2022, which I certainly intend to visit sometime soon. And if you want to see lots more wonderful handbags like some of the ones above, go to the museum’s collections here.

And Finally…

Remember to make time for what gives you joy, whether that happens to be handbags or something totally different, because:

Stay safe; stay strong; stay smiling.


Maggy x


‘I love dancing’ – Dinkie Flowers, age 100!

What an inspiration!

Dinkie Flowers had to be the star of my blog this week. Not only did she celebrate reaching 100 years of age on May 7th, Dinkie was dancing – as she’s been doing for the last 97 years!

‘I have never stopped’

After training at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts, Dinkie ice skated and danced all over the world, doing ballet, tap, modern – including a performance in the presence of HRH Prince Philip.

She tap danced in ‘The Greatest Dancer’ on BBC TV at 98, and continued to run a dance school, in Shoreham-by-Sea West Sussex, until lockdown hit. But even a pandemic couldn’t stop this indefatigable grandmother of four.

‘The thing is not to sit on your bum all day’

During this difficult and challenging year, Dinkie has been teaching three online dance exercise classes a week from her garage raising money for NHS Charities. Incredible.

She is a role model of How to Age Joyfully, exemplifying the book’s recommended steps including – moving, giving, having a purpose and a positive attitude, especially towards ageing.

‘I mean, how does anybody expect in this world to have a good body, walk well, feel well, if they’re not doing anything? It’s impossible’ – Dinkie Flowers

‘I think anyone can dance, even if it’s only a little’

I totally agree with this remarkable centenarian.

Having discovered dancing only in my late 50s, during the last 10 years I’ve tried dancing Argentine tango, ballet and Latin dances. I’ve also had a go at Charleston, hip-hop, flamenco, contemporary and recently re-lived the joy of disco dancing with a Zoom course at Open Age.

Some dance performances in my 60s, including at the Banqueting House, Trafalgar Square and at Westfield Shopping Centre, London (in Big Dance Pledges 2014 and 2016).

Dance for Life

Dinkie has announced ‘I shall dance until I die, until you take me out in a big box’. Hopefully she’ll be dancing for many years to come and she probably will – if sublime dancer Nureyev’s quote is accurate…

I sincerely hope I can too. I’m not a professional, not even a talented amateur, but who cares? I don’t. Dance gives me happiness, health and wellbeing. What more could one wish for at almost 70 – apart from being able to continue for another 30 years!?

My mantra is:

Illustration by Sir Quentin Blake

So, if you want to stay biologically young – whatever your chronological age – remember the wise words of the German philosopher Nietzsche:

…and follow the advice on BBC’s ‘Strictly Come Dancing‘ to ‘KEEP DANCING!’.

Stay strong; stay safe; stay smiling.


Maggy x


Happy Earth Day – every day!

22nd April, 2021, was Earth Day

So, I thought it timely to write a few words and remind ourselves…

What a wonderful world’…we inhabit

Sung by Louis Armstrong (1967)

Each ‘bright blessed day’ (to quote that great song), I’m grateful for our beautiful, diverse planet, filled with incredible creatures – us included.

During the pandemic I think we’ve all truly valued nature, our green spaces, being outdoors and the good it’s done us. There’s nothing like deprivation for appreciating what we’ve previously taken for granted. Certainly this has been true for me.

Nature takes care of us

Research shows that spending time in nature has mental health benefits, helping with problems of anxiety and depression. It can improve mood, self-esteem and confidence, decrease stress and anger, and relax us.
And being in the sun is beneficial, if you follow the necessary precautions. (As someone who’s had a brush with skin cancer, I strongly encourage you to protect yourself and avoid sunburn).

And if you walk, or do other exercise outside, you’ll be adding the physical health benefits. Meet up with others and these social connections will further contribute to your ageing better.

It’s our turn now

2021 is a key year for action on climate change and many would say not before time. For example, there was the USA’s global climate summit on Earth Day and Glasgow are hosting the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November.

‘There’s more to be seen than can ever be seen

More to do than can ever be done…

From ‘The Circle of Life’ by Tim Rice & Elton John in The Lion King

Most of us know we need to and can take steps, however small, to help preserve our global home and its inhabitants. I’m increasingly aware I should be doing more. This was brought home to me very recently when I did the World Wildlife Fund’s environmental footprint quiz . I was surprised by my disappointing score.

I’m trying to do my bit

Most of our waste is recycled into almost as many multicoloured boxes as we have pieces of furniture. And I’m delighted to have discovered a chemist that recycles empty ‘blister’ pill packs – these used to fill up most of our wheelie bin!

I try to remember to turn off lights and the taps while brushing my teeth standing on one leg (for improving balance in case you’re wondering). I try not to overfill the kettle, nor leave the TV on standby.

Plastic bags are history, apart from the odd freezer and sandwich bag. Our huge collection of plastic bags, dating back longer than I care to admit, is put to good use in my constant war against moths. I don’t feel in the least benevolently disposed towards these creatures ravaging my jumpers, particularly as, so far, they seem to be winning our battles.

Relevant charities have had my support, including ‘adopting’ two manatees from ‘Save the Manatee’. Manatees are my favourite animal ever since I saw them up close and totally fell for them. Perhaps it’s something to do with their plus size, slow movement, friendly nature and whiskers? And they have such kind eyes.

Gentle Giants

We also gave up owning a car during the pandemic, although I confess, that was largely due to our Skoda being 19+ years old. Sadly it never got to enjoy a well deserved ‘retirement’, but at least it can be recycled.

In future, we’ll probably take more staycations and fly even less than pre-coronavirus. This is probably the biggest contribution we can make. Less air travel and my (and others) discovering more of what my own country has to offer, have been positive outcomes of this pandemic. Hopefully this will continue.

But there’s a limit!

But doing all we should, or could, is hard and, frankly, I’m not up for it. I don’t know about you, dear readers?

For example, this weekend in a newspaper, I read a Green Guide on how to be more eco in your home. It contains some admirable and achievable suggestions, such as banning single use plastic water bottles, never using wipes, and washing towels less often (I do – mainly through laziness). But I draw the line at making my own plant-based milk (or drinking it), giving up toothpaste that’s in a (plastic/metal) tube, stopping streaming video programmes, buying 96 eco brand loo rolls, or swopping to reusable toilet rolls! (I’ve done my time using terry cloth nappies – remember those? – and that experience, and smell, stay with me).

And finally

As I’ve found, giving back is as rewarding to the giver as the receiver; our earth needs our help and not just on one day a year. I will continue to do my best to follow Desmond Tutu’s inspiring advice…

…and maybe, if I try a bit harder, I’ll improve my score on the Footprint Quiz by Earth Day 2022!

Stay strong; stay safe; stay smiling.


Maggy x