For years I have wondered why old people got up so early. I mean, here we all are, slogging our guts out doing jobs we hate, raising families, doing chores, desperate for a break. Aren’t we all secretly looking forward to retirement? The chance to stay in bed till noon, watching Homes under the Hammer and eating cheese toasties?
Yet when I do the school run, or go for a morning run, there they all are: old people. Opening curtains, getting in cars, popping to the shops in hats and gloves. ‘Go back to bed!’ I want to shout. What are they all doing up so early? If I didn’t have to get up for the children, or for work, I swear I’d sleep all day.
So yesterday I asked my neighbour, a gentle elderly man, from whom kindness seems to radiate. He remembers the names of all the children in the street, helps with the church coffee morning, tends his vegetable patch.
‘Don’t you ever have a lie-in?’ I asked, as he waved us on our way to the school bus.
‘None of us knows how many days we’ve got left,’ he said, with a wink. ‘I wouldn’t want to waste one.’
He’s right, of course.