View from the Whitehouse

Maggy Whitehouse
Maggy Whitehouse

It’s time to admit once and for all that I am an Old Fart. Once you’ve realised that every single pocket contains Polo mints, dog kibble or chicken feed there really aren’t any other options.

All I can aim for now is becoming a magnificent Old Fart.

Horsey people are probably the best at that; farmers are pretty good and dog-owners a close third.

Cat people are, of course in their own category of bonkers but a previously un-acknowledged qualification to be an Old Fart does require you to be able to medicate your animals without losing an arm – and you have to own them.

Nobody owns a cat.In case you too are contemplating the possibility of Old Fartdom, here are the top tell-tale signs.

  1. The most sensible conversations you experience are with your dog/horse/llama/chickens even if 90% of the discussions are entirely within your own head and the rest of them are on Facebook where your dog has more friends than you.
  2. You’ll exercise said beasts daily because they need it whether or not you are beyond exhaustion, have a leg hanging off or there’s three feet of snow. And as you suffer through the hail, the wind and the pain threshold, you’ll be comforting yourself with the thought of a nice cup of tea and a ginger nut.
  3. You can comfortably make one bottle of wine last all weekend between two of you. But you can still drink anyone below 40 under the table when they’re paying.
  4. If you’re a woman, you will leave a trail of paper hankies falling out of your sleeve wherever you go. But for weddings, funerals and other posh events you carry old beautiful, embroidered linen hankies which never see the light of day.
  5. You don’t do small talk which is why you generally only go to weddings, funerals and other posh events for the free food (and you’ll take a doggy bag).
  6. You don’t care a jot whether you’ve got a good voice; you’ll sing as loud as you want to whenever you want to even if it does terrify courting couples when you’re walking your hounds in the lane at 11pm.
  7. You’ve still got one ossified, elderly relative alive and compos-mentis and they still tell you off for not cleaning the house correctly, not taking proper care of the animals, for how you dress and what you cook.
  8. Your clothes are up to 20 years old and come from the local Town and Country store — or from charity shops. You’re pretty sure you got some of Princess Anne cast-offs last time you went to see the family in Cirencester. What’s more, you love your comfortable old clothes so much that you’ll even darn them to keep them going for another year.
  9. Your favourite swear word is still ‘bloody’— which goes with everything, including Mary. 10. Anyone can rely on you for half an onion, white sugar, real tea and coffee, biscuits, chocolate, carrots, duct tape, jump leads and WD40. But never ever for a Werther’s Original.