Ray King: life is precious
“Raymond, we are all living too long!” These few words came as a surprise to me, particularly as they were expressed by a good friend and neighbour. As far as I knew she was nowhere near what one usually thinks of as “old age”. She was always extremely active and played golf several times a week. I never did get the opportunity to ask her if she ever felt like an old person.
If she really meant those words then I would have to disagree with her. I believe that life should be extended for as long as one’s health allows a reasonable quality of life. There can be no doubt in my mind that life is extremely precious. My 3 score and 10 passed by without me really noticing but I must say that the years since then speed by with ever increasing frequency.
These thoughts became even more apparent when I spoke recently to my lifelong friend Billy Priest. Billy and his brother Alan both lost their wives and, not too long ago, their mother Nellie. Both Nellie and her good friend Connie Mossman both passed their century some years ago but when last I heard Connie was 105! As Billy and I caught up on so many things he told me that 4 of my long- standing friends had passed away while I have been living in Thailand: George Shanks, a friend from my school days, Ralph Tweddle, a friend from my time in Radcliffe, Ernie Bell, an excellent referee who reached county standard, and Ronnie Pringle who played in the Council School football and cricket teams and later with Amble Cricket Club. I believe all four reached around the 90 mark which rather highlights the fact that I shall be 90 in August. So Penny, I do hope that you not only approach old age with extreme optimism but also enjoy it to the full.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the wonderful friends that I have left behind in Amble. How could I ever forget the Ormston family: Ernie, Edna, Sarah and Connie, who came to my and Norma’s aid in our hour of need. That was the time when we returned to Amble with 4 suitcases after having tried to make a life for ourselves in Florida. The help and support they gave us was unbelievable and I shall always be in their debt.
They also supported me when I was arrested on false charges, caught up in a court case and acquitted. It almost cost me my life.
The stress I underwent caused me to have embolisms in my legs and my lungs and I was hospitalized four times. Ernie and Edna brought Norma to see me every day during my lengthy stays in Wansbeck hospital. The ensuing court case at Newcastle Crown Court was documented in both local and national newspapers and I shall not recount it here except to say that Edna and several other wonderful ladies gave evidence on my behalf which contributed to all charges being dropped.
Norma often said that Edna was not only her friend but her very best friend!
A young Indian woman, who was the manager of the apartment building in Bangkok where we used to stay, once said to Norma, “Old age is golden, embrace it!!” I’ll leave you to ponder that one.