‘older women in film group’ reunion

Our  Brent U3A Older Women in Film Group gave way in 2009 to the Lexi screening of films featuring old people.  We had lost contact and organised a reunion this January. It was extremely difficult to find a common date and six of us eventually managed to find time in our busy schedule.

In the year of Active Ageing when we are  exhorted to be active  it is important to note what  this little group of women spend their time doing.

A. B. (84)  : an active member of AGLOW (association of Greater London Older Women), WIB (women in Black), WILPF (Women International League for Peace and Freedom). Edits the Older Feminist Network Newsletter. HIV befriender.   Poet and Photographer.

E. D. (79): helps with childcare when needed. Working part-time as social worker practice educator. Active member of British Association of Social work and the Social Work History Network. Active in the local church and the local Labour Party.

R.R. (77) : researches the representation of older women in film, programmes and presents a monthly screening at the local cinema.  Blogger. Runs a French conversation class at the local U3A. Manager of the Older Feminist Website. One-day-a-week carer for an old relative with mental health problems. Family crisis support.

D.B. (74): Primary School Governors Vice-Chair, Volunteer at school giving 1:1 support to children who need extra help with their learning, Chair of a charity giving support to children and families with refugee/asylum backgrounds. volunteer helper with the after school club.

ST .(69): Secretary of local constituency Labour Party, free-lance work escorting cultural tours and training new tour managers. Supports 96-year-old mum in care home. Looks after grandchildren during school holidays, environment campaigning.

The 6th member (68)  did not want to provide details.

All of us have cultural and social activities and a diversity of hobbies which doubtless add to the economy: theatre, cinema, folk music and concerts, travel, art exhibitions, history group, reading and discussion group,  photography, gardening, rambling, singing in choir. Seeing female friends is an important part of our private lives.

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deafness

On the occasion of his exhibition at the Royal Academy David Hockney was interviewed on the BBC. He mentioned frankly how his deafness limits him from engaging socially.

I felt curiously comforted that this aspect of ageing was touched upon on national TV, by a famous person,  as a matter of fact and not in a specialised programme on old people.   Will viewers take more care when they are in a noisy environment with an old person  who looks abstracted as I and some friends do?

New Year Thought.

I used to be known for my optimism at the beginning of a New Year assuring everybody with worries and problems – including me –  that things will be fine. I realise this year that for the first time I do not project any thoughts into the New Year.  The children and grandchildren are adults now and responsible for themselves. On the eve of my seventy seventh birthday I am very aware that every day is a bonus day.

If as so many middle age women keep saying that 60 is the new 40. 70 is definitely not the new 50. Some of my closest friends have died in the last few years, others are disabled and some are wonderfully healthy, some creative and active. Live day-to-day with uncertainty. Need to explore this.

rr