On Sunday I did the first leg of a walk along the North Downs Way/Pilgrims Way. It goes past Canterbury Cathedral and ends up at Dover. It starts in Farnham. There are 8 of us who do this walk – four couples – and we have just completed walking from the source of the Thames to the Barrier. Incidentally, the Thames path is a visionary example of local councils working together to give the public access to the river bank. And great fun, particularly if you like walking on the flat. The source was the most exciting.
One of our number has just passed his 60th birthday (but did the 12 miles comfortably). He is thrilled with his new freedom pass, but over dinner the night before the walk we all decided he shouldn’t have it. Nothing has changed about his life as a result of being 60. He is still working, he lives in the same house, he can still afford to pay to travel, just as he could when he was 59. Clearly, when he stops working, it may be different, and he has never been paid well, so I don’t begrudge him the pass. Indeed it is good for him to be able to save a bit of money, especially since he has a new grandson. But there is a lot less money to go round these days and we do need to be careful about where the public sector spends it.
Mind you when the rest of us in the group reach 60, we may think differently . . .