The joy of grandparenting

It was interesting to read the article about older people without grandchildren written by Kirsty Woodward, co-founder of Ageing Without Children. My husband and I were unable to have children of our own so we adopted two lovely babies in the 1980s. We are now the proud grandparents of a 5 year old granddaughter.

So I know exactly how horrible it feels when insensitive remarks like “when are we going to hear the patter of tiny feet?” are voiced by supposedly caring “friends” and relatives who have been able to breed copiously.

We were lucky enough to have a family but if you don’t there are so many ways you can become involved with children and become a surrogate grandparent. Primary schools are constantly crying out for retired people to help with reading and numeracy in the classroom, help on school trips and voluntary school governors. Churches always need willing helpers at Sunday School etc. There are various charities helping young single mums to learn how to parent and even if you’ve never been one, your huge experience of a life well lived more than qualifies you for this role. Don’t be afraid to volunteer as you will have all the necessary security checks in place before you are allowed to help anyway.

There is nothing more satisfying than watching the next generations grow and mature into responsible young adults and the rewards are far greater than you can imagine.

Bridget Frew, Worthing

Internet – no thanks

With reference to your article in the September issue ‘Are You Well Connected? ’ I am one of the 5 million British over 65s without internet skills because I choose not to have them. I am literate and numerate and I like to think reasonably intelligent, having benefitted from a grammar school education. You may think it paranoid but I will not be dissected like a laboratory specimen with my every activity leaving an electronic footprint available to government agencies, commercial organisations and sundry other busy-bodies who want to make my business theirs.

I am financially comfortable but object to the ridiculous prices asked for electronic gee-gaws and the packages associated with them. Its, not that I am unable to afford them. The much vaunted savings that apparently are available to me if I use the internet are irrelevant. My basic needs are simple!

Any information I need comes from my own small library or public ones. Slow it may be but much more pleasurable and socially more rewarding. I am not important and so my life would be of no interest to ‘tweeters’ in the way that their banal existence is of absolutely no interest to me. Only my family matters interest me, and the rest of the world, considering the mess it’s in, does not impact me. I enjoy the privacy and the calm of my parallel world and the contentment it brings me.

Finally, it occurred to me that you may wonder what age I am. I am 77 and thus very easy for me to take the stance outlined above … a privilege of being retired.

Mr R Morris, Stoney Stantoncomputer and phone Free for commercial use  No attribution required credit pixabay

Help to get on line

I picked up a copy of your newspaper for the first time in our local library and was very interested in most of the articles.

How I agree with Mrs. Wall that the assumption these days that everyone has access to, and understands, computers. As us oldies know, that is certainly not the case. I am lucky as I have an iPad but not everyone can afford a computer. As most things the Government (and employers) require of us have to be done on the Internet it is a government responsibility to find a way to get all older people online.

Mrs. J Gray, Leicester


On the subject of your main article: digital radios, mobile phones, computers, seem to have been designed by a secret society of geeks with confusing, non-intuitive, over capacity.

Manuals have to be re-read every time the heating controls or car clock need altering.

Development is still highly fluid, so there is still ongoing expense in obsolescence; standardisation and simplification are vital. What is good for the third world is good for us.

Otherwise write letters, cut hedges by hand and visit shops – it may be a godsend for those with limited mobility, but does it actually ‘threaten mobility’?

Alex Paton, Leeds

In praise of the BBC

Like Howard Robinson (Letters, September) I admire the BBC and worry about its future. It provides massive choice and ought be cherished, especially by Mature Times readers. Sure there’s dross among its output, but also gems, just look through the listings. Howard perhaps betrays his true attitude towards the BBC. Instead of emphasising it takes ‘millions of pounds from almost every family in the country’ it would present a fairer and more relevant picture had he said that it costs each household (yes household) less than 40p a day. The NHS apart, there’s no better bargain in the country. Defend it to the hilt: It may not be there for our grandchildren.

David Miles, London SE22

Daytime TV

I used to watch daytime TV but now I’ve got another job. I preferred it when they showed more old movies on the “terrestrial five.” Your list reminded me of my advice to the unemployed – go out every day, go to the library and read, keep up your hobbies and interests, never stop hoping and dreaming – and don’t watch the Jeremy Kyle show! If you weren’t depressed before, you will be after.

Mark Taha, London

No Mrs Thatcher?

In the article on the age of politics, when looking at the gender of female statesmen and women you, for some unknown reason, seemed to forget our unforgettable first female Prime Minister, Mrs. Margaret Thatcher; rather a large mistake to make.

Ann Patricia O Riordan by e mail