A few months ago I took my wife and a friend to see a couple of stately homes in Derbyshire. An hour after setting off my satnav took us off of the main roads into wooded countryside and my passengers gave out a plaintiff cry. Not one of those I recall from earlier years; “are we nearly there” or “I need a wee” but ” I could murder a latte”.
We had passed the urban, cafe laden, avenues and now they want a coffee! Suddenly in the middle of nowhere a sign points to a museum with a coffee shop and I am instructed to veer off to the left. A few minutes later we arrived at a courtyard, originally the stabling block of a country house, and did indeed find a cafe.
We enter to a sea of grey hair and walking sticks. It was like walking into a school reunion and wondering who the old people were. But of course we also had grey hair and they were our contemporaries.
Why middle England pensioners had descended upon this location I do not know but it was rammed and we had to wait for a seat. Our coffee and buns duly arrived and as the elevenses hour passed the cafe quickly emptied as though people had to leave before the next grey brigade arrived for lunch.
During the next two days at coffee, lunch and dinner stops, and at the two stately homes, we remained surrounded by people of a certain age. It was mid-week and it dawned on us that we were on the Grey Trail.
That should not have been a surprise given that 50% of the U.K.’s consumer spending comes from the grey pound and those same over 50’s account for 76% of the nations wealth. Now these baby-boomers, of which I am one, who have accumulated wealth over a lifetime of full employment and final salary pension schemes are now spending their kids inheritance.
Anyway only a few days to go before I will be spending my way along my own solo Grey Trail.