Joining the Grey Trail

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. grey-coffee-drinkersBut 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.


Off to Lima

In two weeks time, I will fly out to Lima at the start of another solo post-retirement trip. I will travel around Argentina, Chile and Peru, visiting places that, for me, have always held a fascination.

glacier-trekThe planning has not been without its problems as flights have been modified or cancelled and one planned excursion has been ruled out as I am deemed to be too old. A mini trek on the advancing Perito Moreno glacier is limited to those under the age of 65, an age limit which is apparently strictly enforced. This is a problem with advancing years and a reason to do as much as possible before one reaches the arbitrary three score years and ten, when hiring a car and getting travel insurance becomes either more difficult or more expensive.

In the links above I mapped my itinerary, resurrected blogs from previous trips, and listed some travel tips which may be helpful to other solo oldies.

This is the first post for my new trip and I hope to be able to share my experiences with you along the way.