Mr Blandford’s confession to being ‘a proud nonagenarian’ is very revealing. 
What’s to be proud of if you reach your nineties? 

If and when I get there - next year - I shall be delighted. But ‘proud’? No. 

It’s not something achieved by study or effort. It’s mostly down to luck.

When he says he’s seen it all, perhaps he has but has he learned anything from what he’s seen? 

His all-too-frequent letters display a mind stuck in the past and at odds with the modern world because he hasn’t adapted to it.

He never has anything interesting to say.

Old age doesn’t necessarily bring wisdom.

A case in point was my mother-in-law.

When I first met her in my twenties, I quickly realised that she was basically a fool who knew nothing about the real world and she took against me right from the start simply because I had a beard (very unusual in the 1950s). 

Her last conversation with me shortly before her hundredth birthday was to urge me, yet again, to shave it off.

When I asked her why, she said I’d look younger.

I told her that I was 78, married to her daughter who was 73, so why would I want to look younger? 

Throughout her life she never worked after she got married, never joined any local societies or did any voluntary work and I gave up asking my wife what her mother actually did all day because the answer was clearly nothing. 

She lived to a hundred years but left no mark (other than being mother to my wife, who left a very big mark!)

Someone who is an ignorant fool in their youth may, in old age, be just as much a fool, even though they might claim to have ‘seen it all’.

Martin Kyrle

Chandler’s Ford