April 04

Children are the recipe for happy pensioners.


Everyday I say hello there to an older person .

I once remember chatting to a lovely lady named Mary Pix over breakfast who was in her 80s, and  she said something very sad. I asked her how she felt out of ten that day and she said ” oh  Duncan about 4 out of 10  oh Mary I said why such a low score you look amazing and you are so amazing ….well I don’t feel so good today. It’s not always easy being older and Mary said why she felt a little sad that day.

Mary said one of the worst things about getting older is that you generally spend all your time with people the same age as yourself and how she so missed talking to children.

Mary said children make me feel so young as they are just so funny to talk to, and best of all talking to younger children gives us old folk permission to be silly like we were when we were children. I never really thought about this until Mary   mentioned it however when I see parents playing and hugging young children it reminds me that myself at 58 I really do wish my children aged now 21 and 25 were 3 to 5 yrs old again as they were so much fun.   So Mary  is right we all need young people around us as they are such good fun and let’s be honest we all like having fun.

Mary also said. Do you know when I became 70 I felt all  young again inside but being an adult we are not allowed to be silly any more.  I said oh Mary that’s rubbish I am silly everyday and Mary said but you don’t care what people think of you.

Its  funny but this  a fundamental problem of becoming an adult we care so much what people think of us. And the truth is no one really cares what you are thinking or doing  as everyone is too busy thinking about what everyone thinks of them.

Any way the reason I a writing this today  is to illustrate  Marys point about when you are older you don’t get to talk to young people  well just an hour ago I was walking past a sandwich bar and noticed  a rather wonderful looking gentlemen with a big white beard a little  like  Father Christmas and he chatting with a cup of tea  to a ginger haired little boy in the window and they were both laughing so much .

My internal camera inside me said you have to capture this moment but how !

It’s not not easy nowadays to take candid pictures like my greatest hero Thurston  Hopkins of the Picture Post did back  in the 1950s .  Back then you could snap children on the street or on the beach playing however today that particular avenue of pleasure  taking candid happy pictures of children has been “cancelled “in England since the Internet arrived , so we are not capturing these precious moments of childhood as photographers did so easily 50 to 60 years ago.  However in Kenya last year I found everyone cannot wait to be photographed  like this beautiful girl I saw walking down a dusty red road and I asked her to fly like an airplane which is always a good way to photograph children.


So back to an hour ago today as I walked past this cafe I thought this is a picture I would love to capture and in a few minutes that moment will be gone.  As I sat in my car I thought I would go and buy a sandwich (that I don’t want ) to see if I can #justsayhello  and hopefully photograph this rare moment of two opposite ends of human life chatting together .

As I waited for the sandwich they were really giggling and I could just see a nine picture  (sadly i did not have my camera today  but I do have an iPhone )

So I just said “hello there” to the snowy bearded  gentleman  “I am Duncan” and i mentioned what Barbara had said about missing  talking to youngsters.

Being a passionate photographer of people I so wanted to capture this precious  moment but you simply cannot just start taking pictures so you have to try and create a friendly situation in seconds and then tell them it’s pictures time.

His name was Chris Holegate and I noticed  he had a very gentle voice and a face full of kindness so as we chatted I am a photographer celebrating later life so  I think I better capture this moment of you both laughing together and then I made the little boy Louis giggle and I took a few pictures.


As I only had an iPhone  this is not the greatest quality set of pictures but it’s not about that,  it’s about moments in time so  I did achieve my challenge to myself and capture this moment of happiness of two humans with seventy years of life between them and then found out that Chris was a youthful 75 and Louis was just 5.

Chris was such a lovely man or rather a #fabulousoldie who was covered in paint as he volunteers as a decorator in the local Stag Theatre in Sevenoaks Kent.

So my task was achieved and best of all I made a wonderful new friend just by saying Hello there with a compliment.