So here goes. At the ends of their lives, my mother, mother-in-law and my first wife needed to be in care homes.
And, I’m glad to say, the care they received was very good. But, I couldn’t help noticing, the vast majority of their companions in their respective care homes were old ladies. The chaps were strikingly in the minority.
Now the actuaries have perfectly rational explanations for this, based on tables of life expectancy and so on, and I’m not about to contradict them. However, it was also striking that the ethos and culture of those care homes was, perhaps inevitably, geared round the gender of the majority - ie, the ladies.
I had more than one conversation with old chaps in the homes, to the effect that there wasn’t much going for them amusement-wise, unless they were already into knitting. And that made me think. Especially since I’ll probably end up in one of those places myself one day if by chance I can buck the actuarial odds and avoid karking it first. How could we cater more satisfactorily for the needs of us old chaps?
Inspiration struck when one of our local small hotels came up for sale, which also happened to be my local.
Unsurprisingly, the majority of regulars at the bar were chaps. Equally unsurprisingly, they seemed very much at home in there. In the bar, a range of simple comforts were available. There was also a garden, a spacious dining room, staff quarters and upstairs some 20-odd rooms. And, in conversation with certain friends, who like me have a deep concern for the welfare of ageing male citizens, we conceived this game-changing idea - the Nursing Pub.
In the Nursing Pub, aged blokes would spend their twilight years attended by dedicated staff of both hospitable and medical disciplines.
There would be the well-loved familiarity of the hostelry, three simple meals a day including chips, gentlemanly rivalries and conversations, and a short ascent to a comfortable bed. In the Nursing Pub, crochet would by replaced by pleasant afternoons at the dartboard and the dominoes table.
In the Nursing Pub, the football or the cricket would always be on and the gentle snoring of ones fellow-inmates would form a pleasing backdrop until tiffin. And when the Great Landlord in the Sky called time for one or another of the company, how moving but uplifting would be the tributes at the bar, but with a minimum of disruption to the established routine.