He proposed . . . then wished that he hadn’t


Back in 1967, Peter proposed marriage and almost immediately regretted it. But the engagement was in the local paper and he felt he could not back out.

“I was weak-willed,” he said. Thirty-six years later, at the age of 64, he did back out. “I just bundled what I could into the car and went,” he told the media.

“I remember her standing on the doorstep and I did feel sorry that I was hurting her.” Peter is one of an increasing number of British people splitting up in later life.


According to official figures, divorce among people aged 60 and over has risen since the 1990s, while in the rest of the population it has fallen.

David was 70 when his wife of the same age packed a bag and left.

“She had been unhappy for years and I hadn’t noticed,” he said. “She wanted to have financial independence, a clean break, and go and live on her own.”

He believes the suicide of their son and episodes of ill health took their toll on the relationship. Sociologists suggested a number of reasons for breakups at an advanced age.

Increasing life expectancy encouraged people to consider their desires for the latter third of their life.

A family solicitor said: “Some of the clients I’ve had say they want to take up a pastime they’ve not done before, say cycling or travelling, and often the spouse is not keen to participate.”

Age gaps can also be a problem. If one is, say, 70, the other 80, the younger party may think, “Oh my goodness, am I going to spend the rest of my life looking after him or her?”

What made Peter break from his wife was meeting Anne, whom he married when he was 72.

But the divorce had a human toll.

Relations with some of his family members are now difficult.

He said, “If somebody came to me now, before he left his wife, and asked my advice, my answer would be, ‘See if you can make it work, don’t do what I did.’” Why? “Because of the hurt.”


There are violent crimes, stupid crimes and mean crimes and Gary Beaton’s burglary of an old lady’s house definitely came in the low-life category.

Because the victim was his grandmother who had recently been diagnosed with leukaemia.

In broad daylight, when the old lady was out with her husband, Beaton, 23, and his friend, Colin Morrison, 20, scaled a six-foot fence and used a garden fork to force open a back door.

They stole a £500 (Sh77,200) steel saw, a £900 (Sh139,000) laptop, a rucksack and bottles of spirits.

But a police officer had earlier seen them acting suspiciously and they were subsequently arrested.

The rucksack and the alcohol had been hidden in a rubbish bin.

The pair pleaded guilty to burglary.

Newcastle Crown Court heard that they both had previous convictions for break-ins.

Each was jailed for two years and four months.


I took a taxi one night last week to a friend’s house.

The driver was black and listening carefully to his accent, I concluded that he was African.

Black people over here who speak English without a foreign accent are usually third generation descendants of the Caribbean wave from the end of the war.

We chatted amiably about this and that and eventually I asked, “Do you mind if I guess where you are from?” “Not at all,” he said, “Go ahead.”

“Nigeria,” I said, because we have a lot of Nigerians in the UK.

“Sorry, no,” he said, “Kenya.”

Bingo! It was fun after that, lots of questions and answers and much hilarity from the driving seat at my appalling Swahili.

So, thank you for a great ride, Erich Munyamani from Nairobi, a very nice guy.

PS: When I told a Kenyan friend about this encounter, he said, “Kenyans are everywhere. There’s even a rumour one’s on the moon.”


A guy walks into a London pub and notices an Indian man at the corner of the bar.

Now this guy has a grudge against Indians, so he raises his voice and loudly declares, “I’m buying drinks for everyone except for that Indian over there.”

When the drinks are served, the Indian nods and smiles.

This upsets the customer so he orders another round for everyone except the Indian. Now the Indian smiles and calls, “Thank you, sir.”

The customer is really mad by now and asks the bar tender, “What’s wrong with this Indian? I’ve insulted him twice by ordering drinks for everyone but him and yet he keeps smiling and thanking me. Is he stupid or something?”

“Not at all,” says the barman, “that’s Patelbhai, he owns the pub.”

How does Moses make his tea? Hebrews it.