Last weekend my friend and I were yakking away. She turns 90 in September and wants to go white water rafting. (She also wouldn’t mind going for a spin in a race car at Silverstone if you’re offering… she was one speedy driver pre the whole bindness/ageness malarkey.) She was annoyed that now there were things her body just couldn’t do anymore…wished she had taken more risks earlier.
So we were discussing thrills we had missed in our youth and I remembered that as a teenager on parole from various ghastly UK boarding schools, I would head back to Zambia where the ultimate 80’s thrill was rumoured to be the ‘Mandrax Run’
Methaqualone is a sedative-hypnotic drug that is similar in effect to barbiturates, a general central nervous system depressant. Its use peaked in the 1960s and 1970s as a hypnotic, for the treatment of insomnia, and as a sedative and muscle relaxant. It has also been used illegally as a recreational drug, commonly known as Quaaludes (pronounced /ˈkweɪluːdz/ KWAY-loodz) or Sopors (particularly in the 1970s in North America) depending on the manufacturer. Since at least 2001, it has been widely used in South Africa, where it is commonly referred to as “smarties” or “geluk-tablette” (meaning happy tablets).
‘Well, it’s your birthday,’ I had said. ‘I could score you a tab of acid!’ We laughed uproariously but I had temporarily forgotten who I was dealing with and there was something in her eye that made me a little nervous… Actually I wouldn’t know how to score a Red Bull and vodka in a Red Bull and vodka bar and have always been a hopeless prissy wuss when it comes to anything more mind altering than Bacardi. But it did strike me that if you made it to 90 years old in vaguely one piece, you really should be entitled to any drug you want on the NHS. ( Perhaps not meth amphetamine..I watch a lot of CSI and I wouldn’t want her wandering the streets looking for a good time with a sawn off shotgun under her dressing gown… )
Then yesterday, after several weeks facing potential downsizing to Big Issue Seller due to an administrative error by my local Job Centre Plus, I was told with a muttered apology that my benefits had been reinstated. I am not going to be homeless after all!
This made me so happy I decided to teach Grace to fly. I use a ancient martial art technique called simply ‘Inflated Breast ‘which is crude but effective and hugely fun.