Saturday, 04 July 2020
Englishman in Dubrovnik Englishman in Dubrovnik

You know you're getting on when you receive the dreaded SAGA letter

By  May 25, 2019

“I'm kind of comfortable with getting older because it's better than the other option, which is being dead. So I'll take getting older,” once said the actor George Clooney. This year I will be fifty. A landmark birthday. The big 50. Five decades on this earth.

To be honest my birthday is right at the end of the year so I’m making the most of being in my 40s for the time being. OK, I might be in my late, or very late 40s, but it still counts.

Even though I still have the brain of a crazy teenager my body is starting to sing to a different song. Just the other day I was moving some heavy boxes, yes it’s time to get ready for the renting season, and even though I succeeded in the task I also succeeded in destroying my back. It was probably the first time I have had back ache, I mean real back ache, and so I guess I am lucky. But it was also probably a sign of things coming around the corner.

Am I still middle-aged at fifty? Of course I am. In fact, according to statistics, I am pretty much right slap bang in the middle of middle age. Does that make me feel better? Not particularly. Am I going to age gracefully and politely, definitely not! Mark Twain summed it up perfectly, “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” There is a saying in England that when you start to look older than a police officer then you are starting to get old. Well now I am probably older then the chief of police. I am not that switched on at remembering dates, or even my own age, I’ve been thinking all year that I was 48. Yes, I know that probably is a sign of advancing years.

Over the past few weeks I have been receiving constant reminders of my upcoming half century birthday. “At British Seniors, we take your peace of mind seriously. That's why we offer over 50s life insurance - to make sure you and your loved ones have some financial protection in place, for when you pass away,” was the opening line of an email I received just the other day. Not the kind of email you want to read over breakfast, especially when you are eating bacon and not some healthy fruit!

Yes, I haven’t been a resident of the UK for over 20 years and yet still, quite clearly, companies have me on record and have just been waiting for the right time to pounce like a praying mantis. “Your guaranteed lump sum payment can be used to help cover the cost of your funeral, to pay off any outstanding debts or just to leave the ones you love a gift,” continued the mail. I almost choked on my bacon and eggs.

This morbid mail got me thinking though and not about my funeral. Just how switched on and active these companies were being. Even though they were talking about my paying for my future hole in the ground I had to admire their business model, their commercial aptness. So far I have received zero such emails from Croatian companies, absolutely zero. Even my car insurance company failed to call me and remind me until a few days before the insurance was set to expire.

“It's simple and easy to apply for British Seniors Over 50s Life Insurance. As long as you're a UK resident aged 50-80, you're guaranteed to be accepted, with no medical or health questions,” concluded my morning reading. Yes, I will soon be fifty, thanks for reminding me, but I am not a British resident. But even though their plan had this obvious flaw it was still at least a plan and I was full of admiration for their determination. Just a few days later and I received another similar email, this time offering my “amazing deals” on private health care, and once again from a UK based company. Over two decades I have been living at a Dubrovnik address but this hadn’t stopped them waiting and trying.

And bad things come in threes. And yes the third one was the one I was dreading. You might think you’re old when you look older than a police officer, but you KNOW you’re old when you get offered a special offer on a package holiday to Malta with…wait for it…SAGA! Whilst I still feel like raving on Ibiza the truth is that SAGA are offering me “Tours of the beautiful landscaped gardens of the San Anton Gardens in H'Attard.” “If things get better with age then I must be approaching magnificent. 


The Voice of Dubrovnik


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