But observing current mothers, the wash your hands advice seems to be somewhat overblown, with soap being replaced as inadequate by litres of squirted on disinfectant. I'd love to know if their children are less afflicted with tummy complaints and diarrhoea than my generation was.
A friend of mine, who lives just a block away from here, goes on a couple of ocean cruises every year. Twice in the last three years there have been two major outbreaks of digestive upsets, despite printed and broadcast warnings all over the ships, to carefully “wash your hands Geoffrey”. (Remember the TV ad for Solvol?).
So, given that most of the passengers are in their seventies and eighties, maybe my generation needs to lifts its game. I know I have become less attentive to the hands washing task then I once was, quite often not even using soap. But then I work on the theory that a regularly small E. coli infection, is probably useful at keeping a catastrophically large one at bay. Sometimes I have the odd tummy rumble but I haven't had a major attack for years so I have to assume I have it sort of right.
But my friend gets consistently upset when I just rinse plates and cutlery in cold water. I can't really blame her when I remember her horrible stories of all the whales - they can’t resist mountains of "free" on board food - beached on their bunks for want of greater adherence to better hand washing hygiene.
On another front my friend keeps at me about wearing my hearing aids.
I haven't been good at it. At Christmas last year I was in a NZ supermarket and after making a purchase the woman on the cash register said : "have you got a golf cart?" I thought this a rather odd question and told her I played with a buggy.
Sometime later my ex wife, with whom I was staying, told me she'd asked if I had a gold card which I think is a standard there for old age pensioners. Monica later still asked the woman, who she knew, if she'd had a dotty person in making funny answers to her gold card questions and filled her in.
David Palmer 1 August 2016.