This is a very rare picture, of me laughing, and I am indebted to my friend Keith Donovan for capturing it, on the occasion of our first meeting three years ago.
It is sad to have to say that one does not laugh often enough, but for many of us it is the case, particularly if we live alone.
I am fortunate that I can be sure of a really rollicking good laugh at least once a year, when I join my friends of the Growing Old Disgracefully Network for our four-day spring frolic at the end of April. We get together at a residential college and run our own workshops and activities, and in the evenings we round the day off with fun and games, dancing and laughter.
There is one game in particular which has us all hooting and rolling in our chairs. Someone starts by miming an activity, and her neighbour must ask her "Whatever are you doing?" But she doesn't reply by saying what she is actually miming, but invents some other activity, which her neighbour then has to mime.... and so on round the circle. As we all relax with this nonsense, our acting ability gets better and better, and the activities suggested for miming get more and more daring and difficult. Anyone giving a particularly brilliant performance is liable to be left to carry on for an unbearably long time, before her neighbour takes pity on her, and puts her out of her misery by asking the question that releases her. Try it some time with a group you know well.