There are various "official" stages to getting old in this country and I have already passed several of them. I really can't recall at what age some of them happen: I just know that I have passed those particular milestones! There's the free bus pass which means that should I so wish I can travel all round England on local bus services without paying a penny. I'm not sure that I'm quite mean enough or keen enough to view the English countryside from the top deck of a double-decker bus to put that to the test. (I think my grandparents did many years ago, and that was before the free bus pass was even as much as a twinkle in some civil servant's eye.) Mind you, the pass does come in handy if I want or need to go into town. Parking in Brighton is horrendously expensive so it is good to have a free ride on the bus.
There is, of course, the old age pension - sorry, that should be the state pension. It always was called the old age pension but that was many years before I became an old age pensioner. I started receiving this when I was 65: I never could quite understand why women received the pension when they reached 60 but that is gradually being evened out. In any case, the pension will soon not be paid until people are at least 75. Well, maybe not just yet, but people will have to wait until they are older before claiming it.
Another state handout is the winter fuel allowance. This is paid, I think, to all households where there is an OAP at the rate of £200 per household , usually in November. If there are two pensioners in the household it is split between them - £100 each.
Eventually, when I'm really old, my state pension will have an age-related increase - currently, I believe, 25 pence a week. I will also be eligible for a free television license at some point in the future.
But what has really made me feel ancient was when I received a letter reminding me that my driver's license is due to expire shortly. Driver's licenses in the UK are valid until one reaches the grand old age of 70, at which point they have to be renewed and then every three years. I duly sent my form off - not, I did it online - and received my new two-part license complete with photo. (Quite why the license is in two parts which have to be kept together is a mystery to me.) But now I am not licenced to drive minibuses. My old license allowed this, but if I wanted still to be covered I needed to have a medical. I decided against that, not because I thought I might fail but because I couldn't see the point in paying for something I am unlikely ever to use.
All the same, it made me feel my age.