Leading article: Still wild after all these years

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Where the old things are. Two octogenarians, coincidentally, were making mischief of one kind or another yesterday. An 85-year-old British grandfather, Anthony Smith, completed a 2,800-mile voyage from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean, crossing the Atlantic on a raft made of pipes. Meanwhile, in New York, publishers were preparing to launch the first new book for 30 years by 82-year-old Maurice Sendak, who wrote and illustrated the children's classic Where the Wild Things Are.

The ocean tumbled by for Mr Smith in a66-day voyage which proved that for some senior citizens tomorrow never comes. Mr Sendak has abandoned his wolf-suited young hero Max for a porcine protagonist called Bumble-Ardy, but his world is as fantastically dark as before. Travelling at just four knots, Mr Smith and two companions spent their days on the 39 feet-long An-Tiki, powered by a single sail, in and out of weeks, writing daily blogs on two computers, conversing, baking bread, and watching wildlife. Mr Sendak has a marine allusion too because his hero, who is both a pig and a boy, throws a party at which the drink of choice is brine rather than wine.

No man loves life like him that's growing old, as Sophocles put it. Or, as we might say more colloquially, it's never too late to let the wild rumpus begin.