King Country farmer Robert Carter has reached the ripe old age where he qualifies for a Gold card.

I’ve managed to make it to 65 years of age and I’m intrigued that the taxpayers of Aotearoa now give me a small fortnightly stipend for my services to the nation.

I was so doubtful that this would actually happen I found myself checking the relevant bank account repeatedly to see if it is true.

Yes it is.

I was, for a nanosecond, tempted to say “yeah nah” to the whole thing but completing the Ministry of Social Development examinations required to apply for the so called Gold card stiffened my resolve to go through with it.

The funds arrive regularly every second Tuesday and the very next day I find myself at our local Toolshed purchasing things that hitherto I have found to be completely unjustifiable.

So I send the funds on, in the cycle for which it is intended.

Becoming a pensioner also brings memories of my Grandfather “Pop” Carter. He lived to a very ripe old age and I had the benefit of his wisdom until he passed on when I was 16 or so.

He used to disappear to town every now and then with the comment that he was “going to see Harry Lake”.

Harry Lake was the Minister of Finance in the Keith Holyoake years and so Pop was acknowledging Harry’s largesse for his pension.

So now, quite a long time after Pop’s visits to Harry Lake, I have to perhaps give credit to Grant Robertson for his “kindness” although I wish it was Bill English.

I have not yet told the family that I’m “off to town to see Grant Robertson” they know that the Toolshed is a far greater magnet and find me there.

Another thing I notice about being 65 is the huge increase in the size of my neck muscles.

I’m starting to look like one of Don Dittmer’s huge Charolais bulls, so much so that I booked an appointment with my GP to find out what is going on.

I had visions of goitre, an out of control gland or three but after many tests and a final consultation he gave me his considered opinion.

Apparently I’m the victim of a new physiological condition brought on by shaking my head in disbelief, too often.

It is a phenomenon now commonplace in the rural sector. Other symptoms are repeated phrases such as “Holy ….k, what next!!??”

If anyone would like to join my group “The Shaking Heads” I can be contacted at

We meet spontaneously and agree with each other enthusiastically, the lyrics are commonplace in our boomer age group.

I’ve got a horrible feeling many of you will be similarly affected for another three, possibly four years, I hope I’m wrong.

I’ve not taken it any further, as solace and amelioration in the condition has been found by reading Jane Smith’s insights into what ails us all.

I realise much younger, better looking and totally competent people are on the case (the cause of the head shaking). So I’m leaving it to the likes of Jane to sort out.

(Jane, you have a legion of supporters on your shoulders, I have a super heated Darroux Emasculator ready, should you ever make firm your intentions with certain politicians…)