OLD AGE IS not for wimps. The only thing we can all be certain of is that we are going to die: but it's the manner of our going that is most painful to contemplate. Will we die in our sleep, peaceay at a ripe old age? Wdl we be devoured by Alzheimer's? Excruciated by arthritis? Bent double by osteoporosis, sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything? It takes courage for writers to address this subject, which, despite the growing numbers of the elderly, tends to be neglected. The best examples so far have been Kingsley Amis's Ending Up and Muriel Spark's Memento Mori, but Deborah Moggach's These Foolish Things is an admirable addition to the library of black comedy about old age.
Ravi Kapoor is an overworked hospital doctor burdened with a father-in-law so appalling that he fears the elderly man will destroy his marriage. Norman is a figure of almost pure farce. Lecherous, selfish, bigoted, coarse and, in the eyes of all but lus daughter, a disgusting old sod, he must