And Finally

Too old to care

Suzhou granny joins OAP lawbreakers in China

Emilia Clarke se inventÛ un discurso en Alto Valyrio en diez minutos

Emilia Clarke caracterizada como Daenerys Targaryen en 'Juego de tronos'

In the HBO smash-hit series Game of Thrones, Daenerys Targaryen is known as ‘Mother of Dragons’ for her feat of raising a trio of the fire-breathing beasts.

But to bump into the ‘Grandmother of Dragons’, you’ll have to go to China, however.

That’s because a 76 year-old granny from the city of Suzhou has gained a legion of fans after she was spotted driving home from work on a motorised plastic dragon.

The video of Mrs Hou nipping through the empty streets of Suzhou on a cold winter’s night has attracted much mirth – and over three million views on social media.

The story goes that Hou was working late in her job at a Suzhou amusement park when she learned that a family member was unable to pick her up at the end of her shift.

Her knee was hurting because of the cold weather, so Hou decided that the best thing to do was to borrow one of the park’s dragon-shaped motorised vehicles for the journey home. Police were bemused when they saw the old-age pensioner (OAP) riding on the pink-and-white dragon – not least because she was making it go pretty fast.

They soon caught up with her and gave her a dressing down.

“You really can’t take amusement park vehicles out on public roads. Please consider your age and your lack of protective equipment,” a softly-spoken police officer explained to a contrite-looking Hou in video footage from the scene.

She escaped a fine – thanks to her age – and was merely cautioned by the police officers who stopped her.

“Freaking Awesome Granny”, as she is now known online, is not the first of her kind.

Indeed, Hou joins a long list of devil-may-care OAPs who seem to do what they want, regardless of the law or any sense of public disproval.

One of the best-known examples are the now infamous Dama: square-dancing older ladies who blast out very loud music in public spaces as they practice en masse their dancing and fitness routines.

There are others too, including a septuagenarian grandpa who swings a heavy chain around on the banks of a Beijing river every day.

Despite the huge cracking sound as the chain hits the ground, or the fact that the man blocks the path as he whirls his whip-like weapon overhead, he insists on continuing his daily routine, swearing that it’s the secret to staving off old-age.

Some of the more ingenious ‘rulebreakers’ are the elderly people who deploy their specially-licenced three-wheeler scooters to make a bit of extra money by giving people lifts.

Often parking outside metro stations, they make short, lucrative trips to nearby apartment blocks (if the police intervene, passengers are instructed to claim that the driver is a grandparent).

Not all the rule-breakers are able to carry on their activities with impunity, however. In 2017 the Temple of Heaven Park in Beijing employed a deterrent: it installed a new dispenser of toilet paper that was powered by facial recognition technology in a bid to stop a determined group of inconsiderate OAPs who’d been stealing the loo roll supply.

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