Bloody hell! That makes me old! says Paul McCartney, with a laugh and a wink. So use me as a gauge and thank you very much for noticing me.

In the bucolic Sussex countryside south of London, there's a farm where pheasants and peacocks roam wild. The yard is dotted with cows and chickens, horses and sheep, even reindeer. The owner designed the circular house himself. He built the chicken coops too. His wife is noted for her meatless lasagna and vegetarian burgers. They seem a nice couple, married 21 years, with four well-mannered kids.

Meet Paul McCartney at 50. Or nearly: he hits the mid-century mark on June 18. It's been a little more than two decades since the Beatles, the biggest pop phenomenon ever, broke up. Yet even...

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