Planet Retirement can sometimes be a bewildering place and with a scarcity of UK retirement blogs out there (other than those proffering financial advice) I thought I'd keep my own.

Please visit from time to time and do add your comments. Popular posts and those highlighting my journey are specifically pinpointed on the right hand side together with a list of topics covered. Alternatively you may prefer to look at the Summary or the Tips from Wisdom Acquired or even our Have Visited List with its retirement atlas and dip in and out of the blog using the links given.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Happy Anniversary

Four years ago today we flew out to Kefalonia after I had packed up my briefcase and left the office for the last time, the night before. I'm so comfortable now in retirement that it is getting harder to recall my previous existence.

Trying to reflect on the intervening period, I can see that the initial honeymoon period was very much a time for recuperation. There was a great deal of rushing about and adapting, bringing with it recovery and the necessary rehabilitation ready for a completely different way of living to that to which we had become accustomed whilst working.

Gradually the need to simplify has become a part and parcel of our daily living and even though we are not always very good at it, we do keep trying. Similarly exercising has wound itself into our everyday lifestyle and we are currently finding ourselves with both strength and vitality that we would never previously have expected.

A year ago I felt that I had more energy, drive and passion as retirement moved up a gear and if anything it is only increasing. We are lucky in that we presently have no overriding anxieties and are very  much able to live day to day, concentrating on the present (we are not very good at forward planning) and are enjoying every moment. We are thriving in challenging ourselves rather than rushing to complete a bucket list, and our whole attitude to life is altering as we regress to a form of living not dissimilar to our care free teenage years but with a little more wisdom and definitely no schoolwork.

We are by no means experts in  this retirement process but as well as the exuberance we are presently experiencing, I can sense a form of calm creeping in; a sense of control and well-being. If we can harness it all together over the next few months, perhaps aided by a little more organisation, who knows what might be achieved. Whatever it is, I'll make sure to blog about it.

In the meantime it's a very happy 4th retirement anniversary for me.


Sunday, 17 June 2018

Restoration Project 2

Just a very quick update on our restoration venture. Still in the boatyard and stripped of her engine, gas fittings and windows, I'm wondering if we've really bought mainly fresh air! Oops, I forgot about the all permeating scent of diesel; hopefully the lack of windows might help release that!

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Be Careful What You Wish For

Let me set the scene: I was in the kitchen finishing a cup of tea at the end of a late lunch, following on from a busy morning when I had assisted my fellow almshouse trustees at an Open Day. 

Suddenly an enormous clap above my head jerked me up and out of my seat, the drink splashing across my knees. The noise was accompanied by a flash of lightning and then the skies opened and the rain came down in torrents. The electricity went off momentarily interrupting Mister E's televised viewing of the World Cup, but he instantly became more interested in seeing just how much rain was falling and to what extent it might replenish those empty water butts.

As soon as he mentioned those, I felt a sense of guilt. Zeus the ancient Greek god of the sky, had responded to my request in style and made no secret of announcing his presence, hurling thunderbolts in the process. I understand now just how easy it must have been to get duped into worshipping a pagan deity. I almost wanted to build a stone circle and start chanting.

Whilst I'm looking for a simplified form of living in retirement, neo-paganism hasn't been part of the strategy. Should it be?

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

A State of Drought


Unbelievable it may be but despite all the rain last summer, autumn, winter and early spring, my water butts are now dry. I have 5 large ones all fed from various parts of the roof and the last time this happened was 2006. I remember it well because I had to fill them by hose so that a good neighbour could water the garden whilst we were on holiday; then, contrary to all forecasts, two days after we left the heatwave ended and it poured down for the remaining period of our absence.

Of course, I am the villain of this latest situation having poured litres of water on the garden over the last few weeks in an effort to nurture new seedlings and plants as well as those in established pots and ever thirsty rhubarb.

Now I could go outside and do a rain dance; I could use diviners and try to find a new water source but what I'm doing instead is calling it an official drought and resigning myself to the situation. I seem to recall that whenever anyone in authority has proclaimed a drought in this country, the heavens have always responded by opening. Let's see if it happens this time when, as a registered proprietor of our little patch of earth, I declare a state of despair.

Mind gardens aren't supposed to be just hardwork. After all the effort Mister E and I have put in recently we definitely want some time when we can just sit outside and enjoy the results of our toil. So, having placed an order for rain (Zeus, lord of the sky and rain, are you listening?), can I just clarify that I only want enough to fill my butts and if it can be arranged to fall only at night even better.

Monday, 11 June 2018

A Trip Back in Time Along the High Street

Yesterday Mister E and I had a brief mosey along Northallerton High Street, closed to traffic as it celebrated the 1940's. With live music, albeit an empty dance floor on the pavement in front, bomb disposal experts, an array of vintage and classic vehicles in use in the 1940's, GI brides, nurses with babies in prams and shops with themed windows it was a unique transformation. Coupled with a blue sky, it certainly seemed to have brought the crowds out.

Too often and too close to home we hear about shops closing and the difficulties faced by retailers with competition from online sales, increased business rates and the limited spending power of consumers as their wages stagnate and austerity, coupled with the impending effect of Brexit, continues.

I'm sure demographics must be playing a part too, as more and more of us leave the workplace and move into retirement leaving impulse purchasing behind.

Setting aside the whole issue of fostering nostalgia for bygone years (especially those associated with a role in World War Two) it is good to know that the councils and others are working hard to keep the appeal of  our local town centre and by innovation seeking to prevent its decline. It is after all only two weeks since the same street was closed to host a 10k run, following its previous closure for the annual May Fair and the Tour de Yorkshire, only three weeks before that.

For many spending power in retirement may be less,  but let's please try to apply our expenditure in shopping locally when we can.