A Kind of Olive

Well today we finally switched electricity suppliers. Yes until now we have been those apathetic people who have never changed, considering the concept a little too tiresome to bother ourselves with.
Oh my, don't those utility companies love loyal customers to whom they don't even have to promote themselves to rip them off? So much for brand loyalty; we have probably ended up paying more than we needed to for several years. Of course things were simpler in the days of nationalised suppliers but those days are long since past and Mister E and I have finally found the time in retirement to catch up with the competitive market place.
Consequently we have signed up for a fixed term rate at both a lower daily charge and unit rate than previously and even better the supplier claims to reinvest in green energy. What's more, and whilst at some 2,600 kwh a year we apparently use less electricity than the average home (despite a tendency to use both a dishwasher and tumble-dryer), we …

A Day Off for Passion

I have been planning a "day off" for a while now. Today it dawned. 
Clearing my diary of everything except for an Almshouse Trustees' Meeting, I was looking forward to a day of relaxation and recuperation. Spurred on by a knee that is misbehaving this was to be time away from my usual Wednesday dollop of gym, sweat and chat.
Forget the ten mile walk I was lusting over a few weeks back; a fortnight ago instead, I was revelling in my new found ability to balance on my right leg for over a minute when it suddenly wobbled, I was hit with searing pain and it's been erratically unstable ever since. Strapped up, I have continued my daily dose of exercising but decided that today I would try resting.
Isn't it amazing how the rest of the body, if not the knee, responds so well to a mini break. Whereas I would normally rise at 7 am, today I slept until 8.50 am. Legs raised, I have caught up with paperwork and after a quick tidy up of the kitchen, concluded my chores in time f…

Retirement Protests

Social media reached a new low today when mass murder in New Zealand was  live-streamed to Facebook and then copied and shared around the world. It's hard enough to know the best means to express one's disgust at the appalling crime itself, let alone how to protest at the abhorrent use of social networking.
I am part of a generation that is potentially going to rely on the internet in retirement, yet every day we learn more about its misuse and please don't invite me to start slamming those ridiculous scams that are emailed into my inbox. With my mental faculties intact, I know not to click but will I always be so savvy?
The worldwide web has completely changed how businesses and individuals commmunicate as well as how societies across the globe now operate. Recently, however, Tim Berners-Lee, its creator, has even conceded his own discomfort at seeing it hijacked from serving humanity to becoming a structure monopolised by technology giants. We willingly deliver up to those…

Another Year Older

I have just celebrated another birthday. 
On further consideration, perhaps I should reconsider that opening remark. In retirement do we actually celebrate all birthdays or as the numbers spiral upwards are the festivities curtailed? 
Unlike 2018, this year's observance was, by choice, a rather subdued affair. Mister E treated me to afternoon tea but, ever the pragmatists, we tied it in with a stop at a flooring showroom to eye up a new surface for installation as part of the bathroom project.
With the eldest in New Zealand and the youngest in Berlin, even close family connections were limited to a video call. Mind the tea was delicious although sandwiches and cakes were something of a nostalgia trip back to the days of childhood parties, especially the sugar rush followed by an overfull and even slightly nauseous sensation.  
The one thing birthdays do now of course, is concentrate the mind on the ageing process. I may not feel any different physically to the day before but there is …

A Full Service

It's not just the Spring Cleaning that I embrace in February and March because, much as I dislike routine, the end of winter and beginning of spring have become a time to put other aspects of our house in order. So, it's a period for sorting ourselves administratively with meetings with our financial adviser and personal banker; reviewing and renewing insurance policies, changing insurer as necessary; checking tariffs and switching energy suppliers. In fact this year we have surpassed ourselves by finally updating our wills too! 
Energised by the thought of springtime and rebirth, it's also become a time for medical checks, new spectacles, and a dental check-up. When making my appointment with the optician, I was given the option of a hearing test; I declined but no doubt, in years to come, that too will find its way into my retirement body scan.
It's not simply a phase for a human body overhaul either, as we've subjected our cars to annual services and paid the vehi…

Never Ending Clutter

Those who know me may find this hard to believe but at heart I am a minimalist.
An item on the radio recently, therefore, resonated with me when it suggested that decluttering is the buzz word for 2019. There was even a hypothesis that, in these days of political confusion and upset, by decluttering and organising our homes we are actively seeking order in a world gone mad .
Apparently there are professionals who make a living out of tidying other people's jumble for them. Of course, I'd heard of Marie Kondo but I never realised I could actually call somebody to take over and run this mammoth task for me. Except, of course, I never would. Much as I might need their help, my shame would never permit them over our threshold.
Global confusion aside, the biggest stimulus for an enormous clearing out spree on my part is always the level of the sun at this time of year. When it streams through dirty windows highlighting junk and dust, the urge to tackle the issue builds.
Every year in r…

Sustainable Fashion

Sustainability seems to be the buzz word of the moment and as we know applies to all kinds of environmental issues.  One of the latest to be considered by a Parliamentary Committee is fast fashion, where cheap and effectively disposable clothing panders to consumerism. Probably because of the cost, very few people these days restrict their clothing to expensive garments made of 100% natural fibres like silk and wool. Instead cheap garments are bought in mass by masses, hardly worn and then jettisoned (I know because I have sorted some of it when working in Save the Children's local charity shop). With the release of plastic fibres in the wash and toxins in its production, as well as exploitation of labour and the bulk created for landfill or incineration, it is not good for the planet.
The only obvious solution seems to be for us to buy fewer items, treating them with care and mending them (can anyone actually remember how to darn socks?) or alternatively to wear less. As nakedne…