INTRODUCTION


There seems to be a scarcity of UK retirement blogs out there (other than those proffering financial advice) and in the absence of my being able to read about other people's experiences, I instead offer you my own "Great Big Retirement Adventure."

My husband (Mister E) and I have moved from the initial concept through the planning stages to implementation and this site is intended to record the whole process. What I am seeking from retirement is now very different to what I thought I was planning and has gradually developed into a quest for fitness and a desire for simplification, with a transition away from both a highly organised lifestyle and the personality traits reflecting a pedantic professional career. Indeed I recently described myself as "a goofy idiot" who enjoys smiling at sunflowers; a far cry from the pre-retirement professional and an indication of just how far I have travelled.

Please visit from time to time and do add your comments. The blog is in reverse chronological order but popular posts and those highlighting our journey are specifically pinpointed below on the right hand side together with a list of topics covered. Alternatively you may prefer to look at the summary or wisdom we have acquired or even our have done list with its retirement atlas and dip in and out of the blog using the links given.




Showing posts with label Colour. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Colour. Show all posts

Sunday, 24 September 2017

So Where Did the Summer Go?




Did I blink and miss it or was it all the recent travelling? Either way, I can hardly believe it is now Autumn and the second half of September. Moreover, and whilst walking in the Lake District today, we spotted holly with red berries all ready for decking out the halls. No Indian summer this year I guess and at least we'll hopefully get to do a proper garden clear up with plants dying off before the weather turns too cold, perhaps.

In the meantime and in advance of turning our attention to leaves and branches, the passionate culling of extraneous stuff within as opposed to outside our home has continued, alongside the rejection of both plastic and added sugar. 


For instance after months of tripping over a box full of camera equipment strategically placed on the floor, I was determined to create shelf space for it in a cupboard stoved off with a combination of knitting wool, craft materials, DIY tools and, just to add to the mixture, board games, many of which have lain there unused for 15 years or more.  In dramatic fashion, not only, therefore, did I empty the cupboard but I also repainted it. Making it look like a completely new area (how easily a new colour scheme can fool) somehow made it easier to rearrange the contents and throw the excess away. In fact we have done such a good job that not only has my reputation for tidying cupboards reached new heights, but the top shelf remains unfilled, although that may just be a matter of timing.


As the intensity of decluttering, physically and mentally, increases, I have begun to realise that its meaning goes beyond tidying up and letting go. What seemed at first to be a sensible clear-out of old, unused  stuff is actually so much more. In retirement we are finally making the time to rid ourselves of extraneous trivia built up over decades in an instinctive anticipation that, once liberated, we shall be able to enjoy the important things in our lives instead. The clear aim is now to live not only more simply but also more purposefully. I just sometimes need direction!



Saturday, 15 April 2017

Loaded with Spring Colour





It has certainly been a magnificent Spring for colour. The daffodils seem to have been a little late, the tulips early and the mix of yellow with the pastel hues of the tulips and the scent and colour of hyacinths has resulted in a magnificent display wherever I have gone.



A couple of weeks back, I also kick started  my own Spring colours with a review of my wardrobe. It followed, I confess, another ladies lunch with those fellow fitness junkies when we were treated to a presentation from the House of Colour. It seems that we are all pretty  much divided into four types of skin tone which dictates the shades we should wear.

I declined the opportunity to pay a not insignificant sum to determine my perfect colour match (experience has already taught me that it is various shades of blue, especially aqua). I was, however, sufficiently inspired to take another look at the colours in my wardrobe where, whilst I was pleased to note that the workplace black was now outnumbered, it still lurked in the corners projecting drabness and misery. 

Spurred by the thought that we all need more colour in our lives, I set myself up for some online retail therapy and the aim of bringing the blue of those hyacinths into my bedroom closets. It hasn't all gone, but after almost three years of retirement, I can safely say that the black outfits have diminished now to only four items. Pale and turquoise blues are much more cheerful.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

A Bad Hair Day



Oh dear I have just had one of those awful 24 hour periods, an interruption to the otherwise halcyon days of retirement. 

It started yesterday when I climbed the step ladder intending to start painting the kitchen ceiling in the house that we let out. I noticed a slight bulge in the wallpaper on the adjoining wall, decided to investigate and next moment became involved in what felt like a serious demolition process as I stripped the wall back to the brickwork. I just hope the kitchen fitter who starts work next week is a competent plasterer too.

Returning home, however, my series of mishaps continued when I discovered a nail in the tyre of my car. Fortunately it is not yet deflating so I took it to the local tyre fitter who agreed he could repair rather than replace it. He went to retrieve the locking wheel nut remover from the spare wheel toolkit in the boot. Horror of horrors, it was missing. A thorough search of the car failed to locate it and slowly the truth dawned, I have never had cause to use it since buying the vehicle last March and in the early honeymoon days of bonding with the car never even thought about checking its presence. How does one argue the case with the garage that supplied the car?

Well I started by ringing; several times; nobody ever returned my call despite endless promises that they would do so. Tomorrow (assuming the tyre is not flat and the car driveable) I shall park myself on the forecourt in protest and have rung the gym to cancel my fitness classes in readiness. After all if good fortune decides to do the dirty on me, I am not giving up without a fight.

My next run in with Lady Luck followed fairly quickly when I went to the hairdressers for a cut and colour. I agreed to try something different so long as it wasn't purple. When, after two hours, I emerged from under the towel looking a little like Cruella de Vil, even the stylist's face fell. It took another two hours to remedy the situation even if I am now sporting a sophisticated ash blonde look when I all I had been expecting were fair highlights.

Then when you think nothing else can go wrong, my computer very clearly said "no." Switching it on a message appeared suggesting that crucial hard or software (it knew not which) was missing and I needed to reload the original installation programmes. Fortunately I had made an installation back up as well as storing copies of all my documents and media in "the Cloud", but it still took hours to retrieve everything.

At the end of the evening I sit here slightly reeling. I've never experienced a day like it! Still it just goes to show, retirement isn't always plain sailing or uninterrupted joy.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Summer Art and Gardens



Whilst in London, the youngest and I took in the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy. It's a mixture of genres of contemporary art and as such challenges you to decide what it is that you like, rather than browsing a display exploring a common theme. That said the Large Weston Room had taken architecture as its theme and was certainly my favourite with drawings and models that clearly spoke and inspired, with an orderliness of thought and design that I inevitably find pleasing to the eye.


Burlington House itself with the light cascading from its ceiling glass is the perfect home for the Royal Academy and its changing displays. It gives lie to the idea that 19th Century buildings are no longer suitable venues for modern day art.



London, of course, is not only the home of world famous galleries but also parks and gardens. So why not indulge two interests in the same trip? Queen Mary's Gardens in Regent's Park proved to be another worthy destination not least because the roses for which the gardens are famous were in full bloom.





Sunday, 22 May 2016

Bluebells


I have frequently posted on here about the beauty of the natural world, the time in retirement to appreciate it and the benefits for our well-being in doing so.

With that in mind, I really don't want Spring to slip away without mentioning what a wonderful year it has so far been for bulb displays, culminating in the discovery of bluebell woods far and wide. I even have a very modest display that appears to have naturalised in my own garden. The photograph above was, of course, taken on my visit to Yorkshire Sculpture Park last week. (I would hate to mislead anyone into thinking that my own garden is so extensive.)


Thursday, 14 April 2016

Tulips from Amsterdam



Springtime in the Netherlands is advancing at a faster rate than at home, so the youngest and I needed little excuse to pop over to admire the tulips for which Holland is famed. 



We gawped at the bulb fields; industrialised flower farming on an immense and glorious scale. 


Then went to spend time in the internationally acclaimed Keukenhof Gardens. The colour combinations and the all pervading scent of hyacinths were astounding.


It may have been mid-week but the gardens were busy with visitors from all over the World including many in wheelchairs or with mobility aids. Fortunately I was enjoying the experience too much, to be disturbed when the youngest suggested that I may have visited 15 years too early (how infirm does she expect me to be by 2031?) or to take notice of her one complaint, namely that she felt a little young amongst the retired populus of Planet Earth!



We did however agree that sunshine and flowers make you smile and feel happy.


Friday, 29 January 2016

Positivity in a Monochrome Environment


Battered by storm after storm outside, one could almost be forgiven for thinking that retirement offers the perfect opportunity for hibernation. However, after a couple of days hiding from the weather and catching up with all those tasks left for a winter's day, I confess to feeling somewhat isolated. At work there is, of course, always an opportunity for social interaction without seeking it out; retirement is different and one needs to be proactive.



In contrast, last week we once again visited Langdale in the Lake District and were joined by the eldest and two long standing friends; company was on tap. 



The weather was still disappointing in its own way and was dominated by cold, dull and wintry conditions. Nevertheless we got out and about showing our friends our favourite low level walking routes and lunchtime stops. We even ventured into caves that I had never visited before.



In retirement I have rediscovered a love of colour  but last week the landscape was very definitely monochrome. Positivity ruled and my camera tried to find beauty there too.


I think it succeeded!


Friday, 16 October 2015

Autumn Colour


Every season has something special to offer, but the colours of autumn are always there to be enjoyed. It is something that perhaps in my previous life I frequently ignored in the haste to fulfil other commitments. The falling leaves also hastened the knowledge that the daily commute would soon be undertaken in the dark, both there and back. No wonder that in my working days Spring was always a more favourable option.

This week however I have revelled in the glorious reds and golds of the season. Not least when I met an old friend at a mid-way point in Yorkshire between our homes.



Autumn is glorious and now I don't have to go out in the dark mornings and nights every weekday, I think that there is something almost snug about the shortening days!


Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Souvenirs and Memories


Oh dear it has been a while since I made an entry here, attributable, I do not regret, to the pursuit of  travels. Remember that bucket list I referred to earlier? Well last week we were exploring another Greek Island, this time Lefkas, again in the Ionian Sea.

Whilst it did not prove to be my favourite Greek Island, I was still captivated by the amazing effect of light and the extent to which the colour blue is all pervading. 

It is perhaps unsurprising that the Greek word for light is "phos" when everything gleams at you phosphorescently. 




Lefkas Town is made up of an array of brightly coloured properties many adorned with even brighter coloured plants and flowers. 

The town was hit by earthquakes in 1948 and 1953 and was, apart from numerous old Italian Churches which survived, rebuilt using a unique wooden frame technique designed to withstand further tremors. It is a distinct change to the usual whitewashed concrete. With the bright colours on the walls and the Colonial style shutters, it reminded me of our trip to Cuba.



As you can imagine there was therefore plenty of opportunity for me to pursue my passion for colour and the chance to photograph it. Yes, one day I really shall get those pencils and paints out again too.







Unfortunately the western Greek coastline was once renowned for its mosquito ridden lagoons and marshes. 

Indeed it is, I believe, speculated that Lord Byron may even have contracted malaria as he travelled that coast, playing his part in the Greece's battle for independence before succumbing to and dying of fever at Missolonghi. 

Whilst malaria may no longer be prevalent on those shores, the biting flies remain and love nothing better than to nip the flesh of unsuspecting tourists; I currently wear the raised red bumps, which have fortunately ceased to itch, as a badge of honour and, together with the photographs and memories, they are the only other souvenir of our travels. 





Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Impact of Glass



I love the way an art exhibition can leave you energised and often it is unexpected objects or paintings that have the most impact. So today I am feeling inspired and motivated, recalling not only the creations of Henry Moore at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park but also a display of glass art there by the Venetian siblings, Laura and Alessandro Diaz de Santallina.






The exhibition was inside a chapel which, after deconsecration, has been turned into a unique white painted gallery where the light floods in. Outside, on long term loan, is Iron Tree, a sculpture by Al Weiwei who has also exhibited there.





Peering through the door, I spotted a row of glass vases and immediately thought that this was going to be a bit dull. 


How easy it is to be wrong. The pieces demonstrate and experiment with both transparency and reflection, distorting the light and reverberating colour. The effect was simple yet mesmerising.



The trouble is, short of writing this blog entry, it is difficult to channel the inspiration. 

Whilst retirement has given me the opportunity to experience and appreciate so many facets of the creative world as yet my own participation feels like that of a voyeur, camera in hand. Instinctively, however, I know that  my sub-conscious is desirous of creating items of beauty in order to express itself  and I also know that painting the walls of my home is not going to be sufficient to fulfil that part of my psyche, regardless of how expressive I make the brush strokes. 

Surrounded by colour and the countryside with Yorkshire's renowned landscapes and vast skies, perhaps it is time once again to dust down the sketch book abandoned last year in favour of my new pocket camera.


Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Landscape and Sculpture




I have always been attracted to the sculptures of Henry Moore and today the youngest and I paid a visit to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park where 500 acres of his native Yorkshire countryside plays host to many of his larger pieces. There was also an indoor exhibition of his work, aptly entitled "Back to a Land," where his deep relationship with the land was explored.

In light of my current "well-being and nature kick," I'm wondering now if the appeal of his work to me lies in its relationship with the natural world.






Moore himself is quoted as saying:
"I realised what an advantage a separated two piece composition could have in relating figures to landscape. Knees and breasts are mountains. Once these two parts become separated you don't expect it to be a naturalistic figure; therefore you can justifiably make it like a landscape or a rock. If it is a single figure you can guess what it is going to be like. If it is in two pieces, there's a bigger surprise, you have unexpected views."


The park was one of Moore's favourite backdrops for his sculptures. In the background to the current exhibition we were told that he loved the changing skies, weather and seasons and thought the sheep roaming the land were the right size to balance his work.


We thought it quite beautiful: art and landscape brought together with the opportunity for a decent walk to appreciate all the pieces.