Posts

I Spoke Too Soon

Image
Did I really give my last blog entry the title Unscathed? Tempting fate and living dangerously might spice up retirement but aren't necessarily to be recommended. Of course the portent of doom was obviously already floating in the stars on Tuesday night when at 6pm and on the coldest day of the winter so far, there was a power outage across the village. Now you may not recall, but Tuesday evening, 7pm was, of course, the kick-off time for the England v Wales World Cup match. I can't imagine how awful it must have been for the poor souls on the other end of the customer helpline that evening, who would inevitably have been inundated with angry would-be TV viewers. After all I felt aggrieved and am hardly a die-hard follower. Electricity was restored by 7.30pm but not after the customer care personnel had presumably received short shrift from disappointed football supporters. Even if the fans were spared the agony of a first half that by all acounts was made up of back passing an

Unscathed

Image
  We have recently returned from another little foray. On this occasion we went to Malta and what can I say? Flying again after all this time- it was almost a new experience but bit by bit the memories return: the queues; the waiting; the cramped airline seats; the appalling range of  over priced and undertasting snacks; those passengers at the various airport checks with the wrong documentation. I could go on but, discomfort and all, it was quite simply great to be able to do it again. Malta too was a new to us destination. Another place that we had cancelled our planned visit to, back in 2020. A home from home in ways that I had not expected; well it always makes crossing the road easier when the traffic drives on the left, not to mention finding a post box when it's red! Staying in Valletta, we wandered to our limits finding the light, history and architecture very much to our pleasing; an urban photographer's paradise, even in the rain. We also had easy access to local bus

Smartphone Update

Image
  In the early days of this blog, one of my post popular posts mulled over what I then considered to be a smartphone dilemma. On retiring I was obliged to return the iPhone issued to me for work and was trying to decide whether or not I would actually need one solely for personal use. That's definitely not a blog entry that has stood the test of time. I  did resolve the issue by purchasing an android smartphone and have, of course, never looked back and to the extent that I have recently updated it for a second time.  Keeping in touch with friends and family via WhatsApp, especially the eldest when he was living in New Zealand, is an imperative and with the opportunity for group chats it's so much more useful than text messaging with of course the option for video calls too. Then there's the app I use to book gym classes and one to synchronise with the Fitbit on my wrist. It carries my electronic calendar and To Do List as well as my contacts' telephone numbers and add

Not Working Out

Image
 What is it about Covid ? I've been testing negative for a week now and still the irritating coughing lingers. It feels like it should be productive but there honestly isn't anything for it to produce unless somehow barking can clear blocked ears. Doctor Google provides all kinds of medical explanations and theories but none are of any great use in unravelling a solution. Initially I thought I'd been given an early dispensation when only 5 days after that initial positive result, my lateral flow test was clear. Enthusiastically I returned to the gym 2 days later, albeit starting with a light weights and stretching class rather than something too strenuous. It got rid of all the stiffness in the joints and I felt a certain levity of spirit returning home, convinced I was cured and that the fourth vaccination really had delivered the immune response promised and in record time. How wrong can you be? It could have been a relapse or a false result but next morning, testing to j

Feel the Joy

Image
 There are occasions in exploring retirement that I feel I am sampling things so that others don't have to. An example arose this week when I decided to read "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying," by Marie Kondo. The KonMari Method and decluttering are now synonymous. Whilst we've probably all heard about her strategy of holding an object to see if it sparks joy, I decided it was time to see if there was anything more that I could learn. Into my 9th year of retirement and, regardless of the progress made, I still wonder if I shall ever reduce possessions to the point where I can give myself a well-deserved "Job Done" and accompanying pat on the back. Turning the pages, I quickly learnt that the preferred strategy is to get stuck in and aim to complete the task as quickly as possible and in any event in no more than 6 months. Whatever have I been doing for the past 8 and a half years, I wondered? Obviously not putting our house in order once and forever, as sh

Any Port in a Storm

Image
 For a couple who have spent what seems an inordinate amount of their lives messing around on the sea in sailing vessels, it has always amused me that we have never taken to cruising. There are times when, despite our reservations, it is a very obvious way to travel to see somewhere. Having completed three of these affairs, all with different companies in ships of varying sizes, I might almost regard myself as an expert in reasons for trepidation when voyaging aboard one. On the last occasion, 4 years ago now, I listed many of the pitfalls. Give cruise companies their due though, their marketing is good and some of them do their very best to tempt you back. After all, it's not all bad, living on a floating hotel and going from port to port without breaking into a sweat lugging a suitcase. Next year, it will be 40 years since Mister E struck out into the Atlantic in his own little boat making it to and from the Azores, he and the yacht, in one piece. There's nothing like an anni

Double Deckers

Image
    You know that saying? "Just like double decker buses. You wait ages and then two come along at once." Well I've been living the experience, and after waiting a whole twelve months, two arrived together. Mister E and I, however, managed to miss both. I am, of course, talking nuptials. It's a year now since the eldest and Dilly were married but marked on our calendar for the weekend just gone were the weddings of both a niece and a nephew, the first on Saturday and the other on Sunday. The consecutive scheduling may not have been perfect, especially as we were due to return from holiday only on the Friday afternoon, but hey you only live once and the busier the better! Except it was not to be. That nasty Coronavirus finally caught both of us simultaneously and we've been stuck at home, coughing and spluttering. I wouldn't care but I'd even had my 4th vaccination only 3 weeks before; invincible, we are clearly not. When I've devoted time of late on th