Posts

Speed of Delivery

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    Remember telegrams that arrived within the hour? What about first class post guaranteed to drop through the letterbox by 8am the next day in an era when there were actually two postal deliveries every morning? Are these memories that make me sound as though I've stepped out of antiquity or am instead posing as a stereotypical senior grumbler? I guess if I was half a century older, I might even recall the day when you could post a letter in the morning and it was delivered that afternoon. Too often in retirement, no longer caught up in the world of instant business communication and all the pressures that brings, I've had time to witness what seem to be retrospective steps when it comes to longstanding means for connectivity. After all, how reliable even is the telephone system now, with its digital service and voice over internet protocol? Today, however, I was impressed. There are some things that can match those memories of speedy dispatch and arrival. I speak of Amazon P

A Quintessential English Train Journey

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  I am still making the most of having a train station within walking distance and on Thursday I used it to travel to meet a friend. She'd arranged to meet me at my destination station of Huddersfield with her car so that we could travel onwards to Wentworth Castle Gardens and Deer Park.  When we organise one of our monthly get togethers it is invariably to somewhere we can walk, talk and have lunch. Wentworth did not disappoint on any of those scores and included the added attraction of wildlife, songbirds and meadow flowers, not to mention an occasional bench to sit and admire the view on our stroll. The problem with train travel and a rendezvous is, of course, punctuality. Imagine my excitement therefore when I was able to text to verify that I had left on time and then, just over seventy minutes  later, confirm the same thing as we pulled out of Leeds, triggering my friend's departure from her home to meet me. In recent years Transpennine Express has become a notorious misn

Election Malaise

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  Already this feels like the longest run up to an election ever. In reality it will actually be only 3 weeks tomorrow since a rain-soaked Rishi Sunak stood in Downing Street amidst a downpour to announce that we would be going to the polls on July 4th. With another 3 weeks to go until election day, it feels like an eternity. I  guess my attitude isn't helped by the knowledge that it doesn't particularly matter how I vote, because since retiring that X has invariably never gone into the winning box. No wonder I don't play the National Lottery! It would be nice to think that this time the outcome might be different but, as a member of the electorate in the Prime Minister's own constituency where he has one of the safest majorities in the country, I suspect that nothing much will change so far as my bad run in picking winners and feeling of disenfranchisement are concerned. I was just checking the list of candidates seeking election today and it must be said that now he i

Go With the Flow

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  When I made the transition into retirement I was captivated by the knowledge that I could plan excursions to avoid peak traffic, bad weather or whatever else might intervene to impede my journey. Presumably it is now a sign of maturity that, almost ten years on, I am simply ready to accept and go with the flow. It's not that I actively seek to join a queue of traffic but I'm probably not quite so diligent in my avoidance planning. Take mid-week for example when Mister E and I squeezed in a cheeky two nights away in a country house hotel on Lake Ullswater. Of course I knew Appleby Horse Fair was in the offing but no, I didn't think to check the exact dates. The net effect of that was, of course, that we crossed the Pennines on the A66 amidst a wave of horses and ponies tugging carts and caravans. One horse, in particular was struggling to trot in a straight line, regularly crossing the white lines down the middle of the road, causing mayhem and delay on both sides of the

Sorting and Shedding

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 I have been working my way through children's games that I removed from one particular cupboard at our recently vacated home. This is an area that I've attacked a couple of times already in retirement, donating unused toys and other paraphernalia to charity shops. There remained, however, a mixture of well used board games, some stemming from my own childhood but also enjoyed by the Eldest and Youngest, as well too as their collection of game-consoles and the games that they loved to play on them. There will no longer be a place for most of them in our home when we return. Was it even rational to feel attachment to these games, no matter how long we've had them as a family? Those made in the 1960's were hardly vintage boxed originals from the 1930's, but could I let them go after so long? Pragmatism crept in when I lifted the Monopoly box and it almost disintegrated in my hands. The contents looked sad and crumbling. In Cluedo the Detectives' Notes had been fil

A Slow Vacation

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  To be frank, moving as we have done is a little like finding ourselves on an extended self catering holiday. Freed from the shackles of being surrounded by onerous maintenance, projects and objects, there's so much more time to devote to the business of retirement itself.  Ten miles east from our permanent home, we are ten miles closer to the sea. Consequently we have already passed two very enjoyable days at the coast in recent weeks.  The first coincided with a visit from the fanily including Grandotty, as well as what was probably the warmest day we've experienced so far this year. The eldest grabbed his surfboard and the rest of us picnicked on the beach as Grandotty was introduced to the pleasures of sand and waves. Inevitably, the sand found its way into her mouth, whilst she thought the waves a little daunting. Experiencing the familiar sound, smell and scenery of the shore through the reactions of a youngster, however, is on par with discovering them yourself for the

Oh Boy!

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  Yes, I had heard tell that moving home can be up there with all of life's other big stressors but never did I imagine how difficult it can be. Given a deadline of just under 5 weeks to find a rental property and vacate our own home, it was never going to be easy, but a paucity of suitable lettings meant I didn't for a moment appreciate just how tough the challenge we faced would turn out. In the end the loss adjuster appointed a relocation agent to assist and although we had to identify and view potential properties, they at least did the negotiating for us. Finding a house to take all of our possessions as well as ourselves in the  area where we live was always going to be tricky and ultimately a compromise had to be made. We've moved 10 miles to the east, to the edge of suburbia into a modern estate home, some 1,000 square feet smaller then we've been accustomed to. Reducing our entourage of belongings was a battlefield in itself. I'm still sorting through piles