Showing posts from November, 2014

Reflections on a Fifth Month of Retirement

As well as reaching the dizzy anniversary of five months' retirement, I am also conscious that it was last November that I began this blog with a statement that retirement was no longer a vague notion.  In the early days I was filled with all kinds of concerns but once I actually took the plunge and embraced retirement, everything has been going more or less swimmingly. In the first four months, however, we were blessed with dry, warm weather and trips away. The last month has been a little different. Yes we have made short trips to Edinburgh and London but we haven't been away for any significant period. I am someone who has always been accustomed to dashing around, a little like a plate spinner in a circus, running from one stick to another in an effort to keep the plates on the top revolving. Whilst I never intended retirement to become quite the same hive of activity, I am also determined that it should turn its back on the humdrum of repetitiveness. Having str

A Good Read

During these short dark days of November, I have discovered that very little beats snuggling up on the sofa with a blanket and a good book. I know there are people who make a point at work of putting their feet on the desk at lunchtime and opening up a paperback. It was something, however, that I could never do, preferring either a blast of fresh air or alternatively (and regrettably far more likely) to continue working with the aim of finishing at a reasonable hour. Fortunately some ten years ago, I was involved in the formation of a Village Reading Group. It has proved to be my salvation in that I have been compelled to read at least one book every six weeks so as to join in the discussion as to its literary merits and, at the same time, enjoy the convivial company of a group of keen readers and their hospitality, as we meet in each other's homes on a rotational basis. Yesterday evening was our scheduled meeting and, despite retirement, I still only started the

A Little Space

So here it is: a photo of the new chair taken with the new camera  referred to yesterday. Thanks to a 9am meeting for me at a local school, Mister E was apparently able to proceed in peace. There are some things you just can’t do together and for which we all need our own space.

Bits and Pieces

What is it about modern life that has to make everything so complex? This week I have finally got round to replacing both my camera and computer chair. The previous camera lasted nearly 8 years but recently succumbed to a large crack and is now held together by sticky tape. The chair I am presently sitting on suffers eruptions of foam from its stuffing, messing the floor as well as causing discomfort to my posterior from the gaping hole in the seat. The trouble is that mastering the art of using any electronic device requires a great deal of patience and training. The new camera came with two instruction manuals, a CD rom and a link to two websites. It's little wonder that I never fully utilised all the functions on my last camera. Now I'm retired, however, I thought that, without work to interrupt, learning all the various functions would be a breeze. Not so, if I want to use it to its optimum, there's at least another two or three afternoons of hard graft

The Cinema

I can hardly believe it; I have just been to the cinema twice in less than 48 hours. Once to a large multiplex and today to a smaller auditorium in a converted station. What makes the two visits most unusual is that I cannot honestly remember when I was last there: a year perhaps, maybe even two. The entrance to the multiplex was a vast hangar of neon lighting, popcorn and posters. The converted station by comparison is an historic delight, lacking only the steam train puffing through what is now a bistro area. With darker and colder days, watching a film seems like an enticing activity and, in the run up to the Oscars and other award ceremonies, there are invariably some exciting film releases. In our pre-retirement life, we would always intend to see the films that were commended to us by friends or rated in independent reviews. Regrettably we never quite got ourselves sorted in time and occasionally resorted to buying the DVD a few months later or invariably not eve

Empty Nest Syndrome

The youngest arrived on Saturday morning and left to return to London this afternoon. It was a quick visit but we managed to squeeze in a trip to see my mother, a meal out, a visit to the cinema and a good old fashioned Sunday dinner. It all felt very busy, although the youngest has never been loud, the house was noisier than we have become accustomed to, and there just wasn't as much time to spend together as we would have liked. Seeing her off at the station was a moving experience but, of course, it's only a few more weeks until she'll be home for a month. Upon my return and, solely out of interest I assure you, I found myself looking up Empty Nest Syndrome on Wikipedia.  Apparently all parents are susceptible but those who are dealing with other stressful events such as, and it cites "retirement" as a specific example, are particularly vulnerable! Oh dear! However, it does point out that coping mechanisms include pursuing one's own hobbies an

Shopping and Packing

I don't go shopping any more. Well that's not quite true but when you live 10 miles from the local town and you're not going in every day to work, the High Street and its shops begin to acquire a rarity value. Yes, we still eat, so yes we still visit the supermarket (although to be honest now even find the time to browse delicatessens, butchers and greengrocers which do actually still exist). What I don't do so often is impulse buy; with 5 lunchtimes a working week, there was an inevitable temptation to do so when the real motive, of course, was simply to pop out for a breath of fresh air. Now a shopping trip is pre-planned and has a purpose. As a result I go into shops less frequently than before and there is an objective for each visit. This week, however, I was side-tracked. Perhaps it was the large sign saying 50% off or maybe, knowing that my suitcase virtually fell apart on our return flight from Greece last month, I was sub-consciously looking out

Isolation, Pressure and Compromises

I t would be wonderful if this was a picture of my greenhouse and garden but it was actually taken in the Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh last week. Still I have been working on my own autumnal vegetation and, bit by bit, that end of season tidy-up is beginning to show results. The dip in temperatures this week means that, with the weather staying dry, there has been time each day to devote to:  Chores and creativity indoors, and  Pruning, shredding, digging and creativity outdoors, once the air temperature has warmed and before the sun disappears in what almost seems like the mid-afternoon. I know that there are people who insist that there is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing. However those same people generally don't go hot air ballooning when it's blowing a hurricane outside or cook a Sunday roast when it hits 30 degrees and everyone else is tucking into salad on the patio. The great thing I've discovered about this time