Showing posts from July, 2016

Perseverance Finally Rewards

One of the enjoyable parts of retirement is spending time in the garden, or perhaps to be more precise even weeding. Now I don't claim to have a garden that is completely free of intruders but I have to say it looks heaps better than three years ago. I mulched large areas in the spring which has helped to suppress the growth of unwanted interlopers and have also been fastidious in setting aside time each week for tending to the vegetable patch, hoeing  and pulling out weeds  by hand. The weather has not been brilliant this summer by any means. Indeed and until two days ago it seemed that we were destined to suffer April temperatures and showers indefinitely. It has however had the advantage of forcing me to spend more time in the greenhouse, raising plants under glass to a greater level of maturity than I might normally have done before planting them out. Inevitably there have been anxious moments not least as a result of the decision to try growing sweet co


So this week we spent a couple of days in Northumberland revisiting old haunts from the decade when we kept a boat at Amble.  It is strange how some places improve and others decline, leaving us a little disappointed by our hotel which is now part of a chain and whilst we had expected the man on the door in the frock coat and top hat would have retired had hoped, in vain, that if the chef had followed suit he would at least have been adequately replaced. On the plus side Amble itself has really benefited from what is clearly an upmarket regeneration, designed presumably to replace the fishing industry with tourism.   Despite the stormy skies, Northumberland's beaches never fail to please. If only they had stupendous weather to match the miles of golden sand, but then they wouldn't be so brilliantly under populated. We took in Northumberlandia opened only in 2012, the vast sleeping giant of a woman carved into the site of a deserted ope


One of the sad facts about getting older is that you become much more conscious of the finite nature of our lives. In retirement this can translate itself into the dreaded bucket list and a whirlwind of activity trying to fit as much as possible in whilst, as I have often heard say, we can.  There was an era when we were regularly invited to weddings and christenings , in retirement it seems far more likely that I will attend Church for a funeral service. It's an inevitable but regrettable symptom of getting older. A reminder of our fragility and recognition that each day could be our last. I don't like funerals; I doubt if anybody does. They are particularly difficult, however, when they are for someone whose life was cut short in its prime and long before retirement beckoned. Rest in Peace.  

Retail Therapy

As part of the voluntary work that I am undertaking for Save the Children,  I have agreed to provide occasional cover for holiday absences in their local charity shop. Of course my cv falls well short of fitting the job description when the closest I have ever previously come to operating a till was a plastic cash register I used to play with as a child. It is a novel experience and it has certainly taught me never to underestimate the skills of the check-out staff in a supermarket again.  A shop till these days is a sophisticated computer in its own right, with touch screen technology, flashing lights and a really scary card reader. Of course it can only  be operated whilst simultaneously wrapping the goods purchased, checking for forged notes, handing over the correct change and all the while making casual conversation with the customer whilst being on the look out for shop lifters and fraudsters.  Variety is achieved by re-arranging or stacking shelves (the books are m