Showing posts from February, 2020

The Cheek of It.

  Image by Couleur from Pixabay Regardless of the impact of coronavirus there remains a bigger risk to my retirement in the form of the Government. Little by little (or rather too quickly in the case of the WASPI women of whom I'm one) the state retirement age or date upon which we qualify for a state pension has been increased. Moreover and despite the triple lock, the amount of our state pension trails woefully behind those paid in other European countries. This month, adding insult to injury, the Home Secretary suggested on Radio 4 that economically inactive people between 16 and 64 years of age should do the unskilled work that migrant labourers have been doing prior to Brexit. Yes, on the basis that my seriously part-time position as Parish Clerk can hardly count, her definition of economically inactive included me! That woman has got to be joking. Does she seriously think that after 6 years exploring Planet Retirement I am going back to the workforce anyti


Inhabitants of Hubei province, members of a religious sect in South Korea and residents of remote areas in Northern Italy appear, so far, to be those most at risk of contracting the virus that is rapidly spreading around the world and has now been named somewhat uninspiringly as Covid 19. Travellers from the regions mentioned appear to be responsible for the isolated outbreaks in other countries as well as those that have turned vacations, be they on a cruise ship or in a luxury hotel, into potential hell-holes. Imagine, therefore, my consternation when eating breakfast on our final morning in Cyprus to be seated on a table next to a couple speaking Italian, when the man began to cough repeatedly without covering his mouth. I know not from where they had travelled but clearly could not eliminate Lombardy from the options. I know that I do sometimes suffer from too vivid an imagination, but next, I swear, he started to look decidedly feverish. Call us paranoid, if you wi

Cyprus EUrevoir

Looking West from Petra Tou Romiou I'm not sure if Mister E and I have invented our latest challenge or if perhaps we read about it somewhere. After all, it's a little out of character for us to be unique. Regardless, we are embracing EUrevoir which briefly involves an effort to visit every EU nation before the United Kingdom's transition period expires on 31st December. We have already banked a few since the referendum result in case we can't get to them all this year  and, of course, coronavirus might be something of an impediment, but we'll deal with that when we have to. In the interim, we kicked the whole thing off in style with a week in Cyprus, returning yesterday. Europe with hot sunshine in February, what is there not to like about that? Cyprus is renowned as a tourist destination with a solid infrastructure: modern buildings, roads, public transport network and broadband, for those who want that kind of thing when travelling.  The C

The Pain Gain

Image by Mariolh on Pixabay   Joint stiffness, which seems more common as we age, can often be alleviated by exercise. “Use it or lose it,” is, of course, a well-voiced maxim and I’ve tried to take it to heart in retirement. However, you can loosen your joints to your heart’s content only to find your body crippled by another stiffness: that of aching muscles. Inflamed tissue, muscle knots and tightness; sometimes we knowingly stretch them out, other times they fade of their own accord as our daily routines pull and lengthen them back to comfort. Lately, I’ve attended classes where together we’ve used foam rollers to self-massage many of the trigger points, relieving tightness and soreness, in some cases only after passing the pain threshold. Today I tried something different: a neck and shoulder massage delivered by a smiling lady in a flowing robe, inside a darkened room. This was not one of those relaxing seaweed wraps or indulgent hot-stone therapi

Water, Water Everywhere

No, I haven't drowned; it just feels like it sometimes and, despite the best efforts of Storms Ciara and Dennis, we have probably been fairly fortunate to have suffered no more than what seems like continuous rainfall and blustery conditions. Our village lies very close to a flood plain which can cause problems for some properties from time to time, and so for the last two weekends they have had sandbags at the ready should they be needed to provide a barrier to the liquid mud that flows from the fields from time to time. In the event, they have not been required and we have escaped unscathed although all around us the countryside is littered with lakes that don't generally exist but which this winter just seem to have grown and grown. In fact the only impediment that I personally suffered was when the River Tees broke its banks closing the local A road for the best part of 24 hours and in so doing prevented my journey to the gym. However, I've made up for it ever

Here We Go Again

Some twenty years after it first hit the stage, I finally went to see Mamma Mia, the Musical, on Thursday. One of the many advantages about being retired, is that you can actually go to the theatre for matinee performances. That may not be so attractive in the summer, but believe me it's a perfect way to spend a chilly January afternoon. Of course, your fellow audience does tend to be grey of hair and a little frail but it's the show you have come to see, not the occupants of the stalls and grand circle. To be honest, squeezed between two Super Troupers, my mother and an elderly gent with the tremors, I was actually surprised to find that I was one of the younger audience members. I'd been expecting more like myself; representatives of the generation that actually wore hideously high platform shoes (a saviour back in the seventies for one of such short stature) and hot pants, rather than their parents who at the time had looked on disapprovingly. In fact, I was e