INTRODUCTION


There seems to be a scarcity of UK retirement blogs out there (other than those proffering financial advice) and in the absence of my being able to read about other people's experiences, I instead offer you my own "Great Big Retirement Adventure."

My husband (Mister E) and I have moved from the initial concept through the planning stages to implementation and this site is intended to record the whole process. What I am seeking from retirement is now very different to what I thought I was planning and has gradually developed into a quest for fitness and a desire for simplification, with a transition away from both a highly organised lifestyle and the personality traits reflecting a pedantic professional career. Indeed I recently described myself as "a goofy idiot" who enjoys smiling at sunflowers; a far cry from the pre-retirement professional and an indication of just how far I have travelled.

Please visit from time to time and do add your comments. The blog is in reverse chronological order but popular posts and those highlighting our journey are specifically pinpointed below on the right hand side together with a list of topics covered. Alternatively you may prefer to look at the summary or wisdom we have acquired or even our have done list with its retirement atlas and dip in and out of the blog using the links given.




Saturday, 20 February 2016

The Perception of Time



The end of another week and I can hardly believe that it's just over a week since we returned from London and less than a month since we spent a week in the Lake District

When I was really busy at work, time seemed to fly.  So much so that I could never quite believe, when, for instance, the dentist sent me a reminder for an annual check-up, that a whole year had passed since the last appointment; it seemed like yesterday. Now every day seems to have so much activity crammed into it that time stretches out behind me and I'm actually surprised that events took place only a matter of weeks ago, instead of months.

The changing perspective on time is, of course, a welcome one. I understand that the variety in my activities and lack of  a recognisable routine may account for this change, compared to the previous decades when the humdrum nature of work dominated. Whether the perception has a scientific basis or not I was unsure. After all I don't think Albert Einstein was thinking about activity in retirement when he published his Theory of Special Relativity, even though he did recognise that time runs at different rates for different observers travelling at different speeds.

I was also aware that current scientific theory increasingly asks if there is really such a thing as time or is it an illusion? However, a little more digging uncovered the fact that research in the field of neuroscience has  discovered cells within the human body responsible for governing the way we each perceive the passing of time. It is suggested therefore that time is indeed a subjective experience measured by each individual's own perception of the duration of  events.

There is a scientific basis for the slow time phenomenon that I am experiencing! 

Sadly, however, experiments conducted have suggested that it is as you grow older that you generally experience time passing more quickly.  I am, therefore, grateful that not only has retirement  not yet slowed me down, but the cellular structures within (at least for the moment) seem to think the passage of time has diminished rather than increased in speed.


Tuesday, 16 February 2016

A Conflict of Taste



A dilemma frequently faced by Mister E and me in retirement is our choice of entertainment. We can agree on art exhibitions and even television documentaries but when it comes to live art or the cinema, we have, shall we say, a divergence of taste. So much so that last summer we bought a second television set (I know which household really survives on just one television these days?) in order, with my new found leisure time, to treat myself to my own choice of film or drama series, rather than the crime and terror which I am convinced dominate Mister E's viewing.

In London last week we encountered familiar territory as we wrangled over which West End show to see. 

"They don't do shoot-outs or car-chases," I maintained, as he wrinkled his nose at the thought of 'Phantom of the Opera' or 'Billy Elliott.'

I am pleased to advise however that a compromise was reached and we both willingly went to see the first night of "War of the Worlds," at the Dominion Theatre, the live show of Jeff Wayne's album based, of course, on HG Wells' novel. It is definitely a powerful production, even if David Essex who stars in the show and featured on the original album no longer seemed to have his singing voice of old. From Mister E's point of view, however, not only did he enjoy the music but it was also the closest he has ever got to watching the horror of a gun battle and thrill of a chase on stage. The fact that it was all with lasers and Martians was irrelevant. 

Perhaps we shall now indulge in science fiction together. Where is the next Star Trek convention?


Sunday, 14 February 2016

Old and New


One of the experiences that I love about visiting big cities is the mixture of old and new that is so missing from more parochial areas, like the one that I live in. Whether it be a cocktail of young and old people, ancient and modern buildings, new and traditional ideas, imported and staid cultures, they all add to the vibe and excitement. Sadly with much of rural England becoming a haven for over fifties to grow old in together, there can be a lack of ideas and the animation and boost which they bring. Whilst nobody necessarily embraces change, without it surely we are doomed to stagnate?

So it was that wandering around London this week I found myself uplifted not only by the cocktail of nationalities but also by some of the views that I am sure many would groan at, complaining about the desecration of historic and long standing landmarks.

As in Soho

 or Lincoln's Inn Fields;

Canary Wharf from Greenwich;
the ever changing London skyline;
 

and at King's Cross Station.

Whilst there are some who will always decry progress I hope that I never grow too old in retirement to appreciate the exhilaration it can produce. Yes there may be few buildings as beautiful or indeed as symmetrical as the Royal Naval College at Greenwich but, built on the site of one of the Tudor Palaces, I do hope that Henry VII would have thought the same way had he lived an extra 200 years and seen its construction.








Friday, 12 February 2016

Taking a Tumble



Well this week I went flying, literally, and no aeroplane was involved. Now I am not someone prone to moving horizontally through the air nor landing ignominiously in mud but, sad to say, whilst hurrying for a train to London on Tuesday that is exactly what happened. 


Now I do recall a similar experience when, wearing varifocals for the first time, I managed to roll headlong into the gutter as I stepped off the kerb. This time, those lenses are well and truly worn in, so cannot be held to account and instead I must simply have misplaced a foot on the edge of a narrow path, resulting in my being thrown totally off balance and, as I went down, twisting and spraining my ankle.  Fortunately for me, I was carrying a box of renowned Betty's Fondant Fancies at the time and landing on top of them surely avoided further damage to myself albeit squashing the cakes (intended as a gift) in the process!

I understand that falls have been shown to be the largest cause of death by unintentional injury of over 65's in the USA whilst our own NHS claims that at least one in three over 65's living at home will have at least one fall a year. Oh dear, I still have a few years to go but  it looks as though I may have to get used to this tumbling lark after all.

London is not of course the first destination of choice for those with a leg injury. Like any large city walking and going up and down steps are all part of the day there. However, not only did the train company put out a tannoy appeal for a doctor (no doubt I disappointed those passengers expecting a birth on board) but also brought medical ice packs onto the train at the next station, meaning that at least my ankle had been strapped and the swelling brought under control before arriving in the capital.


I should also say thanks to the wonderful concierge at the hotel who, in anticipation of a guest with a walking issue, had had the forethought to put a stick behind his desk ready for such an eventuality. I made his day by being the first visitor ever to have need of it.

Of course, if falling is so commonplace, I am unsure what the moral of this story is, other than to stay safe and tread carefully.



Thursday, 4 February 2016

The Revenant | Official Trailer [HD] | 20th Century FOX

Indulging in a Fantasy World



I'm sure I've said this before but I shall indulge myself by repeating it: one of the great things about retirement is that you can do what you want, when you want. So today, faced with a chilly day with that long-standing dampness underfoot, Mister E and I decided to visit the cinema again.

We had half expected it to be overcrowded with representatives from the great retired class but either the weather or film choice had put them off. It was a stark contrast to B&Q yesterday where the poor chap supervising the self check-outs was clearly having a miserable time dealing with the older generation and their lack of prowess at scanning their purchases on the weekly over 60's discount day.

It was a striking difference too to a few weeks ago when I took my mother to see Dame Maggie Smith as The Lady in the Van. That day the cinema was filled with plenty of people who could put the Lady's wrinkles and cough to shame.


On reflection, therefore, it was most likely our movie option that found us sitting in a small studio with only eight other people. In fact one left after thirty minutes leaving only nine of us to follow the trail of The Revenant as he crawled his way through a bleak environment amidst a hostile winter to seek his revenge. 

Perhaps we become more inured as we get older, but for me the effect and genre of the film was reminiscent of some of the better black and white Westerns that were constantly on television when I was a child. Whilst I have sympathy for the lady who left the screening, the blood and guts which spilled out onto the screen did not exceed my capacity for revulsion and instead I delighted in both the harsh beauty of the landscape and the brutality of the tale. One cannot help but admire the fortitude of those who expanded western frontiers in by-gone centuries whilst being horrified at the wanton disregard they paid to the rights of the indigenous people. 


We certainly enjoy a pampered life in the UK these days and, although there is nothing better than to enter a fantasy world for a couple of hours on a cold February afternoon, retirement for me is certainly not the time in my life when, despite seeking simplification, I want to retreat to a life in the back of beyond with no home comforts. My days of fighting grizzly bears, sleeping in the open and shoot-outs are well and truly behind me, if indeed they ever existed. How wonderful though to have big open landscapes and night skies almost to yourself, to hunt and catch your own food (unfortunately for the most part it was not cooked), and to sit round a fire with others and not watch someone texting. This afternoon I found it all at the cinema.