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.




Sunday, 24 April 2016

Watch Your Back


A bit of sunshine and last weekend saw me digging and weeding in the eldest's garden in Nottingham. It's in a more sheltered situation than my own and after the long winter months I was pleased to be able to spend two full days in the open air, working hard. Regrettably the journey home was  uncomfortable when the good old latissimus dorsi began to ache and the next morning I could barely stand up straight.

Ever the fool, when the weather finally picked up in the North at the end of the week I spent another two days, this time in my own garden, digging, weeding and albeit a little late, planting summer flowering bulbs. Needless to say I literally could not move on Friday evening. Once again it has taken two days to recover to a stage where I can at least walk comfortably even if I am not yet ready to bend down.

One of the problems with retirement is remembering that just because you can make hay every time the sun shines doesn't mean you must. You have to take into account, regardless of all the stretching in Pilates and Yoga, that it's easy to strain a muscle and, if you do, that the recovery time is longer than it ever used to be.


Thursday, 21 April 2016

Eye in the Sky

Eye in the Sky

In retirement can you still remember that stressed out, tight chest, anxious feeling that usually came with juggling work and home whilst worrying about both? If not and you wish to relive the cortisol/adrenalin cocktail, can I suggest a visit to the cinema to see Eye in the Sky.

I'm honestly not sure if I enjoyed it and there was one point where heart racing and palms sweating, I thought I might even leave the auditorium in a wave of stress induced nausea but I couldn't; I had to find out how it ended.

National and occupational stereotypes but what would we do in the same situation? That question kept Mister E, the youngest and me deep in discussion over the dinner we ate out afterwards.



Friday, 15 April 2016

A Week in Which....



I have survived a non-stop week in which:



I met my MP to lobby for support with Save the Children's campaign for proper investment in nursery education;

I had an induction to be able to provide emergency cover for regular volunteers in Save the Children's local shop;

I attended three Pilates classes, one Yoga class; two Body Blitz sessions and did a gym workout;



I came face to face with Leonardo da Vinci or rather some of his original drawings at an exhibition from the Royal Collection at the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle;

I prepared, clerked and then typed the minutes for a Parish Council meeting;



I went on a wonderful walk in the Yorkshire Dales, still a little soggy from all the winter's rain but, with a blue sky and a breeze, it was invigorating and  the views were magnificent;



I caught a return ferry to Amsterdam to see the bulbs in bloom in the flower fields and be dazzled by the wonderful displays in the Keukenhof Gardens.

When you play hard, it's not like working hard. You may still need a rest in retirement but flopping in brain-dead mode or with a head reeling with facts and figures that  just won't go away is no longer on the menu. Instead and buoyed by exhilaration, it's time to plan the next activity.


Thursday, 14 April 2016

Tulips from Amsterdam



Springtime in the Netherlands is advancing at a faster rate than at home, so the youngest and I needed little excuse to pop over to admire the tulips for which Holland is famed. 



We gawped at the bulb fields; industrialised flower farming on an immense and glorious scale. 


Then went to spend time in the internationally acclaimed Keukenhof Gardens. The colour combinations and the all pervading scent of hyacinths were astounding.


It may have been mid-week but the gardens were busy with visitors from all over the World including many in wheelchairs or with mobility aids. Fortunately I was enjoying the experience too much, to be disturbed when the youngest suggested that I may have visited 15 years too early (how infirm does she expect me to be by 2031?) or to take notice of her one complaint, namely that she felt a little young amongst the retired populus of Planet Earth!



We did however agree that sunshine and flowers make you smile and feel happy.


Saturday, 2 April 2016

More of Yesterday, Today



Today we endeavoured to repeat yesterday's event and in so doing learnt an important if not obvious lesson, namely that Saturday is not Friday. Now when I write it like that it seems very clear and so much so that one might ask how could any confusion have arisen in the first place? 

Let me explain.

Yesterday, Friday, the footfall through Save the Children's shop was of relaxed people, many retired and others younger with children. They were enjoying a leisurely browse around the High Street and most had time to chat and share experiences on a variety of topics.

Today, Saturday, visitors were predominantly middle aged, rushing through the town during their busy weekend sandwiched between two working weeks. Some claimed to be short of time whilst others avoided eye contact altogether.

Of course there were still many who stopped to talk and sign the petition but at the end of the day and despite a constant bustle of shoppers the number of Saturday signatories was less than on Friday. 

I can only blame the rat race and the stresses and strains placed on those who, pre-retirement, have a finite or even  non-existent leisure time. I remember being one of them, eyes to the ground a mission to accomplish, every precious second counting but still not enough. Now that I have moved to join the relaxed and retired classes it is a revelation watching others behave as I too was once compelled to do.


Friday, 1 April 2016

Read On Get On



Anyone who follows my Twitter account (yes I do have some followers) will know that I have been doing my best to promote Save the Children's latest campaign linked to ReadOnGetOn and its petition for investment in early years' education. Children from this country's poorest areas can be 15 months behind their better-off peers at only 5 years old. Young children's brains are like sponges ready to absorb the information around them which is why nurseries can do so well in preparing children for school and for learning to read. To this end Save the Children wants the government to ensure that there is a qualified early years teacher in every nursery by 2020. 


Today my participation culminated in a children's storytelling event with free books and balloons whilst asking parents to consider signing the petition. I'm pleased to say that support was overwhelming and I chatted to so many nice people that I actually forgot that I had been on my feet for 4 hours. 

One of the many great things about retirement though is the ability to wear comfortable shoes whatever the occasion. Forget those office stilettos, my flat heeled ankle boots were just the job. A successful day, at more than one level!