A special occasion

Anne and I have a special occasion coming up in a few weeks and we’ve decided to go all out and spend some pennies. We’re off to see a London show and stay the night, and because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime event I’ve booked an extra surprise for Anne.

We’re going to be picked up by limousine! Yes a real chauffeur driven job. I hunted around for ages and came across a nice company called CrawleyLimo.com – in Crawley as it happens! They’re providing a wonderful chauffeur-driven Lincoln to arrive here mid-afternoon. Anne thinks we’re taking the train so she’ll be very excited. Apart from our wedding I don’t think either of us has ever been in a proper limo.

Then we travel up to London to our hotel, book in and should have time for an early supper before heading to the theatre. We are so looking forward to it.

We’re going to see Mama Mia at the Novello. Of course we’ve seen the film a few times and Meryl Streep is wonderful, although Pierce Brosnan’s singing leaves a bit to be desired! Oh and Julie Walters is wonderful too.

But this will be the first time we’ve seen it live so we’re really looking forward to joining in all the songs (I hope that’s allowed?). We haven’t been to the theatre for years so no idea of the etiquette but I’m sure we’ll be fine. We loved Abba back in the day, so many memorable songs and all those customes!

We did go to an Abba tribute party once, fancy dress it was. We dressed up as punks if I remember rightly and had a fabulous evening. And that tribute was fantastic, mind you that was probably 20 years ago so we were a bit more energetic then.



Two Months In

Well I’m now 2 months into my retirement. To be honest it seems longer because we’ve already fitted in so many things. But now the autumn is setting in so I expect we’ll slow down a bit and smell the roses.

I’ve been in touch with Jack from work. “Rufus old boy, so good to hear from you” was his response to my slightly hesitant call. I wasn’t sure whether he’d be that pleased to hear from me since I went and did the dirty and retired! But he seemed delighted and we arranged to meet up.

Actually there were 5 of us, met in the local pub to work – The Queen Anne. Of course we got together when they left work and Jack brought along Alison, Tanya, Johnnie and Pete. Lovely to see them all and we spent a pleasant hour reminiscing about the old days at the company.

Of course things are still going downhill because it’s owned by the French and somehow they just don’t get British Engineering companies. So we spent at least half the time moaning about their policies and lack of foresight. It did make me feel a little nostalgic – but not for long! On the whole I’m really glad to be out of all the politics and able to get on with my new life of home and “leisure”.

Actually I’m not so sure about the leisure. We had to spend days raking in all our financial information in readiness for a visit from our financial advisor. Tom is a lovely guy with enough patience to explain everything in simple terms to Anne and me. We have our pensions sorted and everything seems to be in order so we’re not on the breadline yet!

I would advise anyone thinking of retiring to get their finances in order though. The problem is none of us know how long we’ll live so do you plan for 5 years, 10? 20? 30?  Who knows. It’s really quite frustrating but at least we own our home so if the worst comes to the worst we can take some capital from it in years to come. Meanwhile I hope we have enough to see both of us through until we’re at least 80. That’s barring super inflation of course that can scupper the best of plans. Ho hum, we’ll just have to wait and see.

The other thing we’ve done is to redraft our wills. That’s an important thing to have sorted. Our old wills were made when the children were young and we’ve had to rethink the executors and put the kids in charge once we’re both gone.

It’s funny how free you feel when all that is done and dusted.

It’s time for a little break now so we’re off for a week to Spain to hope to get a little late sunshine. I think they’ve had a hot summer, though there are a few thunderstorms around now I hear.

So I’ll report back when we return. Can’t wait.

A lovely weekend

It’s a funny old thing. When I started this blog I decided I would update it at least every other day. But somehow retirement has been so all-consuming that I never have the time!

We still look forward to the weekends for some reason, but maybe it’s just habit. Or perhaps it’s because we often get to see Holly, Mike and the kids. It’s great being grandparents because we get to spoil them all.

They all came over for lunch today and we had roast beef. Very nice too, although it was quite warm to have the oven on all morning. Anne did all the trimmings – roast potatoes, yorkshire pud, carrots, swede, greens and gravy. Everyone in our family loves a traditional roast so it went down well. I’m not sure that Holly does all that much real cooking so the kids always look forward to Anne’s dinners. Then for pudding we had blackberry and apple crumble, with apples from our own trees and blackberries from the local hedgerows.

Harry has joined scouts so he was full of all the wonderful things they have been or will be doing. He’s particularly looking forward to camp, although that’s not till next summer. Probably can’t wait to get dirty and not wash for a week.

Clara is into her sports and loves tennis especially. She’s getting quite good so is now having extra lessons once or twice a week, which I think is stretching the budget, so good old Grandad helps out a bit.

Charlotte isn’t really sporty at all, but she loves singing and dancing. She’s also into her computer games and has a little console she takes everywhere. I have no idea what it’s called but sometimes she shows me games and I have to admit she seems very good at them. I’m not sure too much of that is good for her though as she’s quite introverted anyway.

So all the kids are well and Mum and Dad are mostly working or looking after the brood. When they’re a bit older I’m sure they’ll be able to find their own interests and hobbies but for the moment their family is all-consuming.

It was lovely to have them over and we all went for a walk in the sunshine. Couldn’t believe how warm it was for October, but I hear rain is coming tomorrow.

So I’m very happy to report that retirement is certainly living up to expectations, although it’s a little more time-consuming than I’d anticipated. Wouldn’t want to go back to the old day job though. Unfortunately many oldies like us have to carry on working to make ends meet, although I think many just don’t want to give up. Embrace the change I say! It’s fun.

Books Galore

Since I retired I’ve been reading so many books. Not just novels but non-fiction too. In fact I have loads of books in the bookcase that are coming out for the first time.

It’s astounding the choice: Wars, finance, cookery (those are Anne’s), positive thinking, horse riding (Holly’s) and loads of miscellaneous topics. I should be great at pub quizzes if I read my way through them all.

I like to go to bed with a good book and just lately I’ve taken to reading for half an hour at lunchtime. It’s really rather relaxing.

I’ve always liked Wilbur Smith and right now I’m re-reading A Falcon Flies. Next I’m digging out When the Lion Feeds because I seem to remember that used to be one of my favourites. It’s been many years since I read any of them so I’ve forgotten the stories, which is great because it’s like having a new book.

Last year we bought 3 bookcases to house all these books because many were in boxes hidden around the house! Funnily we still have a few boxes because we sorted out the rubbish to take to the charity bookshop, filled up the considerable shelf space, but there are still some left. Ah well, I always did like books.

As well as fiction and non-fiction there are quite a few books that I consider “unclassified”. Things like dictionaries – both English and foreign – and thesauruses, maps and atlases, etc. Some of them are quite annoying because they’re too big to fit neatly on the shelves so they have to go on the bottom, sideways on.

The other thing I’m reading more is a daily newspaper. I only ever bought one a couple of times a week but now I walk down to the shop whenever it’s fine to get my daily dose of “news”. I’m not sure it’s really worth the trip but occasionally there’s something interesting reported.

I try to steer away from politics but you just can’t get away from Jeremy Corbyn at the moment. Some very strange goings-on, wonder where it will all end.

Anne likes to do Suduko and the crossword, whereas I like to read anything that looks half-serious.

Where did we find the time to read papers when we were working anyway?

Been fishing

Well the weather hasn’t been exactly wonderful but I managed to go fishing yesterday. Caught up with a couple of chaps I’ve known for ages and they’ve been retired a while. So they invited me to go fishing at a lake up near Crawley. Can’t remember the name of the place but it was beautiful, set in a large park with lovely trees around.

I’ve never been fishing before and really didn’t know what to expect. They showed me the ropes and we really just seemed to sit there quietly all day. Would have been really nice on a sunny warm day but it wasn’t the best weather so not sure whether I’ll ever go again. However it was great to catch up with Mark and Jim and get all the gossip on a few other old chums.

We dropped in at the pub on the way home so a couple of pints cheered me up. Luckily I wasn’t driving so it was a treat to be able to drink for once. We got a bar snack too – lovely warming lasagne, so all in all it was an enjoyable day.

We talked about arranging an evening bowling with some of our old workmates – happy to meet up with everyone again and find out what’s been going on.

Today the weather looks a bit brighter so Anne and I are planning a walk along the prom to King Alfred.

What’s this holiday all about?

It’s the first weekend holiday since I retired obviously and seems really strange to see so many Brighton folks around on a Monday. Now we’re retired every day is more-or-less the same but we do feel for those who only get a few holidays a year – especially when it pours all day like it did yesterday.

We normally have Holly, Mike and the kids around whenever they have a long weekend so we continued the tradition and they came over on Monday. Unfortunately we didn’t make it on the beach, but we did get a brief walk along the prom between rain.

The children go back to school this week and they’re all excited. They’re still at the age when they enjoy getting up in the morning and heading off to “big school” or nursery in the case of Charlotte. So we’d bought them a few bits and pieces for the new term – new lunchboxes and helped out with some uniform. It’s a delight to see how much they love these little gifts.

We had a lovely lunch thanks to Mrs J, although it wasn’t quite the barbecue we’d planned. But I think everyone enjoyed themselves. It’s just so nice to see the kids and I’m guessing we’ll be seeing more of them now we’re not working. Perhaps they can come to stay next holidays or overnight at the weekend – though perhaps not all at once!

There was another little job I got done over the long weekend. I’d been meaning to replace all the door handles in the house. Sounds like an easy job and I bought the handles some while ago, but it was certainly more difficult than I’d expected. Why does nothing fit easily when you take one out and just replace it with another? I could write a whole blog about changing door handles, but I guess I’d even bore myself!

Note to self though if I reread this in a few years (when those new handles probably need replacing AGAIN), make sure you get the same shape fittings. When you change square ones for round ones, there’s all sorts of filling and painting to do. Stupid mistake.

It’s funny how I sort of resent spending so much time doing DIY even though I theoretically have all the time in the world. Seems though we’ve earned a bit of relaxation though and these chores sort of break into that haven. But it’s early days so I expect we’ll settle into this new state soon enough and maybe even get bored enough to catch up on all those thousands of tasks that never got done when I was working.

Anyhow, meanwhile I’m enjoying my retirement still and would recommend it to all my friends.


Day 3

Rufus here again on Day 3 of the big retirement.

Can’t believe that I didn’t have time to update the blog yesterday. Maybe it’s true what they say about being busy in retirement!

Wednesday I took Anne for lunch and we had a really nice meal at Alfrescos. Anne chose a pasta dish with clams and mussels. It looked really nice but I’m a bit less adventurous so ordered good old spag bol. Very tasty too.  Then we dodged the showers and had a quick stroll around The Lanes – that was Anne’s choice, not mine.

Strangely it’s already becoming hard to remember what day it is without all the routine of work (thank goodness). But yesterday was Thursday and we had a little trip to Eastbourne. Haven’t been there in a while and we managed to get a stroll along the front between torrential rain showers. Stopped off for a coffee at a little place on the beach. It was very nice to just saunter around without having to worry about rushing back or thinking about going back to work the next day!

We got back from Eastbourne around 4pm, trying to miss the rush hour traffic but Brighton is always quite busy so we did get held up somewhat. I quite meant to update the blog after dinner but all that fresh air and strolling wore me out! So we had a glass of wine and watched some rubbish on the telly.

So I’m still enjoying my retirement so far. Today we have to do food shopping and I’ve been roped in as trolley pusher, though Anne always says it’s cheaper not to take me. Somehow I get attracted to the “unhealthy” aisles and things jump into the trolley. But perhaps we’ll stop off for a coffee at the supermarket cafe to make it a bit less onerous.

Hello world!

This is it then folks. The day I’ve been waiting for – the day I am finally retired from the 9 to 5 grind that has worn me out for so many years.

25th August 2015 is a day I shan’t forget. My very last day at work. I was in (guess what?) direct deposit, payroll and card payments for a large company. I shan’t name that company because I don’t want to be sued! But suffice to say I had been there 23 years and it was more than ENOUGH.

So here I am on Wednesday 26th August, after getting up at 9am and having a lazy shower. This is my retirement blog. Everyone says they’re busier than ever once they retire, so I decided to document what exactly I spend time doing, so I can look back in a few years – and maybe even share with the grandchildren.

I shall be spending today in the garden, deadheading after all that torrential rain yesterday and sprucing up the patio pots. Then I may even treat Anne to lunch at the local pub.

I’ll check back later to tell you how the day went and what we had for lunch.

Wow, it’s brilliant to have enough time to write all this stuff and document my life. I don’t suppose anyone will ever see it, but it’s producing something I can look back over. And if I can work out how to upload photos I may even add some of those too.

In the meantime if you want to know about the family, visit my About Me page