Sunday, 28 October 2007
Saturday, 27 October 2007
To have a successful and happy retirement you need several things:
- Money: Once that pot of money, pension, annuity, savings or whatever is all you have i.e. fixed income then finances take on a whole different meaning. Suddenly you are aware that every penny that goes out of the house has gone for good. That unless you go out to earn some more 'this is it'. Men in particular seem to be much exercised by this when they retire.
- Interests: If you want to enjoy retirement to the full there are many clubs, social events , hobbies and activities that you can join in. Once you are no longer committed to a working life you can fill your daily routine with swimming, walking, cruising, bird watching, investment clubs, travelling, wining and dining, study, bowls, bridge, blogging, holidays. The list is endless. What may not be endless is the pot of gold - the money to finance all these possible interests and new hobbies. But once you are retired then many of them don't take up much cash and a great deal of enjoyment can be had for very little outlay. The U3A is one example. The University of the 3rd Age, unlike the Open University, runs on a very small budget. It is very popular. This group is for older people where some members with a perceived level of expertise then educate others to the same level of incompetence. A bit like 'Sit by Nellie' training at work. A bit like a real world interactive social version of an inaccurate Wikipeadia.
- Health: You need good health to enjoy all of the above interests. You need good health to get out and about and away from your spouse for a few hours. This is advisable. For the both of you. For your mental health. This is the first time in ** years you have ever spent more than a couple of weeks together 24 hours a day. And do you remember just how stressful holidays can be when you spend so much time together? Well retirement is just like that for 12 months of the year. I'm not talking about holidays away from home - you both have distractions then - no I'm talking about holidays at home; Christmas, Easter etc.
- Tolerance: You need a bucket load of this. Suddenly the housekeeper (usually the wife) has lost 'her space'. The spouse is no longer out of the house 9-5 but hanging around and getting under her feet as she tries to do all the 101 household chores. Querying whether this is the best or most efficient way of doing the task.Querying the amount of water being used and how often the washing machine is put on. Offers of help e.g. dusting/hoovering if taken up are considered only to be necessary once every 3 months. "But I did that last week - it can't need doing again, surely". Supermarkets during the week are full of retired men assisting their wives with the weekly shop. Every time you go by a couple you can hear the same type of conversation going on. She's usually looking harrassed and he's usually saying somethin along the lines of: "do we really need foil again, can't you wash and re-use the roll you bought last month?" - " it's HOW MUCH?!" - "I think you use too much detergent - lets try a cheaper brand" - "lets buy whisky in bulk - think of the saving we'd make" - "lets have steak and kidney pie - you've not made one of those for ages" - "let's buy the small pack - I'm sure we could use less toilet paper". Men like 'manly' jobs to do e.g. car maintenance, gardening, decorating. Tasks that are done once in a while not several times a week.
When alone at home I used to enjoy whizzing through the house tidying, cleaning, polishing everything and then sitting with a mug of coffee to admire my efforts. Now I clean one room and then move on to another. But on returning to the first it's no longer a spotless oasis. I didn't get one minute to admire and revel in its sparkly cleanliness. How I long for the days as they used to be: to to rush through tidy the kitchen, make the beds put the laundry away and then come home 7 hours later and find it all as I'd left it. TIDY. When two of you are home all the time each and every day there are calls on the household budget that didn't occur while you were out at work. Electricity, water, gas consumption goes up. As does coffee, tea, food stuffs and toilet rolls. Towels, tea towels and light bulbs wear out faster than they ever did while you were out at work. Not to mention the various bits n bobs connected with plumbing. Whereas I used to call in a plumber to change a ball cock in the toilet cistern once every 4 or 5 years now it seems to be every other year. Therefore these budget items need to be re-addressed and re-assessed. On the other side of the coin: you can wear your clothes till they fall apart, specs, shoes, handbags and other accessories can be several years out of style. You also have time to shop at charity shops and try and dress on the cheap.
Finally a little anecdote as I was trying to clean in readiness for a tea party.
He: "I'll help you to clean the bathroom and cloakroom"
Me: "There's not room for us to both do it at the same time"
He: "No problem - I'll clean the basin in one room while you do the toilet and the floor in the other and then we can change rooms and I'll clean the second basin"
Me: "Thanks - a lot"
Friday, 26 October 2007
I'll be Ok so long as I don't visit the Theatre.
I Thank God that I'm not in George Bush's 'Eye Rack'
I found these tests on Henry's blog and couldn't resist.
Thursday, 25 October 2007
I ordered a small compact lightbox on Monday. It arrived yesterday and as I write it is sitting in front of me. I'm aiming for an hour a day and will see if there is any improvement over the next couple of weeks. The company that sent the light box also enclosed a leaflet on SAD - along with their other light products! I was interested to see that along with the usual depression, over sleeping, feeling tired, craving sugar, sweet things and carbohydrates that some of the other symptoms could be 'flu like symptoms' and 'pains in muscles'. YES - I have both of these too. In fact have had these problems for most of this year. It may be that if light therapy does work then I could end up feeling better than I have for many a year. I'm pleased to have it this morning as it is still very dark and grey even though it is now 8.40 am.
There is another health reason that affects me which may have some bearing on my need for light therapy. But that I will share with you all on another day towards the end of the month.
Wednesday, 24 October 2007
I had to be up and out early for a dental appointment in Sidmouth. I took my camera with me as it was such a bright Autumn morning. The sea looked beautiful and there was hardly anyone else around so early. I love cold crisp bright winter mornings like this.
Sunday, 21 October 2007
Now I wouldn't tar all MP's with the same brush and like Phoenix the cow I would wish to reprieve a few. I may not agree with their political point of view but I do admire their integrity, their independence and their honesty [ignoring whether they are/are not faithfull to their spouse].
- Frank Field
- David Drew
- William Hague
- David Davis
- Mingie Campbell
- Malcolm Riffkind
- Boris Johnson
The last one is only on the list because he makes me laugh - he may be a good MP - I wouldn't know. I can also think of a few more who are now retired and for the record would like to add:
Are there any others you think should be added to the list for reprieve?
Update on 30th October - how embarrassing I saw Malcolm Riffkind on TV yesterday and it wan't the man I had in mind. My man was a wee bit smaller and neater - did I mean Norman Fowler - maybe?
Friday, 19 October 2007
- Good friends - who support and cheer you through the ups and downs of life; through thick and thin; in sickness and in health; for richer for poorer.
- A sharp frosty start to the day, bright blue sky and warm sunshine which beckoned me to partake of lunch out in the garden. A mug of coffee, toast and marmite with a small nugget of cheese and a home grown apple. Serenaded by a young robin.
- The smell of rich dark heavily fruited and brandy soaked Christmas cake baking in a slow, slow oven. This recipe is very similar to my old family recipe. I like a moist fruit cake so add a glass of brandy to the mix before it is cooked. I'll still feed it with more brandy over the next few weeks. Do use SR flour instead of plain - I think it makes for a lighter cake and use dark brown soft sugar, the spices and the black treacle - they will all enhance that deeply rich flavour and make it far more special than an 'ordinary' rich fruit cake.
Monday, 15 October 2007
Do you think this is a Govt ploy? Perhaps Gordon Brown believes if we are all busily intent on saving our British Fresh Milk Pinta and the nation's dairy herds; that we wont notice when he signs up to the new EU Constitution. The same renamed and 'revised' constitution on which the Govt promised us a referendum. Another broken promise. The one in which Cyclops has drawn red lines which are non negotiable?! Ha. Pull the other one - it's got bells on it!
This sounds very like an episode of 'Yes Minister' where Jim Hacker saves us from the peril of an EEC Ruling where we would lose our British Banger.
Wednesday, 10 October 2007
Tuesday, 9 October 2007
It's a quick quiz to find out if you have a 'normal brain' or are a bit 'off centre'. Worth a try ... it's not at all hard to do - a few minutes concentration to get the answer - it may interest you..
At the end of this message, you are asked a question. Answer it immediately. Don't stop and think about it. Just say the first thing that pops into your mind. This is a fun "test"... AND kind of spooky at the same time! Give it a try. Now, just follow the instructions as quickly as possible. Do not go to the next calculation before you have finished the previous one. You do not ever need to write or remember the answers, just do it using your mind.
You'll be surprised.
Monday, 8 October 2007
2. The amelanchier which has been a beautiful colour this last week or so. We don't often enjoy autumnal tints here abouts as the climate is damp and mild - usually the leaves fall suddenly without turning colour first. [Updated 10/10/07 for photo see this post : but the leaves have fallen now]
3. I was planning to learn how to play bridge. I was looking forward to it. A new challenge and a social occasion too. But the lessons were suddenly cancelled the day before we were due to start. I now hear they are thinking of re-instating them. I don't know if I'm coming or going.... But if the lessons fail to start I have bought 2 books on 'Teach Yourself Bridge' and have been invited to watch a game. So a start on a new interest.
Monday, 1 October 2007
Menzies 'Ming' Campbell seems a nice enough old codger but he looks far, far older than My Man who is only 3 years younger. My man is in appalling health and really unfit. So how fit is Ming who looks about 15 years older than MyMan? Who else is there in the party with any real standing since Shirley Williams and David Owen retired? Nuff said.