So, here we are. It is six years to the day since I cantered off the corporate carousel and into retirement. No longer a Working Gal, I could shape my days to suit myself. I would “retire in style” and to prove
the point I developed a website and started documenting my daily life via my on-line diary, known to you all as the Daily Blog. Obviously you may have your own nickname for it, the Daily Drivel perhaps - but I’m not proud.
To be fair, retirement hasn’t exactly panned out as I thought it would as Mr B’s health deteriorated and I became a carer. Wife first, carer second - as I like to remind him. It’s
not that I had made any particularly grandiose plans for my life as a Lady of Leisure. My short list of places to go, things to do and people to visit was quite modest, as these things go. My retirement mantra was, however, an expansive one: “Because
I Can.” These days, while not giving up on it altogether, I have to add a caveat: “Because I Can. Hopefully.” Things just take a bit more organising than they used to do.
If things had been different, I would have had rather more exciting events to relate each day. As it is, you, my dear readers, have to hear endless tales about the people I meet on the Pulse bus going into town; birds I (or, probably,
a more knowledgeable member of the Birdy Group) have spotted, my latest purchases at the local Garden Centre; or - most excitingly - Cakes I Have Made for family birthdays. Even then, as you may be about to remind me, my cakes are more or less always exactly
the same recipe, that for the Divine Delia’s Victoria sponge.
It’s always a relief when something even slightly out of the ordinary happens to
provide source material for the Daily Blog. The other day it was the fella from Acorn stair-lifts, coming to service our lift which has just celebrated its first birthday. No, I didn’t make it a cake, don’t be silly, it’s a stair lift, for
goodness sake! The service guy seemed to spend a lot of time travelling up and down our stairs using the stair lift. What was it like, I wanted to know, having a job which entailed going up and down all day? He looked a little non-plussed - I guess nobody
has ever asked him that before - so I made him a mug of tea (milk but no sugar) in case he was thinking I was a Mad Old Bat. He did try to persuade me to spend £435 a year on a service contract but he soon discovered that, Old Bat that I might be, but
I wasn’t that mad...
It’s interesting to think of the new experiences which retirement has brought me. I’m the Trustee of a local charity, a
school governor, a member of the Parochial Church Council. All of which is a trifle worrying, considering I vowed when I left work not to get involved in committee work. I did manage to disengage myself from the thankless job of Assistant Secretary of the
Bowls Club which was definitely a Good Move, especially as, being a non-player, I didn’t understand much of the discussion at those long-winded monthly meetings in the clubhouse.
As well as training my binoculars with the other members of the Birdy Group, I sing (not very well, but, hey, I enjoy it) in a choir, play cribbage, try my hand at various crafts at the fortnightly Crafty Group, and invite ten lovely
people into our house every two weeks to join Mr B and me for a couple of games of Nomination Whist.
I have shown my love for my local library by volunteering
for the Summer Reading Challenge (my seventh year this year), the Great War Project and the Military Voices Project. I have had our front garden redesigned for easier access and had interior doorways widened to accommodate a wheelchair. No great strength was
needed on my part for either activity, apart from the making of copious cups of tea and coffee for the many workmen involved.
I have found a sanctuary in
my garden, growing (with varying degrees of success, year on year) sunflowers, tomatoes, beetroot, Charlotte potatoes, runner beans and lettuce while our Golden Wedding bed of rose bushes, gifted us two years ago by so many family and friends, is looking,
well, particularly rosy this year. I can’t match the beautiful garden of Matt and Jackie Next Door but I do try hard. Mr B likes to say that I am extremely trying...
I have re-learned the sheer pleasure of reading aloud, sharing so many great books with Mr B over the years. Many’s the discussion / friendly argument / heated debate which has been inspired by our regular afternoons reading together.
Best of all, I have added four beautiful littl’uns - Morgan, Faris, Tala and Lilia - to my tally of grandchildren, making up a Tremendous Ten and adding immeasurably to all the plentiful fun of family life.
I hope to engage them all, however old they are, in She-Nanni-gans for many years to come.
My other retirement mantra, incidentally, still holds true. “You’re
never too old to set another goal or to dream another dream,” C S Lewis once said.
And so do I.