Wife and I have just come back from a weekend in Suffolk visiting very old friends (I mean people who have been friends for a long time!) who retired last year. We had a ‘great time in Eye and Southwold and surrounding countryside. There’s a lot of sky, the landscape has a very different feel from our part of Gloucestershire, and that was refreshing. Also, during our visit to the arcade of automata machines designed by Tim Hunkin on Southwold Pier (Southwold Pier Automata), and over dinner, I laughed more than I had for ages.
Our friends shared their experiences of retirement with us. Clearly it takes time to find a new equilibrium and balance of duty sharing. They are still finding theirs and Long Suffering Wife (LSW) and I are just starting our journey on this. I can already see that I am going to have to do more driving – which I hate and have been able to largely avoid in recent years – and more housework.
The other thing that became clear at the weekend is how retirement has created flexibility in travel timing and so, the ability to avoid the worst traffic. We visited our friends at the weekend because they are managing a major building programme at the moment and unfortunately we couldn’t leave earlier than we did on Friday because of LSWs community shop commitment. But we missed the height of the rush hour and could travel back on Monday morning rather than have to rush to get back for the normal working Monday rise and shine. That was a real, valuable, new treat.
I definitely overdid the boozing, cheese and ice cream (now I’m feeling on permanent holiday, ice cream feels a more normal luxury). Also, I evidently overdid the walking – or maybe it was the excessive, unpracticed use of the accelerator pedal in the car after so many months of not driving – since I am now laid up with a swollen knee; a small price to pay for a great first long weekend away in retirement.