I once again have a rather bizarre (and misplaced) sense of intrepid traveller and blogger as I wrote the bulk of this post during a train journey to and from Nottingham. I confess that the journey is more mundane than some I had imagined I would be taking prior to retirement. There is always a little twist of excitement in a train journey and in watching the fields flash by and in seeing the towns, back gardens, and industrial developments and wastelands, all from unusual angles. That is somehow enhanced by writing about it ‘real-time’ on my phone.
I have been to Nottingham to observe the welcome and speedy recovery of my Mum from a fall in which she broke her leg about three weeks ago. Mercifully, she is out of hospital and back at home and my Dad is looking after her well and as independently as possible. That is a relief all round (although a further minor fall while I was with them shows that the path to recovery is rarely straight)!
It’s been a good week for monitoring recoveries. Middle Son (MS) visited us in Gloucestershire last weekend and we were able to see for ourselves how far he has come since his serious accident almost three months ago. There is a long way to go to retrieve full function but he is mastering crutches, very independent and progressing every day. That again is a relief all round (though, again, a further visit to hospital today for a residual ailment shows the skewed path to full recovery)!
As I ponder my train-side view, I am considering the past couple of weeks and the conversations I have had regarding my retirement and how I have found the experience. I went to a retirement celebration for a past work colleague and friend that brought back many memories of work in the 1980’s. I also participated in another occurrence of a regular restaurant event with a bunch of male friends of similar age to myself who I first met in London decades ago. At both, I answered about my retirement life, confirmed that I continue to enjoy it a lot, and wondered why so many of my contemporaries continue to work.
Views From The Gherkin, London During A Retirement Party There
Some of the responses to my question about why my friends and ex-work colleagues (especially) still work were along the lines of how they need to so as to maintain their life style. In some cases I think this may be cover for admitting that they actually enjoy work and would miss it too much. That would be a more honest response and one I can understand.
Each to his or her own! It so happened that I did not enjoy work as much, nor as consistently, as my friends apparently do. Work has provided income to enable a very comfortable life and, now (so far, at least) a comfortable retirement. But I was very happy to finish working and I continue to be very happy that I can devote the hours previously spent at work to things that I often felt I had to rush or failed to find time for. I want to do that while I still have reasonable health.
The flexibility retirement affords has been liberating. I no longer have to squeeze visits (to my parents for example) between work commitments. I can visit London when I want, and now I have more opportunities to see friends elsewhere in the country and can combine that with watching my football team play away from home.
I did exactly that two weekends ago when I visited my Best Man (BM) and saw Forest Green Rovers (FGR) in Cambridge. FGR won and that capped an excellent weekend of walking, wine, beer, food and chatting about our different lives. BM is certainly someone who to loves his work and my hopes that he will retire, and so be able to spend more time enlivening my own retirement, are firmly in abeyance.
View Of The River Cam, Cambridge
Other highpoints of the last two weeks – and I am deliberately picking these to highlight the variety – have included harvesting my onions and a brief visit to the Guildhall Art Gallery in London. The onion (and my beetroot) harvest have been magnificent this year. If I manage to store them properly, we should have onions to last until Christmas.
Just prior to meeting up with my old friends for dinner, I saw an exhibition called Architecture of London at the Guildhall Art Gallery. This was, as almost all these kinds of curated exhibitions are, interesting and contained some fine works and information. I was almost a lone visitor and could take my time in taking in the show.
The exhibition covered the transformations following the Great Fire of London and the Second World War blitz particularly well. I especially enjoyed the mix of vintages of the art on show and the inclusion of abstract art. The scope of the exhibition was perhaps too large and the art on show to demonstrate the points being made felt, in places, a little random. However, the Guildhall Art Gallery is a quiet and edifying place to spend an hour or two and I enjoyed it.
Paintings By Piper and Johnson at The Guildhall Art Gallery
Returning to the here and now, the only problem with blogging on the train is that the tables are so small and the space is so cramped. I’ll be glad to get off and stretch this stiffness out…. ‘Til next time.