Since retiring almost five years ago, I have frequently been surprised by how busy I have felt. Late May and Early June have certainly felt that way although, when I look back, I’m not sure why.
Certainly, I have done a one or two weeks of work on follow up activities relating to a Village Meeting that the local Climate Action Network group I belong to arranged with the Parish Council. And, ok, we have had visitors other than family coming to stay for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
We also had the festivities around the Queens Jubilee (though in our village, these only really stretched to installation of a new commemorative bench and, more engagingly, a four day beer festival in the village pub). We even hosted a long-promised but long awaited drinks event for a few locals in our garden. Plus we had a really lovely visit from our First Grandchild (FG), his parents and his other Grandparents. Oh, and the London Barbican flat that I used before retirement was sold!
Does that sound like a busy month?
In any case, almost all of it has been a lot of fun and, in the case of the work on the presentations of the summary of feedback from the Village Meeting, I feel like I have achieved something worthwhile for the greater good. I get to present most of it to the Parish Council next week so I hope they will feel the same way.
Lacing all these little events together has been the routine of shopping, cooking, gardening and walking.
Shopping and cooking has been marked by an uptick (in my perception, at least) in the frequency and innovation of my evening meal preparation. I am enjoying cooking more and more as I gain confidence in swapping out recipe ingredients for others to add variety and to use up vegetables otherwise likely to be wasted. ‘Important’ meals for most visitors usually remain the in the ambit of Long-Suffering Wife (LSW) but no longer is this a golden rule and my (in)famous Coronation Chicken (courtesy of Thomasina Miers) got an outing when my Best Man came to visit during the village pub beer festival a couple of weeks ago.
Gardening has been more fraught with the need to focus on the Village Meeting, days of relatively inclement weather, and early afternoon indolence combining to delay planting out of straggly, pot bound vegetable seedlings. Now almost everything is in the ground the slugs are having a better time of it, but at least my seedlings have a chance of producing something.
The local walks have been increasingly pleasant as the weather has improved on our way to the longest day and summer. Plus I have got real enjoyment from using a mobile phone app that identifies birds from their birdsong. The app is called Merlin Bird ID (although I understand from others I have spoken to that there are several alternatives). When I first tried it a few months ago, I wasn’t sure it was accurate. Now I believe it is and using it has begun to help me learn to identify birds before I even open the app and turn the recording/identification function on. It’s adding another pleasurable dimension to my walks in much the same way the app Candide did for me from sometime last year as I tried to identify plants as I went.
LSW and I are off to Lyme Regis this coming weekend where, Covid permitting, we will meet up with Middle Son, Youngest Son and their partners. I’m looking forward to that – and the break in my (busy) routine – immensely.