Retirement and the learning goes on

Let me write a more cheerful retirement blog after the last little cup of poison. I’ll revisit one of my favourite retirement blog themes – continued learning, life-long learning, call it what you will. Regular readers of this blog will know that it is one of my most-revered retirement values and hence I continue to try and integrate into my retirement life any kind of learning activities that I can, anything from reading non-fiction books about the history of London and Crossrail, British culture and the last one I reported on in a previous blog, how things become popular. I’d only read to page 149 the last time I mentioned this book and said I would let you know how the remaining pages turned out. Let me say, in the context of this blog about learning, that I did not learn very much about how to make my blog popular so sorry to all those of you hoping to discover the secrets of blog popularity. Continue reading

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Mrs Summerhouse’s art : ‘Atha’s pond’

Atha’s pond at twilight

A different location this month, not my usual picture from Nidderdale or our local park but a picture from a photo taken near our daughter’s and son-in-law’s house east of Leeds. It’s not really called Atha’s pond but they’ve named it that so that’s what it has become. Admittedly you can’t see much of the pond so you’ll have to use your imagination. I’ve produced this as a present for their new house. It’s pastel on canvas about 3 foot by 2 and a half feet in old money.

PS. I love a nice sky.

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Retired person’s shit list, is it them or is it me?

sounds familiar

There are three possible explanations for the retirement events I am going to write about or a fourth, less interesting, non-explanation along the lines of, it’s just pure coincidence. The events concern a level of service which I find frankly appalling or perhaps it’s just me moving further along the continuum towards being the complete grumpy old git. You judge. All the businesses I’m going to complain about are located within 50 yards of each other in our local shopping centre and they are very different in all aspects except one – they are crap. Let me explain this rather bold sentence. They are in no particular order of crapness – a chemist, an opticians, a mobile phone shop and a building society. Not a large sample size perhaps but certainly varied enough to draw some general conclusions if one cared to. Let me explain a bit more. Continue reading

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Retirement and Woodies 4

The fourth of my more or less monthly cartoons from yesteryear, from a time when I used to drink regularly in the pub called Woodies. Not no more. For those of you that don’t know, ‘Stella’ is the name of the beer (not the barmaid), short for Stella Artois, my drink of choice at that time. ‘Stella’s off’ is a cryptic way of saying the barrel is empty. Ahh, happy days, but were they really?

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Retirement community : A good idea?

not really the topic

In a recent retirement blog I wrote about an article I had read concerning alcohol use and the over 60s. The article said that we were drinking too much, surprise, surprise. I thought it was going to suggest that in order to live longer we needed to drink more, but no. The article went on to suggest reasons why it thought this might be happening. As you might expect there were a number of reasons ranging from the implausible to the improbable with the occasional not uninteresting. You can tell from my choice of descriptors that I wasn’t impressed but, among the ‘not uninteresting’ category, was the suggestion that we old gits drink too much because we lack a sense of community. In short we feel we don’t belong, have no sense of communal identity, we … hang on that’s not short and anyway you get the idea. It did set me thinking, can this be true? How might this apply to ourselves in our retirement? And PS this blog has absolutely nothing to do with retirement communities as in image above. I was in a hurry to find an image to go with the blog and this was the best I could find late Monday night. Sorry about the deception. Continue reading

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Retired person takes vicarious road trip across the USA

Photo from Daniel Freeman

Edward Hopper’s painting of Nighthawk

I’m going to do something on this retirement blog that I’ve never done before. Maybe it’s the ‘try something new’ from my 400 up blog. I’m going to post a blog that contains very little writing and a great deal of somebody else’s creative endeavours, in this case a series of photographs of small town America at night. It isn’t about retirement but, as I’ve said before, it’s my blog and I’ll do what I like. Apart from loving the photos themselves they also evoke memories of our own road trip across the United States many years ago, 1979 to be precise.  I have written about this trip twice in this blog in ‘Looking back from retirement : All come to look for America’ and ‘Retirement and Looking back : It’s a long road to New Mexico’. It’s always nice to be reminded of what was, for us, an historic and even character-defining trip. Finally, I like the fact that Daniel Freeman’s photos remind me of Edward Hopper and the photo I’ve chosen, just one of the collection, which reminds me strongly of Hopper’s Nighthawk, without the people, is a good example. I’d be surprised if Daniel didn’t take the shot as an homage to Hopper’s painting. Given all I’ve written about our frustrated travel ambitions in retirement, I’m also a little bit envious of this project.

For the rest of the photos copy and paste the above link (sorry couldn’t make the link live, beyond my skill levels)


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How to make my retirement blog even more popular

a bit sceptical

In my constant search in retirement for recognition (maybe for anything but specifically for this blog) and consequently enhanced self-esteem, I continue to look for ways to make my blog more popular. Well, that’s not strictly accurate, what I, in fact, continue to do is to think about looking for ways of making my blog more popular. I don’t actually do anything, just think, that is until now. I know there’s a lot of retirement blogs out there although, as is usually the case, I was surprised by this discovery imagining I was the first person to think about writing a blog about retirement. Silly, silly me. Although as it turns out, for reasons that will become I hope clear as this blog develops, in terms of being popular, the fact I’m not the first actually will help my search for popularity. Yes, I know that’s confusing but be patient. Continue reading

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Retirement and the demon drink

Oh dear, I didn’t know that

Ever on the look-out for retirement-related items in the media, anything to get away from Trump, Brexit, etc. etc. etc. I came across this article –Why Baby Boomers are hitting the bottle like never before – disillusioned over 50s (well over in our case) are at risk of serious health problems because of alcohol abuse. As I read on I realised I probably should have stuck with Trump and Brexit. In these days of volte face what constitutes healthy eating or, in this case, healthy drinking has to be taken on a day by day basis on account of what the ‘experts’, that’s the ‘so-called experts’, in case you hadn’t realised, recommend changes from day to day or so it seems to me. I think at the moment we’re supposed to drink 12 units i.e. not more than 12, a week. But who knows, Mrs Summerhouse tells me she read somewhere (sorry that’s somewhere else in the same article) that one large glass of wine a day is regarded by one s-c-e as ‘heavy drinking’. Where do these people (sces) get their data? Well that probably depends on who’s sponsoring their research. Cynical old me. Continue reading

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Retirement, friends and doing no good


My grandma had an expression, she had lots of them. She used to say ‘I can’t do right for doing wrong’. That’s a bit how I’m feeling at the moment. Last night we had some friends round for a meal, nothing wrong with that you say. True, but the circumstances were somewhat unusual. Without going into too much detail for obvious reasons, they’ve been going through a very difficult time with one of their children. They haven’t felt like socialising much of late, in fact they cancelled one invitation at the last moment because they didn’t feel up to it. So we were pleased they felt able to keep last night’s dinner date. Well, that’s how it started. We wanted to be as supportive to them as possible in their time of trouble. They didn’t want to talk about their problems and that was fair enough. Yes, it was a bit like the elephant in the room (as above)but as long as we could keep the conversation going on other topics, everything would be fine. Wouldn’t it? Continue reading

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Retirement reflections : my career as a book cover designer

A while ago I wrote that I thought a bit of looking back from retirement was OK. You might even learn something that helps with planning your retirement. In one blog I wrote about the nearly careers I had had. One of these was trying to get a gig as a cartoonist. That didn’t work out so well which has meant I’ve inflicted my and Mrs Summerhouse’s efforts (she did the drawings) on the readers of this blog. Now I’m going to do something similar and tell you about my ‘career’ as a book cover designer. It made perfect sense at the time. I like books, I like art with words in it, I like messing about with photos I have taken, which is why I enjoyed the graphic design bit of my life for a short while (see below for my ‘company’ logo) and why I like old railway posters and old advertising  etc. etc. It (the book covers) didn’t work of course, I put together a CD Rom of about 50 covers and sent them off to some publisher or other, with the usual result – nothing, no reply, yep, the usual. Same as the cartoonist venture. If looking back from retirement, at all the things I tried to do, is a source of satisfaction then I should be a very happy man indeed. Nobody can say I didn’t give things a go. Continue reading

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