There’s an awful lot of stuff going on in our retirement lives. As the title suggests I wish things would slow down a bit, be a little more balanced between relaxation and activity. Of course I’m never satisfied, never have been, probably never will be but I would like a little more space. I’m finding it difficult to write two blogs a week not that this was the target I set myself when I started this blogging business. I had originally intended to write just one a week and publish it on Tuesdays but I’ve got into the habit of publishing a second blog on Fridays or Saturdays and, for some reason I’m not entirely clear about, I’m reluctant to give this up. It really hasn’t been a problem to write two blogs a week, until just recently that is. At the moment I’m struggling. No doubt you would say well don’t do it then, duh. But I’m an obsessive kind of guy and that includes blogging.
The problem is that, while I am not short of topics to write about, I am short of time to do the actual writing. I mean I’m writing this at 6.45 on a Monday morning because I know the rest of the day is likely to be hectic and I have to, simply have to, publish this blog tomorrow. So, if I can, I will give you some idea of what is going off in our lives. First, and by no means least, we have got into the habit of taking the dogs for two walks a day, the first at about half past seven in the morning. I blame Mrs Summerhouse for this as she decided they needed more exercise and I felt guilty about letting her go off on her own while I lay in bed. The problem being this was one of the times I used to write – always has been. So strike one on the blog front.
Second, and there can be no blame other than that directed at me for this, as I wrote recently, I have started working on a Friday. While the session only lasts a couple of hours there’s at least an hour either side for the travel. Again this is my fault because, as I wrote in the blog, I decided to go on the train to Doncaster because I like trains and so getting to and from the station, waiting and the two journeys themselves, takes at least another couple of hours. Feeling a bit knackered when I get back I am in no mood for writing in what time is left to me on Fridays. These sessions have finished now (one week earlier than planned) and I am not sure if they will continue after Easter or, more to the point, whether I want them to. I don’t want to write any more about this because I think this working in retirement issue deserves a blog to itself. What I can say is that working nearly a day a week has not helped my writing ambitions.
Then, of course, after my mother’s death, there are the funeral arrangements. Anybody who has been through this will know how much there is to do and those of you that haven’t won’t believe how many tasks there are to be sorted and decisions to be made. We’re in the middle of cancelling bills, notifying people, getting her (now mine) house valued, talking to solicitors about probate, talking to the celebrant (nothing religious my mother didn’t believe in such things), finding my father’s grave, writing the eulogy and, bizarre though it sounds, struggling to make a choice of music for the service. My mother wasn’t particularly musical so no clues here. So far I’ve chosen Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven for the start and Cockeyed Optimist for the end. People who knew my mother will appreciate the irony of this latter choice. The funeral is on April 9th and it will be a huge relief when this is over but I know there is much more to come after this.
In the midst of all this stress, number one son has arrived back from Australia. His contribution is more stress. His first words to his mother on the phone on arriving back in Leeds, was – have you got any money for the taxi? So nothing’s changed there then. I wrote about running his business while he was away. Pretty much his first face-to-face words were to tell us he didn’t want to come back (he had to because he is flying off to Florida on Wednesday for a stag do, can you believe, we couldn’t) and that he was planning on going back on a more permanent basis in August. We felt the heavy hand of more responsibility descend upon us. What will this mean for his business and the guys who work for him now? All this time to build it up and now to walk away? What does it all mean for our retirement years? We will see.
There is, of course, the happy event of our daughter’s wedding at the end of May but, here again, all I can selfishly think of is that’s another bloody speech I’ve got to write. Yes, I know I’m an ungrateful bastard. And the vineyard is just beginning its growth season with all the jobs that that entails. We were up there this weekend looking for signs of buds, none as yet which makes them a couple of weeks later to appear than last year. Still no time to worry about that or my jazz workshops which are on-going although, thankfully, last night’s was the last for a couple of weeks while we pause for the Easter holidays.
So after reading this, if you still are, perhaps you will understand why we have booked a holiday. We haven’t had a proper holiday in three of four years since my mother got more ill, so we think we deserve one. Of course we can’t go jetting off anywhere grand as we might once have done because we have the pups and that is, of course, entirely our choice. So we’re going where they can come with us on the ferry – the fast one that takes an hour and forty five minutes because they have to stay in the car. The pups have to have their very own passports which involve micro-chipping, vaccinations and paperwork, so not entirely task free. With our daughter’s help, we’ve booked a week in a cottage on the West coast of Ireland at the beginning of May. It may be a kind of ‘back to our roots’ journey. Don’t know whether they have wi fi so an issue might arise about the blog that week, but let’s not worry about that just yet, not when there is so much else to occupy us.
So there we are, this is our retirement life, at this point. I’m sure I read somewhere – I think it was in the writings of Garrison Keiller – hence the photo at top, that retirement was a time to kick back and lose a few responsibilities / obligations. Hmm, soon (as we say to the pups when they are looking at us telling us it’s time for treats / food / walks). Soon retirement will become a little more laid back, I think. Will I be bored then? Probably.