Just how different is it getting back from holiday when you’re retired (as opposed to working)? In our case we got back from Scotland on Friday (or as O2 would have it, Iceland, I mean I know Scotland’s further north than usual, not much given we were on the south coast of Dumfries and Galloway, but for O2 to welcome us to Iceland and then charge us at European rates, is a bit rich or rather they are from over-charging people who haven’t actually left the UK). So we got back with theoretically nothing in the way of work to worry us or weigh us down. That’s the theory, except in our case, it very much felt like getting back to work at least in its redefined form.
For us getting home means getting back to the usual trials and tribulations of everyday life, as it’s laughingly called. For example, just a small one to kick off with, to our second car which is still having problems starting (turned out to be a loose battery terminal which I mended myself which is fair enough in that it was my slackness that left it loose in the first place – I did at least spot and remedy this, just like a real man). Then there was the gardening chaps to pay and discuss what kind of week they’ve had. Not bad apparently although we were a little surprised to find that one of them had bought a Rottweiler – after being burglared (this is how the van got stolen but that’s another tale). Perhaps we can expand the ‘business’, see note in a moment, and add Man with Van and Security services. I digress. At least some people had paid, they tell us, or were threatening to pay, one customer texting me while we were away asking who to make the cheque out to. I’ve decided to use a bit of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy where the gardening business is concerned and I’m positively reframing the business as not a business at all but an interesting hobby. And as we all know you spend money on a hobby rather than expect to make a profit from it
On Saturday I had to call my neighbour at the Derbyshire cottage as a result of a phone message from the electrician asking for advice from the plasterer, no, I didn’t understand it either but it meant I had to try and sort these jobs out with my neighbour who, although he didn’t know it, has got the job of local project manager. So right back to the real or is it unreal world of retirement? And then there’s the vineyard which we haven’t seen for over a fortnight. Just as well the sheep have eaten the grapes because we certainly aren’t giving any proper attention to this side of our retirement. There’s a meeting coming up of our Yorkshire vineyard’s group, note, not an association for reasons that will become clear after this meeting and in my next vineyard blog. I’ve been asked to bring a bottle of our best vintage, so that will be a challenge, not to say a bit of a worry.
Oh, and I had to phone Enterprise car hire – again, and tell them I had already cancelled the van that we didn’t need because our stolen van had been recovered. This after a text from them while we were away reminding us to pick up the van on Monday, yes, the one I’d cancelled. Alongside these there’s the padlock to fit on the gate (cost £82, it has an alarm) to prevent Land Rover being stolen out the drive, we’re paranoid about this happening a) because van was stolen and b) Land Rover Defenders are easy to steal and apparently very desirable, who’d have thought it? I went to main dealer to ask for advice about best form of anti-theft device. The helpful young man said, if they want to steal it, they will. I have no doubt he’s right and this is c), as an acquaintance of an acquaintance had theirs stolen out of their drive while fitted with an alarm, steering lock and a fuel disabler, all while they slept peacefully. Yes, welcome back.
Also on the list, buy new plumbing pipe for shower over-flow at barn and eventually fit. It’s not the same size as the old one that I took in to show them but the guy behind the counter assured me it was the same part no. and who am I to disagree at least until I try, unsuccessfully, to fit it. In addition I buy a new number plate for trailer which has just come back from having the electrics fixed (very good value at only £20 something because it only needed new cable rather than a complete overhaul. Now that’s a refreshing change).
So, yes, a few tasks to get us back in the swing of ‘normal’ retirement life and all this while trying to get used to injecting myself with insulin. I’ve finally succumbed to this form of medication for my diabetes. I feel a bit of a failure but it seems you can only fight these things for so long, especially if I’m not prepared to make the kind of sacrifices that I wrote about in a recent blog and apparently I’m not, so it’s the insulin for you my lad. I’ve only had one hypo, quite scary and panicky because it’s so long since I’ve had one. When I measured my blood sugar it was 3.8, if that means anything. Quite a reduction from the high teens of my usual results. Immediately stuff too many jelly beans down my throat which Mrs Summerhouse had had the foresight to buy on advice from the nurse. I like the jelly beans but the fun was taken out of them because worrying about going into a coma does that to a person. Laugh, I nearly went to Bradford.
So that is a brief description of the life of retirement to which we return. As I believe I have written before, there’s no time for boredom in our retirement, we’re having far too much fun. The holiday already seems a long time ago but who needs holidays when you’ve got retirement.