This much I know, when you retire you need a place of your own, a place that surrounds you, comforts you, says relax, just be yourself. You won’t spend all your time in this place that would be mentally unhealthy, much as a part of you might want to retire from the world completely this is not the deal. That’s the road to retirement depression and you haven’t worked all these years to be depressed at the end of your journey. That’s just plain silly.
Of course this is about self esteem, self image, your sense of identity when what defined you as a person is removed at a stroke, oh and you don’t want one of those either or it’s diabolical brother the heart attack. So this is why you need a place of your own.
It’s not quite as straightforward as it first appears because a chair in the corner of the living room or even, I would suggest, a room in your own house won’t work. This will probably be your son’s or daughter’s ex-bedroom. OK they’ve left now but it will be forever theirs and have they really left anyway? My son and daughter come back on a regular basis as relationships bite the dust and rent-free living becomes the prime goal. Nor, incidentally, will what used to be your work study work. Too many associations with the past and not enough impetus towards the future. Your brand new future.
So it has to be a separate place that you created. A place you have brought into existence. For most men legend has it this will be a shed or a garage. For women well, I’m not sure but I’ve heard they retire too. A marquee? Sewing tent? Relax ladies/ womenfolk I’m kidding. It all applies to you it’s just that I’m a bloke. But for both genders may I recommend a summerhouse hence the title of this blog. I know a summerhouse sounds a bit twee but what the heck. My summerhouse (see later blog for photo) is painted lime green and screw the neighbours. How twee is that? Actually I’m kidding again the neighbours can’t see it or at least I don’t think they can I haven’t in fact asked them. There are regulations about height of and distance from boundary that I may have slightly contravened but there is a bloody big, laurel hedge between us and I know it’s big because I’ve cut it for the last 25 years.
My wife and I erected our summerhouse in a weekend it would have been less time had she not handed me the wrong planks on the front end (women!) and I’d built most of the wall before I realised the windows and door weren’t in fact 6 feet wide. I can tell you, and this is a little tip for free, the joints that can be bashed together quite easily with a big mallet are a damn sight more difficult to bash apart. We bought the kit for about £1000 from our local shed man who’d bought a job lot from some eastern European company that had gone bankrupt. This is not a problem – the wood is pretty much the same, it came from Norway – unless you need to rely on reading (I use this word lightly) the instructions. These were brief, incomprehensible and with diagrams drawn I guess by Picasso in his cubist period. Anyway I digress. I do that a lot. They weren’t helpful.
So you’ve got it and you’re now in position to fill it with your stuff and your wife’s if you and she wish it to be so. If you get on well so be it. We were told as children that sharing is good, at least until now. Now in retirement you may need to set this aside (like farmers do with fields). Separate spaces might be the order of the day – back to back summerhouses, terraced, semi-detached or in different gardens if you don’t get all that great. OK so you get the idea.
In future blogs I’m going to give you a few tips about size and how it really does matter and how to populate your summerhouse with objects. But that’s for another time.
The summerhouse itself