After a busy year. After sadness and sorrow. And changes and retirement.
We are finally having time to ourselves.
After a busy year. After sadness and sorrow. And changes and retirement.
We are finally having time to ourselves.
In life we have so many decisions to make. When we are young, they are often insignificant, and won’t have an impact on our future, but as we get older we have to thinks carefully about these life changing choices.
Everything in life is a jigsaw isn’t it? Each part of our life fits together to make one big picture. Ourselves, relationships, work, money and health. Without one part our life isn’t complete.
How do you then make a decision to change one part of it, which will have a big impact on another? And how will you know if you are making the right decision?
My youngest son and his girlfriend both have long commutes to work. 3 hours each day for my son, not quite so long for his girlfriend. He works long hours, and often isn’t home before 8 o’clock, she works shifts often finishing work at 11pm. He now wants to move nearer to his work, and nearer to his girlfriend’s place of work too. And although the rent will be marginally more, financially they will be better off taking into account travel expenses and other expenses of gyms etc.
The dilemma then is that they will be a distance away then from our loving family, and his friends. They are a doting uncle and aunty, and both have a great relationship with his brother and sister in law. They have movie nights, and princess parties. He is really close to us as parents and his grandfather, and often pops in at least once a week even if it’s for ½ hour, or to watch a football match with his dad. I’ve often gone to the gym with them for a swim and a sauna.
What they will gain on one hand they will lose on the other.
Everyone’s life changes, it very rarely stays the same. Perhaps now is the time to look at quality time and not quantity time?
It will be an opportunity for us to visit them every so often, they won’t be on the other end of the world, its 25 miles away, that is a 1 ½ hr in South London traffic. That’s not so bad? His friends would love the opportunity to meet in central London for a drink I’m sure? They can stay on weekends for family get together? I know her mum would love the opportunity to stay in London and all the shops?
It won’t be so bad will it – if they decide to move?
Who am I trying to kid…
What to do on a not-so-sunny Bank Holiday?
A little bit of gardening I think, lots of weeding to do, all those little weeds that hide in the cracks of the walls, and bricks. Probably cut the grass – hubby will do that, I’ll just help move all the benches around so he can cut under them.
I’ve got a few planters around, that are looking pretty sorry for themselves, need to re fill them with fresh soil and some new plants. Probably Geraniums and Carnations. They are so easy to look after- nothing to do but water them!
I have a beautiful bird feeder that I attach to the patio door. The bravest of brave come and feed from it! Others sit under and wait for the seed to fall to the floor, and they scoop up the seeds, and fly off into the hedge at the back of the garden. I have hidden a coconut fat feeder in the same hedge, and the blue tits who aren’t so brave sit and feed upside-down on the enriched fat with meal worms in. I have a table top bird feeder too, and I put bread and more bird food on the top.
Its a simple garden but its filled with wild life. Squirrels that have made their home in and around the gardens visit to eat the fruit I leave out, apple cores and 1/2 eaten fruit left behind by the grandchildren. Bread- white, wholemeal, granary, artisan – you name it – the pigeons and magpies are there. Picking it up and shaking it from side to side, and watch in confusion as it flies off in all directions. Now this is where all the little sparrows and robins come in handy, they pick up the crumbs off the grass. Its their bite size pieces that they can manage.
Its a great place to sit and watch them all. They aren’t so brave when you sitting in the garden – but I suppose that’s to be expected isn’t it?
We have had a family of robins in the garden for 3 or 4 years now. I think there are three nests the male has, two in our garden – and one next door. You see him flying between then and back to the table or the feeder. He sits on the garden chairs waiting for me to put the food out, and then starts his little routine, bobbing through the hedge and making his way across the grass, gliding to the bottom of the table then up to the feeder, and back into the hedge again. This is the best picture I could get before they flew away.
In the spring we also have a nest of tiny black bees that have taken up residence behind a bricked up chimney. They have made use of the fact there are gaps in the filling, and over the years have made their little perfectly round entrances that they fly in and out of. We aren’t worried about them, they are not harming anyone. They avoid us, as much as we avoid them. Its nice to watch them flying in, legs full of pollen, landing on the tiny ledge, and going into the chimney.
Doesn’t look like there is going to be much of anything else going on, just a bit of bird watching today then?
Well, I’ve got that first week over with! It was a little surreal I have to say. I have been planning this now for about a year, but because of COVID I put it on hold (together with anything real) until the planned date was the end of March 2021. So it’s been in the fore front of my mind for a long time.
How do you plan for these things? The first thing I did was to go on some retirement training provided by the organisation I worked for. I walked in foolishly thinking it would be all about the best day time TV programmes to watch, the best place to buy fluffy slippers and what is the acceptable time to open the wine and/or gin! Actually it was far more helpful than that. They spoke about investments and wills and protecting you assets for the future. Its sounds rather dull – and to be honest it was a little, but very informative. I did learn things I never knew before. It also gave you time frames for the agencies you needed to contact to start the wheels in motion for this to happen seamlessly.
My count down started in December – the day I wrote my notice, and handed it to my manager!
I have been working since I was about 16. This is the first time apart from a short period when I had my two children I haven’t had to go to work every day. Not that that was an opportunity to sit and do nothing!
My first Saturday job was in the good old fashioned shop F.W.Woolworth It’s a long disappeared shop from the high street. In 2008 the chain went into administration and all shops had closed by the following year. It was a well know shop famous for its pick ‘n’ mix sweets, and ability to sell just about everything. Vinyl records, books, garden plants and tools, ladies underwear. Tinned foods, paint, nuts and bolts, children’s books and toys. The shop I worked in was in a little Welsh high street in the Rhondda. At the time I worked there we were in the throes of some dangerous activities in the British Isles. They called it the ‘Troubles’ – fighting in Northern Ireland spilling out to England and to Wales. I add this to my story – as the first job each Saturday was checking under the counters and displays for bombs! Seems odd now when you say this out loud – but the organisation involved had been known for placing incendiary bombs in shops and places where crowds of people met. Luckily I never found anything like that – just a few Riley’s chocolate toffee rolls and jelly babies that had fallen off the plastic scoops the day before and rolled under the cabinets!
I next worked for a few weeks before Christmas in a fruit and veg wholesalers, making up orders, weighing fruit and veg, and packing them into large cardboard boxes ready for deliveries. Problematic? Yes – I didn’t know the difference between a Satsuma and a Mandarin orange. Or the different cabbages and potatoes. I soon learned!
My next job was as a waitress for a catering company. They generally did weddings, and anniversary celebrations. A great place to work as a 17 year old. Lots of banter from the ‘older’ waitresses – who were probably only a few years older than me – but seemed so much wiser on how the world – and the minds of men – worked! An eye opener to be certain. I worked here most of the time I was in college, it gave me the money to be able to go out and party. It was hard work, trying not to tip plates of food down the dresses of brides! The wedding venue was above a row of shops – the kitchen was at the back of the shops- a logistical nightmare. Although there was a dumbwaiter lift that took the food from the ground floor to the venue, the empty plates were carried down by the waitresses! One advantage was that at the end of the night – the company took everyone home in a mini bus, more opportunity to listen to more about these young women’s lives. And I saved money on bus fare!
I left home the day after my 19th birthday, and moved to London as a nanny. I’ve worked in a makeup factory on the production line, I then moved into the offices sales. From there I worked for an insurance company in the sales office – before computers – manually working on their sales cards. What a job!
I tried working in a pub – but that only lasted 1 week! It was too complex for me to remember the drinks, the prices of each drink, and then using a manual till and giving change- all while smiling and looking like I knew what I was doing – no chance… I’ve typed architectural reports, sent messages on telex machines for the tax office, worked for a local hospital in the Nurse education department typing and preparing exam papers, I’ve typed meeting minutes as the secretary to the chair of the board of governors at a local school, produced a newsletters for the local scouts and organised fund raising events. I’ve been a pot washer and a waitress in a local restaurant. I’ve cleaned offices, and polished brass handrails. And I’ve sold eggs on my own market stall! Whew! Lots of those job gave me the money to put down a deposit on a flat with my boyfriend.
I’ve worked in a stationery company as an import sales clerk, a PA to the operations director, and then a computer operator – all for the same company over a span of 5 years. I them moved to an insurance company where I was an assistant manager.
Then I had my two babies. But I didn’t give up work, I was my husband’s book keeper, and I did regular deliveries across south London while carrying my babies in their little carry tots in the car.
When my youngest was 4 weeks old- I went back to work as an early morning cleaner in the local Beefeater restaurant, while my hubby looked after the two boys until I came home and he went to work. I’ve worked in Waitrose as an early morning cleaner and in a private hospital as an evening cleaner and seamstress. Things were tough and I did what I had to do to keep food on the table and to stop us from going under.
I’ve worked as a book keeper for a carpet shop, and managed one of their shop. I’ve worked in a centre for Adults with Learning Disabilities, a fruit & vegetable import company as a sales clerk, then an Office manager in a team that provided wheelchairs. Finally I’ve spent the last 17 years & ended my career as a Lead Administrator for a mental health service! Although during those 17 years – I didn’t let the grass grow under my feet – I was offered two secondments. Firstly within the performance management team – looking at data and how to improve things. And as a project manager working with a team who were undergoing change. I’ve also done my sons paper rounds when they were ill, and to give them a weekend off every so often.
Is it time for me to hang my gloves up? No chance – I’m not ready to stop yet. My brain is still active, and so are my fingers. I’m looking to start some training that will allow me to go into schools and read with young people. Reading – whatever it is – is the way to learning, and independence. And as an avid reader – it hasn’t done me any harm through my life has it?
For someone who didn’t do very well in her exams, didn’t go to university – I’ve realised that life hasn’t been about learning on paper- but learning through experience. Maths isn’t my strong point. But working in retail has helped, especially when the business is yours- you don’t want to give the wrong change it’s your profit! I had an amazing accountant who helped me understand VAT when it was 15% then 17.5%, and suddenly the maths fell into place, by using it for practical matters! Making what little money you have go round also sharpens your sense of budgeting, and with it – maths!
For me retirement is about doing things at my pace, and if I want to work on days it suits me. I’m lucky to be able to do this now, and not when I’m too old to enjoy the choices.
I want to say ‘Thank you’ to those of you who have followed me, to those of you who have read my last few blogs. To my family members, friends and colleague I have circulated my link to, and to those seasoned writers who have taken the time to find me and read my outpourings. […]Why I do what I do — patc44’s Blog
Tomorrow we say goodbye to my mother-in-law Maureen. She has been with me through the fun times, through silly times, the sad times of loss and the happy times of marriage and children.
I knew her longer than I knew my own mother. My father in law graciously gave me away at our wedding as I had already lost my dad and my lovely mum. We are a family unit and always will be. I wanted to write something for her funeral to be read out, but didn’t have the courage to do something, so I wrote something for my hubby – her adorable son – to write on the card for her flowers from us.
You will always be my mother and I’ll miss you every day. I’ll miss your disposition and the thoughtful things you say. Your gentle touch and shining eyes will just be a glimpse away. I won’t ever forget you mum - here in my heart each day.
And of course I write this for my mother – who I miss every day.
<a href="http://<span>Photo by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@franho?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Francesca Ho</a> on <a href="https://unsplash.com/s/photos/yellow-flower?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Unsplash</a>http://<span>Photo by <a href=”https://unsplash.com/@franho?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText”>Francesca Ho</a> on <a href=”https://unsplash.com/s/photos/yellow-flower?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText”>Unsplash</a></span>
Welcome to the twilight zone. That time when the birds are just waking up, someone has just got up to go to the toilet, and the thoughts of the day penetrate your half dazed brain. The time when that little baby not ½ mile away has just realised its feed time, and is crying for her mum to come and give her some well-deserved sustenance.
I’m not normally awake at this time of the night – sorry morning, but it’s not surprising taking into consideration all that has happened over the last 24 hours. The story about our little humble family has gone viral. Not only has it been taken up by an American organisation who have published it on one of their web sites, but the main news channel BBC News has got hold of it, and has run the story . The 4th most read article today on…
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Oh, the life of the rich people. However, when they pass away, the legal problems of probating the will can be very complex.
According to an article by Alison Boshoff in The Daily Mail website:
Karl Lagerfeld in 2014
Karl Lagerfeld — the titan of Chanel and Fendi — loved nothing more than to create a sensation in life. And, following his death in February 2019, a final scandal has been brewing which once again is captivating the fashion world. At stake is the ‘Kaiser’s’ fortune which is said to stand at £178 million ($224 million US), but may in fact be closer to £400 million (more than $500 million US).
His heirs are now bickering among themselves over who Lagerfeld loved best, and who will therefore be getting the largest slice of the loot. Lagerfeld’s beloved cat, Choupette, may become a very rich kitty as well.
This article has…
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The Wordsmith is a solitary bird
Imagination jumping from rock to boulder
Sadness to sunshine
Reflecting and refracting.
A colourful imagination
And maybe a darker soul.
A quick wit with a slow burn.
Seeing things other see
But in a different language.
How many of us hide a Wordsmith in our heart?
Thinking, writing, re-writing
Paper, scraps or brightly coloured pages.
And pens or stubbly pencils
Or a simple keyboard.
The end is nigh and peace comes.
The jumbled thoughts march,
March in lines across the page.
Uniform only in colour, no rhythm
No rhyme, or regimented and lilting.
Written in private, written for reading
Written for The Wordsmith, or the extended Family.
Does it matter?
It takes two!
The humble Wordsmith and the reader
Read with passion and tears and laughter.
The reader putting soul into the bones of the words.
Enjoy – go forth and share,
Or keep privately in your heart and your head
And in your note book with flowers on the pages.
You will see me on my profile pic
And on my video too.
You’ll see me in the street
At a safe distance from you!
Next week it will be the same
And the week after – I’m sure.
But then I’ll gradually hide away
From you – and you – and you.
It’s not because of anything
That you have decided to do!
It’s me, don’t feel sad
It’s something I have no choice but to do.
The Government have told us
To isolate from you
The shops the cafes
And the hairdressers too!
(Ladies -you can see where this is going can’t you?)
In 12 weeks’ time you won’t know me,
And I won’t know you!
For I’ll be a much greyer version
Of the woman you once knew!