I was rereading some of my very early blog posts, when we were preparing for our 8-month trip onto the continent. We were pottering around central England, doing not a great deal. It was fascinating to sense the difference in my tone of writing in those days. What I wrote was lighter, buoyant … as though we hadn’t got a care in the world. Of course we hadn’t. We had just given up work, retiring from the rat race after 34 years. (Pretty much) everything we owned was in Doris One, we wanted for nothing because our needs were small and, frankly, we were still working out if we could afford to do b**ger-all and live off my pension and some property income. We were free. And it read as such.
It’s almost 5 years down the line and that feeling of freedom does not so easily navigate its way onto the pages of the blog. I complain a bit – mostly about politics. We are both working at about 65% … a cylinder dropped or a spark plug missing. This is certainly how I read it.
I have deadlines. Some self-imposed, like the book (which will be out late July, a few weeks later than usual, but we don’t get back from Asia until 18 July), some self-generated, like a day’s work for the military on Tuesday and a couple of days at the school a couple of weeks after. And, of course, poor old dad’s funeral a week on Tuesday. And we have those residual folk who we love, such as mum, who need us on hand. And, on hand we will be.
But, actually, when you get your magnifying glass out, very little has changed. Sure, last year I had 7-months work at a school in Bristol which did little for my morale and easily took a couple of years off me. But that was a flash in the pan and, having made that decision once, it’s not one I’m going to be making again. On the face of it I don’t work. Not in any way that you would class as work. I could easily turn down the consultancy stuff, especially as C and I have got a grips of living on not a great deal. Book 5 could be the final chapter of Sam Green; if I wanted it to be. And, as such, once we come back from Korea etc I could easily hang up my commitments on the coat rack of life and we could spend the next 25 years (I should be so lucky) doing very little apart from travelling. We both have full state pensions due, and that will take us from managing to very comfortable. And, whilst our little house is, well, little, it is lovely – especially as it now has a new back gate.
We could become old(er) rockers. Grow our hair. Get piercings. Wear holes in our jeans and socks with our sandals. We could prune our non-existent hedges, mow our two small lawns, watch Eggheads and Pointless and, when we’re not doing that, we could travel Europe (the world, not so often as the money will only go so far) pulling our trike and taking up too much room in the French aires. We could shop at Aldi, borrow books from the library and use, when they come, our free bus passes.
Yes, that’s it. That’s something to look forward to. In the meantime …
[For the record. Went to the dump. Made a shelf. Had a day’s work at the school. Had fun with Mary and her guests. Ran. Walked. Had tea in Doris, because we wanted to pretend to be away in her. And, on the face of it, lived the life of Riley. Fab.]