A new year … new beginnings? Perhaps …


So, all those promises I made to myself about getting a part-time job within two months, turned out to be just bluff and bluster. Well …not really. I have been looking, but maybe not as hard as I could. At the moment, things are working out quite well and there is no urgency for me to supplement the pension I’m getting. Of course, that could all change. As R*** starts to increase his respite stays, income we get for him may (will) start to decrease and that’s when our financial situation will alter. But that’s in the future.

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Yet again, one of this years New Year Resolutions has been broken. I shall go into a little more detail here, if I may. K*** had wanted to watch the Robbie Williams new year show (I didn’t) and in the spirit of compromise, I gave in. My opinion …total rubbish … sexist and egotistical does not describe what we watched. Anyway, to cut a short story even shorter, we watched the London fireworks (fireworks on the TV don’t really work for me) and then K*** went to bed. I quickly changed channels to watch Jools Holland and his, now famous ‘Hootenanny Show’. Where is this taking us, I hear someone ask? Well, it was during a performance of Tilted by Christine And The Queens that I once again resolved to ‘post everyday‘ which I quickly modified to every two days. As the date of this post shows, that was a fail! It is now modified to ‘post more often‘, but even that may yet be modified.

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Now here’s a question for you. What do you use to write your blog posts? I know I’ve asked this before, but that was before I started with Windows 10. The reason I ask (again) is that I tried today to use the desktop WordPress app. It started okay, and I was able to write and my work was saved as a draft. But then the program crashed … repeatedly. It crashed so many times, that it became unusable in my opinion. So I’m back using the faithful Open Live Writer which works without any problems. Just wondering if anyone who uses the Windows 10 WordPress app have had similar problems.

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Wait a minute! Where does the “new beginnings” part of the title come in? I just thought it was a good sound bite!

It’s sunk in … finally


I think it has finally sunk in. It got to home time and J*******, who I have worked quite closely with, shook my hand, thanked me and wished me well. He is on leave next week and will not be in on the day I finish. It was a nice touch of him to say what he did. On the other hand, there are others who are on leave next week, who have said nothing. Quite frankly, I don’t care about those few. In fact, there is one person that is off all week and it pleased me to know that he will not be in. One of the many reasons I’m not having the obligatory ‘night out’ or ‘leaving do’. I’m not a very sociable person, but I could not leave anyone out if I was having a do. I would have to invite everyone, even those I do not want to be there. So not for me.

What amazes me at the moment, though, is the number of times I’ve been asked, what I’m going to do when I finish? What are my hobbies? Have I planned any trips? All valid questions you may say, but my point is, nobody has asked me any of these questions before! Well not in this team. Way back before the numerous restructures, the team I originally worked with would ask. With this team, they don’t even ask where you’ve been if you’ve had a few days holiday. Strange bunch of people some of them.

Then when I got home, the pension company had finally sent my retirement pack. This is the documents I need to complete so that my pension is paid. Surprisingly it only took two emails to get the pack sent. But that helped it hit home. Made it very realistic. Now I’ve just got to find a part-time job to fill a couple of days in the week. It will be a bit of spending money and keep me occupied for a few years until my state pension comes in 2021.

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I had a crack at knitting a rose brooch this weekend. Rose BroochI had seen the pattern and downloaded some months previously, but it looked quite tricky. Stitchwise I was fine, but one of the main techniques was a little more involved as it were. Still, I had a go and finished it quicker than I expected. I completed the making up today and I very pleased with how it has turned out. Just as it showed on the pattern.

Having a moan and other things …


I’ve not posted for over a week now. I suppose it’s a combination of laziness and wanting to write a more substantial post. I did try, some time ago, to post every day. I think it lasted just over a week, before I began to struggle to say anything at all. So that fell by the wayside and I returned back to simply writing when I felt up to it and had something I wanted to say.

Now that’s out of the way, it’s back to the moans and groans.

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We, that’s me and K*** had a great day out on Tuesday to Beningbrough Hall. We walked round the gardens, which were really beautiful. We then toured the hall which was extremely enjoyable. Where does the ‘moan’ come in you may ask? Well Beningbrough, as the above link shows is an estate owned and managed by the National Trust. A fine example of a house and gardens of it’s time and a great educational place to for all to visit. So why do some parents (and I counted at least five families) think it is a great idea for their ‘children’ to take a football with them? It’s a piece of important history not a sports field! If you want to kick a ball around, then there are plenty of of open parkland in this country to do just that!

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After our visit, we had a look around one of the large shopping parks in the area. Now I get a little upset with some of the shops and I have mentioned before the issue of clothing sizes, so I’m not going to visit that again. No, my ‘moan’ this time is the price of razors! We needed to get some for R*** to take on respite as we had been told he was getting low. K*** was buying some kind of cosmetic stuff and I was charged with picking the razors. It never fails to amaze me at the price of these things. But what amazes me more, is when they are sold on ‘special offer’. I saw one pack that had the razor handle and six individual ‘multi-blades’ priced at the special offer price of £30.99! What really annoyed me was that at the side of this offer price was the words ‘Worth £45.99’. Who says that these are worth what they say they’re worth? Is it some kind of expert retail gurus? Or is it simply the manufacturers that are just trying to con us? I feel that it could be the latter.

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I made a start on clearing out the garage on Saturday. When I say ‘made a start’ I mean just that. For the past few years, the garage has been a dumping ground for everything and anything that we/I/she felt might come in useful at some point. But it’s come to the point where even I have trouble getting in and out of the place. So something had to be done. I was going to the opticians and the local authority tip is én route, so thought I would kill two birds with one stone. Well I think I must have had a chip in my windscreen, and the numerous speed humps on the one of the roads must have exasperated this, because when I got home, I noticed I had a small crack in said windscreen. Not very happy that I have a £60.00 excess to pay to get it fixed, but even more unhappy, that it cannot be fixed until Wednesday at the earliest.

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On a more positive note, my early retirement figures came through on Friday. They are looking like I expected, and I am going to take up the offer. My intention is to finish at the end of October, but ‘they’ have sort of thrown spanner in the works, so to speak. The figures from the pension company provide me an annual pension and a lump sum. But ‘spanner’ is that they have also offered to increase the lump sum, if I take a lower annual pension! So what do I do? K*** doesn’t know what would be best and I think I know, but cannot be sure. I’m going to give the figures to K***s father to look at, to see if he could advise. It is a bit of a quandary, but at least I don’t need to make that decision first. That can be decided at a later date, but it’s still a puzzle.

Goodbye to a long year


     By the time you read this, 2012 will nearly be over. It’s a year that has had it’s ups and downs and I’m probably glad to see the back of it. Some the downsides have been quite traumatic: finding out that the job you’ve been doing for the past seven years, will no longer exist; Mrs H finding out she had a Melanoma on her arm; coming home to find the Police in the house after R*** had had a melt down; discovering that there was a plan in place to section R*** if needed and that the ‘plan’ had nearly been invoked twice, must all rank at the top of the downers. Then of course there was the uppers: getting a new job; R*** settling in at his new place; R*** taking to his respite without a problem; S**** getting a great review for his part in the local panto; surviving Christmas (still have New Years Eve) are all up there with good times. I also got a new laptop, and I was not sure if it was an upper or a downer. It was struggle to get it to how i wanted it, but when it was all done, it was brilliant!
     My writing is coming along. It is a slow progress, because I think in my own mind, that I’m not good enough to do it. I will have days when I will just sit at the keyboard, and do not know what to write. Then on other days, I will hammer out a couple of hundred words. But then i read back what I’ve written, and realise that it is nonsense, and I have to start again. I’m currently writing a story that has a troll involved. I’ve got up to 4000 words, but I don’t know where I am going from here, or even if going to take it any further. I may just use this a practice piece whilst I figure out what I really want to write about. I did start writing a blog for a national magazine and wrote a few  posts, about the local area and what was happening, but the stats were very disappointing, with no comments neither good or bad. You do need people to comment. Even if they just tell how bad the piece is, it shows that they have interested enough to read it and offer advice. I gave up after four posts and have not written anything for it since December 2011.
     I have recently taken one of the pieces I have written and turned it into a sketch/play. It still needs some work, but with that one, I know what I need to do. I’ve been reading and bought a couple of books about Creative Writing, and am now beginning to understand where I have to start from, and how to develop ideas. It is going to a long process, but as I have indicated to HR at work, I am interested in taking voluntary early retirement in March 2015, I need to get my skates on, so to speak.
     I suppose, that the last sentence needs a little more explaining. I work for local government, and without going in to the politics of it (especially my views) a number of staff in the 55 – 65 age bracket, have been asked to consider either early retirement (VER) or voluntary severance (VS). As I fall in to that age category, I decided to apply for VER. I have sufficient service to give me that maximum payout, and although the pension will not be full amount, I would only be eligible for a further £2000.00 a year if a I stayed on until I was 66. It has yet to be passed by management, but at my level, I do not think there will be a problem. It will mean a massive change, and I will need to get some kind of part-time job, to help with the finance situation, but I think it will be okay. So you see, if I can get my head around writing and develop the skills I need to write creatively, the boredom factor that people get when they retire should not creep in. Who knows, I may even make a few pounds from the experience.

 

     Well, I think I have blathered on for long enough. All that is left now is to wish you all a  very prosperous and successful new year, and hope that 2013 brings you everything you wish for.