Seems a lot longer …


Well, it’s been 18 months now since I took the plunge and ‘volunteered’ for early retirement, or as it turned out to be voluntary redundancy. It does seem a lot longer since I was driving into the City centre multi-storey car park. To be honest, it has not really gone according to the vague plan I had formulated, in my head during the few months leading up to my last day. I had sort of thought that I could:

  1. take it easy for the first two months
  2. get a part-time job, between 10 and 16 hours a week
  3. get a bit of decorating done
  4. ditto in the garden
  5. take over most of the washing and ironing (I weirdly like ironing)

None have really materialised with the exception of number 5. Okay, I did paint the staircase, and I have done a bit(?) in the garden. But that’s about it. I’m still looking for a part-time job, but K*** seems to think that I have made my options in that area, too narrow. I don’t want too many hours and I want it local.

I thought I would get bored very quickly, but that has not happened. I thought that we would not be able to live on the pension I was getting. Altering where we shop for most our groceries has eased that pressure. So basically, at the moment we seem to be okay.

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The latest Windows update became available for me yesterday. About 2pm I checked and it was available. So I began the update process. It finally finished at around 7:30pm. This is the reason I did not post this at Fthe time I wanted. I’ve had a quick look, and the only thing that seems to be a ‘new’ feature is that I now have a nearly full “F:\drive” that wasn’t there before. As I understand, and I may be wrong, but this new drive is the location for the recovery data. I think it used to be in a folder, but it seems that Microsoft now wants it in a separate partition. This is fine if there is sufficient space. I believe Aaaaghthat this partition will mysteriously be removed in 10 days, which is a little unnerving. With working in an IT support team before I retired, I tend to read up on the major updates to see what ‘exciting new features’ I am about to receive. I only half-heartedly did it this time, but I think that will change for next time. The problem is, that since Microsoft decided to move towards Windows being provided as a service, there is no choice but to update when they tell you.

I am now updating my other laptop. It’s been going 1 hour and seems to be proceeding faster than the previous time. Wish me luck.

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Update to Windows update:- The second laptop only took just under 4 hours to run, so a slight improvement there. The issue with the new “F:\drive” has been resolved. I trawled the internet with no luck, then had this brain-wave … ask the Windows community. Within minutes, literally less than 5 minutes it was solved and the drive is no longer visible. It was a Recovery drive, but it should not have been visible. If anyone has got the same issue, I am going to post the answer as a separate post. 

Finally over …


This, of course, refers to our new bathroom. The fitters finished at around 1pm on Friday, but there was an issue with the lighting. They just couldn’t get it to work. The issue started on Thursday morning when they had fitted the ‘over the sink’ cupboard clip_image001which has two LED strip lights to light it up. No matter what the guys clip_image002did, there was no lighting. One of them called the electrician that they use, who couldn’t come straight away, but promised to come early that afternoon. He didn’t turn up. Next time we had was Friday morning which quickly changed to Friday afternoon. We needed him to be away before R*** came home at 5pm. The guy turned up at around 5:30, which was too late if he needed to turn off the main power supply. So it was arranged for him to come on the following Monday, just after 9am, which he did. Took about an hour, and when he finished he explained that one of the cupboard lights was not working. He had informed the company we were buying the bathroom off and they advised that they would be ordering a new one. That was fitted yesterday. K*** is very pleased with the outcome and we both think they have done a good job. It was not cheap by any means, but it is 1000 times better than it was before.

I do think the company is missing a trick though. I would have taken some photos before the job was started and more when it was finished. I would have then asked for permission to upload them to the company website, as a ‘Before & After’ type of self-advertisement. Could even have a few shots (not many though) of the fitters doing the job.

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I thought I had found the perfect part-time job for myself yesterday. I don’t want (or need at the moment) a job with many hours. This one would have only been 7 hours, on a Friday doing mainly admin work on the reception desk at a local school. Slightly fewer hours than I was looking for, but it would have been something.

Now, the issue here was that when I took early retirement, there were some conditions laid down. The main one was that I could not work for the Council, either paid or voluntary for 12 months from my final working date. This was because it wasn’t actually retirement in its usual capacity. How it worked was that I was taking voluntary redundancy (VR) and that the Council had arranged with the Local Government Pension scheme, that I could take my pension and lump sum early. As the closing date for this job is the 9th October, I would be in breach of the VR terms by applying before the 1st November.

A little disappointing, but it’s been the first time I have seen anything, that I know I could do with the hours that would suit. I just have to hope that they re-advertise the job again. It sometimes happens.

It’s been a long week …


I’m referring to the holiday my wife is on at the moment. As I’ve not posted for some time, I’ll get you up to speed. Around the middle of April, K****s sister and daughter, returned from a week away in Gran Canaria. She returned with an offer that K*** should join them on their next trip. There was much discussion about this, with me having a lot of misgivings about the whole thing. Firstly, it’s a ‘beach, bar and pool type of holiday, which I understood was not the type of holiday K*** enjoyed. Secondly there was R*** to consider. How would he react, coming home from respite to find his mother not at home, and not going to be home for another 4 days. Then there is the cost. K*** tells me that it’s a ‘one-off’, but isn’t that waste of all the money it cost for a new passport? And what about all the new clothes … more expense. Anyway, she is back on Tuesday. R*** and me will both be pleased, and as I say, it’s been a long week. I had a list of jobs that I wanted to get done, which I managed to do in between the rain and the wind we had here. I suppose the worst part of the experience is the lack of conversation. I went to the pub a couple of evenings, but there is only so much you can chat about with people that you don’t really know. It will be nice to get back to what we call normality.

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I’ve been a bit lazy with this blog over the past couple of months. To be honest, I’ve not really had much I wanted to say. I wanted to stay clear of politics as that is all that people have been talking about for the past month. I know from past experience, that it is one way to ‘lose friends and annoy people. That is something I can do without any external help, thank you very much.

I tend to update this blog in the late evening. I thought, that this retirement (early) would give me lots more time to do things like this blog, but it doesn’t seem to have worked out that way. It still late at night, when K*** and R*** have gone to bed, that I think ”I must do a blog post”, and then I get distracted and end up not doing anything. I was going to look for a part-time job. That’s not happened. I signed up with a recruitment agency, but the jobs they have come up with are never appropriate. I promised myself that I would do more writing, but I don’t seem to have had any ideas that I could write about. I have done a fair bit of knitting though. A three beanie hats, five headbands, a pair of wrist warmers, a couple of scarves and I’m a quarter of the way through a sleeveless jumper. So I’ve not been sitting on my hands, so to speak.

I shall stop now as I don’t want to start rambling on about anything. I think I shall make a mental note to think about updating this effort at least once a week. I’ll put a note in my diary. See if that makes a difference!

One month down … rest of my life to go …


As the title says, it’s been just a month since I took the plunge and retired. So how’s it gone so far?

Well, my idea, that I would get a part-time job within the first couple of weeks has been a non-starter. I’ve not seen anything that I could honestly is a job I want to do. In fact, that statement has 10 words too many. It should actually read “I’ve not seen anything!” I have looked. Possibly not looked too hard, but when you don’t even get an answer from the ones you do look at, it kind of puts a bit of a damper on the whole thing. But I’m not going to dwell on that … I’m putting that to the back of my mind for the time being.

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It’s “Panto Week” in  Bramham his week. We are not going this year, as neither S***e or A***l are cast members this time. Both of them decided that it is a bit too much to get from their house in Castleford to Bramham for the rehearsals. They are still involved, but it will be the first time S***e has not performed for a number of years. I think they both miss it a little, but things move on and I get the feeling that this year’s effort is not up to the usual standard. I may be wrong.

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I feel I may have been neglecting this blog over the past four weeks. However, I don’t seem to have had much to say if the truth is known. My intention was to write something at least every other day. I think, I’m still at the novelty stage of my retirement. It’s sunk in a little, but it still feels like I’m on holiday. I’ve done a bit of decorating (not a lot, but some) and have been doing a bit more knitting, but that’s about all really. We have been out a couple of days and at the moment, we are sticking to going out one day a week. If we can get the spending that we are used to down a little, then the part-time job may not be necessary. We just need to get Christmas out of the way, then we will know where we stand.

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I think that’s just about it. No … wait …had a lovely chat with an ‘ex’ colleague on Sunday. I got to hear about all the hopes and fears that my ex-workers are going through. It made me realise even more that I did the right thing by finishing.

I’ve not really had much to do with the people I used to work with. To be honest, I’m not really that bothered about most of them. But it was a nice surprise when K***e messaged me, to ask how things were. I have to admit, I have a lot of respect for K***e. She is the only one out of our ‘team’ that I miss. When I say that, I mean that I miss a lot of people for one reason or another, but K***e was a special person. Without question, there was nobody that a bad word for her. I have never worked with anybody before that was so universally liked by everyone that met her. It may sound a bit twee, but she did make the day pass a lot more pleasantly.

I hate shopping …


“Hate” is probably a too harsher word to use. A more appropriate word would be “Detest” I suppose. Let me expand. It’s not that I don’t like spending (that’s another issue) I just don’t like being in shops. Take yesterday as a prime example. I had to pay a visit to national supermarket nearby. I know about ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Mega-Monday’, but ‘Stupid Saturday’ is a new one on me. To say it was busy is an understatement! It was absolutely heaving. And, it seemed that the majority had brought some kind of child with them.

I’ve come to the conclusion that there are a standard type of shopper:

  1. The Quickie – Has a list, is straight in and out. No messing (I fall into this category);
  2. The Drifter – Wanders around every aisle, pausing occasionally to drop an item in their basket/trolley;
  3. The Inspector – Studies the price tag of every item on their list and compares them down to the last penny;
  4. The Owner – Not the actual shop owner, but a shopper who has no spacial awareness. These people wander around as if they are the only people in the shop. They are the ones who leave their trolley in the middle of the aisle whilst they decide what to choose;
  5. The ParentNow I have some sympathy for some of these people. It must be difficult to go shopping with your six children on the busiest shopping day of the week;
  6. The Family – Similar to ‘The Parent’, but this time it’s the whole family that does the shop. Typically, the Father figure wanders around, two paces behind the Mother figure tutting and shaking his head at every purchase, until they hit the wines/beers/spirits aisle and then they (attempt to) take charge. If you lose the Father figure, they can always be found scanning the motoring magazines;

    And finally

  7. The Cruiser – Doesn’t actually need to buy anything, but has time on their hands and thought they would have a look round anyway. They often have picked the largest trolley ‘just in case’ and they like to pretend they are there for a purpose by looking intently at their phone as if it has a shopping list on it.

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Because my income is now down by about 30% due to my retirement, we have decided the we need to cut down on somethings. If I had been on holiday for the past three weeks, then we would have probably had eight or nine days out. Would have visited some local attractions and had lunch or evening meal, and on occasion both! But we have taken the decision (well I decided and K*** seemed to agree) that we could manage a day out once a week.

Now bearing in mind the earlier part of this post, the following may come as a surprise. Last week we went into Leeds to see the new John Lewis store and the refurbished shopping centres. K*** has wanted to go since it opened and I did not really have any excuse why we couldn’t. The fact that I don’t like the centre of Leeds did not hold any water so we went.  Working in the centre for my last three weeks really enforced my dislike for the place. Millions have been spent on cleaning up the place, but it still seems a mess. There are still the beggars on many street corners and then there are the ‘Chuggers’ who I hate with a passion. These are the so called charity collectors that work in groups and are paid to try and get you to give money to a specific charity.

So back to John Lewis, or more specifically (Rant Awareness Alarm), department stores in general. I may have mentioned this before, but in these kind of stores, I want to look at certain things. I want to look at mens clothing. I like to browse the technology area. What I don’t want to do is to look around the numerous perfume sellers (for want of a better description) and I’m not too enamoured with wandering around the lingerie section either. So my gripe here is …why in most stores do I have pass through either one of sometimes both of these sections, before I can get to the ones I want to see ? I suppose the stores want to appeal to the female shoppers in the first instance, but it can be annoying for us men. Some stores take it to the extreme. Take P*****K in Leeds as an example. The menswear is on the fourth floor after passing through the lingerie, womenswear and children’s wear.

The John Lewis store is a little better laid out, I only had to brave the nasal assault of around twelve ‘beauty sections’ before I could reach the menswear, but I still think more could be done around floor planning.

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When I made the final decision to take early retirement, one of the things I promised myself was that I would post more frequently. As you can see, that has yet to happen but I think it will. Just got to push myself more. When I was being quizzed by my colleagues on what I would do when I finished, my blog was mentioned. Almost everyone said the same thing …“What’s your blog about?”. To which I always reply “Nothing in particular…it’s just what I want to say, when I want to say it!” And that is basically what it is. Quite often get the reply “What’s the point then?” My response is usually “Have a read and see.” Maybe that is the answer I should use to the first question. Maybe, I need to get a subject or theme for this blog. I don’t know, but whatever I do, I need to do it more often.

1st day down …


Well, not technically true. Technically, today is my last day and tomorrow will be the “1st” day. I didn’t want to go into work for one day, so I managed to save up some time and take a ‘flexi’ day. But to all intents and purposes, today was the first day of my retirement! Now, how old does that make me feel?

Didn’t do much really. Went to the bank, did a bit of shopping, washed my car … oh and had my hair cut. Haircut? For nearly a year now, I’ve been growing my hair longer. In fact, I’ve not had it cut for about nine months. It all started, around November time last year. Our ‘team’ were on one of our ‘away-days’ or it may have been a training day. At lunch time I had gone out and  when I returned, I received a text message, just before I entered the training room. As I was expecting the text, I stopped to read it. I then over heard someone joking about the length of my hair and then everything went quite when it went in. Now I don’t care if people take about me behind my back and I don’t  mind if they laugh at me. What I hate is when they do it and then try and pretend that they didn’t. Which was what happened in this case. So I made the random decision to grow my hair long. My intention was to just let it grow and grow to make them feel bad or guilty . However when I put in for early retirement, I decided that my long hair would go when I finished. Hence, todays haircut.

So all in all, the first (or pre-retirement) day went well and now I must et down to the task of finding and getting that part time job. I need to get one soon, before I get out of the work habit. The next few weeks are critical in that search I think.

It finally arrived …


After what seemed like an eternity (maybe a slight exaggeration) today has finally arrived. I am now officially retired. Well not quite! Today was the last day I was working. My last contracted is Monday, but as I had managed to build up enough ‘flexi time’, I was able to finish at 3:15pm today.

It seems to have been a long three weeks back at the main office. Even the days when I was quite busy dragged on. But now it’s over. How do I feel? I don’t know. I don’t really know how I feel yet. I thought it has sunk in, but I not sure if I have got my head around the idea that I have retired.

So back to today. It started as a normal day, except for the photos lifted from Facebook that seemed to be plastered around the office. Nothing was different at all. People were getting on with their work and I was busy tidying up the files on my laptop. Then it all started. The manager turned up at around 11:00 and presented me with the biggest cake I had IMAG0546ever seen.

She had told me that she had ordered cake(s) as a celebration, but nothing prepared me for this. She also gave me a bottle of Cava, as I had said I was not having a leaving party and a card also.

This was from her. It wasn’t a team thing. It was my managers way of thanking me for everything I had done. I have to admit, I was taken aback slightly, and if the truth were known, I got a little emotional, but successfully did not show it.

Then at 2pm came the official presentation. I got my official gift from the Council for such long service and with it was £30.00 pounds worth of Amazon vouchers from the staff. The manager gave the customary ‘things that people might not know’ speech and I responded with the customary feeble thank you. Then it was all over! Hugs and handshakes all round and I was on my way home. The only downside, was that a good friend from the other office thought I was finishing on Monday and has got a present for me. I was a little disappointed … no scratch that, I was a bit upset about it. I think I might have a drive down there on Monday or Tuesday and see him. I will have to think about it.