Welcome 2018

retired t shirtWhat a shock I had to see that I haven’t posted since September! September?? How can that be? Retired people have all the time in the world, don’t they?? Ha! I don’t think so. My usual rant these days is, “Where on earth has the day gone?” or “There are just not enough hours in the day any more?”and, of course, “I don’t know where I had the time to hold down a full-time job”. Well, let me tell you that being retired is time-consuming, but it’s time consuming in a non-stressful way, if you see what I mean.

plan-your-week-advice-to-red-text-yellow-sticky-note-posted-page-calendar-as-reminder-56601106I have to say that I am not the world’s best planner and that does get in the way of a total stress-free existence. When I plan my days/weeks and actually write my plans on the calendar, I have a great time managing my days but I don’t do this regularly enough. So, I would say, step one to a great retirement is plan your time. 
workaholic 2

I didn’t retire from choice. I saw myself working until I was at least 64 as I had my one and only son when I was 43 years old and imagined that I would need to work and work until he had flown the nest and had become an independent individual. Then I got ill and to ensure a full recovery, I needed to make major changes in my life. After hours of counselling and mindfulness, taking advice and some financial planning, I decided not to return to work so I was totally unprepared for this massive change in my life. As a primary school headteacher I was a bit of a workaholic – eating, sleeping and living school. I had been single up to the age of 42 and so the time I put into my job was never an issue and I loved every moment. In fact, the first 14 years of my career were spent abroad. My first job was in Barcelona. I was 22 years of age and absolutely loved life. The 6 years I spent there was like one long working holiday – sunny days, great friends, wonderful night life and of course, long working days that flew by. But, that is another story. To find myself at age 43, married and with a baby was a bit of a shock. Wonderful, but life changing!! I had somebody else to think about now after spending so long thinking only of myself and saw myself working for ever! But that changed when I was 56 and at 57 I was retired.

So have I managed?    

The answer quite simply is yes, so far. At first it was a breeze as I was quite happy to spend time at home, recovering. Slowly, I added a few activities to my week (visit here on this blog) and things have snowballed from there, hence the lack of time I am now experiencing! Maybe it’s time to sit and evaluate my days. Cut back? Who knows?

So what do I do?

Let me offer a few more ideas for your retirement days. Now that I am able to walk again after the hip-op I am able to get out and about again. These are my choices of things to do. I appreciate that we are all different and what I enjoy, you may not, but I have moved out of my comfort zone and am enjoying activities that I didn’t think I would. My biggest tip is to plan your time and your finances and work around them. I not only have a 17-year-old son but I also care for my 96-year-old mother so I have to make sure I keep time for them during the week although I think my son would be quite happy for me to give him as wide a birth as possible!

  • DON’T fall into the trap of daytime TV. Keep the TV off. I have joined a Health Club and love it
  • Check out daytime classes in your area. You will be surprised to find classes you maybe hadn’t thought of joining. I do flower arranging once a week. There is also a new class beginning for adults interested in acting. Sounds good and I am looking into this albeit that I already belong to an AmDram group.
  • get on-line and check out EasyJet and other cheaper airlines (read ALL the small print). You can get so many reasonable flights, off-peak, if you have the time to sit and search. I went to Barcelona in November for £43 round trip. A trip away whether at home or abroad, is good for the soul
  • There are numerous walking groups in the area which are lots of fun. They are not too strenuous and it’s also a great time for socialising. Get out into the fresh air and move
  • Join a choir. For me, singing and music lifts my spirit and lightness my heart
  • Take up blogging. This comes with a warning as it is totally addictive. In fact, turning on the computer is addictive for me as I end up not only blogging but doing lots of research, too and the hours are eaten up. I am also addicted to Candy Crush!! You have been warned!
  • Set up or join a Book Club. Even if you are not a big reader, readingarranging a little area in your home for ‘me time’ is a delight. I fill my area with books and I try to sit quietly and read a few pages each day. You will love your little nook once it is created. Give it a go.


Whatever you decide to do when you retire, enjoy it. It can be overwhelming as you begin a new life journey which is very different from the one you have lived so far but embrace it with optimism and wonder. Get out there and socialise. Open your eyes to new opportunities and just remember that today is the oldest you’ve ever been and the youngest you’ll ever be again so stay young.

I would love to hear from you and share with you your ideas and experiences of retired life. Call back for some more tips and ideas to fill your precious days.




Life with a new hip

Untitled.pngHere I am with another up-date on my life as a retiree with a new hip and some ideas for all new members to the ‘Early Retirement Club’!

Three months post op and I am doing much better and getting around quite well – ache-clipart-12finally!! I still have pain climbing stairs, getting up from a sitting position and in bed at night. I also have quite a lot of discomfort when I sit for a long time and the top of my thigh is very sensitive to touch and the groin is painful when I exercise, so still a way to go yet before I feel fully recovered. I am told that this could take up to 12 months. Also, I am happy to hear now that many people who have had a hip replacement have not had an easy time of it either so that is reassuring. To those of you suffering some pain after this kind of operation, or indeed those who are going to have the op, ask for physio and hydro therapy post op. I have found that the hydro therapy has helped a great deal and I should NOT be sitting here right now writing this but should be making the effort to go to the swimming pool to do my own exercises!! Such effort!! This is what has happened to me for having had two or three yeas of pain and not being able to move much because of it. I have lost motivation. I have put on weight! Everything becomes too much of an effort. Clothes don’t look good on me anymore so I don’t bother to dress up. It’s time to act! Get my motivation back to get up and go. So how am I going to tackle this?

cooltext257186758227341  Treading the Boards. It’s back to the theatre! Nothing like a bit of escapism to enhance my daily routine, considered by Freud as a necessary element in the life of humans and I quote ‘(They) cannot subsist on the scanty satisfaction they can extort from reality’ What would you choose to do as a bit of escapism? Don’t think about it too much just go ahead and do it. The pleasure of being retired is being able to pick and choose as you wish. If you find it’s not for you, then move on. As a member of the Neath Little Theatre  I directed Steel Magnolias in March which I thoroughly enjoyed and am now looking forward to directing my next play in the near future. In the meantime I helped front of house with The Vicar of Dibley in May and will be involved with the next production in October. The October Production is Goodnight Mr. Tom by Michelle Magorian.

21232021_1822669147750468_8811973861538469969_nThe book has now become a modern classic. It is an uplifting story set during the dangerous build up to the Second World War and follows a young evacuee, William Beech, who has been housed with an elderly recluse, Tom Oakley, in a an idyllic English countryside village. The two forge a remarkable and heart warming friendship and all is well until William is suddenly summoned by his mother back to London. We will be giving opportunities for our talented younger members to get on stage and strut their stuff. Break a leg to them all. Come and see the production. You will not be disappointed!


cooltext257186863838178 Lose a bit of weight. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be skinny thin and I know it is supposed to be much more difficult for women of a certain age to lose weight, but I must lose a few pounds to get back into the clothes that are hanging lifelessly and forlorn in my wardrobe. I am NOT going out to buy a new wardrobe of clothes to fit this new frame so, I am cutting out sweet things  (not alcohol, I hasten to add!) and am trying this Eight Hour Diet! Check this site out! I’m going to give it a go. I have been doing it now for 6 days and I have lost 3 lbs. I have to tell you that I am a master of diets. I have tried every diet under the sun over the years (the most memorable for people around me being the Cabbage Soup diet. Enough said)  and they have all worked in their own way. I had the best results with Slimming World and I think that’s a great way to lose weight healthily but right now I am not ready to join a group with a weekly meeting so I am going to give this 8 Hour thing a try. If you know anything about it, are doing it or have done it please let me know what you think!  Ah! I am looking at the clock and my eating window is now open. 11am now so I can eat until 7pm. Just going to make some tea and toast with peanut butter!! Excited!!!!


My breakfast for today!

I found this info about Peanut butter on toast on Livestrong.com. Interesting!!

Peanut butter spread over a slice of toast makes a healthy start to your day or a light lunch. The calories are low enough to work into your daily goals without ruining your diet. Plus peanut butter and whole-grain toast are packed with protein, fiber and nutrients.

Calories in Toast

As long as you don’t choose a higher-calorie bread, such as potato bread, most types of bread have about the same calories. One slice of toasted whole-wheat bread has 76 calories, while a slice of toasted white bread contains 79 calories. Whole-grain bread is the healthier choice because it has three times more fiber.

Peanut Butter

Most types of peanut butter — chunky, smooth, reduced fat or fortified — all contain about 188 calories in a 2-tablespoon serving. However, omega-3-enriched peanut butter has 195 calories in the same portion. Reduced-fat varieties often have more carbohydrates, which replaces the calories lost from fat.

I love peanut butter on toast! The problem is when you have trouble with mobility it is so much easier to stay in, be sedentary and move slowly and gently rather than exercise and move with some urgency. Where I used to once walk to the local shop I started taking the car. I would also decide to go for a walk and find half way into the walk, when it was equally as far to arrive at the destination as it was to get home, I would need to wait for a bus or indeed, call for a taxi to take me back home due to the pain and discomfort I felt, so it was inevitable that the weight would begin to pile on!! I’ll give any weight loss programme a go!

cooltext257395536540506exercise!!! So it’s back to the health club for me. I feel such a sense of shame when I think of that substantial amount of money leaving my account each month to pay for my health club membership which I don’t use! I keep thinking of cancelling it and then my ‘other’ self says not as I will go back again one day especially once the children have returned to school and it’s quiet there again! (I have been saying this since last Christmas, I might add here) Our health club (once Virgin now David Lloyd) has an outside poolwhich is wonderful but during the holidays and after 4pm  it can get very busy and that’s the last thing a retiree like me wants after having spent a career surrounded by active children!!  BUT this week  will see my return. A few hours in the club. I will swim, do water exercises, followed by the steam room, then tea and toast in the conservatory which has been refurbished by all accounts and home. It sounds perfect. Now to muster up the energy and motivation to do it!


And finally I am happy to say that I am once again beginning to get back into the general everyday routine  of retired life. I will resume, flower arranging classes and ukulele class, I am taking part in a Murder Mystery evening (tickets still available) next week, back to Book Club and taking strolls along the beach before a hearty lunch with friends and family! Oh! The joys of retirement are here again. Yeah!!!



The Hip-OP!

I am now in the 9th week ( it’s 12 weeks today but wrote this 3 weeks ago and didn’t post!) of recovery following a hip replacement. What can I say? Ouch. I am still in quite a bit of discomfort and pain and shouldn’t be according to the visit I paid to the lovely doctor last week! Everything has gone to plan, X-rays looks fine, I must continue to do my exercise and be patient. It is will get better. Apparently I am a slow healer. Ha!! A Slow healer. I can’t sit still. That’s the problem.

So let me look back over the last 8 weeks, which have flown by, and give a potted account of the trials and tribulations of a hip replacement! I’ll break down the process as simply as possible so if you are reading this and heading for a replacement soon, it may help you! Or not!

preopThe pre op assessment was plain sailing and included a group school tuition afternoon. My sister accompanied me to this just in case my menopausal memory was unable to retain all the important information! Unfortunately she had a bout of uncontrollable coughing that obviously irritated the gentleman sitting in front of us so, out of politeness,  she left the room!! When she came back in she hadn’t been sitting for long before the uncontrollable coughing  started again, but by now the giggles had set in and the situation became quite farcical with said gentlemen looking as if he were about to burst a blood vessel in his temple muttering words such as germs, ridiculous etc etc. I found a breath freshener spray in my bag which my sister started spraying into the back of her throat and lo and bold the coughing abated somewhat and peace was resumed. We were shown examples of the new hip, watched a video, given a step-by-step explanation of the process, information on post op recovery and an opportunity to ask any questions. We were there for 3 hours but it was all worthwhile so I would advise you to  attend joint school if you are given the opportunity, although with my sister’s absence and my limited retention ability, I forgot a lot of what was said. Fortunately you get an envelope full of info, anyway!!

big dayThe big day arrived and I was at the hospital by 7:30am again accompanied by my younger sister. We were directed to Ward A where we sat quietly for a while and where nerves began to kick in and with me wondering if I had time to change my mind.  Then a stream of individuals invaded my room (yes, not a ward, I had a room of my own on Ward A, en suite – the lot) I lose count how many times I recited my name and date of birth that morning!!  There was Josh in a dark green uniform needing to fill in a general admittance file, this being his first day he was not entirely familiar with the forms and it took a little while longer to accomplish this task but fair play to Josh, he had to deal with a stream of interruptions and was thrown out of the room each time someone came in! There was a nurse in a blue uniform first, then another in a white uniform taking bloods, then Josh came back to try to finish the admittance forms. Another doctor in light green uniform whom I believe was the registrar came next armed with the same identification questions – name and date of birth. Next the anaesthetist popped in, name and date of birth, but by now I didn’t make a note of his colour uniform. Josh reappeared but had no time to find out where he last left off before we were interrupted by another blue to take blood pressure, name and date of birth first. Then there was one more visit after my sister’s departure by yet another doctor whose opening greeting was, sorry but name and date of birth please,  then finally Josh again who managed to complete the admittance forms in peace! I had an hour to myself before my friend arrived to take my mind off the very imminent procedure!! After taking a tablet in preparation for the operation, the consultant himself arrived for a chat and to say that I would be ready to go down very soon.  There was a little bit of a respite now but the tablet started kicking in and I found it difficult to stand, walk and talk. A porter arrived with a chair and pushed me to theatre! The rest is a daze!! I went from lying on my side in a room with 4 individuals around my bed, crammed into what seems like a very small space,  with a bearded and seemingly young gentleman in a head scarf asking my life history,  to opening my eyes in an empty space and feeling all alone!! Where had everyone gone? Feeling confused and out of sorts I heard the words “Sleeping Beauty is awake.”  It was all over! I was in the recovery room and I hadn’t felt a thing and everyone was gone!! How did that happen?

post opI returned to a ward some hours later but was completely out of it, unable to keep awake and hold a conversation and make sense of anything going on around me, so my visitors all went home and I was left to sleep. I slept on and off until the very early hours  but by the morning I began to feel human again and was able to eat a little breakfast. I elected to stay in the following night again although I had been discharged that day after a brief physio session, but as there was only one other lady on the ward I stayed to keep her company ( that’s my story and I’m sticking to it) and I felt safe at the hospital!! There was a wonderous electric storm that night and as it had been such a hot and stuffy day we decided to sleep with the windows and curtains open so I had front row seats at the viewing of the storm all over the bay. It was well worth staying in for.  By 10:00 am the next  morning I went home complication-free, armed with 3 crutches and a bag of iboprufen, Omeprazole, paracetamol and codeine tablets to take every 4 hours.

Back home I was very surprised and shocked at how much care I needed!! Getting in and out of a car, getting in and out of bed, sitting down, getting up, climbing up and going down the stairs etc etc and I was constantly tired! I really felt my age. My 96-year-old mother was more nimble than I!!  However, I soon settled into a routine and I was so grateful to my sisters who rallied around to help me during those first 2 weeks. Sitting still was a very difficult for me and to be waited on hand and foot was totally out of character! I had conjured an image in my head that after a few days I would be up and about, albeit on crutches, and seeing to things as usual, but heaven forbid!! No way was that happening. I had pain, swollen legs and ankles, pains in the groin and let’s don’t mention the nights!! Now, they were the real living nightmare hours. I had no idea the pain and discomfort being in bed would cause! Sleep evaded me for the next 3 weeks. Lying on my back was the hardest part of all and didn’t help. After a few hours of lying in this  fixed position, my leg  and groin would begin to ache, then my knee and heel, and then I would be awake and have to  take tablets again to knock me out. Let me give you a tip here – ALWAYS carry a bag around with you so you have your tablets, a bottle of water and your mobile to hand. There was nothing worse than waking up at night to take a tablet and find that you had no water. Keep a water bottle handy at all times as getting in and out of bed was knife-edge pain!! After 2 weeks of constant help I was suddenly left alone to manage! My mother went away for 5 days so I didn’t have to worry about her so it was just me and my son. That was a very difficult time. Trying to get around a home and do everyday things on crutches is exhausting and especially when, 3 weeks after major surgery, the recommendation is to rest and take it easy! My friends were wonderful and I had visitors every day to help with the washing and the cooking. I thank the wonder of Tesco, Dominoes and the local Chinese Take Away for home deliveries and my young son who kept an eye out for his mother all week.

I am now at 12 weeks post-op, and only just beginning to feel a significant improvement but I will leave this next chapter until the next time!

………….to be continued!


Ups and Downs

cast and crew.jpg2017 started so well with my delightful trip to Barcelona (see previous post)  and then the beginning of rehearsals for Steel Magnolias. I was blessed with a wonderful cast and crew and it was an exhilarating feeling to be back at the Neath Little Theatre and involved in my first directorial production in almost 12 years. So it was full steam ahead.

sm cast

My fabulous cast 

Steel Magnolias is a beautiful play. It was a great film but in my opinion, the play is a better option. The film is a watered down version of the play in that we meet many different characters and visit a variety of locations. In the play we meet the 6 main characters only and the story develops from the conversations that take place in one setting. We learn about their relationships with their partners, families and friends from the sometimes hilarious conversations they have while assembled at Truvy’s Hair Salon in Chinquapin Parish, Louisiana on a Saturday morning. The action unfolds here. We are the onlookers as these ladies prepare themselves for the social events of their lives: weddings, funeral, parties. Here they are applying their public faces while at the same time revealing their very private selves by confessing their deepest fears, greatest hopes and heaviest burdens. It is a beautiful play – a bittersweet, tragicomedy, fulfilling experience. If you get the opportunity to catch a production in your area, then do so  and don’t let anyone say that it is a play for women only. Men need to see this play, too!

My wonderful set courtesy of Paul and Lee and thank you to Tony of Nine Croft Road and Celtic Prop Hire for the props.

sm set

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Towards the end of the rehearsal time, I ironically found myself embroiled  in a tragic drama all of my own. It was a Saturday evening at the end of February at 11:30pm. I was comfortably catching up on Series 2 of Broadchurch and could hear what I believed to be  the doors banging upstairs, caused, as I thought at the time, by a draught due to the open windows in the bedrooms. When the banging became a nuisance I decided to resolve the problem once and for all by pausing Broadchurch, climbing the stairs and closing all open windows.  I reached the landing only to find the upstairs bathed in a golden light which I couldn’t fathom for the life of me. Looking out of the  bathroom window I discovered that the golden light was coming from huge, raging orange flames shooting out of the camper van and the car. They were both ablaze. This caught me completely off guard and very slowly panic started to creep in. I couldn’t quite comprehend what was happening. Instinct made me rush for the phone, dial 999 and get the fire engine to the house as soon as humanly possible.  I could not begin to imagine what would happen next!! There was banging, popping, fizzing and all sorts of firework sounds coming from the scene!! The flames were stretching higher and higher and there was NOTHING I could do! After what seemed like an eternity the engine arrived only to find that it couldn’t get down to the house from the top of our drive and therefore the hose had to be unravelled, attached to a hydrant and dragged some 150 yards to the vehicles. Barred from going outside the back door, I sat helplessly at my kitchen table in despair! By 3am, the fire was out and the shock of the evening set in. A sobbing me thanked the police and the firefighters for their efforts and away they went leaving me grieving pitifully the loss of by life companions. For those who read my blogs and know me, you will know that my van, aka Vin Diesel, has been a prominent feature in our lives over the past 18 months and now, he was gone!! Gone!

I was heartbroken. I am still hertbroken. The van was also packed ready for our next trip. Camping equipment, awning, tables chairs, bedding, karting overalls, helmets, winter coats, clothes, jackets, you name it – it was in the van. The car was also reasonably packed with clothing, bedding, chairs, duvets, pillows and things that are just left in a car! All gone up in flames.  Seeing them both in ruins was so difficult. Watching them being towed away was heart wrenching. The fire caused damage to the driveway, the electric cables, my hot tub and the guttering and windows of the house, but thankfully, nobody was hurt and we were lucky to get away relatively lightly.

van 3  van 8

van 5  van 7van 6  van 4


Two months down the line I am still vanless. The insurance companies have been wonderful and peace has been restored. However, I miss my dear little van so much. I drive around in my new car and see VW campers cheerfully zipping down the roads heading for fun holidays and feel such a pang of longing. I am keeping an eye out for a new one as I have become accustomed to  being a proud and happy ‘Dubber’ so, as they say, watch this space.


The best is yet to come. I’m retired! 




Barcelona, the city of my youth. The city where I settled for 6 years at the tender age of 22 years and experienced  a life of mischief, fun, gastronomic delights, sweet love, life-long friendships, marcha, juerga, fiesta – totally unforgettable experiences. It was a six year holiday interrupted 5 days a week with something called teaching – long hours of teaching,  including evening tutoring to bring in enough pesetas to live my holiday in the sun!

Life in Barcelona in the 80s was a thrill. The vibrant city screamed ‘live life to the full’. And that’s exactly what I did. Tapas, vinos, discos, Costa Brava night life, Costa Brava long daytime beach naps, all year round suntan, Sitges, Las Ramblas for people watching, open air concerts – Supertramp, Genesis, Lou Reed, Elton John, OMD, Police, Tina Turner, to name a few, winter skiing, love and romance and my beloved moped!! Oh the moped! mobylette-moped-60039s-70039s-3A one saddled bicycle with an engine to weave through traffic and avoid the jammed early morning buses that we had to catch to get to work each morning. It was also helpful to zoom down back streets to avoid the traffic of the busy city and very often carrying two people, which made it very uncomfortable for the back seat passenger, believe me!

logoI worked at Oak House School. At the time it was a relatively unknown private bilingual school for Spanish children. Today it is a very successful, well-known private school in the Sarrià district of Barcelona and has grown massively in size to the point that on my last visit in January this year, there was very little left of the school I once knew but I suppose that is what we call progress.

There were naturally many unfamiliar faces but there were also some wonderfully, welcoming familiar faces of friends and colleagues from ‘back in the day’ that burst into smile and delight when I arrived. We ate lunch, chatted non-stop, laughed, wondered, burst into laughter, cries of “Ah! Si, si, claro, me accuerdo …….” when reminiscing on the glory days of Oak House, recalling stories and memories that have been hidden in the back our minds for 30 years just waiting to see the light of day again. And there among the older faces were the grown up faces of children I once taught who were now working  at the school or dropping off their children at the same gate they were left at some 30 years ago!

What a trip down memory lane! But this is something I am prone to. I LOVE the past. I adore meeting up with friends from a different era in my life, I enjoy visiting the places where I once lived and wonder in the changes that have occurred over the years. What is wrong with a touch of nostalgia? The past is what has made my present and will have an effect on my future. Why would I want to forget it, the people the places, the sounds the smells? Remembering the past doesn’t hold me back. I live my life forward, but sometimes I think about the past, and I find it comforting. It makes me feel happy, thankful, it makes me laugh and makes me sad. I appreciate the roots that were planted back then and which will continue into my future. It makes me feel good and I gather strength from my past to move forward.

The city has changed and it hasn’t changed! It has developed immensely,  the biggest changes made to accommodate the Summer Olympics in 1992. The port is unrecognisable and there’s a beach!! How did that get there? The area of Sarrià has completely changed. I wouldn’t know how to get to work anymore!!


The road into the city from the airport has altered and the network of roads in and around the city are all unfamiliar. My favourite area, known as Las Tascas where I spent some wild and wonderful hours, no longer exists, as were many other memorable sites, and that was a massive stab to the heart, but the smells, the atmosphere, the life, the heart of the city, the vibrancy, the people ……..  they are unchanged. Barcelona has caught up with the times, it has opened its doors to a flood of tourists, it is more modern, cosmopolitan, more people speak languages other than Spanish, there are shopping malls to compete with the once empirical El Corte Inglés, the parks, the buildings, the streets have been cleaned up. Gaudi has sprung to life! The Parque Güell, my stomping ground to get rid of a hangover on a Sunday morning back in the early 80s and overlooked by me when I had visitors, as in the ignorance of my youth I was more focused on bars, restaurants and the beach than some dusty park with a few mosaic-like statues and lots of dust, has now been cleaned up and brought to its full glory! You even have to pay to get in!! It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, too, and is quite magical . Why didn’t I see it this way back then?? Other buildings have also been cleaned up and are quite majestic in appearance these days all adding to the attraction of the city. The Las Arenas, bull ring in Plaza España is now a shopping mall. The last bull-fight took place there in 1977 and was used as an outside concert hall during my years there. La Monumental continued to hold bull fights into the 90s but it is now empty and waiting to be renovated, no doubt into another mall.


But the bars, tapas, food, cakes, narrow streets, lanes, markets etc are all still alive and well. Estupendo!!

The Barrio Gotico is as beautiful as ever and for me, must be visited at Christmas time. It gets cold, but not for long. But cold, blue-skied sun-filled days are bearable, enjoyable and acceptable. And being retired, I can  now visit any time!!


The End and the Beginning!!

Oh my! It has been such a long time since I wrote my last blog! Where has the time gone?? I am now settled into the life of a retired 50 something year old and finding myself so busy that the lap top has been through a stage of neglect and running around has taken precedence. Time to slow down, methinks and open the office door and spend more time at home! Or was it that the run up to Christmas had became all-encompassing? It took me nearly 3 weeks to decorate the house.


The mammoth job began early in December, however,  it was a case of ‘little and often’ as the decoration boxes were stored in the garage and wtreeere very awkward to access. The walk between the garage and the house became quite tiresome so, after much deliberation and failed attempts at getting my disgruntled ‘stop-turning-the-house-into-a-grotto’ son involved in this festive activity, I settled for putting up the Christmas tree only. This took me a full 3 hours as the lights were tangled and seemed pretty nigh impossible to untangle and place neatly and strategically on the tree. I must add that instead of buying one box of lights with lots and lots of twinkles, I strangled the branches with 3 sets of 200 lights! What a palaver! This followed with a wild panicked search looking for an extension block to accommodate multiple plugs – 3 felfor the lights, one for the TV, one for the DVD and one for the Now TV. Oh and what to do about the lamp??? By the time the tree was up and the lights placed I was exhausted and needed a glass of wine or two! Thus ended any further attempts at decorating but it was definitely the beginning of endless Christmas cheer!  Wine, Elf and a lit Christmas tree! What could be better??

The next day I managed to conquer, effortlessly, the breakfast room. Followed by the kitchen 2 days later. That took another 3 hours. The tinsel refused to stay up and the drawing pins kept bending as I tried to loop the tinsel around the room. Ahhhh!!!  This was because the picture rail had been painted and for some reason the pins refused to stay, or because I chose the same holes as last year which had by now doubled in size resulting in the pins slipping out!!  Then the whole lot would fall down! Climbing up and down the ladder became a nightmare due to my bad hip so the wine had to rescue the situation again and put an end to any more festooning!! And this is how the story continued for the next 3 weeks and still, on Christmas Day, the decorating was not finished!! Oh well!! No one noticed. At least the lights were a success and the house had a warm cosy glow, filled also with a welcoming cinnamon and berry aroma from the numerous candles burning from every corner possible!! The transformation, indoor and out, was so magical it stayed this way until January 17th! Yes, my friends, I must confess that my decorations have only been down a week! BUT there is a reason. After such a traumatic lead up to the great day, the day itself and the ensuing week, I felt the need for some escapism and so dropped tools and flew away leaving Christmas in tact until
my return.

Barcelona to the rescue!

8    1   2  4

Oh what a beautiful place. It was my home for 6 years many years ago but the ties there are as strong now as they were then. There followed 5 days of catching up, eating, drinking and making merry. An Easy Jet flight for £48.50 could NOT be ignored. It would have been very rude of me to do so and so, with a cabin sized suitcase a few euros, a non-reserved seat I set off on a cold Monday morning for a week of pure delight!

Ahhhhhhh! The joys of being retired! 


to be continued……….

Go, Kart, Go!!


So, where to next?? My son has taken up go-karting! It may be a bit late in his young life to become the next Ayrton Senna but he is pursuing something that is bringing him great enjoyment, has met some great people and has certainly grown in confidence since being part of this team. So, my weekends are no longer my own anymore but we are having a good time even though I spend the race time with my heart in my mouth watching these karts go round the circuit at the speed of light!!  Our local karting club is at LLandow in the Vale of Glamorgan , South Wales where we race with a great team called Silver Fox.  We are relatively new to this compared to everyone else in the team but we are learning and bringing a little humour to the camp!silver-fox-logo


Click on the links and check us out

I have certainly seen quite a bit of England in the last few months, mostly the Northampton area and its wonderful karting circuits – Kimbolton and Whilton Mill. There was also a visit to  Dorset and the Clay Pigeon circuit and Gloucester to Rissington. That’s lots and lots of miles in Vin, the T4! And I say lots and lots as  we always get lost on our way to each race meet!! We got lost on our way to Kimbolton – twice, when leaving Rissington we always end up in Cheltenham, and please don’t ask where I went wrong coming home from Whilton Mill. I am beginning to despair with it all. There is one further trip this year to Shenington so my fingers, toes and everything else that can be crossed are crossed!!

kimboltonOur first visit to Kimbolton saw me going 57 miles out of our way! I didn’t get off the M1 as Mary, my GPS on the phone went to sleep and neglected to remind me where to exit the M1. But I don’t know how I got on to the M1 in the first place as I should have been on the M42….. but there we go!! We finally arrived at midnight when everyone else had gone to sleep but the next day dawned bright and sunny and the weekend turned out to be a scorcher and lots of fun!! The boys work hard all day working on the karts, racing, drinking tea, more kart mechanics, changing parts, and  on and on and on……, while the two gorgeous mams prepare PIMMs, chat, read, visit friends, watch a race or two, drink wine, prepare a bbq and basically have a relaxing time!! I am loving it!!

kimbolton-1                     kimbolton-2

Setting up!!                                                                                                  Relaxing and sunbathing!!

kimbolton-3    BBQ number 1!!

kimbolton-5   Midnight heat!!   kimbolton-6 BBQ number 2


Top Team!!!

clayClay Pigeon was another great weekend. We set up camp and the racing was first class. Despite it being October, the weather was lovely, the camping cosy and the racing wizard!! It got a little cold in the early morning but with duvets and pillows and blankets galore there is nowhere warmer and cosier than in the van and inner tent! Not to forget the copious amounts of tea we drink ALL day and something a little warmer at night!! We all camped together in the ‘corral’ and spent a wonderful team weekend together. The BBQ was ‘a la extraordinaire’  this weekend with chicken and meat actually cooked in an oven and a delicious home made coffee cake to finish it all off. So much food but all polished off by hungry karters and tinkerers!!


The karts



The home xxx


The Workplace



Watching Rosberg win!! Nooooooo!!!



How on earth could I have made time for this when I was in full time employment?