Another short entry this week as we visit my beloved’s journal entries from two years back. Next week’s will be a long one — marking ‘Independence Day’ a little late. It will also be the last of these regular posts. After Independence Day there was too much going on, too may arguments about what was and what wasn’t legal, and just too much confusion to fit neatly into weekly chunks. Tammy is thinking about writing a memoir and there may be the odd post when something leaps out at us, but for now this series is coming to an end. Enjoy the last two episodes!
Wednesday 1 July 2020
I have now officially retired, ceasing to be a civil servant and reduced to the status of a consultant, two days a week.
Yesterday I was invited to a “talk” which turned out to be the online equivalent of my retirement party. J had clearly been organising it for weeks, alongside a huge hamper from Fortnum and Masons – so big it could have contained a stripogram. As online events to, it was about as good as it gets. J is particularly able at handling this stuff, with all the technical gizmos (hands up, chat, screen share). She kept it strictly to time and involved everyone. S even dug up one of our old tango videos, which she showed to assembled colleagues.
And yet…. In some ways, it was nothing like a retirement party. No reactions, no small group chats, no shared food and drink. There is an exercise in self-help circles about imagining your own funeral. This was lovely, in that I received a great obituary. But in the absence of any real human contact, I did feel a bit like a corpse. I had to hit the F&M salted caramel biscuits and go for a walk around the park.
So today is the first day of (sort of) retirement. I watched a 45 minute lecture on universal credit, to prepare for my new role helping out on an advice line. I unpacked the hamper and went through junk, putting aside boxes of charity shop stuff, for when charity shops finally open. Tom found the dead body of one of the fox cubs lying in our garden. “We can’t take it away if it’s on private land”, the council said. So I carried it out and left it in the gutter.
Yes, I can hack this retirement idea, but right now I feel scrabbly, unfocused, apprehensive. New stuff is scary.
Friday 3 July 2020
Shadowing for advice line starts today, so I’m grabbing a quick coffee in York House Gardens. It will be on “Slack” apparently, so I’ve got a new message system to learn.
The weather changes by the minute. Brilliantly warm just now – though the rain forecast for this afternoon means I’ll probably cancel my vague plans to meet F. As with the weather, so with my mood. Good bits of yesterday – got stuff done; productive work meeting; took parcel to the post-office, coming back the long way, in an attempt to find new streets; chatted to a neighbour (“I still can’t see my grand-daughter in Cornwall: they’re bracing for a second wave”); cooked Chinese cabbage; watched crime series; and ended the day with a dance to Entros Guitares.
Actually, there were a lot of good bits. But I still feel that this easing of lockdown should provide more excitement than it is delivering.
D once said that one of the most difficult aspects of retirement is that if you want to see someone or do something you have to make the effort. And sometimes that effort is too much. At one level, I know that there are people to see, things to do. But right now I can’t quite summon the energy to organise it.