When we were working and bumped into a retired friend or acquaintance they invariably told us how they were rushed off their feet with "not enough hours in the day" - you know the sort of thing. We would brush this off with a wry and knowing smile whilst thinking "of course you are rushed off your feet. You've got twenty four hours in every day and absolutely no work to worry about." But now that the tables have turned and we are in their shoes, we are the ones who are claiming there is too much to do and not enough time to do it in. So few hours that I've been unable to get time at the laptop to write for over seven days - my longest blogging absence since I started writing this almost three years ago.
So what has been taking up all this time? I hear you ask. Well our schedule for the last seven days went like this.
On Monday we drove to Rochester to help out with a little childminding for a wonderful little granddaughter. We took her to the enormous shopping mall at nearby Bluewater where she had a whale of a time checking out the toys on offer while we bought some bits and pieces to keep in Framlingham when she visits.
On Tuesday I took advantage of the fine weather and headed down the road to search some local fields with the detector. There's nothing particularly exciting in the day's finds but there are a couple of late medieval studs amongst the usual mixture of buttons, buckles, shotgun cartridge cases and musket balls. It was the first time in my twenty odd years detecting that I have been able to walk to a field near home instead of driving the once obligatory four hour round trip in the car. When I got home I completed the preparations for a talk that I'm giving on the hobby to a local Rotary Club.
Wednesday saw us driving back down to Rochester for another child minding day. This time we visited the village of Upnor on the Medway near Strood where we enjoyed some excellent fish and chips in the Tudor Rose pub before taking the baby to the castle - an old Elizabethan fort run by English Heritage.
On Thursday it was an early drive to Ipswich to catch the train to London where we had an appointment near St Paul's to see Cumberland Place our financial advisors. When we sold the business we handed all the proceeds over to them and they manage it for us. Everything seems to be going well and we've done a lot better than if we had put the funds in the bank despite the uncertainties of stock markets over the last couple of years. After overspending so much on the house in Framlingham our advisors reckon we should cut back on the big withdrawals a bit now but we've no major purchases planned in the near future so that should not be a problem. So, barring catastrophe, we should have more than enough to see us through our retirement and leave a bit to the family.
On Friday we had some time in Cambridge with the family before spending the weekend with them in Framlingham.
I did the modern day equivalent of killing the fatted calf and bought a beef fillet from Hall Farm butchers on the market square and made Gordon Ramsay's Beef Wellington recipe (download it on the BBC good food site). It's a foolproof recipe and the meal turned out very well.
For once, both ovens plus the steam oven and the microwave all got brought into use. We're looking forward to having more guests as we really enjoy using the kitchen and realising its full potential. It was a short stay and Paul and Josephine still have plenty more to see in future visits. They packed up on Sunday and we drove back down to Rochester where I'm now writing this. We're doing another day with the baby today but heading back to Framlingham this evening to get ourselves straight. We've got three days at home ahead of us now but no doubt we'll find plenty to do to fill in the time.